generating pace with a slice backhand

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by HunterST, Dec 15, 2009.

  1. HunterST

    HunterST Hall of Fame

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    I know there used to be a thread on how to do a slice properly, but I couldn't find it.

    I can't generate hardly any of my own pace using a slice. It seems like the only way to control it for me is to have pretty low racquet head speed. This has led to easy balls for my opponents, or even balls going too short.

    when I speed up my racquet it seems to pop up really high. What is the proper way to hit and follow through with the slice?
     
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  2. yemenmocha

    yemenmocha Professional

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    You may need to have a flatter stroke. Perhaps your swing path is too steep?
     
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  3. W Cats

    W Cats Rookie

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    Check this thread out. There's some good stuff if you have the time to wade through it.

    http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=288425

    For me pace and a low skidding ball when I switched to almost EBH grip for the BH slice (except for very low contact points). This allowed my racquet face to be more or less perpendicular to the ground at contact. Prior to this I would get balls that either floated and sat up or very spinny drop shot type balls.
     
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  4. leeroy85

    leeroy85 Rookie

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    look for Emerson backhand slice. Very compact, small backswing. Think some exist on youtube.
     
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  5. Ripper014

    Ripper014 Hall of Fame

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    You have the face of the racket too open... read Tildens book "The Art of Lawn Tennis"... and learn young jedi... the book is old... but physics do not change.
     
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  6. HunterST

    HunterST Hall of Fame

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    thanks a lot for the comments guys.

    Both my instructor and fuzzy yellow balls say the slice's follow through should be up. However, I saw some online videos of Federer and Roddick's slices and both of their's had a definite chop motion with a follow through that went down. Why is this?
     
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  7. Ripper014

    Ripper014 Hall of Fame

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    Get a new instructor... slice, chip, chop... are all done with a high to low stroke... topspin is generated with a low to high stroke.

    I suggest again you read the book... there is a section in the book that explains spin as well as it can be explained. I read the book 33 years ago... and everything about spin clicked and began to make sense to me.
     
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  8. HunterST

    HunterST Hall of Fame

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    I'll definitely check out the book, hopefully it wont be too much on amazon since it's pretty old.

    Just to clarify, the stroke is high to low, but the follow through then comes up. Fuzzy Yellow balls says the same thing. Also, my coach was the Division II national champ so I trust him ;-).
     
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  9. nfor304

    nfor304 Banned

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    The follow through coming back up to shoulder height thing is to make sure your racket is going forward properly, which is what will give you more pace. Try and find some vids of Ken Rosewall. greatest slice backhand of all time, up there with the most powerful and penetrating too
     
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  10. Ripper014

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    Just borrow it from a library... it is a very old dated book... but worth a read.
     
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  11. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    You DO NOT need high rackethead speed to hit hard, fast, slice shots.
    You need solid contact with a little underspin.
    Most important is you setup and body. You have to setup just like a 1hbh topspin..., solid, controlled, aggressive.
    No chopping, no leaning back, no open stances.
    And that thing about followthru. LISTEN TO THIS. 3" after strikepoint, the racket is moving downwards slightly. BUT AT THE END OF YOUR ARMS reach, the rackethead is moving upwards!
    The slice followthru is NOT a straight line, but an upward arcing curve, because your racket is connected to your shoulders.
     
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  12. dman72

    dman72 Hall of Fame

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    What grip are you hitting this shot with? Are you sure you aren't using an Eastern Forehand Grip to try to hit a backhand? It can make for devastating drop shots, but not for penetrating slice!!
     
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  13. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    er....
    Beg to differ.....
    The grip IS very important for beginning players to learn the hard slice.
    BUT, after you've played the game awhile, you find the grip matters much less than preparation and technique.
    I know many 4.5 level players who use a hard slice with an EFH side of conti grip, as I often do, and the ball goes fast, goes low, skids and veers on bounce, and is sometimes used as a passing shot. SOMETIMES. It's more of a variety passing shot to make the volleyer use good technique, as a hard sliced ball is just as hard to volley as an extreme topspun ball.
    Early prep, more than full shoulder turn, extreme closed stance, stroke thru the ball with good posture and some forward lean.
     
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  14. Ripper014

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    I am not sure why you want to make things difficult for the OP... in order to hit a slice/chip you need to hit the ball from high to low. After contact you can do whatever you want with your follow through. But to make things simple it is easiest to hit the ball from high to low in a relatively straight line and racket face close to square and not as open as most people think. For more pace drive through the ball more and you do need some racket head speed.

    A slice is the function of how steep you come down on the ball the amount racket head speed. If you start extremely high on your backswing and low... you will impart more spin and less pace... if you start lower you tend to flatten out your shot... but you can also start high and use a lot of racket speed and maintain speed and spin.
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2009
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  15. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Not sure of making it harder for the OP.
    Maybe he needs to understand the concept of a hard slice, not just it's mechanics.
    And if his mechanics are off, like a chop stroke leading with the edge of the racket, his full speed fast swing will just result in a high lobbed slice, not a hard low penetrating slice.
    You have to learn the stroke from it's lowest level, a slow stroke, then add speed to the stroke keeping correct technique all the way thru....
     
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  16. Netspirit

    Netspirit Hall of Fame

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    Step into the ball during the backhand slice. You do not have the luxury of a long backswing, all you have is the weight of your body plus some help from the shoulder. Use both.

    Do not be obsessed with underspin. Start from a few "flat" slices, make sure you can hit flat, hard and long. This will teach you to step into the ball and not to open the racket face too much.

    Afterwards you can gradually work on adding more and more underspin - by chopping down more aggressively, by opening the racket face just a bit.
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2009
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  17. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    While a totally agree with most of this last post, I don't agree about his idea of backswing. You can backswing as long as you want, and employ as long a stroke as you want, as long as you have time. Early prep ensures time.
     
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  18. W Cats

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    "Step into the ball during the backhand slice. You do not have the luxury of a long backswing, all you have is the weight of your body plus some help from the shoulder. Use both."

    Really, why not?
     
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  19. jmverdugo

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    regardless of the follow thru to generate pace on the slice, IMO, you need to lean on to the ball, push with your legs, and solid contact. IMO if the ball is very low then you definitelly need to end the follow thru above waist level, or net level (the "banana" follow thru), if you want to slice a high ball you can definitely finish below your waist making a high to low stroke.
     
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  20. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Maybe it's just us Dunlop Mfil 200 users who don't understand... :twisted::twisted:
    And mine has two more strings than yours, each piece....:shock:
     
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  21. Ripper014

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    Not sure how you can argue with this statement... though... if the player has issues with timing you may want to shorten it.
     
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  22. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Rereading the OP's first post, I'd say it's a technique issue, not a timing issue. So length of stroke is not the problem, quality of stroke IS the problem.
     
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  23. W Cats

    W Cats Rookie

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    Yep, LeeD beat me to it. Don't see an issue of being rushed here just technique as there is also no mention of shot selection or tactical considerations, or physical limitations. That is why I questioned the luxury of long backswing statement.
     
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  24. Ripper014

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    I was just speaking in general terms it was not directed at the OP.
     
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  25. Netspirit

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    Because you start over the shoulder and do not move the racket back much at all? The length of the whole swing is shorter than the loopy "C"-shaped trajectory of topspin forehands and backhands:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OHPdlGW4vEE - Fed
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-GzW401yri4 - Henin

    Another thing is that you typically slice when you cannot topspin. It happens on the run, with high balls, when jammed. In all these cases there's no time for a long golf-style "show me your back" backswing.
     
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  26. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    But some old farts choose to slice over topspin, using the topspin only for some passing shots and change of pace high bouncers.
    Slice takes little energy compared to topspins.
     
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  27. Ripper014

    Ripper014 Hall of Fame

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    Well it depends how much topspin you are trying to generate... hitting a rolling topspin ball takes no more energy than a slice return and is probably a safer shot.
     
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  28. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Don't dink so....
    Slice is downward swingpath, easier than upward swingpath.
    Prep/backswing doesn't take as much energy as forward swing.
     
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  29. Ripper014

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    I think we will have to choose to disagree with this point... it is the same whether you choose to hit the ball from high to low as it is from low to high with the same effort. So you can hit a lazy slice... or a lazy topspin... it is all the same.
     
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  30. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Don't dink so...
    Slice is backspin, ball carries farther with less effort.
    Topspin is forward spinning dipping ball, so more effort is needed to clear the net.
    When you go to hit a ball into the stands, you always use backspin.
     
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  31. W Cats

    W Cats Rookie

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    Because you start over the shoulder and do not move the racket back much at all? The length of the whole swing is shorter than the loopy "C"-shaped trajectory of topspin forehands and backhands:



    First of all let's stick to BH for the moment as I believe this is main question on this thread, if I'm in error, my appologies. And I believe the disagrement is on the length of backswing. Let's also agree on the definition of backswing. For me the backswing is the motion the racquet or hand travels from the ready position in a backward direction untill it reverses it self and comes forward. Also the length of swing is dictated by the length that the hand travels in a proficient tennis stroke. Not sure of your definition.

    Now take a look at these two videos of Federer and tell me which has the hand traveling a greater distance.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oX7CcDIkMhE

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OHPdlGW4vEE

    I also do not subscribe to your notion that a BH slice is only hit when one is on the run. I choose to slice when the tactical situation calls for it. It is not the shot of last resort for me.
     
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  32. Ripper014

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    I think it is pretty close... but it is hard to define looking at two shots... What is clear is that a slice is hit from high to low (notice the square racket face at contact, low finish) and a topspin is from low to high (notice how Federer drops the racket below the level of the ball and finishes high, and again notice the square racket face at impact).

    But I know for me how far I take the racket back normally means I am going to hit the ball harder, whether it is with slice or topspin, find a Steffi Graf backhand video and you will probably see she takes it back pretty far.
     
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  33. Ripper014

    Ripper014 Hall of Fame

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    A slice will carry further and die... the topspin ball will drop a little shorter and carry through the court, using the same effort.
     
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  34. 35ft6

    35ft6 Legend

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    Don't try to generate power. Instead, try to slice it in a way where you take a full swing but barely feel the ball. Strive for not feeling the ball hitting your racket. The "hardest" slice backhands I hit is when I'm going for the least and I'm the most relaxed.
     
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  35. Ripper014

    Ripper014 Hall of Fame

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    I need to really stick a backhand slice if I am to expect it to skip off the court low with pace. Otherwise it just stays low... I guess it depends on what you are trying to achieve.
     
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  36. Netspirit

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    Let me clarify. Here are my points:

    1. The backswing is the motion of the racket from the ready position to the reversal point. The forward swing is the motion of the racket from the reversal point to the contact point, followed by the follow-through.

    2. The forward swing in your average slice backhand is shorter than the forward swing in your average topspin forehand or backhand. Sometimes it is very short (when you are reaching the ball on the run), sometimes it's average. But it's never as long & loopy as, say, Gasquet's topspin backhand or Djokovic's topspin forehand, where the racket is accelerating along both the downward and upward pieces of the trajectory.

    3. Longer forward swing = more acceleration time = more power.

    4. A way to increase the length of the forward swing is to increase the length of the backswing first. I am saying that for the slice backhand it is not that much of an option. You bring the racket head up over your shoulder, and there's little you can do beyond that. Well, you could jump, but a jumping slice BH has not been invented on the pro tour yet.

    5. Less power means you need power from somewhere else. One such place is stepping into the ball, transferring your weight to your front foot. The other place is muscling the ball with your shoulder (the only option on the run).

    I never claimed that BH slice is "only hit on the run". I mean that in neutral and offensive situations the topspin backhand is usually the preferred, more aggressive stroke, while difficult situations usually call for "shots of last resort" which the slice BH can definitely be. And it has to be good even under such circumstances. I brought it up to illustrate the fact that often the swing path is even shorter than usual, so the role of the shoulder and/or footwork in generating slice BH power is even greater and easier to understand.
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2009
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  37. 35ft6

    35ft6 Legend

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    Maybe off a ball with no pace, yeah, snap through it a bit more. But against people who hit with power you need to swing through, not abbreviate or chip it, and don't worry about power. At least that's what I do.
     
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2009
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  38. skraggle

    skraggle Professional

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    Agreed, one of the best frames for slice I've ever tried...
     
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  39. KenC

    KenC Professional

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    Although most has been said here already, I'll summarize how I improved my backhand slice to be an offensive shot. This was from the help of my coach, who deserves all the credit:

    1. Change the grip from continental to right between a conti and an eastern grip. Basically, with the V right over the first edge of the bevel. This just gets the racquet head more vertical.

    2. The swing is a full swing, but I don't start out too high. I start out about a foot higher than where I will make contact with the ball.

    3. It is a full body stroke, just like a 1HBH is. I plant my back foot and step into the shot and finish with my weight on the front foot. This is where the pace is generated and what makes the ball skid fast and low when it bounces.

    4. I need to really control how much arm I put into the shot. If I put a lot in I have to just clear the net to keep the ball in and have to close the racquet face even more, like maybe 5 degrees open. With a mild to moderate swing I can leave the racquet face more open and hit a little higher over the net. As the ball is being struck the arm pronates so as to "slice the melon". This naturally brings a high to low to high movement in the swing and follow through.

    5. Not that this is an offensive slice shot, and is lower percentage than the typical higher floating slice that is hit with a more open face and a more downward motion. I usually hit it on cross courts to improve the percentage of the shot. Since I am a lefty, this keeps the ball really low against a righty's forehand, meaning less chance of hitting a power shot back. Usually I get a pop up which allows me to transition in.

    As for those that advocate a real cutting swing that just goes from high to low with no follow through, All I can say is: thanks for the easy points! People that do this shot are basically just hitting drop shots that go too long and then sit up nice and high when they land. You would be better off hitting a slice moonball. This has its place in extreme defensive situations where you need time to recover, but the opponent always has an easy ball to keep attacking with.
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2009
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  40. paulfreda

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    THANK YOU SO MUCH

    This is the best tip I have had in at least 2 years.

    I have been getting ready for some singles tournaments. And my slice BH has been very poor. I was about to take some lessons to find out what was wrong, but this tip has fixed it. I can ralley all day now with a BH slice.
    I remember when first learning back 25 years ago the coach would say "outside-in, down and under. back up the U " But I had forgotten this, especially the last part. The swing is U shaped, NOT a straight line to target.

    Thanks again for the pearl of wisdom
    I owe you one.
     
    #40
  41. Douggo

    Douggo Semi-Pro

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    Disclaimer: I am not a tennis coach. I am also not even a good tennis player.

    Seems like there are already enough good answers here to get you where you want to be. Seems like there are folks arguing different ways to get to the same place, swing-wise.
    Some folks will discount the high-to-low-to-high swing path. From a strictly theoretical physics standpoint, the follow-through - what happens after the ball has left your stringbed - doesn't make one bit of difference to the ball. But in reality, what you do with your follow-through is what gets your racquet doing what it is supposed to be doing *while the ball is on your strings*.

    So, you're hitting a slice, and you want pace on it? Let's take them separately. Slice: you want to be cutting under the ball while the ball's on the strings. Pace: you want to be coming through the ball while the ball's on the strings.

    For me, the best way to get myself to this place is to think about closing my stance. High to low comes naturally to me, but if my stance is open, I cannot follow-through toward my target, which means I'm not coming through the ball while it's on the strings, and I'm not generating pace (being open doesn't hurt me so much when the incoming ball already has lots of pace - but that wasn't the question posed).

    If I do this correctly, I believe I get a high-to-low-to-high swing path. But I get there thinking about a closed stance. If you get to a closed stance by thinking about high-low-high, great. But I don't believe you can get pace without coming through the ball, which I can't see from an open stance or high-to-low unless you're either running forward or doing something really awkward with your upper body at contact. Neither of which really would translate to much control.
     
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