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
Actually I literally showed you an example where Graf's finish on the slice was the same as a topspin backhand and yet...
Show me Graf's backhand drive and you will see the difference.

Musetti has a huge slice takeback but still more compact than his topspin drive.


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.
Definition of a groundstroke: a stroke played after the ball has bounced, as opposed to a volley. That's pretty general. I can't see a problem in saying that a slice is an abbreviated groundstroke as compared to the most popular groundstroke it is more abbreviated reasons as I have stated.

Prep for an overhead is completely different to prep for a serve (unless if you are Roddick but even then there is quite a bit of difference). There are different levels and varieties of abbreviations you have to remember/know.

Talking about the volley as an abbreviation for a slice is not useful for this thread.
 

zill

Hall of Fame
Serve is only a tad more complicated than groundstrokes? What am I reading?
Could be because you have not a hit a proper groundstroke. The forward swing of a full topspin drive is fairly complicated and involved - to hit that fast heavy ball like what the pros do.
 

Dolgopolov85

G.O.A.T.
Show me Graf's backhand drive and you will see the difference.

Musetti has a huge slice takeback but still more compact than his topspin drive.
At 0:20.


But I am done. You will find yet another way to somehow argue that the follow through on Graf's topspin backhand there is longer than in the slice example from the same match (even though it is evidently not).

I explained very logically why the slice is not derived from the topspin equivalent shot and you give the most basic definition of groundstroke in response. OK, whatever. Don't know why you bother opening threads to solicit opinions if you believe we need to be educated about tennis at that level: "groundstroke is a shot hit off the bounce". Oh yeah, thanks for telling me, never knew all this time.
 

zill

Hall of Fame
But I am done. You will find yet another way to somehow argue that the follow through on Graf's topspin backhand there is longer than in the slice example from the same match (even though it is evidently not).
I have said many times it's not about the follow through that determines abbreviation. Graf's racquet must travel more backward behind her body in prepping her backhand drive.
 

zill

Hall of Fame
Actually I think all this discussion about the slice (all of you suggesting it's not an abbreviated groundstroke but a full groundstroke) just confirms the OP lol.
 
I've tried working on my slice for years, mainly to try to not just let it default to being a floater. I feel that there can be different kinds of slices, such as an abbreviated chop like form, a full take back form, and a lowered racquet head knifing like form.

I like Thiem's slice for the "modern" game where he can amazingly make "attacking"-like driving slice shots.

And then there's oldshool Evonne Goolagon's seeming full motion slice for defensive play, more floaty but in her graceful arty way.
 

zill

Hall of Fame
And then there's oldshool Evonne Goolagon's seeming full motion slice for defensive play, more floaty but in her graceful arty way.
I wonder if there are any current ATP players who have a long follow through on their slice. Think Djokovic use to but now have shortened it.
 

nochuola

Rookie
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.
The entire point of the first part of my comment is that the whole abbreviated or not discussion adds nothing to the original argument, so why is this still going on? You're not just comparing apples to oranges, you're comparing an apple to a watermelon to a grapefruit to an orange, and trying to argue that since an apple is a lot smaller than a watermelon and an orange is only slightly smaller than a grapefruit, that somehow proves an apple is smaller than an orange.

So far you have provided arguments for topics ranging from is slice abbreviated, to can there be tough balls to slice, to is the forehand and serve difficult, but crucially no direct comparison between the slice and the overhead in a general sense. You've very briefly mention the most extreme cases, but arguing about the most extreme case of a slice vs overhead also proves nothing about the difficulty in general.

The latter part of my comment compares the two strokes in a very simple and direct way by examining how proficient players are at the strokes on average since there is a clear direct relation between proficiency and difficulty. Whichever stroke is more difficult, people would on average be less proficient at it. There are far more people who suck at overhead than there are people who suck at slicing. Not only that, people who suck at overhead suck at it more than those who suck at the slice suck at the slice. Therefore it must logically follow that, on average, the overhead is more difficult than the slice.
 

zill

Hall of Fame
The entire point of the first part of my comment is that the whole abbreviated or not discussion adds nothing to the original argument, so why is this still going on? You're not just comparing apples to oranges, you're comparing an apple to a watermelon to a grapefruit to an orange, and trying to argue that since an apple is a lot smaller than a watermelon and an orange is only slightly smaller than a grapefruit, that somehow proves an apple is smaller than an orange.

So far you have provided arguments for topics ranging from is slice abbreviated, to can there be tough balls to slice, to is the forehand and serve difficult, but crucially no direct comparison between the slice and the overhead in a general sense. You've very briefly mention the most extreme cases, but arguing about the most extreme case of a slice vs overhead also proves nothing about the difficulty in general.

The latter part of my comment compares the two strokes in a very simple and direct way by examining how proficient players are at the strokes on average since there is a clear direct relation between proficiency and difficulty. Whichever stroke is more difficult, people would on average be less proficient at it. There are far more people who suck at overhead than there are people who suck at slicing. Not only that, people who suck at overhead suck at it more than those who suck at the slice suck at the slice. Therefore it must logically follow that, on average, the overhead is more difficult than the slice.
When I made the OP I had the 4.5 player in mind. And assuming they have the full correct technique to hit both an overhead and slice.
 

nochuola

Rookie
When I made the OP I had the 4.5 player in mind. And assuming they have the full correct technique to hit both an overhead and slice.
I will trust that you didn't just move the goal post because you realize you are fighting a losing battle. If, like you said, the player is of high level and has "correct technique" for both shots, then what is the point of discussing the difficulty of the shot? The scenario you just set up means that whether a player finds a specific stroke more or less difficult depends entirely on the person's preferences because both should be "easy" for the player. It would be like asking if Michelin starred chefs find cracking an egg or beating an egg more difficult when both are close to trivial. The entire assumption that a 4.5 level or any higher level player has fully correct technique and proficient at all the shots is incorrect to begin with. Even at the pro level, there are players that literally would not hit a topspin backhand and choose to slice every backhand because their topspin backhand is that much worse. You either just described a player who, by your definition, would find the shots equally easy/difficult and defeat the purpose of the debate, or a player that just plain doesn't exist.

I also maintain that even with the new "high level player only" restriction you're imposing, my original reasoning still holds true. It is not uncommon to see even pro players, especially WTA, choose to hit a high forehand/backhand instead of an overhead, whereas, you will never see a player that literally cannot/would not hit a slice. In fact, most players default to the slice when they have less time to prepare as they see it as a safer (easier) shot than they're normal topspin drives of either side. No matter how high the level, though the difference between the two might be smaller, it's pretty clear that more people find the overhead shot difficult than there are people who find the slice difficult.

I will let more knowledgeable people explain the biomechanics of the slice vs the overhead, but I am willing to bet the overhead motion is more complex than the slice. I can however explain the difficulty of the overhead in simple geometry. For most slices, the incoming ball is travelling mostly on the horizontal plane and the swing path also travels in a similar plane. You may have more vertical action if you want to knife the ball more and generate more underspin, but you can definitely hit a slice with a relatively horizonal swing path. Compare that to the overhead where the incoming ball is often travelling with a high velocity in the vertical plane and accelerating due to gravity while the swing path is still mostly horizontal at/near contact (If you think the swing path of overhead near contact point is vertical, you are just wrong). This means the swing path is close to perpendicular to the incoming ball path which makes the timing window significantly smaller than for a slice where the swing path is relatively parallel to the incoming ball path. This also means that any slight difference in contact angle would be greatly amplified in an overhead compared to a slice. In other words, mistiming a slice might just turn a good slice into a not so good slice, whereas even the slightest mistiming of an overhead would turn the overhead into a miss.
 

zill

Hall of Fame
I will trust that you didn't just move the goal post because you realize you are fighting a losing battle. If, like you said, the player is of high level and has "correct technique" for both shots, then what is the point of discussing the difficulty of the shot? The scenario you just set up means that whether a player finds a specific stroke more or less difficult depends entirely on the person's preferences because both should be "easy" for the player. It would be like asking if Michelin starred chefs find cracking an egg or beating an egg more difficult when both are close to trivial. The entire assumption that a 4.5 level or any higher level player has fully correct technique and proficient at all the shots is incorrect to begin with. Even at the pro level, there are players that literally would not hit a topspin backhand and choose to slice every backhand because their topspin backhand is that much worse. You either just described a player who, by your definition, would find the shots equally easy/difficult and defeat the purpose of the debate, or a player that just plain doesn't exist.

I also maintain that even with the new "high level player only" restriction you're imposing, my original reasoning still holds true. It is not uncommon to see even pro players, especially WTA, choose to hit a high forehand/backhand instead of an overhead, whereas, you will never see a player that literally cannot/would not hit a slice. In fact, most players default to the slice when they have less time to prepare as they see it as a safer (easier) shot than they're normal topspin drives of either side. No matter how high the level, though the difference between the two might be smaller, it's pretty clear that more people find the overhead shot difficult than there are people who find the slice difficult.

I will let more knowledgeable people explain the biomechanics of the slice vs the overhead, but I am willing to bet the overhead motion is more complex than the slice. I can however explain the difficulty of the overhead in simple geometry. For most slices, the incoming ball is travelling mostly on the horizontal plane and the swing path also travels in a similar plane. You may have more vertical action if you want to knife the ball more and generate more underspin, but you can definitely hit a slice with a relatively horizonal swing path. Compare that to the overhead where the incoming ball is often travelling with a high velocity in the vertical plane and accelerating due to gravity while the swing path is still mostly horizontal at/near contact (If you think the swing path of overhead near contact point is vertical, you are just wrong). This means the swing path is close to perpendicular to the incoming ball path which makes the timing window significantly smaller than for a slice where the swing path is relatively parallel to the incoming ball path. This also means that any slight difference in contact angle would be greatly amplified in an overhead compared to a slice. In other words, mistiming a slice might just turn a good slice into a not so good slice, whereas even the slightest mistiming of an overhead would turn the overhead into a miss.
What level player are you?

I am not trying to win anything. You can know and have the correct technique and still not play a shot correctly. Why does Djokovic still make unforced errors?

I believe that it is harder to time a good knifing slice than an overhead. I know where you are coming from with your overhead description but it actually is still easier to time an overhead usually than a slice where the incoming ball is tricky. The fact that you are hitting an overhead means the lob wasn't too difficult otherwise you would go back and hit it after it bounced. Even if the lob had a lot of topspin on it, still is not too difficult.
 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
When I made the OP I had the 4.5 player in mind. And assuming they have the full correct technique to hit both an overhead and slice.
4.5 ntrp??? I had assumed you were referring to players from low intermediate levels up to 3.5/4.0 ntrp.

One thing that distinguishes a 4.0 from a 3.5 player is their increased competence at the net with volleys and overheads. A 4.5 play with usually be employing very aggressive net play. Nearly all 4.5 doubles players I have played with have had very decent volleys and OH skills.

Not quite at the 5.0/5.5 level I've encountered but still at a pretty high / competent level. Perhaps 4.0/4.5 baseliners, who never played doubles, might have an issue with the OH and volleying.
 

zill

Hall of Fame
4.5 ntrp??? I had assumed you were referring to players from low intermediate levels up to 3.5/4.0 ntrp.

One thing that distinguishes a 4.0 from a 3.5 player is their increased competence at the net with volleys and overheads. A 4.5 play with usually be employing very aggressive net play. Nearly all 4.5 doubles players I have played with have had very decent volleys and OH skills.

Not quite at the 5.0/5.5 level I've encountered but still at a pretty high / competent level. Perhaps 4.0/4.5 baseliners, who never played doubles, might have an issue with the OH and volleying.

Look at the OP

"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."

This should give hint I am referring to upper end rec players - "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"
 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
Look at the OP

"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."

This should give hint I am referring to upper end rec players - "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"
Not get that impression from the OP at all. Can't assume that ppl will pick up on your "hints" or your intended perspective if you don't spell it out. I'm willing to bet that I'm the only one here that assumed you were talking about low intermediate to moderate intermediate players. I think that was rather apparent from many of the responses on page one of this thread.
 

blablavla

G.O.A.T.
I am not trying to win anything. You can know and have the correct technique and still not play a shot correctly. Why does Djokovic still make unforced errors?
because of:
incoming pace & precision
he needs to generate certain minimum pace & precision, otherwise even he will be punished

so those are rarely 'unforced errors' since even Djokovic has to play close to his limit when facing other pro players

do you think Djok would be doing the same UEs when facing an average amateur from this board?
I'd bet that he will win without dropping a point
 

WildVolley

Legend
The survey results comport with my experiences and observations. Most rec players find it much easier to hit a slice backhand or forehand than an overhead.

Tennis courts are filled with players who have had little instruction who are hitting passable slices. Most of those players can't hit a good overhead. Part of this is because they don't practice overheads, but also it is because timing issues are more difficult on the overhead and many players are hitting overheads with some variant of a forehand grip and not using internal shoulder rotation into the shot.

I've coached players who had an easier time on the overhead than the slice, but they were the rare exceptions.
 

zill

Hall of Fame
because of:
incoming pace & precision
he needs to generate certain minimum pace & precision, otherwise even he will be punished

so those are rarely 'unforced errors' since even Djokovic has to play close to his limit when facing other pro players

do you think Djok would be doing the same UEs when facing an average amateur from this board?
I'd bet that he will win without dropping a point
Any pro in the top 500 would beat the average amateur from this board without dropping a point.
 

ChaelAZ

G.O.A.T.
n general the slice is a harder shot to execute than the overhead

Too early for an Elf gif reference? I think not.

 
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