How To Slice In Tennis

Tennis is, without question, one of the most physically and mentally demanding sports in existence. Not only do you need cardiovascular fitness, coordination, mobility, and ability, you also need to know how to adapt your game and play different shots.

In order to get the most out of the sport, you need to be able to manipulate your opponent and surprise them with shots they’re likely not used to. This is where the slice enters the fold.

How to Slice in Tennis

Both the forehand slice and the backhand slice are hugely underrated shots which, if executed to perfection, will have your opponent scrabbling for the ball, and massively out of position. It isn’t the prettiest of shots, and it might not be the preferred shot for a lot of the pros, but if you can slice, your game will advance massively.

Here’s a look at how to slice in tennis.

What Is a Slice in Tennis?

In tennis, there are heaps of shots to master. Each one offers its own unique advantages and drawbacks, and each one is tricky to master in its own right. Without question, the slice is one of the toughest.

Though very similar to a dropshot, a slice shot in tennis is different, in that it is a form of groundstroke, or a volley, with plenty of backspin on the ball. The player achieves this by hitting the ball with an open racket face, using little power, and using a high-to-low swing path.

The goal here is to make the ball spin fairly slowly through the air, and to stay low when it bounces, with an unpredictable skid as it hits the ground. This means that it can bounce irrationally, and low, making it a nightmare shot for an opponent to deal with.

The two main slice shots in tennis are the forehand slice and the backhand slice.

How to Backhand Slice in Tennis

A backhand slice in tennis is the more common tennis slice, and is performed with one arm, with virtually no power or rotation coming from your torso at all. The goal is to make your arm do nearly all of the work.

Here are some tips to help.

Don’t Focus on Power

With this shot, the goal is to focus on the feel of the ball on your racket, rather than power. You want to almost let your racket do all the work.

Keep Your Non-Dominant Hand Close to Your Body

To help ensure that you aren’t hitting the ball too hard, keep your non-dominant hand as close to your torso as you can.

Racket Path and Grip

When you hit the ball, and indeed, when you follow through with the racket, try to ensure that its path naturally comes across your torso. Grip the racket firmly and maintain a neutral position as you follow through. Let the racket do most of the work.

The continental grip is best for this particular shot.

How to Hit a Forehand Slice in Tennis

Used for dropshots, the forehand slice in tennis requires the player to put as much backspin on the ball as possible, with very little power. It gets its name because you almost have to make a slicing motion with your racket in order to execute the shot.

Here are some tips to help you to hit a deadly forehand slice in tennis.

Brush the Racket from High-to-Low

In order to perform a forehand slice, you need to make a slicing/brushing motion with the racket.

To achieve this, as the racket makes contact with the ball, almost try to brush the racket from high-to-low on the back of the ball.

Open Up the Racket Face Slightly

A slice shot has plenty of backspin. In order to achieve this, you need to open up your racket face slightly.

Get the Right Swing Path

Again, for a slice shot, it’s all about executing a high-to-low swing path. The amount of downward motion you put onto the shot, however, will affect the ball’s trajectory, and indeed, how much spin you put onto it. This is why you need to find the sweet spot between forward and downward movement.

Step Into the Shot

To help you generate more controlled power, it’s important to step into the shot. Lead with your non-dominant foot as this will help you to dictate how much power you put into the shot.

Follow Through

Just like with the backhand slice, when you follow through with your shot, try to keep it across your body. This will help with controlling the power and spin. You want to almost feather the ball over the net into your opponent’s half of the court.