Question for one-handers: easier to hit topspin or slice to hard shot? [Archive] - MensTennisForums.com

Question for one-handers: easier to hit topspin or slice to hard shot?

Lopez
03-02-2012, 05:03 PM
Hi guys :wavey:!

Got into a conversation with Clydey and green25814 on GM about which is easier: hitting slice or topspin to a hard hit shot to the backhand with the one-hander.

I've always felt that topspin is easier. Short backswing and guide it back crosscourt or down the line. I've felt that slicing hard hit shots, the timing is more difficult.

Of course I'm not talking about situations where you're really streched or the ball is already so much past your hit point that you have to slice it.

How do other players feel?

Clydey
03-02-2012, 05:15 PM
Thought you said you'd been defeated? :p

I obviously think the slice is a much more natural shot. It not only absorbs pace and buys you time to recover your position, but it is easier to time. Hitting over the backhand isn't a natural motion, so the ball is much more difficult to time.

Lopez
03-02-2012, 05:27 PM
Thought you said you'd been defeated? :p

I obviously think the slice is a much more natural shot. It not only absorbs pace and buys you time to recover your position, but it is easier to time. Hitting over the backhand isn't a natural motion, so the ball is much more difficult to time.

Defeated when discussing Federer ;).

Wanted to see if my experience is really in the minority.

I've played quite a lot and long, so there must be someone who feels the way I feel as well. I don't really feel hitting over the backhand is an unnatural motion.

Clydey
03-02-2012, 05:30 PM
Defeated when discussing Federer ;).

Wanted to see if my experience is really in the minority.

I've played quote a lot and long, so there must be someone who feels the way I feel as well. I don't really feel hitting over the backhand is an unnatural motion.

I'm sure there are others, but it'll be a minority view. To the best of my knowledge, most people find the slice to be a more natural shot. There will doubtless be exceptions, though.

Did you hit a top spin backhand conistently before you could hit a slice? If so, that is very unusual.

green25814
03-02-2012, 05:38 PM
Well I said most of what I feel in the previous thread, but I feel the greater physical strength you have, the easier the top-spin single hander is. For most people the slice is definitely the more natural and easier to hit shot.

I've never heard of someone preferring to return first serves with a top-spin single hander rather than the block slice, gotta say :lol:

Lopez
03-02-2012, 05:51 PM
I'm sure there are others, but it'll be a minority view. To the best of my knowledge, most people find the slice to be a more natural shot. There will doubtless be exceptions, though.

Did you hit a top spin backhand conistently before you could hit a slice? If so, that is very unusual.

Oh, so by natural you mean that which is easier to learn? Probably most start out with a slice but honestly I've had periods in my so called "career" when I've not been able to hit a good slice for the life of me but I've drilled the topspin. So, what feels natural at first may very well change over time. Like when you first took up tennis and started serving, compared to what it is today.

Well I said most of what I feel in the previous thread, but I feel the greater physical strength you have, the easier the top-spin single hander is. For most people the slice is definitely the more natural and easier to hit shot.

I've never heard of someone preferring to return first serves with a top-spin single hander rather than the block slice, gotta say :lol:

Well of course the topspin one has a short backswing compared to rallying. For me the crucial point is how high it bounces. If it's way above the hip, then I'll slice it, so I actually slice a lot of second serve returns unless I'm able to run around the backhand and drill a forehand. Of course in rallies if the opponent hits a really biting slice or you have to reach to the front you'll hit a slice too.

Clydey
03-02-2012, 07:31 PM
Oh, so by natural you mean that which is easier to learn? Probably most start out with a slice but honestly I've had periods in my so called "career" when I've not been able to hit a good slice for the life of me but I've drilled the topspin. So, what feels natural at first may very well change over time. Like when you first took up tennis and started serving, compared to what it is today.



Well of course the topspin one has a short backswing compared to rallying. For me the crucial point is how high it bounces. If it's way above the hip, then I'll slice it, so I actually slice a lot of second serve returns unless I'm able to run around the backhand and drill a forehand. Of course in rallies if the opponent hits a really biting slice or you have to reach to the front you'll hit a slice too.

You are definitely different to most players. The reverse is true with the vast majority of tennis players. They;ll look to lean into a ball above the hips and slice down low, since it's tougher to be aggressive off low balls.

Lopez
03-02-2012, 07:43 PM
You are definitely different to most players. The reverse is true with the vast majority of tennis players. They;ll look to lean into a ball above the hips and slice down low, since it's tougher to be aggressive off low balls.

I usually get down very low from the knees so I'll be able to generate the topspin.

Shoulder-height balls I almost always slice since they're so uncomfortable for a one-hander, unless I feel that it's a tactical suicide in that situation.

Interesting viewpoint, I didn't know people feel this way. Then again I don't know much players who hit a one-hander, except my regular hitting partner.

fast_clay
03-02-2012, 11:02 PM
Well I said most of what I feel in the previous thread, but I feel the greater physical strength you have, the easier the top-spin single hander is. For most people the slice is definitely the more natural and easier to hit shot.

I've never heard of someone preferring to return first serves with a top-spin single hander rather than the block slice, gotta say :lol:

the base option for the most part on return is block / open faced returns with continental grip, and is what many return to playing with on an ordinary day or will play in a tight match to get the point started... the margins are better for point starting, but also allow for a multitude of attacking options for your opponent if you dont catch crisp or float it short... this is a part of nadal's game that he has improved over the years but rarely gets the credit for - as in, he open face returns on the backhand wing, but it lands very deep with alarming regularity... nadal actaully has the best floater i have seen since a visit to my mates toilet in 1997 where he left a deposit for me...

but opening a match with a sharp, abbreviated returns with a strong backhand grip is very common also...

How do you know most players feel the opposite? That seems very weird.
The topspin backand is much more natural to me, at least single-handed. I find slicing much harder, cannot really hit it reliably. Then again, for some reason I also find the backhand easier to hit, and more powerful, than the forehand, so I may not be representative.


I have heard people say this before, but this really puzzles me, can you elaborate? For me slice is easier on high balls, and tospin on low balls, and with good reason. How can it be easier to swing low to high on a ball that is already high? I think you can only hit a flat show or a slice then. And how can you swing down on a ball that is already low?

by and large at pro level, two handers find it easy to play topspin and flat about the waist and around the shoulders due to the extra strut that the top arm provides (eg; left arm for right handers) - the top hand and arm is the control element... one handers have both the control and power elements left to the one arm, and so a slice is integral for anyone wishing to develop a complete one handed backhand game, as the control element of the one hander gets progressively weaker the higher the point of contact is...

depending on where you come from, slice is taught in different degrees of importance... in australia in the 70's 80's and early 90's, slice is the first shot a good junior will master for the most part... the aussies lost themselves though trying to copy 'world's best practice' and tried be good at what the rest of the world was doing and only in the last 5 or 6 years has there been a look back and an admission of what made players unique in the past...

..and what i can tell you is that the slice is taught first and foremost as both a rally option and a defensive option - the easiest way of keeping a point alive... and, for this it is most natural for the slice to be encouraged to be struck at knee height or below...

as one would progress through the levels, encountering tactically aware players adept and using angles and topspin to break down a single handed player would be as common as muck - subsequently the slice backhand would naturally develop as a way to keep a rally at 50/50... over time, the level of timing built up by constant use of the slice would be seriously refined, finally tuning the shot in to an attacking option, where the ball contact can be knifed at shoulder height - on the rise - and lasered down into the court forcing the opponent to hit up defensively, or play aggressively in response but with very much an added element of risk...

above all, the slice is a feel shot and only gets better the more you play it... in discovering the shot, if you abandon the practice of it because you made an error you thought felt totally wrong - then don't... bending the front knee and scooping under the ball with a continental open face only gets better the more you do it... and because it is a feel shot, it is extremely hard to teach - you can only encourage a player to use it or put them in situations where they would use it...


np dude, it depends on the person honestly. The single-hander I always found took a lot of physical strength, I was a slice machine when I played :p

Also I would always slice low balls, the lower the ball the harder it is to hit a top spin shot.

yes... a classically trained player will have no problem with the slice at any height level, or at any pace...

to sit courtside at rotterdam and watch soderling coil up, then repeatedly pummel in-to-out forehands only to see youzhny square up side on and feather the wrist under the ball, sending slice backhands cross court with ease time and time again - you do begin to understand that it is a shot that only time can teach, but when it is mastered it is the easiest option for the one hander in such a situation...

by the time soderling were to club the ball again, much of the pace he had generated from his previous shot was lost, his court positioning would be just as deep and he would have to expend the energy to generate the pace once again... where as youzhny expended very little out there...

so, when lopez and clydey were having the argument that started this thread in relation to fed vs delpo, it is easy to see where clydey is coming from in that federer is classically trained in all aspects of the game and for him and players like him, using the open face in this way is not an issue... but neither poster was in wrong in what they were conveying...

Lopez
03-02-2012, 11:39 PM
Excellent contribution fast_clay. Great to get some contribution from someone who has played a lot.

Johnny Groove
03-03-2012, 10:47 PM
If the ball is hit hard at me, naturally I would step in and hit a half volley top spin backhand. I really only use the slice when it is extremely low.

Even when the ball is high, I jump into it and try to take it on the rise. On return the same. It is one of my flaws though, my backhand shot selection.

Often times I will be too aggressive, trying to hit over every backhand instead of slicing when necessary.

Lopez
03-05-2012, 10:45 AM
So you're similar to me then :yeah:

Yeah I tend to try to end rallies quite quickly if they're neutral, going for DTL backhands etc... My shot tolerance isn't that good! I've been working on it, have recently been hitting some no pace forehands (inspired by Tomic) to throw off the rhythm of my opponent.

I'm more patient when I'm on the run, just keeping the ball alive.

Super Djoker
06-01-2012, 11:03 PM
I play two handed but obviously block at a stretch one handed ! You have to be stronger to block with slice as you have to hit threw the ball , I seem to have stopped blocking with spin , slice seems easier to keep the ball in court . I allways block with slice but spin is probably giving yourself more margin for error as slice stays lower , I am 6,1 but allways block with slice since I learnt it !

Super Djoker
01-30-2014, 11:34 PM
I seem to have stopped blocking with slice . Really really need to start doing this again as it is fantastic for neutralising a hard shot .