The tennis slice serve is a very important shot that can effectively pull your opponent off the court and open up the court for you to start an offensive attack.
The tennis slice serve is hit with sidespin. The sidespin is accomplished by the brushing effect of the racket face into the ball. For right-handed servers, the racket face should strike the center part of the ball and brush the ball to the imaginary 3:00 o’clock position. For a left-handed server, the direction of the brushing motion is leftward.
The lack of topspin in this type of tennis serve gives a disadvantage to the server since the net clearance is very limited. This type of tennis serve is also a bit tricky and has a lower margin of error. The tennis slice serve must be perfectly executed to do it right. Because of these limitations, this tennis serve is only ideal for the first serve.
In addition, the tennis slice serve is best to use if your opponent has a weak forehand or when your opponent is standing far towards his backhand side. In both situations, you can use the slice serve to either hit an ace or force a weak return.
Adding Power on the Slice Serve
To add power on the slice serve in tennis, a full sidespin effect must be done. Technically, this type of serve is called the “sidespin serve” or the “slider serve”. A powerful slice serve normally curves to the left side of the court (right side for left-handed server) when the ball is in the air and skids off to the left after it bounces on the ground. This article explains how you can hit a slice serve accurately.
Use the Continental Tennis Serve Grip
To be able to hit an accurate slice serve, you need to use the right grip. Some players prefer to use the Continental grip for an easy and natural slice serve. Other tennis players prefer to employ the Eastern backhand. If you use Eastern backhand grip, you should hit the ball with the forehand side of the racket face.
Tennis Serve Stance
The proper stance is vital for a perfect slice serve. To be able to perform it properly, you can make use of the net posts as your point of reference. A proper stance is achieved when your body faces to the right hand net post if you are a right-handed player. If you are a left-handed player, your body should be facing the left side post. Once you are in the right position, coil your upper body in such a way that your shoulders are directly facing the net.
Toss the Ball Properly
The location of the toss for a tennis slice serve is different from other types of serves particularly with the flat serve or with the topspin serve, but the mechanics are similar. You have to hold the ball near the tips of your fingers. This is to ensure that there is no obstruction when you release the ball at the start of the ball toss.
In the other types of tennis serves, the ball toss is in done in a vertical manner (12:00 to 1:00 o’clock for right handed players, and 12:00 to 1:00 o’clock point for left-handed players). Whilst in a tennis slice serve, the ball is tossed slightly further to your right side (if you are right handed player). But remember not to overdo it. If you successfully toss the ball, it will allow you to swing across the ball in the later stage of the serve execution. For beginners, practice more and do some experiments in tossing the ball until you find the right way to toss the ball without losing your balance during the swing.
Bend your Knees and Coil your Body
Since a slice serve is normally used for first serve, it is therefore necessary to add power to it. To do this, proper knee bending and body coiling during the wind-up movement should be accomplished.
To do this, turn your shoulders at around 45 degrees towards your back or towards the back fence while your hips remain with their original position. A perfectly coiled body is when your shoulders and your hips are not aligned. At the same time, you also have to bend your knees.
Then slide your right foot (for right-handed players) to the right to facilitate your body alignment. As a result, you should hit a wide serve or your serve should hit the sideline of the service box.
The Elbow Up and the Racket Down Position
This position of the tennis slice serve is also typical with the other forms of tennis serves especially with the topspin serve. But both serves differ in some executions in the later part.
At this part of the serve, your legs are already up from the ground. Your upper body has also uncoiled. Your racket drops, with its racket head end point pointing to the ground. This racket drop position allows you to maximize your swing length and create a fast racket speed.
The position of your upper arm differs from the topspin serve. When you do a topspin serve, your upper arm should be in a vertical position.
However when you execute a tennis slice serve, your upper arm should be slightly slanted towards your front. That’s because your racket swing should be more to the side than going straight upward to produce the slice effect.
As a result, your elbow should also be bent at an angle of more than 90 degrees. Your wrist should be relaxed and angled at 90 degrees with your forearm.
The Slice Serve Swing
The most important aspect to look into in executing a tennis slice serve is the racket edge-first position during the swing.
From the drop down position (above) of the racket, the racket should be on its edge-first position as you start the swing. Edge-first positron means that side of the racket head is the one facing the ball instead of the racket face or the stringbed. The racket edge-first position is maintained from the time your arm starts to drive upward, to your forward swing, until you swing to the right.
Seconds before contact, the hitting arm elbow should start to straighten but the racket should still maintain the edge- first position as it approaches the ball. Then the edge-first position starts to change and the racket angle starts to slightly face the ball. This is due to the increased inertia lag in your racket, increasing the angle between the racket and your forearm to 90 degrees. The racket face should strike the ball at the center part of the ball, brushing it towards the 3.00 o’clock position.
After contact, your racket should continue its movement to right as the effect of the left to right (center to 3.00 o’clock brushing) motion.
Tennis Slice Serve Follow through
The tennis slice serve ends on the left side of your body, just like the other tennis serves. A slice serve is also evident with your right foot landing a bit more forward than the other serves like the topspin-slice serve.
Slice Serve Location
The point where the ball lands on the court is also an indication if the tennis slice serve was executed perfectly. The target point of the tennis slice serve is the service box sideline. Thus, if the execution is not done perfectly, the ball can land two feet towards the center. This means that the curving effect of the slice was not achieved.
A successful slice serve can be very difficult to return. In case the receiver does return the serve, the return is normally weak. The tennis slice serve is definitely a serve that every tennis player should consciously work on to perfect their overall serving game.
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