Back to basics: One-handed slice backhand

Back to basics: One-handed slice backhand

We team up with Tour coach David Sammel and young British pro Yasmin Clarke to master the slice backhand.

The one-handed slice is an important weapon for players of all standards and styles. It can help you get back into a rally when you’re pushed out wide, it can be used as an approach shot, you can hoist up defensive lobs with it and you can hit dropshots with it too.

Your shot will stay low for your opponent which will make it harder for them to hit aggressive topspin replies. It’s an especially good tactic on fast courts where a ball hit with slice will skid through and give your opponent very little time.

The technique

1. Use a chopper grip to hit the slice, which will allow you to open the racket face and slide the strings underneath the ball.

2. Use a smooth take-back slightly higher than the ball so you can come down from high to low to generate backspin.

3. Try to set-up using a nice, wide base so you don’t topple over. Good balance is very important in maintaining control.

4. Make contact in front of your body and use a smooth stroke. The racket arm should be pretty much straight on contact. The angle of the racket face is key: too closed and you’ll hit too flat, too open and you’ll get too much height.

5. Split with your non-playing arm to help balance and hit through the ball. Increase the speed of your swing for a more powerful stroke. Make sure your bodyweight is moving forward.

6. Finish the stroke with the racket pointing in the direction of the target area.

The tactics

When you’re first learning this shot just concentrate on the amount of spin you’re putting on the ball. Once you’ve mastered this the other components of the shot will seem easy.

Sammel says…

“For a two-hander Yas has lovely racket work and a good slice. That means she should have a good backhand volley too.”

Posted by: tennishead magazine

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