I recently received a very good question regarding when to slice, so here is my short answer. First I would like you to refer to the shot selection chart that I used for one of my posts some time back. (See below.) After reviewing this, I would like you to understand that the slice can be used in many different situations.
The three most common situations or strategies are to use a slice when you are trying to change the pace of a point, transitioning and trying to get a high volley off the next shot, and as a last resort when you have no other shot to use (gives you a little extra reach if you have a two-hander.) It is also important to understand that there are three different types of slices; the drop-shot, the mid court slice, and the deep slice.
All of these will be used during different situations on the court. If you can think about the slice split into these three different categories, I believe it will help you to make better shot selection. For example, if you are transitioning from the baseline to the net you could use a mid-court slice or drop-shot to draw your opponent in. You could also hit a deep slice in this situation, but the type of slice you choose will depend on your strategy. In the scenario I just described, I am choosing a drop shot or mid court slice to “draw my opponent in” because my opponent either doesn’t like to come in or they are way behind the baseline.
You can use the slice at almost any time, the type you choose just depends on what your strategy or goal is. Be that as it may, here is a short list of when NOT to slice.
When NOT to slice:
- When the ball is above your shoulder
- Do not drop shot unless you are inside the baseline
- When you are on your back foot & are unable to transfer your weight
- When you are trying to change the pace of the point against a hard hitter, you will want to hit mainly mid-court and deep slices. It is very difficult to drop shot against balls that are hit very hard and deep.
- When your opponent is at the net. Slices tend to float so you must be very cautious here. The only slice you should use in this situation is the slice lob.
Tips for when you do slice:
- Make sure you are proactive with your grip changes. You do not want to be changing your grip to continental at the last minute. Especially if your goal is to slow down the pace of a point.
- Bend your knees!!!!
- Keep in mind the technical differences of each type of slice. Most importantly, the difference in swing sizes, and how much and how quickly you will open your racket face.
- Practice all the different slices and from different parts of the court. I can guarantee that this will help all your slice types improve and you will be better prepared to use them in matches.
- Carlos Bermudez Tennis