Friday, May 14, 2021

How to Hit Slice Part Two

Coach Wayne’s Corner

Photos by Wayne Clark | “Pickleball Academy of Southwest Florida’s Director Ryan Reader, demonstrating how to hit a backhand slice groundstroke.”

Hopefully, since reading my last column, you have been practicing opening the face of your paddle, getting contact under the ball, and beginning to effectively apply underspin (aka slice) to the ball. 

Let’s now address the rest of the body and it’s required motion during executing a slice backhand. 

If it is a low bouncing ball, make sure you are getting down to the level of contact with the ball using your legs, not your back. 

Keep your head down and your eyes on the ball at contact with the paddle. 

You want to pull the paddle through the ball, moving your arm forward from the shoulder and lifting with your legs. Do not karate chop at the ball. 

As we are making contact with the ball and begin to follow through, the wrist remains locked and the face of the paddle should still be facing open, with the edge of the paddle pointing towards the intended target landing zone. 

Finish your followthrough balanced, with your weight on the front of your front foot, using your nondominant arm as a counterbalance. The momentum of your body should be moving forward, towards the flight path of the ball and direction of your shot. 

You want to have a feeling of gliding through the shot. 

Putting all of this together can be challenging, and you don’t want to be programming bad habits, so my recommendation is to get together with a qualified instructor and arrange a hitting lesson. 

A good instructor will be able to not only consistently sustain an ongoing rally with you, but at the same time, critique and complement your abilities and challenge your capabilities to properly execute the stroke under pressure. 

Mastering the ability to apply underspin to shots will open up a whole new world of options of placement of your shots. 

Wayne Clark is a professional tennis instructor with over 25 years’ experience coaching players on all levels of the game. Wayne is also qualified in pickleball instruction and is on staff as an instructor with The Pickleball Academy of Southwest Florida at East Naples Community Park. Contact Coach Wayne by email at, or by phone or text at 239-450-6161. 

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