The tennis forehand slice is a technique that is used by players even at the professional level of tennis. Learning the forehand slice involves finesse and technique to create the slice forehand of the pros.
The tennis forehand slice is an important shot utilized by players at all levels to create variety as well as a change of pace during a point.
A forehand slice in tennis is executed in two ways. One is to hit the forehand with pure backspin and the other way is to hit the forehand shot with both backspin and sidespin. Although, the slice forehand shot hit with a backspin is more common than the one hit with a sidespin.
In addition, the tennis forehand slice shot is less popular than the slice backhand shot. That’s because instead of using the slice forehand, players prefer to use the more popular forehand shot, the topspin forehand. Topspin forehand shot can be used in a number of ball heights and also allows higher net clearance. As a result, tennis forehand slice is only used when needed.
Some of the cases where the forehand slice is needed is when your opponent’s ball is high or when it is too short to successfully hit a topspin forehand. The slice forehand is also ideal when you want to execute a perfect and accurate approach shot. This is due to the fact that the tennis forehand slice bounce is low which prevents your opponent to return a topspin shot. As a result, you have better chances of success in your volley shots since your opponent might be forced to return a high rising ball, which is very good to volley.
Furthermore, the slice effect of the ball also brings the ball farther airborne and slows down the ball bounce. These features can affect the momentum of your opponent. And lastly, having the tennis forehand slice as an additional tool to your repertiore that allows you to choose several shots to use that will throw off your opponent’s timing.
Tennis Forehand Slice Ready Position
The slice forehand ready position is the same as the other tennis strokes whether it is a groundstroke, a volley, a return of serve and many others. Being in a ready position for your opponent’s incoming shot involves holding the racket throat with the non dominant hand (if you are right-handed) and supporting it with your left hand. Spread your feet at shoulder-width apart and bend your knees at a comfortable angle with your body in a strong athletic position.
The bending and the crouching of your knees and body respectively will allow an easy and quick movement to either side wherever your opponent hits the ball. In addition, you should also remember that you have to hold your racket in front of your body. This position is most preferred by many players because of the ease it offers when you hit either to your forehand or backhand side. In fact, if you employ this ready position, all you need is to a slight turn of your body to prepare for the ball to your right or to your left side.
Tennis Forehand Slice Technique
Some players prefer to position their racket face in front of their left shoulder. This is the case for right handed players. However, if you are a left-handed player, position it in front of your right shoulder. When you are in the ready position waiting for your opponent’s return, you also need to be ready physically and mentally. You need to be relaxed and mentally alert to be able to hit the right shot in response to your opponent’s return.
Tennis Forehand Slice Grip
In professional tennis, most players use the Continental grip when they hit the slice forehand shot because this grip allows the player to achieve good racket support. However, some players use the Eastern forehand grip when they hit the slice forehand tennis stroke. This grip is preferred by some players because it puts the center of your palm in a parallel position with the stringbed of your racket, thus making the execution of the stroke light and easy.
The most awkward grip to use is the Semi-Western grip. Some players but not many still prefer to use this grip especially if they are not comfortable switching grip from one forehand groundstroke to another.
Tennis Forehand Slice Footwork
The tennis forehand slice footwork is the same as the other tennis strokes. It begins with the split step. The split step is the first footwork move done by a tennis player in preparation for the opponent’s return. With the eyes focused on the opponent’s movements, you have to be in the split step exactly when your opponent begins to make contact with the ball. To do this footwork, you have to take a slight hop (elevating your body off the ground) Once your feet leave the ground, spread them apart so that the time your feet land on the ground, you attain good balance. This split step in tennis is very important because it enables you to go any direction (wherever the ball’s direction is). Remember that you can’t just do the split step anytime you want. You have to time it properly based on your opponent’s movement.
Then as your opponent’s ball approaches, execute small steps to bring you towards the ball and then execute one last big step. This final big step is important when you transfer your body weight as you are about to execute the series of steps in slice forehand actual execution.
Tennis Forehand Slice Stance
Normally, most players utilize the neutral stance when they hit a slice forehand. If you do this, you have to position your feet so that it is aligned in a straight “toe to toe” relationship. In other words, if you mark a line from one of your foot to your other foot, the line formed must be parallel with the net or the baseline. Other players hit the tennis forehand slice with a closed stance. In a closed stance, your body should be in a sideways direction, with your racket head positioned at around shoulder level.
Tennis Forehand Slice Backswing
The forehand slice backswing also plays a vital role in executing the perfect and effective slice forehand shot. The forehand slice backswing starts with a shoulder turn. As you swing you racket back, make sure that it is positioned up.
This means that your hand holding the racket is positioned a bit behind and above you head. The racket head should also be higher than the path of the ball. See to it that the long axis of your racket is almost horizontal to the ground and that the racket tip points more or less to the back fence. Then if you want to execute the square stance, step your left foot forward (for right-handed player) and be ready for the forward racket swing execution.
Tennis Forehand Slice Forward Swing
Another vital aspect to be able to hit an effective slice forehand shot is the forward swing of the racket as you are about to make contact with the ball. As you swing your racket forward, make sure that you also swing your racket in a slightly downward movement. In doing so, avoid dropping the head of the racket quickly (unless you only have seconds left before contact). The forward swing does not only determine the accuracy of your slice forehand shot, but it also affects the amount of power you produce on your shot. If you drop the racket head at a fast pace, this will result in an increased backspin effect but with less power. In most cases, the slight downward movement of the racket produces better results than the abrupt one.
Tennis Forehand Slice Point of Contact
The forehand slice backswing also plays a vital role in executing the perfect and effective slice forehand shot. The forehand slice backswing starts with a shoulder turn. As you swing your racket back, make sure that it is positioned up. This means that your hand holding the racket is positioned a bit behind and above you head. The racket head should also be higher than the path of the ball.
See to it that the long axis of your racket is almost horizontal to the ground and that the racket tip points more or less to the back fence. Then if you want to utilize the neutral stance, step your left foot forward (for right-handed player) to align yourself.
Tennis Forehand Slice Follow Through
After contact, your feet should remain in a neutral or slightly closed position. A perfect and powerful forehand slice stroke should have a follow-through where the upper part of your body turns at an angle of 180 degrees. The follow-through should bring your racket head as low as your knees (below your waist). Then eventually, the racket head should move back quickly at around shoulder level.
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