How To Develop A Knifelike Slice Backhand

1. Shoulder Turn

Whether you use an open or a closed stance, the shoulder turn is necessary for a smooth slice. Rotate your upper body so that your chest is facing the sideline and raise your racquet around shoulder height. Use your non-dominant hand on the throat of the racquet to aid the shoulder turn and to get your racquet into the right position until you begin the shot,

2. Knee Bend

Bending your knees is crucial, especially for dealing with a low-bouncing ball. A good knee bend allows you to hit through the ball and penetrate the shot as the racquet slides underneath the ball. Roger Federer bends his knees very well, as did Tim Henman in his time. The increased use of topspin, however, means that players on the tour don’t have to deal with low balls as much as they did in the past.

3. Long swing

A slice shot affords you the time to take a long swing, but I’ve noticed that some club players don’t execute the stroke properly and instead tend to muscle the slice with a short, volley-like swing. A slice is a smooth shot for which you need to make sure you get the racquet nicely behind you to take a longer swing at it, though as with all shots, you’ll need to accelerate through the ball, but swing high to low and away from your body while transferring your weight forward.

By Miles Maclagan

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