Sliding on hardcourts

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by Irrelevant, Jan 9, 2013.

  1. Irrelevant

    Irrelevant Rookie

    Oct 4, 2012
    Today during our high school tennis practice, I tried sliding and noticed I actually wasn't too bad at it and I was recovering a lot better on wide shots. I understand long term use of this technique is bad on the joints but I'm not planning to do this daily, but it seems useful for those very hard to reach shots. I didn't start feeling the soreness in my ankles until an hour ago, and it's not that bad of a pain, more of a small bruise feeling.

    So just curious, if any of you guys are "sliders" on HC, I would appreciate it if there are any helpful tips in doing this maneuver.

    Note: I've never played on clay so I'm actually quite unfamiliar with the motion, my only real example to learn from is watching Djokovic/Nadal/Fed (although he doesn't do much on HC) or watch clay court matches.
  2. kpktennis

    kpktennis Rookie

    Dec 20, 2011
    This is probably kind of obvious but you want to plant and begin your slide before you make contact with the ball, that is you want to slide just enough to get your racquet comfortably to the contact zone and no further. That way there are no extraneous movements further past the ball than needed and you can recover/focus on the next shot.

    Another thing which might help is to time the movement of your feet to where you generally (not 100% of the time) make that last step and plant with your RIGHT (that is, the back foot on the forehand) that way you can plant your foot further back if you need the space to properly make contact. Hope that makes sense. Good luck!
  3. Relinquis

    Relinquis Hall of Fame

    Dec 12, 2012
    On the courts; hard & clay ...
    don't do it. not worth it. the pros* get paid millions to win and even then very, very few slide on hardcourts even though they'll slide around a clay court all day.

    but more to the point, if you need to slide to get to a ball then that means your speed/fitness/footwork, court positioning, or previous shot selection/execution wasn't good enough. you need to focus on these parts as no amount of sliding will cure this.

    the reason people slide on clays is because there is less traction on that surface so when you try to stop for the ball after approaching your momentum carries you forward, as if you were on ice. you don't try to slide. if you are sliding on hardcourts you're not moving right and are putting massive stress on your joints because there is so much traction/resistance on that surface that you have to overcome in order to slide.

    i played on red clay all of last summer and when i got back on to a hardcourt i could feel the difference immediately. too much traction to move the same way. i think you should try to find a clay court to check out. it's a big difference.

    you're too young to feel the pressure you're putting on your joints. trust me. do you want to play tennis in your 30s? your choice.

    * There are people like Gael Monfils who do this, but have you seen his knees lately? Destroyed.
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2013
  4. TheCheese

    TheCheese Professional

    May 10, 2012
    Probably not worth it. You don't need to slide on hardcourts to be a great player.
  5. goran_ace

    goran_ace Hall of Fame

    Jun 24, 2009
    At Large
    If I were your high school coach and I saw you deliberately try to slide I would pull you off the court immediately and give you a quick talk along the lines of 'Don't ever do that again. You are endangering yourself, and if it catches on with the other guys you are endangering them as well.'

    On a low traction surface like clay you can't make sharp cuts. You slide into your shot so you can change direction quicker afterwards. On a hardcourt this isn't an issue, and moreover, because there is a lot of traction if you try to slide and your shoe ends up gripping you can blow out your ankle or a knee.
  6. lonux

    lonux Hall of Fame

    Jun 27, 2010
    On hardcourt? Not a great idea. Clay is fine, and personally, I find sliding on carpet to be pretty doable too.
  7. Bergboy123

    Bergboy123 Semi-Pro

    Jul 27, 2011
    Federer, Djokovic, Nadal, all the top pros slide even on hardcourts WHEN they are going way wide to return an angled shot.

    I got into the habit of sliding on hardcourts back in high school too, but it became a huge disadvantage; I began sliding when I had no reason to, sliding on easier shots, etc. especially when my shoes got worn down.

    I had to consciously think about NOT sliding for a long time to break the habit. Now I'm back to just sliding on the wide shots :D

    That said, it's all about explosive movement. People start the first step with explosive movement, but in order to slide successfully you also need to kinda lunge into the last shot as well. Obviously you can't slide if you're merely walking, thus the needed force and speed.

    The least traction possible also helps sliding, as has been mentioned. This (for me at least) means only one shoe on the ground, and ideally not the entire shoe. When I slide to my forehand, most of my weight is on my toes. For my backhand it's more on the outside of my foot, since my foot is perpendicular to the baseline (backwards, extreme reach to hit a slice or something..)

    I would NOT recommend trying/doing this with new shoes. I learned the hard way that new shoes don't slide well, leading to injuries and hurt ankles. Break them in, wear them down a little bit, then go for it CAREFULLY.

    And just for clarification, someone above said that sliding means you weren't in position to hit the shot. That's not necessarily true. Sliding is a last second burst to stretch even farther than you normally could. While sliding COULD mean you're being lazy or whatever, for many if not most people that slide correctly, it means that you are going for shots that you would normally have missed.
  8. Larrysümmers

    Larrysümmers Hall of Fame

    Jun 29, 2009
    1313 Mockingbird Lane.
    yeah sliding on hard court isnt smart.
  9. WildVolley

    WildVolley Legend

    Jun 22, 2007
    I used to be a critic of sliding, but I've even found myself doing it lately when I'm scrambling for some shots so I've changed my mind.

    As long as sliding isn't done for style, it can be a legitimate way to slow down and change directions, and probably is a natural method of protecting the ankles. If you watch Djokovic or Monfils slide, you'll notice that they spread the legs out wide and drop their center of balance. By unweighting the feet some, it is easier to slide, but it also protects the ankles if you lock them. Sliding is a controlled way to slow yourself when you need to stop quickly but want to protect yourself from an ankle roll-over.
  10. TennisCJC

    TennisCJC Legend

    Apr 20, 2010
    Don't slide on hard courts.

    Federer rarely if ever slides and he was the best mover in his prime - even better than Nadal and Djoko.
  11. Relinquis

    Relinquis Hall of Fame

    Dec 12, 2012
    On the courts; hard & clay ...
    thanks for the detailed comments. good too hear other views.

    I don't know if i can agree with you on pros sliding on hardcourts; i agree that some do (novak, monfils, sometimes nadal), but i don't think it is good form of movement when you don't have millions on the line (even then). I don't see Federer, arguably one of the best movers, sliding a lot on hardcourts. Nadal has some bad clay court sliding habits (bad in the sense that they are not ideal for hardcourts) and has injured his knee and other parts of his legs due to the stress he puts on them, imo.

    are you referring to slipping after hitting a far shot? you can see federer do this at around 6:50 in these highlights (US Open):

    It seems to me that this isn't what you're talking about.

    i don't think this is intentional or a technique as you can see him hit this exact same shot several times in these highlights without the slip. it's like shanking the ball on a groundstroke with the shot still going in the court, something that the pros do sometimes, but not what they want or would like to do. I'd rather slide than roll my ankle if forced to in a particular situation, but i don't think that sliding is an example of good movement on hardcourts.

    this is just my opinion. i would really like to hear what any coaches or players would have to say on this.

    Coaches, how should we decelerate/slow-down when hitting a shot out wide after running to get to it on hardcourts?
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2013

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