Need Help on Slice Backhand

No matter how much I practice the slice, or how many times I watch Federer slow mo, I always shank the slice. It either pops up, has no spin, or hits the frame. I've probably hit two good slice backhands in my entire life. Whereas my slice forehand is deadly if I hit it properly, it stays low, lands deep, and bounces away at an almost 60 degree angle. I really need the slice backhand on balls that bounce over my head. My ohbh is only good enough at returning high balls with looping it into the service box, and those shots get promptly slammed for winners.

Pls help

Thanks,
Ronak
 

jaggy

Talk Tennis Guru
A woman's college drill I watched years ago had them holding a tennis ball in their other hand while they hit them.
 

S&V-not_dead_yet

Talk Tennis Guru
No matter how much I practice the slice, or how many times I watch Federer slow mo, I always shank the slice. It either pops up, has no spin, or hits the frame. I've probably hit two good slice backhands in my entire life. Whereas my slice forehand is deadly if I hit it properly, it stays low, lands deep, and bounces away at an almost 60 degree angle. I really need the slice backhand on balls that bounce over my head. My ohbh is only good enough at returning high balls with looping it into the service box, and those shots get promptly slammed for winners.

Pls help

Thanks,
Ronak
- Suggestion #1 has nothing to do with slice: move forward and take it on-the-rise rather than letting it bounce so high. This allows you to contact the ball in your strike zone.

- Same with #2: move backward and take it on-the-decline. This also allows you to contact in your strike zone, although you are giving up court position.

- Work on your loopy shot but specifically aim deeper.

Now on to the slice.

If it pops up, it means your racquet face was too open. Try closing it more and more and see if your results improve.

If it has no spin, it means you aren't slicing it but are probably blocking it. This isn't a problem per se if it goes where you want it.

If it hits the frame, you simply aren't concentrating enough on the contact or maybe you have some sort of physical limitation which makes high balls on your BH side very difficult.

Do some video of your practice so you can review what you're doing.

When balls bounce that high, I worry more about blocking them back deep [unless my opponent is coming to the net] rather than getting a lot of slice.
 
- Suggestion #1 has nothing to do with slice: move forward and take it on-the-rise rather than letting it bounce so high. This allows you to contact the ball in your strike zone.

- Same with #2: move backward and take it on-the-decline. This also allows you to contact in your strike zone, although you are giving up court position.

- Work on your loopy shot but specifically aim deeper.
Any tips on moving forward? Every time I do it I seem to either be too early, or unprepared for the bounce, so it's either weak, has no top, or ends up being a half volley.

Moving backwards works but usually the balls stays on the rise until it hits the fence, so I can only get that about 50% of the time.

My opponents usually only hit good shots to my backhand, 90% of their shots go to my forehand (all their fhs are crosscourt and all bhs are to the deuce side of the center mark). When they do hit to my backhand, it's deep and has a lot of top.
 

Pete Player

Hall of Fame
Both the popping and not spinning on a shot are implementation of the same culprit.

Too open face in a slice relative to racket head speed.

Could be also, that one woun’t cut the ball with a forward motion enough, but blocks it only.


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On pain meds - all contributed matter and anti-matter subject to disclaimer
 

Friedman Whip

Professional
No matter how much I practice the slice, or how many times I watch Federer slow mo, I always shank the slice. It either pops up, has no spin, or hits the frame. I've probably hit two good slice backhands in my entire life. Whereas my slice forehand is deadly if I hit it properly, it stays low, lands deep, and bounces away at an almost 60 degree angle. I really need the slice backhand on balls that bounce over my head. My ohbh is only good enough at returning high balls with looping it into the service box, and those shots get promptly slammed for winners.

Pls help

Thanks,
Ronak
It seems you're saying that your FH slice bounces almost 60 degrees to the right after it lands. Wow. That is a tremendous amount of sidespin. Are you trying to do something similar on your backhand? And what grip are you using on FH and BH?
 

mad dog1

G.O.A.T.
No matter how much I practice the slice, or how many times I watch Federer slow mo, I always shank the slice. It either pops up, has no spin, or hits the frame. I've probably hit two good slice backhands in my entire life. Whereas my slice forehand is deadly if I hit it properly, it stays low, lands deep, and bounces away at an almost 60 degree angle. I really need the slice backhand on balls that bounce over my head. My ohbh is only good enough at returning high balls with looping it into the service box, and those shots get promptly slammed for winners.

Pls help

Thanks,
Ronak
What level are you? If you are shanking the slice, your racquet path is likely moving across the back of the ball instead of forward through the ball like you should be doing.
 
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Limpinhitter

G.O.A.T.
No matter how much I practice the slice, or how many times I watch Federer slow mo, I always shank the slice. It either pops up, has no spin, or hits the frame. I've probably hit two good slice backhands in my entire life. Whereas my slice forehand is deadly if I hit it properly, it stays low, lands deep, and bounces away at an almost 60 degree angle. I really need the slice backhand on balls that bounce over my head. My ohbh is only good enough at returning high balls with looping it into the service box, and those shots get promptly slammed for winners.

Pls help

Thanks,
Ronak
First, until recently, Federer didn't hit a true slice backhand. He hit a chop which has a much steeper swing path, is much harder to time and make clean contact, and has limited practical application for most players. If you want to hit a great slice, look at some of the great players of the past who hit backhand slices as their go-to, bread and butter backhands: Rosewall, Emerson, Laver, Newcombe, Becker, Edberg, Billie Jean King, Steffi Graff, for example. They all hit true slices with a nearly level swing paths and are able to hit driving, forceful slice backhands.

This Wilson tennis racquet commercial showing BJK's backhand slice technique in the first 3 seconds was an "aha!" moment for me, especially handling high balls to the backhand side:

 

Notirouswithag

Professional
just a quick video i found so you can see the hi-low-high motion moving forward into the ball or carving at it.

Of course everyone is different but this more or less gives you an idea

 

S&V-not_dead_yet

Talk Tennis Guru
Any tips on moving forward? Every time I do it I seem to either be too early, or unprepared for the bounce, so it's either weak, has no top, or ends up being a half volley.
Start with a less demanding situation: drop feed to yourself and practice hitting on-the-rise. It doesn't address the moving forward part but does address timing the bounce. Try to hit through the ball so you are generating topspin rather than just blocking it back [which is also a good skill to have].

Next step is to introduce the forward movement. If you don't have a partner to feed, simulate it by tossing the ball extra high and in front of you by several feet. Let it bounce once and then move forward and hit it off of the 2nd bounce as if it was the first. This isn't ideal but at least now you have to move as well as time the hit.

Moving backwards works but usually the balls stays on the rise until it hits the fence, so I can only get that about 50% of the time. My opponents usually only hit good shots to my backhand, 90% of their shots go to my forehand (all their fhs are crosscourt and all bhs are to the deuce side of the center mark). When they do hit to my backhand, it's deep and has a lot of top.
If so, moving backwards is not a good option.
 
It seems you're saying that your FH slice bounces almost 60 degrees to the right after it lands. Wow. That is a tremendous amount of sidespin. Are you trying to do something similar on your backhand? And what grip are you using on FH and BH?
On slice backhand I'm just trying to make sure I can keep a solid defence. I use plain continental on both. Lol my slice fh always messes my opponent up but I'm really reluctant to use it.

What level are you? If you are shanking the slice, your racquet path is likely moving across the back of the ball instead of forward through the ball like you should be doing.
I haven't played any tournaments yet but I'm probably somewhere around 4.5. I have a big serve and fh for my age but (obviously) lacking on the bh side. For some reason I just never learned how to slice. I only try watching RF in slow motion and copying it.
 

mad dog1

G.O.A.T.
I haven't played any tournaments yet but I'm probably somewhere around 4.5. I have a big serve and fh for my age but (obviously) lacking on the bh side. For some reason I just never learned how to slice. I only try watching RF in slow motion and copying it.
Shanking the ball on slice usually means you are breaking your wrist.
 

Bender

G.O.A.T.
A woman's college drill I watched years ago had them holding a tennis ball in their other hand while they hit them.
Interestingly, that helps my forehand more than it helps my backhand slice.

For whatever reason, the moment I have a ball in my left hand, my left arm straightens during takeback as it should.
 
D

Deleted member 23235

Guest
this thread inspired me...


was closer to 350 but I forgot to turn it on
 

Dan R

Professional
No matter how much I practice the slice, or how many times I watch Federer slow mo, I always shank the slice. It either pops up, has no spin, or hits the frame. I've probably hit two good slice backhands in my entire life. Whereas my slice forehand is deadly if I hit it properly, it stays low, lands deep, and bounces away at an almost 60 degree angle. I really need the slice backhand on balls that bounce over my head. My ohbh is only good enough at returning high balls with looping it into the service box, and those shots get promptly slammed for winners.

Pls help

Thanks,
Ronak
It's very difficult to slice high balls as you can't get the racket above the ball to hit down on it. In general you want to try and match the path of the racket to the path of the ball as much as possible. This means on the slice that you don't want to have a dramatic high to low swing, since the ball is usually already dropping (your timing has to be perfect to hit down on a dropping ball). Try a flatter swing path (with still some high to low), that might help the shanks. Ideally, you want to be able to hit a variety of slices, some that have more pace and less spin and some that have a lot of spin and stay low, and those that have spin but float deep, or a short drop slice. The situation will dictate which you use. The biggest mistakes I see with the slice are chopping down too much, especially on a ball that is already dropping, and hitting with the wrist flexed (this would be bent away from the net on a slice) which will produce a weak shot. Keep the wrist a little extended and you'll transfer more energy into the ball (keep the arm straight at impact, a bent elbow will leak energy too). From there you can develop the consistency to figure out how much to open the face based on the shot you want to hit.
 

FiReFTW

Legend
It's very difficult to slice high balls as you can't get the racket above the ball to hit down on it. In general you want to try and match the path of the racket to the path of the ball as much as possible. This means on the slice that you don't want to have a dramatic high to low swing, since the ball is usually already dropping (your timing has to be perfect to hit down on a dropping ball). Try a flatter swing path (with still some high to low), that might help the shanks. Ideally, you want to be able to hit a variety of slices, some that have more pace and less spin and some that have a lot of spin and stay low, and those that have spin but float deep, or a short drop slice. The situation will dictate which you use. The biggest mistakes I see with the slice are chopping down too much, especially on a ball that is already dropping, and hitting with the wrist flexed (this would be bent away from the net on a slice) which will produce a weak shot. Keep the wrist a little extended and you'll transfer more energy into the ball (keep the arm straight at impact, a bent elbow will leak energy too). From there you can develop the consistency to figure out how much to open the face based on the shot you want to hit.
Fed slices high balls all the time.
 

Dan R

Professional
Fed slices high balls all the time.
The OP mentioned balls above his head - I'm not sure how you would get a racket above a ball that's already over your head so you can slice it. I think those high balls to the backhand you want to hit up on.

Point taken about Fed, as mentioned previously he does chop down with his slice a lot and I think that is because he is often slicing balls that are rising with a ton of top spin. In that case, a strong high to low rack path is inline with the path of the ball. That's fine, however, usually I'm slicing a ball that is low, dropping, or hit hard and flat and I try and just match the path of the ball with the path of my racket.
 

FiReFTW

Legend
The OP mentioned balls above his head - I'm not sure how you would get a racket above a ball that's already over your head so you can slice it. I think those high balls to the backhand you want to hit up on.

Point taken about Fed, as mentioned previously he does chop down with his slice a lot and I think that is because he is often slicing balls that are rising with a ton of top spin. In that case, a strong high to low rack path is inline with the path of the ball. That's fine, however, usually I'm slicing a ball that is low, dropping, or hit hard and flat and I try and just match the path of the ball with the path of my racket.
I usually slice low balls too, tho I do like to slice very high balls aswell, when I hit on the rise its fine but when the ball for some reason bounces very high I tend to slice down and chop down those balls, its quite hard with topspin hitting those balls, a very good option with these high balls I like (specially if opponent is slow or doesn't like the net) is to slice it short in the service box, so that the opponent has to run fast to the service, and the bounce is usually straight up in the air or even backwards and very low, it tends to work quite well alot of times.
 

Dan R

Professional
I usually slice low balls too, tho I do like to slice very high balls aswell, when I hit on the rise its fine but when the ball for some reason bounces very high I tend to slice down and chop down those balls, its quite hard with topspin hitting those balls, a very good option with these high balls I like (specially if opponent is slow or doesn't like the net) is to slice it short in the service box, so that the opponent has to run fast to the service, and the bounce is usually straight up in the air or even backwards and very low, it tends to work quite well alot of times.
Good options. If the ball is around shoulder level I will often just hit across it with my two hander. If it's over my head I probably just lob it back or hit one of these shots where you bend at the elbow and use shoulder rotation to drive the ball (but I'm not very good at that shot).
 

Limpinhitter

G.O.A.T.
Balls over your head? I like that shot in the video, but that ball is more shoulder level. Once it's over you head at some point you cant hit high to low anymore. .
Yes you can. If you can reach the ball in a closed stance you can do it using the same technique in the video.

PS: The ball BJK hits is about head height.
 

Dan R

Professional
Yes you can. If you can reach the ball in a closed stance you can do it using the same technique in the video.

PS: The ball BJK hits is about head height.

You can absolutely use that technique for balls above the head but once the ball gets above a certain height it won't be a slice anymore it will be a backhand overhead. It's a great shot - her technique is perfect.

For the record it looks like she makes contact with that ball just below shoulder height.
 

r2473

G.O.A.T.
$20 for the below DVD. Coach Mclennan talks about how you should be able to hold a tray of drinks on your racquet in the takeback position. Then of course you "allow" the forearm to roll as you swing.

Once you learn the shot, you can add lots of variety.

http://www.usprotennisshop.com/defa...&MenuGroup=menu&AspxAutoDetectCookieSupport=1

Bonus: This will also greatly improve your backhand volley.

http://www.**************.org/imgb/29538/henins-slice-backhand.jpg
 

jacob22

Professional
$20 for the below DVD. Coach Mclennan talks about how you should be able to hold a tray of drinks on your racquet in the takeback position. Then of course you "allow" the forearm to roll as you swing.

Once you learn the shot, you can add lots of variety.

http://www.usprotennisshop.com/defa...&MenuGroup=menu&AspxAutoDetectCookieSupport=1

Bonus: This will also greatly improve your backhand volley.

http://www.**************.org/imgb/29538/henins-slice-backhand.jpg
Improve the BH volley? I think that takeback will lead to most rec players sailing a backhand volley long or into the net?
 

r2473

G.O.A.T.
Improve the BH volley? I think that takeback will lead to most rec players sailing a backhand volley long or into the net?
I was referring to the content of the DVD (the DVD content will also improve your BH volley). Not that you will take literally the same stroke on your BH volley and slice.
 

Limpinhitter

G.O.A.T.
You can absolutely use that technique for balls above the head but once the ball gets above a certain height it won't be a slice anymore it will be a backhand overhead. It's a great shot - her technique is perfect.

For the record it looks like she makes contact with that ball just below shoulder height.
The perspective of the camera is a bit deceptive. If you stop the video just before contact you can see that the ball is just about head height.

Yes, of course if the ball is too high you can’t reach it at all. But this technique is very effective for high bouncing balls to the backend, so long as you can reach it. Due to the prevalence of the 2hb the traditional slice it is largely a lost art even at the highest levels of tennis.

In any event, this texhnique is the foundation of the traditional driving slice that I was trying to share with the OP.
 
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My definition of high ball is anywhere above neck. I developed my shoulder height ohbh pretty well, but I still struggle with balls that go above the neck. Also I tried some of the tips in the replies and my slice is way more consistent against the wall, although I have yet to play against a person, so thanks for the help!
 

Dan R

Professional
The perspective of the camera is a bit deceptive. If you stop the video just before contact you can see that the ball is just about head height.

Yes, of course if the ball is too high you can’t reach it at all. But this technique is very effective for high bouncing balls to the backend, so long as you can reach it. Due to the prevalence of the 2hb the traditional slice it is largely a lost art even at the highest levels of tennis.

In any event, this texhnique is the foundation of the traditional driving slice that I was trying to share with the OP.
Totally agree with you about 2HB and slice. I hit a two hander and my instructor was always telling me how hard it is for two handers to hit a good slice. We worked on it endlessly. I use to dread it. At the begining of a hitting session if I missed a slice, or didn't hit any slices, I knew I was in for 30 minutes of slices. I love the shot now.
 

Limpinhitter

G.O.A.T.
Totally agree with you about 2HB and slice. I hit a two hander and my instructor was always telling me how hard it is for two handers to hit a good slice. We worked on it endlessly. I use to dread it. At the begining of a hitting session if I missed a slice, or didn't hit any slices, I knew I was in for 30 minutes of slices. I love the shot now.
There's no reason to dread it. The slice backhand is the easiest shot in tennis, and probably the most useful. Here are the basics:

1. Turn your back to the target (basically a unit turn),
2. Closed stance,
3. Straighten your arm before the start of the forward swing,
4. Hand above the level of the oncoming ball,
5. Pronate your arm so that the racquet head drops below your hand,
6. Dip your lead shoulder,
7. Rotate your upper body toward the target,
8. Supinate your arm while you are rotating your upper body thereby accelerating the racquet head into the ball,
9. At contact carve under the ball,
10. Swing across and finish high (racquet head pointing up).

Step #5 can be extreme for high balls like BJK in the Wilson ad above, or, subtle for low balls or when you hit a touch shot.
 
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Chas Tennis

G.O.A.T.
No matter how much I practice the slice, or how many times I watch Federer slow mo, I always shank the slice. It either pops up, has no spin, or hits the frame. ............... I really need the slice backhand on balls that bounce over my head. My ohbh is only good enough at returning high balls with looping it into the service box, and those shots get promptly slammed for winners.
..............
For the high level backhand slice, I have not studied it much. I use this Gasquet slice video. It shows that the 1HBH drive is a very different shot than the slice. Compare grip, upper body turn, arm motion, forward racket motion, a very different shot.

Possibly parts of your backhand drive are in your backhand slice technique? Study high speed video of your backhand slice and drive. Slice at 1:18. Note how little uppermost body turn is used compared to his drive.

To do single frame on Vimeo, stop, hold down the SHIFT key and use the ARROW KEYS.

For the high balls to backhand - I can't say what the pros do - but I got a big improvement for high backhands when I followed an instructor's advice and used slice on the high backhands, 'You don't need top spin on high balls'. The instructor said that this was a stay-in-the point stroke to be aimed high and deep. Once I sliced it hard enough that it had a very pronounced curve. It was more across the ball than down for high balls.
 
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Dartagnan64

G.O.A.T.
I have the reverse problem. Inconsistent FH slice but a pretty good BH slice. I find rackets make a big difference. Far easier to slice with a more control oriented players frame than a wide beam tweener.

Hitting out front and racket angle are the keys in my opinion. If you’re late the ball floats. If you have the wrong angle the ball either floats or smacks into the net.

That’s why copying Fed won’t necessarily help you. You need to find your own racket angle for your timing and swing plane.
 

Bender

G.O.A.T.
I have the reverse problem. Inconsistent FH slice but a pretty good BH slice. I find rackets make a big difference. Far easier to slice with a more control oriented players frame than a wide beam tweener.

Hitting out front and racket angle are the keys in my opinion. If you’re late the ball floats. If you have the wrong angle the ball either floats or smacks into the net.

That’s why copying Fed won’t necessarily help you. You need to find your own racket angle for your timing and swing plane.
See now for me, the key was to hit the ball later, as hitting the slice way out in front was causing me to frame the slice.

Of course if I'm slicing a low short ball then I have to make contact a bit in front of the body
 
I know John Eagleton who is with SportsEdTV. This is the association I have with them. Is there a rule that prohibits sharing good information?
I just find YouTube impossible to navigate.
 

Pete Player

Hall of Fame
Bh slice drive needs to be hit quite in front and leaning towards the ball. That would result a penetrating trajectory and really low bounce.

Chopping, like Fede often, will result a floater on most rec players contact geometry.


——————————
No more on pain meds - all contributed matter and anti-matter are still subject to disclaimer
 

S&V-not_dead_yet

Talk Tennis Guru
I know John Eagleton who is with SportsEdTV. This is the association I have with them. Is there a rule that prohibits sharing good information?
No prohibition. But if you have an association with the product or service you mention, etiquette dictates that you say so up-front. Otherwise, you might be viewed like a supposedly neutral financial advisor who hawks a product on which he gets commission. Not saying this is you; just saying you may be perceived that way.
 

JohnYandell

Hall of Fame
Don't try to emulate Federer or most pros. That extreme downward swing is necessary when the incoming ball is 90mph with 3000rpm of spin. For 99.99 percent Rosewall et al the best models. The racket tip instead of pointing down to the court stays mainly above the hand in the followthrough.
 
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