Why is it easier to get slice serves in?

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by Ripper, Mar 30, 2006.

  1. Ripper

    Ripper Hall of Fame

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    It's easier to get slice serves in than it is to get flat serves in. Why is this? The ball's spinning sideways, which makes the ball curve to the left (for righties), but does this spinning action, also, give it a little downward motion? Or is it that the balls spinning in this way tend to float a bit more, giving it more time to pass the net, before it dips?

    Which of the two is it? Or is it a combination of both? Or am I wrong and it's not easier to get slice serves in (I'd swear it is)? Just curious.

    Edit: After posting, I read this and, now, they kind of sound like contradicting explanations. Someone enlighten me, please.
     
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  2. kevhen

    kevhen Hall of Fame

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    The sideways spin hits the air causing friction and slows the ball down and also since the ball is curving sideways it has more time to slow down. Also some energy is put into the spin of the ball so less is put into propelling the ball forward which means it moves slower and gravity has more effect upon a slower moving ball.

    backspin will cause a ball to float more (backspin gives it lift) but will also slow it down, again friction against the air.

    Topspin will make a ball dive quickly down into the court (downward drag because of spin, but will move forward quickly especially after the bounce as the spin propels it forward.

    A flat serve will go very fast and gravity won't have time to bring it down and with little spin, it won't react and slow down as it hits the air as it travels through it.
     
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  3. 1171

    1171 Rookie

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    Lou Hoad of Australia explained it this way, " sidespin gives you a big horizontal window over the net."

    If you ever see his serve on the old video, it is a beauty to behold.
     
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  4. TennisAsAlways

    TennisAsAlways Professional

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    I agree with the things mentioned above, thus far. I'll add to it, another "possibility" that may explain as to why Slice/Slider/Sidespin serves tend to have a higher margin of error than Flat serves.

    When one attempts to execute a Sidespin/Slice/Slider serve, in some cases — if not, "most" cases — it is likely that the spin imparted on the ball is not rotating "exactly" along the horizonatal plane parallel to the ground. It is likely that there would be "some" topspin imparted on the ball as well. In other words, a lot of Slider serve attempts "technically" probably end up being Topspin-slice serves (A true "textbook" Topspin-slice serve rotates within a range of about from 7-2 o'clcock to 8-3 o'clcock.). It is the topspin factor that may help raise the margin of error, aiding the ball in landing within the service box.


    Aerodynamical Properties Of A Ball In Flight With Topspin Imparted:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Good day now. 8)
     
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  5. Chris Evert-Awful

    Chris Evert-Awful New User

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    My slice serve sucks. How does one get it to truly spin in a daunting way?
     
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  6. Rickson

    Rickson G.O.A.T.

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    I sometimes get a sidespin serve when I attempt kick serves. Go figure.
     
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  7. TennisAsAlways

    TennisAsAlways Professional

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    ^ On some days when I have shoulder cramps, I sometimes get "kick" when attempting sidespin! Now if only we could switch places.................
     
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  8. TennisAsAlways

    TennisAsAlways Professional

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    Back to the "BORING" old phrase: "Practice, practice, practice!" .... and more practice. :D

    Good day now. 8)
     
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  9. Rickson

    Rickson G.O.A.T.

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    Here's my secret; I toss the ball at 12, but because I'm attempting a twist serve, the left to right becomes more dominant than the low to high. I don't mean to do it, but it just comes out that way. Your turn, TAA.
     
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  10. paulfreda

    paulfreda Hall of Fame

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    I think one reason a slice serve goes in more consistently is that the racquet face during execution is facing the target area for nearly the entire swing.
     
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  11. TennisAsAlways

    TennisAsAlways Professional

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    Well, on my "bad-spin-serving-days", when I attempt the Slider, I end up reaching outwards, swinging from 3-9 o'clock, but with the additon of more of a pronounced wrist/arm movement along the way.

    I believe what imparts the topspin is that: Because I happen to be having a bad serving day (things aren't clicking instinctively and subconsciously), my wrist/forearm pronation is accentuated more to ensure that there is significant spin imparted on the ball (that way I can feel confident that the ball will land inside the box). The thing is, when I pronate more on a conscious level, what happens is, rather than the racquet head brushing the ball from 3-9 o'clock, the head travels "upwards" diagonally from 3-9 o'clock; that swing path, along with the foward swing, I believe is what is making the topspin overtake the "ideal" amount of sidespin (of course when attempting a Slider, the most ideal thing would be to achieve "perfect" sidespin from 3-9).

    That's the case with me, when my Sliders go wrong on bad days.
     
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  12. Ripper

    Ripper Hall of Fame

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    Thanks guys. Great replies. I think I have, now, a better understanding of what's going on.
     
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  13. papa

    papa Hall of Fame

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    Although its difficult, perhaps impossible to hit a ball with nothing but pure slice, I would have to disagree that a slice (good one anyway) has much more possiblity of going in than a flat drive. The only possibilty would be that its going somewhat slower and thus gravity will be a bigger factor. However, I think this factor is very small.

    Remember in physics the question of firing a rifle at some absolute "level" height and dropping a slug from the same height at exactly the same time? The question was, "which would land first"? So the effect of gravity on one ball vs another would be a factor of the difference in time to go from point A to B.
     
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  14. GuyClinch

    GuyClinch Hall of Fame

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    Hmm..

    I can't hit a real slice serve now that I learned to pronate properly. When I hit my flat I think of pronating up and to the ball so my racket meets the ball kind of square behind it. And when I toss the ball over my head and farther to the left a bit I hit my topspin kicker serve and I think of pronating a tiny bit more to the side.

    I read on this board that the trick is to pronate "later" but that just messes me up. I don't see why people say its easier to hit a slice serve in. Its the topspin kickers that are easier to hit in. A slice serve is hard - low percentage in my book.
     
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  15. kevhen

    kevhen Hall of Fame

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    I get my 90mph slice serves in like 70% of the time. My 100mph flat serves only go in like 50%. My 90mph topspin serves go in like 60% (long when I miss). Slice does come more natural to me, but my motion is very similar to my flat motion but just using a more extreme backhand grip to create the spin.

    It's the heavy spin on the ball that slows down it's forward velocity as it reacts with the air it's pushing into. This helps makes it drop in, plus the slice may have a little bit of topspin on it as well.
     
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  16. Mahboob Khan

    Mahboob Khan Hall of Fame

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    Slice serve is a specialty shot. It's not easy. However, for some people it might be easier. Ask Elena Dimentieva! Because of her toss that is too far to her right, she gets this slicing action. My question to you is this: Do you supinate or pronate when you hit your slice serve?
     
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  17. kevhen

    kevhen Hall of Fame

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    Please don't change your ball toss on the slice to be like Dementieva's. This is what she is doing wrong, tossing too far to the right, causing her to lose power and just add more spin which makes it hard for her to control placement with the ball curving all over the place and going right at everyone's forehand. Toss more like a flat serve, just use more extreme eastern backhand grip and little bit more of a chopping motion (practice with an ax!)

    Slice serve is not a specialty shot and it's not that hard to learn.

    Notice ball toss here and curving arc path of ball and it landing well inside the box despite being hit at a decent pace. This is a high percentage serve and only risky if your opponent has a great forehand. The ball will move even more when playing outdoors in windy conditions. Slice is a great serve and not sure why many instructors seem to persist in only teaching a topspin serve.

    http://putfile.com/pic.php?pic=12/35311054331.gif&s=x11
     
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  18. TennisAsAlways

    TennisAsAlways Professional

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    Maybe you should have stated something more like: "To me, it is more difficult to have a sliced ball land inside the box than a flat ball." Perhaps there is nothing to "disagree" about because maybe the OP was stating that things are that way to HIM, not to YOU.

    Who said that it is easier (in general) to get a sliced ball in the box than a flat ball?
    I know I never said so. It doesn't appear that the OP did either. From my understanding, it seems to be "EASIER" FOR THE OP to get the sliced balls to land in the box than it would to get flat ones in the box.



    Good day now. 8)
     
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  19. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Isn't a far-away ball toss bad for the shoulder?
     
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  20. kevhen

    kevhen Hall of Fame

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    Yes, it is bad for the shoulder, keep the ball toss in closer like for a flat serve and use a flat serve motion which is much easier on the shoulder.
     
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  21. mucat

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    Hey kevhen, where do you toss the ball and where on the ball do you hit to execute the hard slice? I am going to work on my hard slice this year. My goal is to use a toss similar to my twist and topspin serve. I can hit a slice serve, but it is more a Dementieva slice serve.
     
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  22. Kaptain Karl

    Kaptain Karl Hall Of Fame

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    Papa - "Close, but wrong *use* of the metaphor."

    Assuming equal levels of proficiency (Note that preface.) *any* spin serve would be more accurate than a flat serve. Spin lends itself to better control.

    Back to the bullet metaphor ... Rifles are more accurate than Smooth Bore guns because the spinning missle (Rifle / Spin serve) "tracks" more honestly through the air. A "Flat" serve (Actually it is rare for a serve to have zero spin.) is like the smooth bore slug; it "wanders" in the air while on its path to the target.

    A Flat serve's spin is so slight, it does not help your ball track reliably enough to be as accurate as a Spin serve ... assuming equal levels of proficiency with the serves.

    - KK
     
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  23. TennisAsAlways

    TennisAsAlways Professional

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    For a righthander..............


    .....................................................................................................................[​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Swing path from left to right, brushing ball from 3-9 o'clock (Don't supinate (unless you want to serve like an amateur)! Pronate!)
     
    #23
  24. superbooga

    superbooga Rookie

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    The easiest way to hit a slice serve is to shift your grip more to the backhand grip, and make sure you get decent pronation. Toss and overall motion should be identical to a flat serve.

    An accurate slice first serve is one of biggest weapons in tennis. Hitting to the corner from deuce court or down T from ad court is often an ace.
     
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  25. kevhen

    kevhen Hall of Fame

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    My toss is just like my flat about 2 feet in front of my right shoulder (see above video). I toss maybe 6 inches lower on the slice than on the flat with just a slightly lower contact point.
     
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  26. kevhen

    kevhen Hall of Fame

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    Ball toss should be like topspin-slice in photo and swing path should be straight ahead (not left to right) with backhand grip creating spin for power slice serve.

    I don't recommend the slow Dementieva slice as your opponents have plenty of time to adjust and move over and tee off on it and it's harder on the shoulder and elbow.
     
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  27. mucat

    mucat Hall of Fame

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    From the diagram, I can hit my flat (need to work on it more) and twist (I can make it kick and flatten it) and topspin from the pure topspin position. I am hope I can hit the hard slice from the same position or at most in between the pure topspin and flat position. I have hope that I can use the hard slice and twist (the flatter version) to confuse the heck out of my opponent.
     
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  28. EliteNinja

    EliteNinja Semi-Pro

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    This thinking is incorrect. If you were playing tennis on the Moon, it would be correct as there is no air on the Moon and spin would have no effect in the trajectory of the ball (not including the bounce).

    But in reality, topspin will cause the air to push down on the ball. And slice will make the air push up on a ball. There is an actual Force that acts on the ball from the air according to the spin. This is how airplane wings work and why airplanes can fly. It's Bernoulli's principle.

    If you were to launch a ball out of a ball machine at a certain angle with no spin and at the same time launch a ball straight up with the same maximum height, the balls would land at the same time. That much is true.

    Lets say you had 3 ball machines launching 3 balls simultaneously with the same power. Ball A has no spin. Ball B has topspin. And Ball C has backspin. Ball B and C have the same RPM. Ball B would land first with the shortest horizontal distance, A would land second with medium horizontal distance, and C would land last with the longest horizontal distance from the ball machine.

    On the moon, the 3 balls would land at the same time at the same distance from the each of the ball machine. Do you see why?
     
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  29. kevhen

    kevhen Hall of Fame

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    It depends on the weight of the ball. If the ball were light enough (think Nerf ball), then the backspinning ball would curve upward too much and land way short. If it's heavy enough like a baseball it would travel farthest. Lots of variables, it's more fun to play tennis on earth than on the moon.
     
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  30. TennisAsAlways

    TennisAsAlways Professional

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    I was referring to the "pronation" brushing of the racquet face when I wrote, "swing path is from left to right". Of course you want to swing "FORWARDS" towards the TARGET when attempting a Slider/Slice/Sidespin serve.
     
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  31. TennisAsAlways

    TennisAsAlways Professional

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    I was referring to the "pronation" brushing of the racquet face when I wrote, "swing path is from left to right".
     
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  32. kevhen

    kevhen Hall of Fame

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    Yes, that is right with some pronation at contact to add more spin with the arm still chopping forward and through the ball.
     
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  33. TennisAsAlways

    TennisAsAlways Professional

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    For extreme slice (sidespin) serves, I actually toss the ball as shown in the photo, way to the right. I feel pretty comfortable tossing there when serving from the ad court. However, usually when serving to the deuce court, when I am attempting a slice, I just toss it to the Topspin-slice location; by tossing it there, I find easier to brush the ball from 9-3 o'clock while at the same time swinging forward towards my target.
     
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  34. kevhen

    kevhen Hall of Fame

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    Yeah, you can hit slower more spinny slice by tossing farther right and rotating around the ball more instead of powering through it. I do this occasionally when serving from the far right on the duece court and will take the ball of the court so my opponent is returning the ball outside the doubles alley. He has alot of angle to beat me with, but it can still be tricky for him with all the spin and allows me an open court to hit my next shot into if he doesn't beat me with his return. If a guy has a 4.5 forehand, I wouldn't try this slow spinny way-out-wide serve though!
     
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  35. TennisAsAlways

    TennisAsAlways Professional

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    ^ Weird, I do just the opposite. I use the Extreme Slice/Slider on the ad side more than I do on the deuce side.


    [​IMG]

    When serving Slices on the Ad side, .............. On the Deuce side, I don't toss to the right as much,
    I toss more to the right to attain ................... that's because the positioning is different.

    "extreme slice".
     
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  36. Kaptain Karl

    Kaptain Karl Hall Of Fame

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    TAA - I don't know where you got that diagram, but I question it. (I know I'm in the 5-10% category, but I hit all my serves from the same toss -- right in-between your diagram's Flat and Top/Slice.) Now to my challenges of this diagram:
    1 - I come from the "school of thought" that a Twist and a Kick are the same serve. You diagram disagrees.
    2 - If one is using your diagram, I'd say "Pure Top" and "Twist" are switched. (The locations are okay; the labels are wrong.)

    For what I call a "Hard Slice" I simply toss farther into the court 6-8 inches.

    - KK
     
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  37. papa

    papa Hall of Fame

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    Well, the "original" question deal with a "slice" serve vs a "flat" serve. A true slice serve (if there was such a thing) would not have any "top" spin on it so many of the replies are not related to the "original" question. I do not think a "true" slice would have anything pulling it down - if you guys don't think so, a reference would be nice.

    Incidently, there is, to my knowledge anyway, gravity on the moon - not the same as on Earth but there is gravity.
     
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  38. papa

    papa Hall of Fame

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    Well, I believe it was actually said - didn't say you said it. However, if someone claims they get a higher percentage of "slice" serves in vs the percentage of "flat" serves in, wouldn't that, in itself, be a statement that its easier?
     
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  39. TennisAsAlways

    TennisAsAlways Professional

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    Just so you know, I wasn't implying that a "pure slice" would have any rotation forcing the ball to dive down. The "only" reason why I even began to mention about topspin is because I was explaining to the OP that it is very likely that when one "attempts" a "pure slice", that the serve does not end up being "perfect", and so it "could" be that in some of his cases, "topspin" resulted.
     
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  40. TennisAsAlways

    TennisAsAlways Professional

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    I know that you didn't say that I said it. I was just saying that the OP did not make a general statement claiming that "slice" to everyone has a higher margin of error than "flat". I was saying that it seems to be that HE was implying that slices have a higher margin of error, TO HIM, and so I was saying: "What is there to disagree about? It's that way to HIM, and so why would YOU disagree with that?"

    That's what I was saying.
     
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  41. TennisAsAlways

    TennisAsAlways Professional

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    I am very aware that people often times use the term "Kicker" interchangeably with "Twist". That is probably what lead you to scratching your head when viewing that diagram.

    Going with the diagram's "label", I would have to say that it is "technically" labelled correctly. "Kick" simply means to jump up. I think it's not the best choice of words when one describes a "Twist" as a "kick/kicker" (Sure a "Twist" can have some jump to it, but it also curves a bit while in the air, and bounces to the opposite direction it was travelling whist in flight, therefore, "Kicker" is NOT the most accurate term to use in describing that type of ball flight and ball action.) If you look up the definition of "kick serve", I'm sure many sources will describe it as a "Twist" as well (Going with THAT "logic", mind as well call a Reverse Twist serve a PLAIN old "kicker serve" as well! Forget which way the ball turns and bounces!). As far as the use of that term, in that way, I have to disagree with it.
     
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  42. papa

    papa Hall of Fame

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    OK

    However, in the second paragraph of his OP, he wonders if he is "wrong" and its not easier - I was responding to that question. Certain serves, strokes and moves are, in fact, easier for some than others - I'm not going to argue with that. The fact "might be" that he can hit a "slice" but can't "hit" top which again, in itself, would make it easier for him - fine.
     
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  43. papa

    papa Hall of Fame

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    Yes, I'm with you 100% on this - no arguement.
     
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