How to deal with slice?

Discussion in 'Adult League & Tournament Talk' started by Big_Dangerous, Feb 29, 2012.

  1. Big_Dangerous

    Big_Dangerous Legend

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    Normally I don't see a tremendous amount of slice in my matches. I'll see some and can react to it well, but most of the guys I play, including my main hitting partner, swing through the ball more often than not.

    However, I just played this guy in a match yesterday who literally sliced every single ball. He hand no backhand and no forehand, other than slice. I've never played someone who hacked every single shot in a match. For some reason this completely through me off and I played one of the worst matches, perhaps ever in my life. I literally beat myself trying to go for big shots. Needless to say, I lost the match, 3-6,1-6... Not real happy about this, and definitely not happy that I have to play this guy again.

    Anyone have any experience playing someone like this? If so, what did you do to counter the under spin?
     
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  2. KineticChain

    KineticChain Professional

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    You could be patient and counter the slice with slices of your own until your opponent either stops slicing or makes a mistake. The aggressive way to deal with a slicer is to literally counter the back-spinning ball with heavy topspin. You have to generate more topspin than there is backspin on the incoming ball or else the ball will spin off your racquet in an undesired direction. Some players find the aggressive approach more difficult because they can't generate that much racquet head speed to counter a good slice.
     
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  3. spaceman_spiff

    spaceman_spiff Professional

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    Approach the net.

    You can't really hit high-powered shots with slice. And, it's difficult to hit at the feet with slice (unless you're taking a high ball and slicing down). So, if you slice your way to the net, you put the pressure on him to find a way to pass you, which means taking his chances with slow slice shots or changing his game to drive through the ball.

    His game is designed to keep the ball in and make you come up with the difficult shots (like saying "I dare you to hit a winner with this ball"). You turn the tables by safely approaching the net and forcing him into making the difficult shots (like saying "no, I dare you to hit a passing shot").
     
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  4. tennis tom

    tennis tom Hall of Fame

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    Watch the ball.
    Come in.
    Watch the ball.
    Come under it.
    Watch the ball.
    Don't accelerate the swing.
    Watch the ball.
    Don't decelerate the swing.
     
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  5. Orion3

    Orion3 Semi-Pro

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    Slice pusher!!!

    Gotta love 'em :)

    How I play them...

    Take the ball as early as I can, try to move them around so that the slice response is 'weaker' and higher - then try to move into the net and finish the point. Also, you may wish to play with some heavy/loopy topspin - works especially well on the backhand side. Trying to hit a high backand slice is not easy...

    As Spaceman Spiff says - hitting a sliced passing shot is difficult (unless you are Steffi Graff). You need to be mindful of the lob but the keys (for me anyway) are to attack their backhand with safe, high loopy balls, rush their shoptmaking, move them around and finish the points at the net. As you've experienced, trying to hit winners will just force up your unforced error count.
     
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  6. Clive Walker

    Clive Walker Rookie

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    On the slower surfaces slice can sit up a bit making it easier to hit through the ball. I play a lot on AG, where a sliced ball can stay very low. It remains extra important to get the racket head extra low as you hit through the ball as it is easy to drag your topspin shot into the net without this
     
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  7. jdubbs

    jdubbs Hall of Fame

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    Bend your knees lower than usual to allow yourself to get under the ball.
     
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  8. jk175d

    jk175d Semi-Pro

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    As others have said, be aggressive. Don't go for outright winners off the short slice, instead go for depth and follow it in. I've noticed a lot of pure slicers are actually weaker on the forehand side. So find out early which side to pick on then just go for depth on that side every time.

    what level of play?
     
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  9. Delano

    Delano Rookie

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    There are a couple different variants on this kind if player

    The toughest one is probably the accomplished player who uses a continental grip. They're pretty rare, but they do exist. They hit a deep, penetrating ball with a little bit of backspin and manage to clear the next by a few inches consistently. The ball skips low off the court often at a sharp angle, and is really difficult to handle. Because their slice is penetrating, they can hit winners. It's especially difficult for players with a western grip to handle these shots. My main bit of advice against these players is - first, don't get too down on yourself, they're very tough to beat! second, try hard to get into position early, especially if you're one of those topspin/western grip types. Reaching forward and trying to dig out a low ball with a western grip is nearly impossible. But if you can get around it and catch it at its peak, you may really get dialed in.

    Another tough version is the "moonball slicer". This is the opposite of a penetrating shot, but it lands deep and has so much backspin that it almost bounces vertically. This player will have almost no ability to hit a winner past you, so you'll be able to make it to every ball, but it's not an easy shot to return. My strategy (the only time I played someone like this) was to try for controlled aggression. Don't go for too much, but don't push either - hit hard enough to control play. You should be able to get a player like this on the run, and make him work twice as hard as you do in each point. Eventually, you'll be able to wear him down. Just don't let him take too much time between points or go off for a 20 minute cool down (er, bathroom break) ;)

    Thing is, most of these players do have the ability to hit a flat drive or a topspin shot, and the hardest ones to beat will mix it up. So if you try to move forward in anticipation of a slice, they'll push you back with a deep kicker. If you're up against one of those players, well, you definitely have a tough match on your hands.
     
    Last edited: Feb 29, 2012
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  10. snark

    snark Rookie

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    Best advice. Bending your knees low is the trick for dealing with slice.

    I am always puzzled by people who advocate going to the net against slicers. Volleying a nice low slice is by no means simple and it is very easy to pop the volley up for an easy putaway. Unless your net game is rock solid, it does not seem like a good idea at all.
    In addition, it is perfectly possible to hit a very respectable passing shot using slice, especially down the line on the backhand side.
     
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  11. jk175d

    jk175d Semi-Pro

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    if the slicer is hitting on his terms what you say is true. But the idea is to use aggressive play to force the slicer into more defensive positions which will produce more floaters than "nice low slices" which can be put away easily at net.
     
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  12. polytheist

    polytheist Rookie

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    That's right. Only topspin shots count as strokes. Slice doesn't count. "No forehand and no backhand." Maybe slice shots should be illegal.

    I also don't like people volleying, or making me run.
     
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  13. OrangePower

    OrangePower Hall of Fame

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    That's because people mean different things when they say "slicer". Some mean it to say a person who hits hard but with slice rather than topspin, in which case you are right. But some mean it so say a junkballer (floater slices), in which case going to net is a good strategy.

    Delano's post described the two nicely.
     
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  14. dcdoorknob

    dcdoorknob Hall of Fame

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    Like has been mentioned, controlled aggression is key. They want to you to go for more than you can make consistently (and this is certainly a temptation), but you have to refuse to give in. Hit shots with purpose but also with good margin.

    Also, at the 3.5 level and under, if I play someone who always slices the BH (yeah, they're usually older), I find that strong pace isn't necessarily any more effective than high loopy semi-moonballs to their BH. A regular groundstroke often won't phase them a bit (it's what they're most used to), but making them slice back shots that have little pace from deep in the court tends to elicit either short balls, or a more floaty type slice, or ideally both, which can then more easily be attacked. Obviously if we're talking about a higher calibre player/slicer then this won't work as well.
     
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  15. snark

    snark Rookie

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    Well, then it is not so much going to the net, but being generally aggressive, while not committing too many errors.
     
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  16. snark

    snark Rookie

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    Perhaps. But, I have seen this advice a lot, and against most people I would consider to be slicers it simply does not work. If you rush the net, you will be sliced to death.
     
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  17. polytheist

    polytheist Rookie

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    I've never been sliced to death at net. How does that work? You mean they pop up easy putaways and you bone them?
     
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  18. snark

    snark Rookie

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    I mean that you would get a low slice mid-court as you are approaching the net. If your volley is very solid, you can bend your knees and put it nicely in a corner, but most people cannot do that.
     
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  19. polytheist

    polytheist Rookie

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    Thing is, slice tends to be a slower shot, giving you plenty of time to get to net. Add in a slice approach of your own, and Oprah could get to net in plenty of time.
     
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  20. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    You can't beat that guy until you get better than him.
    There is no shortcut to beating slicers.
    Slicers also generally have the best low sliced lobs, so rushing the net is not always a good option.
    You beat a slicer like you beat anyone else, but hitting your style and not missing.
     
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  21. gmatheis

    gmatheis Hall of Fame

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    This is not entirely true.

    A friend of mine is an up and coming junior who hits a heavy topspin forehand ... good pace,depth, and spin. In one of his last tournaments he beat his opponent 6-0 in the first set. His opponent just couldnt handle his groundstrokes. In the second set his opponent backed up about 4 feet from where he played the first set and beat my friend 6-2 and also took the tiebreaker.

    Sometimes you have the tools to beat a player of a certain style but you may not be sure how to employ them.
     
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  22. Big_Dangerous

    Big_Dangerous Legend

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    This was a 3.0 league, but I feel like I'm better than a 3.0, and I've played guys who are definitely better than 3.0's. My normal hitting partner played a 4.5 league last season, and I can hang with him in rallies.
     
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  23. Big_Dangerous

    Big_Dangerous Legend

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    Yeah, do you also think it would be a good strategy to draw him in to he net as well? I noticed in the match that he didn't look very confident or adept at moving forward and playing at the net. I hit a few drop shots, and most weren't even that great by my standards and he really had trouble getting there. I'm thinking maybe playing a ton of droppers and then coming in behind them might be a good strategy to employ.

    For anyone wondering, his slices weren't that great. I play the slice a lot on my backhand, but I have a pretty decent forehand when it's on, and I noticed he just kind of hack-dinks the ball over. I really try to cut the heck out of it and put that spin on it, especially some side spin, so it runs in on my opponents, or away from them. This guy doesn't put much spin on them. I mean there's some, obviously, but it's nowhere near how much I put on the balls.
     
    Last edited: Feb 29, 2012
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  24. Bud

    Bud Bionic Poster

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    Your strokes may be better than typical 3.0 but your overall game may not be. Tennis is much more than pretty strokes. Keep working on both strokes and game and you'll continue moving up.

    I'm guessing you like pace, too, correct?
     
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  25. jfish

    jfish New User

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    I hit good slices. One particular person who hits heavy topspin often told me that he had to use more spin to lift my low slices. I myself would handle a slice with knee bend if the ball comes to me low, and I would tend to drive through the ball more. When I am late and the ball is closed to the body, I would swing as fast as I can and the swing path is more downward.
     
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  26. Big_Dangerous

    Big_Dangerous Legend

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    Yeah I definitely handle pace much better than no pace.

    That was evidenced by the fact that I beat the best guy in the league, at least he was coming into the match. He was 3-0, and I was able to beat him 4-6,6-4, 6-4. Plus I returned his first serve better than his second serve.
     
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  27. struggle

    struggle Hall of Fame

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    bend your knees.
     
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  28. kimbahpnam

    kimbahpnam Hall of Fame

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    #28
  29. spaceman_spiff

    spaceman_spiff Professional

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    Some slicer-dicers have good volleys because they just use a shortened version of their slice swing. But, some are terrible at the net because they overswing, trying to use their full groundstroke swing. It just depends on the opponent.

    With any opponent, you need to learn how to spot their weaknesses and exploit them. If this guy can't do well at the net or hit passing shots, then draw him in or approach the net yourself. If your next opponent can hit with any consistency, then move him side to side with safe shots until he misses. If your next opponent can't hit a backhand return to save his life, try hitting a lot of serves to his backhand.

    You'll be shocked at how easy it is to exploit a weakness and how rarely people ever try to do it. There are loads of players who never adapt any part of their game to the individual opponent, and they end up losing to guys they could in theory beat.
     
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  30. jk175d

    jk175d Semi-Pro

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    ok, well at 3.0 the guy's slice is not going to be a weapon. The problem is likely you not staying patient against his dinks. But the advice of being aggressive with good depth to set up coming forward should end most points in your favor quickly.

    Pushers can be annoying, but playing against them can also be good for your all around game, in particularly developing patience and consistency.
     
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  31. Delano

    Delano Rookie

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    I know what you mean... though the "mental game" can have very different meanings. A strong mental game can mean great nerve (ability to execute under pressure), and it can also mean great intelligence and strategy (ability to see patterns and exploit them).

    While people often think of Brad Gilbert as a master of the strategic approach, he actually has high praise in his book for people who simplify their game as well. I think he mentioned Stefan Edberg as an example of someone who draws strength from this (paraphrasing, but he said that if Edberg serves and volleys 19 times, and you pass him 19 times, on the 20th time, Edberg will serve and volley). It's not that Edberg is incapable of strategic thinking, he just knows where he's going to make his stand and draws a lot of mental strength from that approach. Sometimes you can improve your ability to perform under pressure by reducing the number of variables, and the trade off may be worth it, even if you do lose out on some opportunity to exploit a weakness.

    Of course, you can still vary your approach within the boundaries of your normal game - for instance, if you're a serve and volleyer, you can still choose your points on the serve (body jam kicker, slice out wide, etc), decide how and where to approach, place your volleys... so even if you generally try to impose your game rather than playing to your opponent, everyone can probably benefit from what you're suggesting to some extent (ie., looking for patterns and trying to find a weakeness). It's just that for some people, this is a foundation of their strategy, and for others, it's just a tweak.
     
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  32. rufus_smith

    rufus_smith Professional

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    that was fun to watch:) tks
    One guy I play has a tremedous one-hand slice . He can go dtl or crosscourt and with pace. Since there is no arc on a good slice it gets to the baseline real quick. My best solution for playing him? I hit to his forehand only.
     
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  33. corbind

    corbind Professional

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    That is so rare: a guy with a better BH than FH. I'd say I hit 3 of every 4 balls to the opponent BH simply out of habit.

    As far as the original topic, when in doubt, hit short balls or drop shots. Get him away from his comfort zone.
     
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  34. tennis-player

    tennis-player New User

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    I just played a match with a slicer. Normally, I am fast and can get to any ball. But after ankle injury I am slow as a turtle. It forced me to find other ways to deal with a slicer. I noticed that deep top spins prevented my opponent from slicing. I guess higher bounced ball is hard to slice.


    I just don't care to play slicers........
     
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  35. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Huh?
    I'm a 4.0 with basically ONLY a sliced backhand now. Lefty.
    You hit deep heavy loopy topspin to my backhand, and I'll turn closed, switch grip to eBackhand, and hit down on the ball skimming the net by a foot for a shin high skidder to your forehand (CC) or your backhand (DTL). Either is easier than any other ball for me, on my sliced backhand.
    Now if you loop it over my head, you might win the point, if I stay nailed to the baseline.
     
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  36. Big_Dangerous

    Big_Dangerous Legend

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    Played him again earlier tonight.

    I still hate his game, but thankfully I played so much better.

    It wasn't perfect, but I did prevail: 6-3,3-6,6-3.

    What really helped was my return of serve was much better.

    He also stood almost in the corner on a lot of his serves. Much like you would in doubles to protect that ally, except this was singles. It was really bizarre seeing him give so much court away on the serve. So I just took his out wide serve on the deuce side and went down the line, sometimes I'd forehand slice it sometimes I'd take a nice cut. He definitely didn't have an answer for that.

    I also sliced him a lot off my backhand, and he had trouble with that too. At one point he even fell over trying to go for one of my chips down the line.
     
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  37. kimbahpnam

    kimbahpnam Hall of Fame

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    you owe part of that victory to us :)
     
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  38. Fuji

    Fuji Legend

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    I didn't read the thread, but slice it back. It's easiest to come back with a counter slice. :)

    -Fuji
     
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  39. Big_Dangerous

    Big_Dangerous Legend

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    I give all the credit to everyone here, with the exception of Leed.

    His post wasn't helpful or positive.
     
    #39
  40. chatt_town

    chatt_town Hall of Fame

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    yep...I found this to be true. I also use more wrist to generate more spin. I also am patient and as soon as I get a ball deep to his backhand, I come straight in, once I get that to working, it pretty much takes them out of the slice game and if they have nothing else to go to, the match goes real smoothy for me. The object is to get them off balance and make them uncomfortable. Patience is key.


     
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  41. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    He tries, but I typically skip his advice posts.
     
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  42. floridatennisdude

    floridatennisdude Hall of Fame

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    IDK, mikeler...he kind of has a point here in his first and third sentence.

    The 2nd sentence I tend to disagree with. I always try to take the net asap against a slicer or pusher. However, I'm 6'3" so it is tough to lob me in general. If someone has a lob that beats me...so be it.

    Outside opinion: the only thing I struggle with against a slice player is my timing. The ball bounces slower & and requires my feet to take a few extra steps. It makes it uncomfortable and that is something I have to overcome. Footwork is about the only thing I change & I force myself to have "happy feet". I keep my strokes the same as I would against any flat or topspin player.
     
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  43. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    Against pushers, yes I try and get to net. Slicers are different. Some of these guys have great angled passing shots and/or lobs. They will sometimes just drop a passing shot on your shoe strings waiting to pass you on the next ball.
     
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  44. jwr1972

    jwr1972 Rookie

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    Set up time

    When I play a slicer, I find that they have better results against me when they have time to setup. I usually try to get them on the run immediately whether returning serve or serving. That way, they are responsible for moving which makes it difficult to hit a pinpoint slice where they want it. If they stay back drop them a short slice to the furthest point away from them(at net farthest away). Other than that, good luck and bend your knees!:)
     
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  45. chatt_town

    chatt_town Hall of Fame

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    Yes sirrrrrrr...this works as well.

     
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  46. jdubbs

    jdubbs Hall of Fame

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    Played a 4.5 yesterday who exclusively used a slice backhand. It was especially effective down the line. We split sets and ran out of time.

    What worked best for me was huge amounts of topspin and pace, which usually got a short return. When i was being lazy with my footwork and lunging for the ball, thats when i got into trouble. And anticipating the slice and short ball was important, i didnt do a good enough job of shortening the court.

    Part of the problem was that he had a huge serve so i was 4 feet behind the baseline for returns, then had to quickly move up.

    Its tricky, i will give you that.
     
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  47. Thepowerofchoice

    Thepowerofchoice Semi-Pro

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    Well I'm a slicer (bh)and I enjoy reading this thread so I know all your game plans to beat a slicer like me :)
     
    #47
  48. Bedrock

    Bedrock Semi-Pro

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    1) No Panic.
    2) You should get plenty of time to prepare for every shot with such the game. Do not rush to win a point.
    3) If you need a plan can try to keep the ball high and deep (better more spit than harder shot). He is going to be forced to stay deep behind of baseline. Make him move. Let him start losing the points by himself.
    4) Figure out which side he likes less (wild guess - forehand).

    The major weapon of such player is your lack of experience playing this type of game. Buy yourself more time to get used to it.
    Player who "has"(uses) only slice has never been learning how to play tennis and does not have any technic. Be confident in your game.
     
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2012
    #48
  49. Rjtennis

    Rjtennis Hall of Fame

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    Use topspin and wait for something short to attack and come in on. Just dont try to slice back a lot and play into his strengths.
     
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  50. anantak2k

    anantak2k Semi-Pro

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    I like hitting top spin moonballs against certain type of slices. :)
    I can hit those all day without getting tired.
     
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