In general the slice is a harder shot to execute than the overhead

Which shot is overall more difficult to hit

  • Slice

    Votes: 6 17.6%
  • Overhead

    Votes: 28 82.4%

  • Total voters
    34

zill

Hall of Fame
Both are abbreviated shots (overhead is an abbreviated serve, the slice is an abbreviated groundstroke). Many say the overhead is harder to hit than the slice but the incoming ball (lob) is limited in its difficulty. Sure if the lob is high and it's a windy day it will be a difficult overhead. But with the slice the incoming ball is uncapped in how difficult it will come at you. Could be deep, fast and with lots of topspin which makes the slice almost impossible to time especially if it's on a fast surface.
 

zill

Hall of Fame
Slice is waaay easier, even 1st timers slice the backhand.
Depends on the level. The lobs you get don't change much as you move up the levels but the incoming ball in the groundstroke becomes much more difficult as you move up the levels.
 

Kralingen

Hall of Fame
I could hit an overhead the first day I picked up a racket. The actual OH stroke itself is the simplest shot in the entire game, you just spike it down.

Hitting an actual slice is impossible unless you have a baseline skill level and can hit a normal BH.

Now, doing this on a high level -- I'd say a really good OH is more rare than a good slice, though that is more down to athleticism, balance, and footwork.
 

StringSnapper

Hall of Fame
Depends on the level. The lobs you get don't change much as you move up the levels but the incoming ball in the groundstroke becomes much more difficult as you move up the levels.
might depend on the surface too, i find on hard court the slice is harder to hit. At least a good one. But on clay or grass its easier
 

zill

Hall of Fame
might depend on the surface too, i find on hard court the slice is harder to hit. At least a good one. But on clay or grass its easier
wow what? It's all in your mind lol Should depend on the difficulty of the incoming ball only.
 

FuzzyYellowBalls

Professional
I voted with this caveat, a "slice" can be so many things, I think a 3.5 level player or 3.0 would say "hey, I can slice! I sliced a ball yesterday!". I'd change my vote if you meant a slice that is a weapon.
 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
Depends on the level. The lobs you get don't change much as you move up the levels but the incoming ball in the groundstroke becomes much more difficult as you move up the levels.
At most levels, I have seen the underspin slice as easier, more natural, to execute than TS or the OH.

Perhaps you find it difficult because you regarded as an abbreviated shot. While volleys & a small % of g'strokes might employ an abbreviated stroke, most Fh squash shots and Bh slice shots include a very full, robust swing -- not an abbreviated one.

Many novice and intermediate players who usually or frequently set up late, will hit slice g'strokes on both of the Bh & Fh side. It is easier for them to do so then to hit a proper TS stroke most of the time.
 
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SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
@zill

On an incoming ball with underspin (US), a volley can sometimes be a tricky proposition. In this case you need to reverse the spin on the ball in order to put your own underspin on the ball. If the incoming ball has TS, then your US will be in the same direction that the ball is already spinning.

But the situation is different on balls that have bounced. Pretty much every ball that hits the court, whether it had TS or US prior to the bounce, has TS after the bounce. Therefore, it requires less effort, less energy, for you to impart US on an incoming ball that has bounced.

Some people believe that a ball that bounces backwards, had US after the bounce. However, upon close inspection, it becomes apparent that this is not the case. The ball still has TS -- but in the reverse direction. TS & US designations are relative to the direction the ball is moving.

The ball can bounce forward, to the left, to the right, or even backward. But in pretty much every case the ball has TS in its new direction. There are a few cases where the ball has almost no spin at all but, for the most part, it will have TS after the bounce.
 
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FuzzyYellowBalls

Professional
At most levels, I have seen the underspin slice easier, more natural, to execute than TS or the OH.

Perhaps you find it difficult because you regarded as an abbreviated shot. While volleys & a small % of g'strokes might employ an abbreviated stroke, most Fh squash shots and Bh slice shots include a very full, robust swing -- not an abbreviated one.

Many novice and intermediate players who usually or frequently set up late, will hit slice g'strokes on both of the Bh & Fh side. It is easier for them to do so then to hit a proper TS stroke most of the time.
I sometimes fill in and feed for 3.0-3.5 drills, based on my observation of a few hundred different players at those levels, basic overhead feeds are missed extremely often, about 30-40% of the time. They seem to do ok if it is a warm up session, like they are just hitting an overhead and moving to the end of the line for more feeds, but when it is king of the court, that OH becomes an issue.
 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
I sometimes fill in and feed for 3.0-3.5 drills, based on my observation of a few hundred different players at those levels, basic overhead feeds are missed extremely often, about 30-40% of the time. They seem to do ok if it is a warm up session, like they are just hitting an overhead and moving to the end of the line for more feeds, but when it is king of the court, that OH becomes an issue.
In retrospect, I suspect that @zill was likely referring primarily to volleys when he indicated that slice shots have an abbreviated motion. But even then, I would concur that the OH is more troublesome for most novice and intermediate players. I went into more detail about volleys and other shots in post #13.
 

Dolgopolov85

G.O.A.T.
Both are abbreviated shots (overhead is an abbreviated serve, the slice is an abbreviated groundstroke). Many say the overhead is harder to hit than the slice but the incoming ball (lob) is limited in its difficulty. Sure if the lob is high and it's a windy day it will be a difficult overhead. But with the slice the incoming ball is uncapped in how difficult it will come at you. Could be deep, fast and with lots of topspin which makes the slice almost impossible to time especially if it's on a fast surface.
Slice isn't an abbreviated groundstroke and players who hit the slice properly use both a takeback and a follow through coming up to the shoulder just like a groundstroke. You CAN get away with not doing that on the slice but you could also get away likewise on a groundstroke. It's just that modern coaching emphasises groundies way more than the slice so it feels like one can get away with subpar technique on a slice.

Also, the overhead is all or nothing. If you hit, you're more likely than not going to win the point. If you miss, you lose. The slice is primarily a defensive shot though the best slicers can turn it into an attacking weapon. You're only looking to neutralize the incoming ball, not to whack a winner. So the margins also favour you on the slice compared to an overhead.

If you grew up playing a sport like basketball, you will probably find the overhead very intuitive. But if you can't judge the trajectory of a high ball about to drop on your head, the overhead is very difficult to time. There is no such issue on the slice. As to your point on the speed of the incoming ball, that applies to any groundstroke and not just the slice. Likewise, a deep lob would require much more footwork and judgment to hit a good overhead off. You may even have to jump-smash a la Sampras. Those aren't easy things to execute either, especially in tournament pressure. But if you're even reasonably good at the slice, you are not going to miss it in the clutch.

Just think of this. You see even the best players at the pro level, the greatest in the world, players with good overheads, make a mess of them once in a while. But you never see them similarly botch a slice. The height and depth of the lob always adds an element of unpredictability to the overhead. It's the only shot where you hit down on the ball (even in a serve, you're reaching up and extending to the ball and have more control over it being that you're tossing the ball). Every other tennis shot is down to up and hit off balls getting no higher than your shoulder. I mean, unless one purposely wants to hit a groundie off a ball that's up to his head for some reason.
 

FiddlerDog

Professional
Slice is the hardest shot in tennis.
The height needs to be perfect, and so does the depth.
There is nothing more satisfying than a perfectly executed laser beam slice.
 

zill

Hall of Fame
Slice isn't an abbreviated groundstroke and players who hit the slice properly use both a takeback and a follow through coming up to the shoulder just like a groundstroke. You CAN get away with not doing that on the slice but you could also get away likewise on a groundstroke. It's just that modern coaching emphasises groundies way more than the slice so it feels like one can get away with subpar technique on a slice.

Also, the overhead is all or nothing. If you hit, you're more likely than not going to win the point. If you miss, you lose. The slice is primarily a defensive shot though the best slicers can turn it into an attacking weapon. You're only looking to neutralize the incoming ball, not to whack a winner. So the margins also favour you on the slice compared to an overhead.

If you grew up playing a sport like basketball, you will probably find the overhead very intuitive. But if you can't judge the trajectory of a high ball about to drop on your head, the overhead is very difficult to time. There is no such issue on the slice. As to your point on the speed of the incoming ball, that applies to any groundstroke and not just the slice. Likewise, a deep lob would require much more footwork and judgment to hit a good overhead off. You may even have to jump-smash a la Sampras. Those aren't easy things to execute either, especially in tournament pressure. But if you're even reasonably good at the slice, you are not going to miss it in the clutch.

Just think of this. You see even the best players at the pro level, the greatest in the world, players with good overheads, make a mess of them once in a while. But you never see them similarly botch a slice. The height and depth of the lob always adds an element of unpredictability to the overhead. It's the only shot where you hit down on the ball (even in a serve, you're reaching up and extending to the ball and have more control over it being that you're tossing the ball). Every other tennis shot is down to up and hit off balls getting no higher than your shoulder. I mean, unless one purposely wants to hit a groundie off a ball that's up to his head for some reason.
I don't think there is follow through on the slice. But there is deliberate follow through on topspin groundstrokes.
 

zill

Hall of Fame
Perhaps you find it difficult because you regarded as an abbreviated shot. While volleys & a small % of g'strokes might employ an abbreviated stroke, most Fh squash shots and Bh slice shots include a very full, robust swing -- not an abbreviated one.
Slice is abbreviated compared to the topspin drive. That is what I am referring to.
 

zill

Hall of Fame
In retrospect, I suspect that @zill was likely referring primarily to volleys when he indicated that slice shots have an abbreviated motion. But even then, I would concur that the OH is more troublesome for most novice and intermediate players. I went into more detail about volleys and other shots in post #13.
Volleys are an abbreviated slice.

Slice are an abbreviated drive groundstroke.

Overheads are an abbreviated serve.
 

Dolgopolov85

G.O.A.T.
I don't think there is follow through on the slice.
Nope, there is a follow through. Look at how high her arm goes at 0:26:


At 0:44 below is even better, because the follow through is almost like a topspin backhand but it's slice:


This is how the slice used to be hit and is meant to be hit. As I said, you can choose to hit it otherwise but that doesn't mean the slice per se has an abbreviated follow through. Modern pros take the racquet further across but lower. But there still is an arc the racquet must go through after contact. You don't stop it at or soon after contact. You can 'chop' it as a variation but if you are going for a deep and cutting slice, you need follow through.
 

zill

Hall of Fame
Nope, there is a follow through. Look at how high her arm goes at 0:26:


At 0:44 below is even better, because the follow through is almost like a topspin backhand but it's slice:


This is how the slice used to be hit and is meant to be hit. As I said, you can choose to hit it otherwise but that doesn't mean the slice per se has an abbreviated follow through. Modern pros take the racquet further across but lower. But there still is an arc the racquet must go through after contact. You don't stop it at or soon after contact. You can 'chop' it as a variation but if you are going for a deep and cutting slice, you need follow through.
Doesn't matter about the follow through that she does. The slice is still abbreviated compared to a drive.
 

blablavla

G.O.A.T.
Depends on the level. The lobs you get don't change much as you move up the levels but the incoming ball in the groundstroke becomes much more difficult as you move up the levels.
right, from newbies to pro players, the only way to hit a lob is to try and send a paceless and spinless ball as high as it gets hoping that it will pass the opponent and land into the court
 

zill

Hall of Fame
Read what you just wrote. It doesn't add up. Follow through doesn't matter, it is still abbreviated??

A proper splice bh has a full takeback and a full follow through. Which part is abbreviated in your opinion?
The follow through is pretty irrelevant to the stroke being considered abbreviated actually. Whether you have long or short follow through is not important to be regarded abbreviated or not. That is what I am saying.
 

zill

Hall of Fame
right, from newbies to pro players, the only way to hit a lob is to try and send a paceless and spinless ball as high as it gets hoping that it will pass the opponent and land into the court
not the only way but when you an overhead is hit most of the time the incoming lob is spinless.
 

zill

Hall of Fame
Nope, there is a follow through. Look at how high her arm goes at 0:26:


At 0:44 below is even better, because the follow through is almost like a topspin backhand but it's slice:


This is how the slice used to be hit and is meant to be hit. As I said, you can choose to hit it otherwise but that doesn't mean the slice per se has an abbreviated follow through. Modern pros take the racquet further across but lower. But there still is an arc the racquet must go through after contact. You don't stop it at or soon after contact. You can 'chop' it as a variation but if you are going for a deep and cutting slice, you need follow through.
Take a look at this slice. And compare to if he was to hit a double handed backhand drive.


 

Dolgopolov85

G.O.A.T.
Take a look at this slice. And compare to if he was to hit a double handed backhand drive.


That's a bad comparison albeit it evidently suits the conclusion you are intent on arguing towards. Nalby is caught hitting on the run and his intent is more to get racquet on the ball than to make a full stroke. Your TS BH example is from him hitting it comfortably in practice. He has time to be in position for the shot and executes a full stroke. But if he was on the dead run, he may not have had time to hit a full stroke. Often times you see Djokovic or Murray simply block the ball back with a two hander, focusing more on placement. That is the kind of backhand that is comparable to your slice example. The correct comparison to your Nalby TS BH example is Graf hitting the full slice against Serena. She had time to get into position and used it to hit a great slice.
 

Dolgopolov85

G.O.A.T.
Doesn't matter about the follow through that she does. The slice is still abbreviated compared to a drive.
The slice is different from the drive but that doesn't make it abbreviated. You have yet to explain what you regard as abbreviated. You have been given examples of a slice hit with a full follow through where the hitting arm extends just as much as in a drive and you still insist the slice is abbreviated. At this point, you have to define 'abbreviated' so we understand better what point you're trying to make here.
 

Dartagnan64

G.O.A.T.
I'd say a floaty slice is super easy to execute. It's the biting slice that is hard. And FH slice is significantly harder to execute than BH slice.

Overhead difficulty all comes down to reading the ball and getting your feet set in the right spot. After that it's not a particularly hard stroke. Most errors I see on overheads are from poor set up. The swing isn't that hard to do.

And my BH slice is every bit as full a swing as my topspin groundies. It's just done without the torso rotation.
 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
Slice is abbreviated compared to the topspin drive. That is what I am referring to.
Nope, not appreciably. Sometimes not at all. Your Nalby example in #27 shows a shorter follows-thru than most Bh slices -- not typical. Also take another look at his takeback. Look how much he coils on his preparation. Look at how the back of his right shoulder faces toward the net. And take a look at how far behind his head he brings the racket for his prep. No way that this can be considered abbreviated.

Federer's slice Bh is typically only a bit shorter than his TS Bh. Roger, like David has a very robust takeback. Perhaps even more so. Stanimal coils up almost as fully as Roger. And his follow-thru is typically even longer than Roger's.


 
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zill

Hall of Fame
The slice is different from the drive but that doesn't make it abbreviated. You have yet to explain what you regard as abbreviated. You have been given examples of a slice hit with a full follow through where the hitting arm extends just as much as in a drive and you still insist the slice is abbreviated. At this point, you have to define 'abbreviated' so we understand better what point you're trying to make here.
No if you extend the slice follow through it still is not as extended as a full ground stroke follow through (look at where the dominant hand finishes in the slice and in the drive groundstroke). So there happy now?

But I am not even concerned about the follow through. The slice is abbreviated because it's takeback is shallower and has no drop. It's all about what happens BEFORE the ball is hit but of course this carries through after contact resulting in a more abbreviated follow through than the drive groundstroke as well.
 

zill

Hall of Fame
That's a bad comparison albeit it evidently suits the conclusion you are intent on arguing towards. Nalby is caught hitting on the run and his intent is more to get racquet on the ball than to make a full stroke. Your TS BH example is from him hitting it comfortably in practice. He has time to be in position for the shot and executes a full stroke. But if he was on the dead run, he may not have had time to hit a full stroke. Often times you see Djokovic or Murray simply block the ball back with a two hander, focusing more on placement. That is the kind of backhand that is comparable to your slice example. The correct comparison to your Nalby TS BH example is Graf hitting the full slice against Serena. She had time to get into position and used it to hit a great slice.
Look at my post above.
 

zill

Hall of Fame
No if you extend the slice follow through it still is not as extended as a full ground stroke follow through (look at where the dominant hand finishes in the slice and in the drive groundstroke). So there happy now?

But I am not even concerned about the follow through. The slice is abbreviated because it's takeback is shallower and has no drop. It's all about what happens BEFORE the ball is hit but of course this carries through after contact resulting in a more abbreviated follow through than the drive groundstroke as well.
If you want to be more precise measure the distance the tip of the racquet travels after contact is made for both the drive and slice. You will find the distance for the slice is less.
 

zill

Hall of Fame
Nope, not appreciably. Sometimes not at all. Your Nalby example in #27 shows a shorter follows-thru than most Bh slices -- not typical. Also take another look at his takeback. Look how much he coils on his preparation. Look at how the back of his right shoulder faces toward the net. And take a look at how far behind his head he brings the racket for his prep. No way that this can be considered abbreviated.

Federer's slice Bh is typically only a bit shorter than his TS Bh. Roger, like David has a very robust takeback. Perhaps even more so. Stanimal coils up almost as fully as Roger. And his follow-thru is typically even longer than Roger's.


But my point is compare their respective slice to their topspin backhand and you will find their slice is more abbreviated than their topspin backhands.
 

zill

Hall of Fame
This is what I was going to post also. What you are writing doesn't match the videos. Try using a different word than abbreviated. People are trying to understand the point you are failing to make.
Please see the above 4 posts.
 

zill

Hall of Fame
The Bh slice is typically a loooong stroke with a very full coil. Very misleading to refer to it as abbreviated. Except for the volley, it is not abbreviated.
Abbreviated compared to a topspin groundstroke that is my point.

Compare Wawrinka's slice to Wawrinka's topspin backhand

Compare Federer's slice to Federer's topspin backhand
 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
Abbreviated compared to a topspin groundstroke that is my point.
I do not really believe it is a point worth making. Do not see the value in trying to force this characterization. If you consider the complete stroke (incl the until coil), not just a moderate difference in the magnitude of the follow-thru, it would not hugely different from Fh or TS Bh. Still long strokes. The somewhat shorter finish does not make them any more difficult to execute.

Consider this. The follow-thru for TS strokes on both wings of yesteryear was was quite a bit shorter than the modern FT. Look at Laver, Connors, etc. Even the two-handed TS finish of Connors if Borg was not as full as the finish of today. This shorter finish did not make their strokes anymore difficult to execute.

Even today we see a shorter FT on some non-slice g'strokes. This can happen on many serve returns and approach shots. This does not make these strokes more difficult to execute either.
 

zill

Hall of Fame
I do not really believe it is a point worth making. Do not see the value in trying to force this characterization. If you consider the complete stroke (incl the until coil), not just a moderate difference in the magnitude of the follow-thru, it would not hugely different from Fh or TS Bh. Still long strokes. The somewhat shorter finish does not make them any more difficult to execute.
As I have stated above the follow through it pretty irrelevant. Others brought it up but that is not an important issue with what we are discussing.

Consider this. The follow-thru for TS strokes on both wings of yesteryear was was quite a bit shorter than the modern FT. Look at Laver, Connors, etc. Even the two-handed TS finish of Connors if Borg was not as full as the finish of today. This shorter finish did not make their strokes anymore difficult to execute.
Yes and guess what their grip was closer to the continental grip (used for slice) back then! Their overall stroke back then would be in between a slice and a modern topspin groundstroke.

But again please it's about the takeback (and the drop which topspin groundstrokes have but slice does not) that I am most concerned about in judging the complexity of the shot.
 

Mongolmike

Hall of Fame
"Abbreviated" can mean short, or more abrupt. I do not agree this is true with most BH slices.. Maybe your backhand slice is more abbreviated, but that doesn't make it correct or absolute.
 

zill

Hall of Fame
"Abbreviated" can mean short, or more abrupt. I do not agree this is true with most BH slices.. Maybe your backhand slice is more abbreviated, but that doesn't make it correct or absolute.
Short compared to the topspin groundstroke is my point. Must have a comparison in mind.
 

Mongolmike

Hall of Fame
Short compared to the topspin groundstroke is my point. Must have a comparison in mind.
Are you comparing a BACKHAND slice with a FOREHAND topspin? Because comparing a backhand to a forehand is apples to oranges.

That said, a backhand SLICE has the same length takeback AND follow thru as a backhand TOPSPIN. The difference is the path of the swing. There is no abbreviated/short.... or shouldn't be, unless, as stated by others you are talking about a volley.
 

Bender

G.O.A.T.
What kind of slice and overhead are we talking about here? Basic slices and overheads are both pretty easy, whereas knifing slices and baseline smashes can be a bit tougher.

But since your average 3.5 has so much difficulty dealing with lobs, I guess I'll vote overheads.
 

zill

Hall of Fame
Are you comparing a BACKHAND slice with a FOREHAND topspin? Because comparing a backhand to a forehand is apples to oranges.

That said, a backhand SLICE has the same length takeback AND follow thru as a backhand TOPSPIN. The difference is the path of the swing. There is no abbreviated/short.... or shouldn't be, unless, as stated by others you are talking about a volley.
No backhand slice to a topspin backhand. I can't see how their slice would be same length as their topspin backhands. Don't compare a wawrinka slice to a fed topspin backhand though. Wawrinka slice with a wawrinka backhand drive. Fed slice with a Fed backhand drive.




 

nochuola

Rookie
I don't understand how this thread became a discussion of whether a slice is abbreviated, but doesn't claiming a slice is abbreviated support the argument that it is easy? I don't think anyone would argue that the serve is an easier stroke than either forehand/backhand drive. So even if you really think the slice is an abbreviated forehand/backhand and overhead is abbreviated serve, the logical conclusion is slice is still easier than overhead.

Now confusing logical gymnastics aside, I have seen a plethora of players who's worst shot is the overhead to the point where some even elect to hit forehand/backhands out of the air over hitting an OH. On the other hand, I've never heard of a player whose slice is so bad that he/she would actively avoid hitting a slice by any means possible. I think it is clear that in general, more players struggle with learning the OH than they do the slice.

As some others have mentioned, the only way the slice may be considered more difficult is if you only consider a low knifing underspin shot a slice, and any ball hit over the head regardless of the actual quality of a shot an overhead, then maybe you can consider a slice more difficult in a general case, but then that is really not an equivalent comparison.
 

zill

Hall of Fame
I don't understand how this thread became a discussion of whether a slice is abbreviated, but doesn't claiming a slice is abbreviated support the argument that it is easy? I don't think anyone would argue that the serve is an easier stroke than either forehand/backhand drive. So even if you really think the slice is an abbreviated forehand/backhand and overhead is abbreviated serve, the logical conclusion is slice is still easier than overhead.
Ah but it's harder to see that the slice is an abbreviated topspin groundstroke (with a lot of discussion above) so the abbreviation is not as pronounced as how the overhead is an abbreviation to the serve.

You might say the serve is more complicated than the groundstroke but it's only a tad more complicated in my opinion. It's hard to compare the two as one you are hitting a fast incoming ball the other motion is more complicated but you are at least hitting an almost stationary ball. Overall I'd say the serve is just a tad more complicated than the topspin groundstroke.
 

Dolgopolov85

G.O.A.T.
No if you extend the slice follow through it still is not as extended as a full ground stroke follow through (look at where the dominant hand finishes in the slice and in the drive groundstroke). So there happy now?
Actually I literally showed you an example where Graf's finish on the slice was the same as a topspin backhand and yet...

But I am not even concerned about the follow through. The slice is abbreviated because it's takeback is shallower and has no drop. It's all about what happens BEFORE the ball is hit but of course this carries through after contact resulting in a more abbreviated follow through than the drive groundstroke as well.
Who told you its takeback is shallower? Compared to the topspin backhand, you have to raise your elbow a lot more for a slice takeback. At this point, I don't believe you have tried ever to hit a proper slice and maybe if you did it would clear up a lot of your confusion.

The bigger issue is a slice is not an abbreviated groundie because it is NOT derived from a groundstroke at all. You say an overhead is an abbreviated serve. In that case, by your own way of defining strokes, there is no way a slice is an abbreviated groundstroke at all. It has entirely different preparation and it imparts underspin to the ball, not topspin.

If you really want to think of slice in terms of another stroke, the correct way to describe it is that the backhand volley is an abbreviated slice. Not always, not if you were only blocking but if you are driving even a little on the backhand volley, it becomes more like a slice and can be hit with near-identical prep.
 
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