Updated: Feb 7
When you are watching tennis, you would probably see professional players executing the slice backhand in their rallies. The evil under spin or even side spin of the ball could have amazed you and you are very keen to learn this useful shot.
Indeed, this technique is an excellent tool in tennis for various reasons. This technique can be utilized to direct the ball up over the net when approaching a low short ball. A good slice will also cause the ball to skid and bounce low, making it more difficult for your opponent to return the shot. Some players like to utilize the slice in a rally to disrupt the rhythm of the opponent and force him or her to hit a short ball or commit an unforced error. This technique can also be an incredible tool for defense because you can get sufficient time to get out of trouble and get in good position for the next shot.
With these reasons, having the slice backhand as one of your weapons is a huge advantage when you are playing in a tournament. If you want to learn this technique, you have to take note of the four tips below.
1. The Grip
The grip for this technique is the continental grip which is similar to the volley grip and serve grip. However, it will differ slightly for some players who are more comfortable hitting the slice with the eastern backhand grip.
2. The Backswing
In executing the slice backhand, you need to turn your shoulders and take your racket back above the level of the approaching ball. The non dominant hand cradles the throat of the racket and the racket face is open.
3. The Forward Swing and Contact
From your position, take some small adjusting steps before stepping to the ball with your right foot. The racket moves from high to low with the racket face slightly open. With this high to low swing, you should feel that you are sliding the racket face below the ball. The contact point is not as far forward as for the topspin drive.
4. The Follow Through
The racket continues to follow the ball towards the target finishing slightly above the shoulder height. The heel of the back foot faces the back fence. You need to be cautious that your body must remain sideways until the end of the stroke.
Practice Tips and Common Problems
You can start by asking a friend to toss some balls for you to practice at the service line. As you feel more confident, move gradually to the baseline. Some common problems you may face include the ball going too high above the net or the ball keeps going to the net. If the ball is going too high, I suggest you speed up the racket a little on contact to create more under spin. If the ball keeps going to the net, you can adjust the angle of the racket face. The more open the racket face, the more spin that will be produced. You should also try to stay sideways longer and keep your head still so that you can stay with the ball better and hit a deeper and cleaner slice.
Do not anticipate excellent outcomes when you just had your first few attempts. The slice backhand technique requires some amount of control and touch. As your friendly coach, my advice is to be patient and practice as much as you can. The slice backhand will take some time to master but I am sure it is worth the time to learn this useful technique to help you in your tennis game.
Watch the video to see how Roger Federer executes his slice backhand shots in slow motion and real time.