CRITICIZE MY SLICE

Daniel Andrade

Hall of Fame
I'm planning on going back to tennis fully committed in 2022 and I want to play not just for fun, but I really want to improve this time. For this reason, everytime I play I will record myself so I can fix my mistakes and post the videos here so you guys can also tell me what you think is wrong.

What's wrong with this backhand slice?

IMO I got late to the ball and for that reason my contact point was very low forcing me to lift the ball up which ended up (instead of slicing the ball), just passing it to the other side, almost like "pushing" it, and for that reason the ball simply goes up to the other side without any slice effect. Proposed correction: Seeing that the ball was going to drop short I should have stepped a couple steps INTO the court and also I should have prepared the movement of the racquet a bit sooner (I think I moved my racquet to the left side of my body almost when the ball bounced, and I should have done that half a second before)

Is my analysis and correction right or wrong?
Feel free to comment.

 

Daniel Andrade

Hall of Fame
Also I feel that I was slicing in a downward motion (up-down) and at the end of the movement I moved my racquet to the front to avoid hitting the floor. I think instead it should have been a complete single motion during the whole slice. Moving the racquet in a downward motion while at the same time (during the whole movement) moving it frontward. Thoughts?
 

optic yellow

New User
I think you should have gone for a cross court putaway from that spot instead of slicing it but I have been watching a lot of Federer highlights recently so maybe I have a bad frame of reference. It does seem like you are maybe a little late to the ball but the bigger problem my untrained eyes notice is that the racket face is a bit too closed at contact. I think this is why you pop it up and feel like you are pushing it rather than slicing underneath it and also contributed to your concern about hitting the surface of the court.
 

Daniel Andrade

Hall of Fame
I think you should have gone for a cross court putaway from that spot instead of slicing it but I have been watching a lot of Federer highlights recently so maybe I have a bad frame of reference. It does seem like you are maybe a little late to the ball but the bigger problem my untrained eyes notice is that the racket face is a bit too closed at contact. I think this is why you pop it up and feel like you are pushing it rather than slicing underneath it and also contributed to your concern about hitting the surface of the court.
thanks for the input.
Currently I have no backhand so that's all I could do at the moment I recorded the video. Big weakness. So what angle do you think it's better for a slice? Depends on the situation? 45 degrees?
 

Bambooman

Rookie
No, it would not be that hard a hit. Racquets are not THAT delicate. If you are actively preserving a racquet you're going to miss or mess up a lot of low balls.
 

optic yellow

New User
thanks for the input.
Currently I have no backhand so that's all I could do at the moment I recorded the video. Big weakness. So what angle do you think it's better for a slice? Depends on the situation? 45 degrees?
Oh I thought you had a backhand from the way you loaded the shot and planted your feet. Both of those looked not terrible to me. It does depend on the situation so I don't think in terms of number, it is much more a feel thing for me. The more the racket is turned "flat" the more it feels like a slicing motion is made but the exact amount is based on factors I can't easily quantify so I don't even bother. What grip were you using? Both tutorials I found quickly on Google say to use continental (i.e. service grip) so if you were using more eastern bh instead that seems like an easy fix to try.
 

Injured Again

Hall of Fame
The primary thing I notice is that you are very wristy leading into and after the contact point. In general and especially as a recreational player, to be consistent , you want your wrist to be held at a fairly consistent angle throughout the shot. You get racquet head speed and ball rotations from straightening the elbow, which you do fairly well. Take a look here starting at about 53 seconds in. Notice that after I finish, my wrist position is pretty much the same as when I started, with maybe the wrist having straightened just a bit. My racquet face never flips closed right after contact like yours does. It stays in the same orientation for a considerable time before and after contact - that gives your shot tolerance for mistiming it without either floating it or netting it. When you flip your racquet face that much, your timing has to be nearly perfect.


A lot of your fundamentals are pretty close. Good luck working at it!
 

Daniel Andrade

Hall of Fame
The primary thing I notice is that you are very wristy leading into and after the contact point. In general and especially as a recreational player, to be consistent , you want your wrist to be held at a fairly consistent angle throughout the shot. You get racquet head speed and ball rotations from straightening the elbow, which you do fairly well. Take a look here starting at about 53 seconds in. Notice that after I finish, my wrist position is pretty much the same as when I started, with maybe the wrist having straightened just a bit. My racquet face never flips closed right after contact like yours does. It stays in the same orientation for a considerable time before and after contact - that gives your shot tolerance for mistiming it without either floating it or netting it. When you flip your racquet face that much, your timing has to be nearly perfect.


A lot of your fundamentals are pretty close. Good luck working at it!
The primary thing I notice is that you are very wristy leading into and after the contact point. In general and especially as a recreational player, to be consistent , you want your wrist to be held at a fairly consistent angle throughout the shot. You get racquet head speed and ball rotations from straightening the elbow, which you do fairly well. Take a look here starting at about 53 seconds in. Notice that after I finish, my wrist position is pretty much the same as when I started, with maybe the wrist having straightened just a bit. My racquet face never flips closed right after contact like yours does. It stays in the same orientation for a considerable time before and after contact - that gives your shot tolerance for mistiming it without either floating it or netting it. When you flip your racquet face that much, your timing has to be nearly perfect.


A lot of your fundamentals are pretty close. Good luck working at it!
thanks for the input, I will keep the same orientation throughout the movement from now on!
 
I'm planning on going back to tennis fully committed in 2022 and I want to play not just for fun, but I really want to improve this time. For this reason, everytime I play I will record myself so I can fix my mistakes and post the videos here so you guys can also tell me what you think is wrong.

What's wrong with this backhand slice?

IMO I got late to the ball and for that reason my contact point was very low forcing me to lift the ball up which ended up (instead of slicing the ball), just passing it to the other side, almost like "pushing" it, and for that reason the ball simply goes up to the other side without any slice effect. Proposed correction: Seeing that the ball was going to drop short I should have stepped a couple steps INTO the court and also I should have prepared the movement of the racquet a bit sooner (I think I moved my racquet to the left side of my body almost when the ball bounced, and I should have done that half a second before)

Is my analysis and correction right or wrong?
Feel free to comment.

I'm assuming you were attempting to hit a slice approach down the line in order to get your opponent to hit up to you so you could end the point on an angled winner--I could be all wrong on that since you're on clay--but I'm thinking your slice should not have had a big follow through but instead the racket should have been pointed at your target like a volley--deep to the baseline--with your momentum propelling you towards the net behind your shot, split-stepping, preparing to angle off a volley winner--but I could be all wrong, it's tough to tell from 8 seconds of video how the point was being constructed.
 
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jhick

Hall of Fame
From the position you were in, you were correct about the ball being too low. From that position you limit yourself to either a popping the ball up (no good), or hitting a drop shot, which is the better option albeit harder to execute. Normally when I slice I like the contact point to be further back. You are making contact more in front of you. So I believe it's more of where you are positioned on the court than the actual stroke. If you want to hit a driving slice, you'll need to be further into the court so you have a higher contact point.. And from that position I personally would probably move into the net, although if you're not a strong net player you could certainly backtrack.
 

J D

Rookie
There are different types of slices. If you are trying to hit a high slice that doesn't penetrate the court but pops straight up where it bounces, then you have the right technique. If, however, you want to hit a penetrating slice that skids low through the court, you need to use the continental grip and have the racquet face less open at contact.

Look on Youtube. There are plenty of solid videos on the slice backhand.
 
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stapletonj

Hall of Fame
just my $0.02.

I personally like to take my slice backhand back much lower than most, especially on lower balls.

In your video, your backhand is starting almost above your head for a ball you are making contact with about 12 inches or so above the ground.
You are having to therefore make your racket path much more directly down to even make contact.

I like to simplify simplify simplify. My thought is to take the racket back level with my intended point of contact.
continental or even eastern backhand grip.
the racket face only opens up about 10% from perpendicular to the court.
long follow through pushing towards the target

this usually results in a shot that clears the net, but not by 4 feet, more like 1(....I'm a doubles player, so...)
goes deep into the court, hits, skids, and stays low.

There is a great drawing in tennis magazine from YEARS ago of Dr. Louie Capp of Van Der Meer's giving a tip of holding a basket of balls in your
nondominant hand while hitting backhand slices. tried that and it worked wonders for me.
 

jz000

Rookie
If you want a lower slice, then your angle of attack is a little off.
But it looks like the ball is dropping a bit, so a drop shot would've been a more natural shot.

Again, if:
1. The ball is dropping
2. Has topspin +/-
3. Has pace

Then:
1. You must get a good angle on the drop
or
2. Slice it on the rise
or
3. Or be in position to hit a topspin shot
 

jz000

Rookie
If you want a lower slice, then your angle of attack is a little off.
But it looks like the ball is dropping a bit, so a drop shot or topspin would've been a more natural shot.

Again, if:
1. The ball is dropping
2. Has topspin +/-
3. Has pace

Then:
1. You must get a good angle on the drop
or
2. Slice it on the rise
or
3. Or be in position to hit a topspin shot
 

stapletonj

Hall of Fame
a basket? how would that work?

Also your advice is worth 200 bucks, thanks!
the old drawing shows Dr. Capp holding a "busser" full of balls in his left hand while hitting a backhand slice fed to him or from a ball machine.

The point of the picture (I went to a few VDM clinics back in the day and actually learned this directly from him and Dennis personally)
is that it forces you to really turn your shoulders in prep and keep your shoulders from opening up as you swing forward.
The classic way this is taught is also in line with the old school eastern forehand-closed stance-non-nadal forehand stance- stroke.
IF you learn to do this, you can actually hit an inside out slice backhand, but lets just work on down the line and cross court first, OK?

I remember my very first tennis coach Jane Kincaid told me to show my opponent my name on the back of my shirt (a la a football jersey)
when preparing to hit a slice.

btw - It is really HARD to open up too soon in this drill, although you can also scratch your leg from the basket/busser hitting it.
Try it with an empty basket first, then put some balls in.
 

BTURNER

Legend
I can't tell from the video. A 'slice' should represent a 1/6 of a pie or cake, and 1/4 of a cheesecake with berry or chocolate topping. You have to show me your slice in that context.
 

brento1499

New User
you're kinda chopping down on the ball rather than carving through it. try to focus on taking it earlier and more out in front of you, it looks to me like you let the ball get too far into your body :)
 

Mr.Lob

Legend
Racquet head is too far behind your head. Trajectory of raquet needs to be more linear...like you're hitting along a straight piece of rope.
 

NoQuarter

Rookie
There are different types of slices. If you are trying to hit a high slice that doesn't penetrate the court but pops straight up where it bounces, then you have the right technique. If, however, you want to hit a penetrating slice that skids low through the court, you need to use the continental grip and have the racquet face less open at contact.

Look on Youtube. There are plenty of solid videos on the slice backhand.
Agree with J D on this...and perhaps take it one position further and go with an eastern backhand grip. Your motion looks great though.
 

stapletonj

Hall of Fame
If you slow down these old videos, you can see that even if the takeback is high, the racket head drops down significantly
(almost level to the path of the incoming ball) before the racket head even begins moving forward and even
before the incoming ball comes into the frame.
 
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