slice backhand questions

carguy

Rookie
i'm finally taking the time to develop and fine tune my slice backhand. unlike the topspin backhand, there are so many variables to the slice bh that i'm having trouble building consistency in the stroke. sometimes it's low, short and skids ... sometimes it sits up after bouncing ... other times it's deep and penetrating. :confused:

i've taken 2 lessons on slice bh and read various articles but i'm still confused about:
- how do i build predictability into my slice backhand?
- what is the follow-thru path?
- what's the racquet path relationship to speed, spin and flight?
- what's the racquet face angle relationship to speed, spin and flight?
- how does the length of follow-thru affect speed, spin and flight?
- how do i hit a heavy, low piercing slice bh?

thanks for any assistance.
 
Last edited:

Ripper

Hall of Fame
i'm finally taking the time to develop and fine tune my slice backhand. unlike the topspin backhand, there are so many variables to the slice bh that i'm having trouble building consistency in the stroke. sometimes it's low, short and skids ... sometimes it sits up after bouncing ... other times it's deep and penetrating. :confused:

i've taken 2 lessons on slice bh and read various articles but i'm still confused about:
- how do i build predictability into my slice backhand?
- what is the follow-thru path?
- what's the racquet path relationship to speed, spin and flight?
- what's the racquet path relationship to speed, spin and flight?
- how does the length of follow-thru affect speed, spin and flight?
- how do i hit a heavy, low piercing slice bh?

thanks for any assistance.
Actually, slicing is MUCH easier than topspining. Anyway, all your questions will be answered by yourself with time. You need to practice, practice, practice. I'd say experiment with different levels of follow through... And sorry if my reply isn't what you wanted. Hopefull someome with abetter answer will appear.
 

patrick922

Semi-Pro
to me to hit a proper slice backhand takes talent. since it is a feel shot it is pretty hard to teach. i find it hard to teach this shot because it requires feel, touch, and talent.

a couple tips i can give you is get the racquet high, left hand on throat, on contact elbow straight, wrist cocked, and at contact freeze head and keep it there for a bit longer.
 

35ft6

Legend
Keep your arm straight and the path of your swing should look like a soup bowl. Carve down and through the ball, and on the follow through, the racket should end high.

And remember, it's a feel shot. Don't try to hit a powerful slice, let the racket do the work, hit through the ball with smooth conviction. And make sure your non-racket arm mirrors the racket arm, goes backwards in the same way your racket arm is going forward, this is what will give your shot some "stick."

Best way to practice slice is hit against the wall, aim for just above the line.
 

LanEvo

Hall of Fame
Keep your arm straight and the path of your swing should look like a soup bowl. Carve down and through the ball, and on the follow through, the racket should end high.

And remember, it's a feel shot. Don't try to hit a powerful slice, let the racket do the work, hit through the ball with smooth conviction. And make sure your non-racket arm mirrors the racket arm, goes backwards in the same way your racket arm is going forward, this is what will give your shot some "stick."

Best way to practice slice is hit against the wall, aim for just above the line.
good advice with the soup bowl because its true the slice backhand technique is like a soup bowl
 
Just as there is an infinite amount of variation to the topspin backhand (contrary to what you may think), there is also a wide range of possibilities in slicing the ball.

With the topspin you can hit anything from almost flat to the loopiest moonball imaginable, fast or slow, add sidespin, hit it inside-out or "reverse", or make it into a topspin lob.

The slice can be a drive, almost flat to a "junkball with wild spin. The slice can be a chip or delicate "dink" or a dropshot, it can also have some sidespin or even a "squash shot"....

So it is hard to explain how to hit the slice, because there are also many variations.

If you are refering to a hard, deep slice that skims the net and lands a couple feet from the baseline and stays low, then you start with the racket back and slightly higher than the ball with the face perpendicular to the court and drive through the ball in a long flowing downward angle. The less angle the more foreward momentum, the steeper the angle, the more spin (just the same, but upside-down, as with topspin).

Like any shot, you have to practice and drill and get the feel of your racket on the ball.
 

carguy

Rookie
thanks for all your input. i was still a little hestitation to practise the wrong technique for fear of developing bad form (that i have to spend years undoing ... like my golf swing).

so i found a new coach who is much more focused on technique and form instead of just feel. here's a summary of my flaws and power leaks on a low piercing bh:

- more level swing: start with racquet head just above the ball.
- racquet angle: maintain about 30* throughout the swing. most people have it too open on the backswing and then have to correct or compensate during the stroke.
- delay impact: the impact position is much closer to you than the topspin bh
- wrist: keep it flat. i tended to cup my wrist at impact.
- acceleration: during the forward swing. most players tend to treat the slice bh as a defensive or slow-medium pace stroke.
- chest: don't open the chest during the stroke.
- finish: at net level or slightly above.

i can't wait my piercing bh against by the high kicking twist serve of my tennis nemesis.
 

Loco4Tennis

Hall of Fame
i tried teaching this to my sister, but like many mentioned, this is a touch shoot and you simply cannot drive down on the ball with proper technique, you have to grab/craddle it just enough to put the spin as you drive forward and down, i think that i learned my slice by using the wall, learned with no pace on the ball first and then moved up from there
 

carguy

Rookie
i'm curious as to why the slice bh has waned in popularity in today's game as an offense shot. Stephie Graf and Ken Rosewell were masters of the slice bh and had the hard driving slice.

during my lesson this week, i was working in net play. my coach told me to use a slice (instead of topspin) on the bh down the line shot as it would give me more time to get to net and the low approach is harder to return.
 

CAM178

Hall of Fame
I know this is not what you want to hear, but it's true: practice, practice, practice.

The slice BH can be both defensive and offensive. You can even use it offensively during rallies to pin your opponent back. They will be forced to give you a short ball or a floater which will make for an easy put away. Also, you will want to master the slice to better learn how to drop shot.

For me, it's (depending on contact point/ball location) racquet head high, and cut down and through the ball. The most important thing about a slice, to me, is to cut through the ball, as you want to drive it through the court.

With a slice, you can make it float to give you time to get back into the court if you are out of position, you can use it to pin your opponent either deep or into a specific corner, for keeping the ball extremely low, or for the drop shot. The slice is really the most versatile shot in the game, in my opinion
 

eproxy

New User
i think, to put it simply, it depends on the angle of contact, whether you follow thru with your slice. however, like the others have mentioned, you have to practice to get the feel of it
 

ROFLingpanda

New User
i'm curious as to why the slice bh has waned in popularity in today's game as an offense shot. Stephie Graf and Ken Rosewell were masters of the slice bh and had the hard driving slice.

during my lesson this week, i was working in net play. my coach told me to use a slice (instead of topspin) on the bh down the line shot as it would give me more time to get to net and the low approach is harder to return.
slice backhand can be so fun with wack spins. i don't know the technique and stuff to do a backhand slice, but i do it all the time (not in matches) because i can hit it with a really random side spin
 
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