Preventing slice floaters

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by kickingbird, May 21, 2004.

  1. kickingbird

    kickingbird Rookie

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    Hi everyone,

    Lately I've been having some trouble consistently trying to keep the racquet face angle as square as possible when I slice. I think the brain thinks that unless you open the face up, it will hit the net, because the swing motion of slice is high-->low (which usually does happen when I try and force the face to stay sqaure. So I think it should just be a tiny bit open).

    My Q is, is there any advice that people can give me to stop opening the racquet face so much when slicing (bh and bh volleys)? I use a continental grip and my tendancy is to lock the wrist by turning it (which makes the face open) because it feels more 'firm' that way.

    I seem to be hitting floaters especially on high balls...
     
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  2. kevhen

    kevhen Hall of Fame

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    How can you hit a slice with a square face? Mine is open at like a 45 degree angle to generate backspin as I mostly drive forward but also down through the ball causing it to go straight ahead on a line. I can angle my racquet face back as much as 60 degrees and still get the ball to go straight ahead and not up in the air with enough down swing on the ball. It creates tremedous amounts of spin this way and makes it extremely difficult for a net player to hit a solid volley against this much spin. So open that face up big time and just swing down and forward on the ball. Practice, practice, practice.
     
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  3. Camilio Pascual

    Camilio Pascual Hall of Fame

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    Flatten your swing path out a bit. And remember that the topspin on a groundstroke hit to you will help you get the slice with a barely open racquet face, it is already rotating in the direction you want it to. This will give you a flatter trajectory and help you avoid hitting so many floaters. I think the biggest mistake made on slice approach shots and slice groundstrokes is that there is too much spin and often too much sidespin. Have a more pronounced high low swing and open face on drop shots.
     
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  4. JohnThomas1

    JohnThomas1 Professional

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    @kevhen, you might be actually surprised at what angle your racquet is on slice backhands and the like. A study was done in Australia a year or so ago with people being asked what angle they thought their strings were on for the slice backhand. After that special high speed video was used. The actual results were astounding. Non were totally flat of course(Vertical), but they were far closer than was thought.
     
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  5. TwistServe

    TwistServe Guest

    I was trained that a proper slice is a slightly open racquet head. If it's too open it will cause a high floater, if its closed it won't work either..
     
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  6. kickingbird

    kickingbird Rookie

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    Thanks for the replies.

    I actually do hit my slices with an open face and pronounced high to low swing, and as you say Kevhen, it produces lots of spin making it hard for opponents to hit it back. The problem comes though when I have to hit the high balls- I don't have enough space to cut down on the ball and hence results in many floaters.

    Also, I think that the harder the ball is coming at you, the less open your face must be. I try returning 120 mile/h+ serves with an open racquet face + exaggerated down swing but it just goes up like a lob! On the contrary, you must open the face quite a bit when trying to slice a very slow or stationary ball. I think that's what my body has become used to hitting.

    Anyway, as JohnThomas mentioned, the research does seem to show that upon contact, the face is actually usually closer to vertical. Immediately after contact however, the face naturally opens up bigtime.

    OK so I know that the face should be only slightly open, but don't you think that it just doesn't feel firm enough? It doesn't feel like I have enough support, if you know what I mean? I think it's because the palm is on the opposite side of the grip and so it doesn't feel powerful. Where should I be concentrating on when I execute slice? The grip? The racquet face? I think all I have to do is change my mentality towards the shot a little...
     
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  7. kickingbird

    kickingbird Rookie

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    OK I'm going to be stupid and answer my own question- actually, it's a suggestion.

    Do you think it's fair to say that the closer you take the ball to the body, the easier it will be to contact with a square-ish face? It makes sense to me because the further out in front of you that you extend the arm and racquet, the more open the face will naturally become.

    So maybe it's better to take slice bhs and bh volleys closer to the body, with the body being side on? Then again, I have heard that the bh volley is a shot that you have to take way infront of the body... Any thoughts?
     
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  8. Frank Silbermann

    Frank Silbermann Professional

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    Why high-to-low?

    Why not just imitate Ellsworth Vines, Jack Kramer, and Ken Rosewall, and hit your slice backhands with a level swing? Open the racquet face just enough to lift the ball over the net.
     
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  9. Cypo

    Cypo Rookie

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    Since no one else has mentioned it, watch you weight. I don't mean on the scales of course, but a slice will float if you are not transferring you weight into the shot.
     
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  10. Max G.

    Max G. Hall of Fame

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    Yeah, I need to practice that Rosewall-slice that BB posted at one point. I tried it a couple of times in practice, it works really well, but I've been playing competitive HS tennis and haven't had time to just groove a new shot. I'll get around to it sometime this summer.
     
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  11. JohnThomas1

    JohnThomas1 Professional

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  12. kickingbird

    kickingbird Rookie

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    Thanks for the pointers everyone, I'm playing tonight again so I'll try the new things out.
     
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  13. JohnThomas1

    JohnThomas1 Professional

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    Bill wrote a superb article on getting penetration into the slice backhand a while back.
     
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  14. JohnThomas1

    JohnThomas1 Professional

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    I am actually working on the exact thing you speak of right now. A couple of coaches have had a crack at it for me in the last year or so but no real result. The first had me lean heavily into the ball and that helped a little. The second wanted me to meet the ball way in front while hitting thru it but after a fair try i gave it up. Slice backhands aren't hit THAT far out in front.

    On the weekend just gone i played a sizable vets tournament and was lucky enough to have beers and a set with Matthew Koch, a 21 year old here who was 920 in the world a couple of years ago but gave up the tour. He said saturday night that he got sick of wondering if he would have food on the table due to the results of his tournaments every week. He is quite a talent, and was kind enough to give me an overview of my game. Keeping with the thread topic, he told me the reason my slice floats is because i stop my followthru too soon. He said this is stopping me getting decent spin on the ball, which would get my slice to skid thru the court more. I know full well he is correct, and am now about to put in some effort toward rectifying the fault.
     
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  15. kevhen

    kevhen Hall of Fame

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    Hard incoming balls do mean a less open face and more of a block than slice chop swing. I never noticed it myself but someone else pointed out how open my racquet face is upon contacting a slow-moderate pace shot with my forehand slice. I should videotape it since I still think it's close to 45 degrees open when hitting the ball back deep. I am sure it's much closer to vertical when I am hitting an approach shot. But even with a 45 degree angle, the ball comes off at like 10 degrees as I swing down through the ball and the extreme angle is mostly just for generating low bouncing backspin.
     
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