When to Hit with Slice (or Underspin)

Hit with slice, when you …

  1. Need to take pace off the ball. If the pace of the rally is becoming unmanageable (from your perspective), a great strategy is to take pace off the ball with slice to buy you more time to recover and to potentially disrupt the timing of your opponent(s).
  2. Are responding to a ball above your strike zone. The mechanics of the stroke provide a great response to high balls.
  3. Are responding to a ball below your strike zone. The mechanics of the stroke provide a great response to low balls.
  4. Are responding to a ball hit with slice. Just as it is easier to maintain the direction of a shot (rather than try to hit with redirection), it is easier to maintain the spin of a ball (topspin to topspin, slice to slice).
  5. Are approaching the net. An effectively hit approach shot with slice tends to stay down forcing your opponent(s) to hit up to your volley strike zone. You can also use slice on the approach to provide more time to close to an ideal net position.
  6. Are running to retrieve a shot hit wide left or wide right or digging out a drop shot. Look to the professional game for examples on how to respond with slice. It is a well-utilized response in the pro game to retrieving wide shots particularly when sliding to hit a shot and/or hitting from an open and outstretched (in some cases almost split-legged) stance.
  7. Want to disrupt the timing and flow of your opponent(s). Changing the spin of the ball (topspin to underspin) even when in control of the rally or in a neutral rally position can be extremely effective against more one-dimensional opponents and against opponents who prefer high and/or uniformed paced rallies.
  8. Are responding to a ball hit with pace, depth or both. Hitting with slice is an effective response when you are pressured with a difficult shot. It is easier to hit a ball late in your hitting zone with slice.
  9. Are competing against an opponent with an extreme forehand and/or backhand grip or an opponent with technical stroke deficiencies. Most players with extreme Western forehand grips have difficulty responding to sliced, low-bouncing balls. Players with straight (versus loop) take backs and players who are out of sync with their dominant and non-dominant hands (left and right hands) are two examples of other players who have difficulty responding to slice.
  10. Want to do something fun with the ball. Hitting with a variety of spins (including underspin and sidespin) can be a lot of fun. Having the skill to hit with a variety of spins leads to more imaginative play and play-pattern options.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s