How do you counter side spin and underspin

rbowser

Rookie
Well, I've been playing with my friends a lot now, and one thing they all have in common, they love side spin and underspin, such as dropshots and such. Sometimes they aren't executed well to be a dropshot, but it still has massive spin. Another thing they have in common is they all played table tennis before playing tennis. Everyone who played ping pong that I played in tennis does that. I guess if it works in table tennis, it works in tennis. :)
Anyways, I personally don't like it (who does?), but when we play practice sets and stuff, they use underspin a lot, and it gets me off my balance. That's a good thing for them, but not for me. I can handle slice very well, but their spin makes the ball go everywhere and and just about when I'm going to make contact, it spins away. I can do underspin and side spin and all that, and I know hitting your own underspin or sidespin can 'counter' theirs.
Basically, my question is:
-How can I get more comfortable with these shots? I know PRACTICE is key, and I try to do my best, but sometimes, it's just not working.

P.S.-I know this part should be in the rants and raves, but everytime they get me with their shots, or a hit it long or out, they party like they just won Wimbledon or something and they're jeering at me saying they're ten million times better than I am. :( I just want to show them that I can still play my way without hitting junk balls all day.
 

Vision84

Hall of Fame
It sounds like you know how to adjust to a regular slice but you are caught off guard by the sidespin. Watch their strokes when they connect with the ball to see if they are coming across it or other clues to help you predict what is going to happen. It sounds like you will be all set if you can read it.
 

burosky

Professional
One thing that causes an off-balance shot when hitting this type of shots is bad footwork. Typically, what happens is you set your feet before the ball bounces. The result is you either try to re-adjust your feet but don't have enough time or you take an off-balance shot.

What you want to do is to keep your feet moving up until you are ready to hit the ball. This allows you to continually take small adjustments steps until you see the effect of the spin on the ball. When you are ready to swing, that's when you want to set your feet to have a solid base then execute the shot.
 

Grizvok

Semi-Pro
You have to read the spin they are putting on their shot, get up to it quickly and get in a position where you aren't going to have to reach for it once it starts spinning. What I usually do is just put a lot of topspin on my shot because you need extra topspin to counter the backspin.
 

MasturB

Legend
Better footwork.

The easiest thing to do would take it immediately on the rise almost like a half volley before the spin off the bounce gets too out of control.

Take a tennis ball or basketball, and while throwing it down, add side spin and see which way it bounces up. Helps you out.
 

boojay

Hall of Fame
Recognition and anticipation. Obviously, it's frustrating, but don't get too discouraged that you forget to learn. I know plenty of guys who use a crapload of sidespin, but for the most part I can see when they're doing it so I force my body to anticipate where the ball will spin to and go there instead. It's difficult because your brain tells you one thing and your body another and your mom.............n/m.
 

POGPete

New User
You have to read the spin they are putting on their shot, get up to it quickly and get in a position where you aren't going to have to reach for it once it starts spinning. What I usually do is just put a lot of topspin on my shot because you need extra topspin to counter the backspin.
I agree. If you can hit good strong topspin they may be able to slice it back but the side spin shots will be much tougher for them to make.
 

The Ripper

Semi-Pro
In a match last week I was up 4-2 in the first set, beating the other guy on the baseline. He then changed tactics and hit everything with as much spin as he could, mostly side spin. Some short, some deep, whatever. I was getting to the ball on time, but was not anticipating well enough how it was going to spin. My thought was to at least just dump them over the net, but they were spinning hard enough that they would shoot off of my racket (if high) or just die and fall off my racket. Very frustrating!

However, I wasn't complaining because at least he was doing it intentionally - I just wasn't able to adjust and ended up losing the match 7-5, 6-1 (yup, kind of tanked the second set!). After the match I told him I had never played anyone who hit with so much spin! He said a lot of guys won't play with him because of it. I certainly have a much easier time with players who play from the baseline or even S&V, but I need to learn how to beat guys like this too! Even Federer has Santoro (of course Fed beats him, but not easily)!

I agree with the poster above about not setting the feet until I'm ready to hit the ball. And next time I'll definitely hit with more topspin just to make it harder for him (I usually hit pretty flat with just enough topspin to keep the ball in) - I think those are both excellent suggestions. I talked to my coach and he said I needed to hold the racket very firm, see which way the ball is spinning and hit counter to that. I'll probably meet up with this opponent again in the quarterfinals, so I need to get up to speed. FWIW, I wasn't serving especially well that day, next time I'll make sure to win more points on serve.

Anyhow, anyone who has other suggestions/solutions for playing a "spin meister" would be appreciated!!
 
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AceofBase

Rookie
Watch how the ball spin or easyier way see how he/she swing it and use he/she's pace right back at them. One thing dont wait for the ball, just hit it before its bounces so one way to do that is to do what i called it "Dash stroke" (run to the ball and before its bounce off the ground dash at it and hit it). ITs work for me, cause if you stop then the ball going to bounce crazy, either straigh up or side way or wont even bounce back up. Just keep moving and dont stop for it.
 

rbowser

Rookie
Thanks a lot guys. The thing is though, their balls usually end up near the service line or a little further into no-man's land. I try to put topspin on it, but I use an extreme eastern forehand (i can counter a sidespin easily with my 1hbh, dunno why, but I can counter much better than my forehand) and when I put the topspin I want, they volley, cause their runnin' free in no mans land, cause my topspin shots are slow. My racquet head speed is slow, so I can't generate enough spin and pace to counter effectively.....
 

AngeloDS

Hall of Fame
A lot of people tend to "hold back" on these kind of shots; especially slices. You really can't hold back, you need to hit with a good amount of swing speed to counter that spin first of all and then brush up to get it over the net. The low balls is where your really hit not hard, but swing really fast from low to high.

Side spin, the only way to counter this is with better movement.
 

Tennis_Monk

Hall of Fame
Why are you letting them hit these shots in the way they wanted. I mean cant you increase your pace and placement so that they cant get "under" or "side" of the ball with plenty of time. Usually if you rush them in their shots they have more chances of making mistakes.
 

rbowser

Rookie
Well, they use their reflexes if it is too fast, and their reflexes tell them to use underspin, sine they play table tennis a lot.
 

skiracer55

Hall of Fame
I'm surprised nobody's mentioned it yet...

...but another tactic is to get off the baseline, where it can be difficult to deal with this kind of slice/sidespin, and get to the net, where it's generally easier to volley this kind of reply. Serve and volley, chip and charge, don't worry, be happy...
 

soyizgood

G.O.A.T.
Toss in some slices as it's hard to put slice against slice.

Hit with aggressive topspin when the slice is on the rise. I don't bother to care where it will bounce because if I wait that long, I'm doomed.

Step up, attack it, and on occasion give them a dose of their own medicine. :)
 

Grizvok

Semi-Pro
Toss in some slices as it's hard to put slice against slice.

Hit with aggressive topspin when the slice is on the rise. I don't bother to care where it will bounce because if I wait that long, I'm doomed.

Step up, attack it, and on occasion give them a dose of their own medicine. :)
That is definitely the best advice you can get I think, attack it.
 

sliceworks76

New User
Toss in some slices as it's hard to put slice against slice.

Hit with aggressive topspin when the slice is on the rise. I don't bother to care where it will bounce because if I wait that long, I'm doomed.

Step up, attack it, and on occasion give them a dose of their own medicine. :)
As someone who hits a lot of slice, I would disagree with the first tip here. I love to hit slice backhands off of other people's slice because the ball stays low and in my strike zone.

However, I would agree with the second point. You have to be agressive and use topspin whenever you can. The worst move is to let the ball play you, which will mean disaster even when it's not moving very fast. Take it early, hit with topspin, and follow the ball in to the net whenever you can. It's hard to hit a deep, low slice off topspin, and nearly impossible when someone brings the pressure.
 

GuyClinch

Legend
I think probably your just giving these guys too nice a ball to work with. Use pace and placement to keep them off balance and then they won't have time to set up that junk.

Federer is a good example - he doesn't do anything special to beat Santoro. The junk baller is like a pusher - they both expose your inability to really hurt people with tough shots..

Pete
 

Silent

Professional
As said already, players who rely on spins will have a hard time handling pace. I try to hit hard flat balls to them and I usually get a sitter in the middle of the court. If you get a floater, attack it, don't wait for it to bounce. If you can swing volley a slice you'll be able to put massive top spin on the ball.

The skilled player won't be as disturbed but will still be forced to vary his game more.
 

checkmilu

Rookie
I play tabletennis for years before playing tennis, so I have much more spin in slices and top spin than normal tennis players who hit flater. Almost all the time when i chop the ball really thin with extreme back spin then my opponents will drive it into the net because they don't expect that amount of spin :) . actually they just need to adjust the racket angle a bit and hit it more upward at the contact point
 

PimpMyGame

Hall of Fame
Hit through the ball, hit early and hit with pace and topspin. And resist trading side/back spin with side/back spin.
 

Power Player

Talk Tennis Guru
I think probably your just giving these guys too nice a ball to work with. Use pace and placement to keep them off balance and then they won't have time to set up that junk.
Agreed. The only reason you should lose to a pusher is because you made unforced errors.

You have to develop pace on your shots and get them to go in consistently. If you can do that, then you simply attack their returns on the top of the bounce and keep them running.
 

TommyGNR

New User
...but another tactic is to get off the baseline, where it can be difficult to deal with this kind of slice/sidespin, and get to the net, where it's generally easier to volley this kind of reply. Serve and volley, chip and charge, don't worry, be happy...
Gotta say I agree with this 100% If the bounce of a sidespin gives you trouble you should hit the ball in the air.
Slice shots are volley candy because they float.
Rush the net on these hackers!
 

kv123

Rookie
Listen to how they hit the ball and memorize the different sounds. Flat, slice, topspin. Then watch as how they hit the ball. From watching you can tell the direction they hit the ball and in which the direction the spin is coming at you. Unless its a framer :evil: . Then the rest should fall under the footwork section.
 

Blue Beluga

New User
I just played with a guy like this last night, but I had no trouble. I hit ton of topsin using SW grip so he was always on the defensive. I just had to watch the movement of the ball because of the sidespin, but other than that, I was able to nullify it with my heavy topsin.
 

Il Mostro

Banned
I have better results against extreme slice when I take the ball as early as possible on the rise. When I have a problem, it is because I wait for the ball and it comes up short and then I have to re-adjust at the last moment. Getting it as early as possible and really attacking the ball works best for me.

So far as tactics are concerned, I notice that guys who live off extreme spin do not like to take the ball low. So, whenever possible I hit at their feet with topspin -- which isn't a bad basic approach in general.
 
Make sure you are keeping things simple too.

If they are hitting a lot of slice at you with sidespin, that tells me you have plenty of time to get to the ball, particularly if they are leaving it at the service line or no mans land.

My tip is that you can be somewhat aggressive with your shot if you aim down the middle of the court, and maybe take some of the advice to take it early.

This way the ball may come off your racquet with a little surprise, but you won't miss lines left and right because you gave yourself margin by aiming in the middle.

That being said, you need to become familiar with the general direction the ball will bounce with certain spins. If you're completely fooled, then there's nothing in this thread that will help you.

Keeping short adjustment steps on your footwork will pay huge dividends.
 

Zachol82

Professional
Well, I've been playing with my friends a lot now, and one thing they all have in common, they love side spin and underspin, such as dropshots and such. Sometimes they aren't executed well to be a dropshot, but it still has massive spin. Another thing they have in common is they all played table tennis before playing tennis. Everyone who played ping pong that I played in tennis does that. I guess if it works in table tennis, it works in tennis. :)
Anyways, I personally don't like it (who does?), but when we play practice sets and stuff, they use underspin a lot, and it gets me off my balance. That's a good thing for them, but not for me. I can handle slice very well, but their spin makes the ball go everywhere and and just about when I'm going to make contact, it spins away. I can do underspin and side spin and all that, and I know hitting your own underspin or sidespin can 'counter' theirs.
Basically, my question is:
-How can I get more comfortable with these shots? I know PRACTICE is key, and I try to do my best, but sometimes, it's just not working.

P.S.-I know this part should be in the rants and raves, but everytime they get me with their shots, or a hit it long or out, they party like they just won Wimbledon or something and they're jeering at me saying they're ten million times better than I am. :( I just want to show them that I can still play my way without hitting junk balls all day.
The answer is of course...volley!
 

TennisProdigy

Professional
Very simple to counter any type of underspin, sidespin, or top spin and that is to put an even greater spin on the ball. This requires racquet head speed and no matter what type of spin is on your opponents ball, if you put more spin on it it will stay on course to wherever you hit it.
 

lob-ster

Rookie
I have better results against extreme slice when I take the ball as early as possible on the rise. When I have a problem, it is because I wait for the ball and it comes up short and then I have to re-adjust at the last moment. Getting it as early as possible and really attacking the ball works best for me.

So far as tactics are concerned, I notice that guys who live off extreme spin do not like to take the ball low. So, whenever possible I hit at their feet with topspin -- which isn't a bad basic approach in general.
i personally like lower balls
in i hit with EXTREME sidespins(as in they can look like they are going out and curve back in)
 

Il Mostro

Banned
i personally like lower balls
in i hit with EXTREME sidespins(as in they can look like they are going out and curve back in)
Side spin is an entirely different deal that guys who hot with extreme back spin -- balls that stop or actually back up. I agree that low balls are no problem if hitting side spin. When the opportunity presents itself I love to hit an inside-out forehand with side spin and the height of the ball is a non-issue. Hitting with extreme slice is a different ball game.
 

Racer41c

Professional
A couple of things. I have a buddy who is exactly like the guys the guys described. There are 2 things that completely disarm my buddy:

1. Force him to hit passing shots.
2. Take the ball in the air

However, if the guys are like the opponent "the ripper" describes, you have to force them to play their weakest shot, which may be the shot you can handle best.
 
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