There are some questions that I find myself being asked again and again and one of the most common questions I hear from intermediate level players is how to develop a strong slice serve. This is one of the more difficult types of tennis serve, but even if you’re a beginning player, I’d suggest you stick around while I address the topic. You may not be able to step out on the court and use this serve tomorrow, but file it away for future reference – it will definitely come in handy later on as you build your skill level as a player.
One popular misconception about the tennis slice serve is that it’s something which is much better suited to left handed players. Admittedly, left handed players like myself have a slight advantage here, but no matter whether you’re left or right handed, this is something that you can do. It takes a lot of practice to perfect this particular tennis serve, but it’s very rewarding when you’re finally able to successfully execute this somewhat tricky serve technique on a regular basis.
Now, let’s get into the mechanics of a slice serve; it’s a little complicated, but stick with me and you’ll have it down sooner than you might think. As you may already know, what sets a slice apart from your garden variety tennis serve is sidespin. So how do you put sidespin on the ball through your serve? First, let’s start with your grip. Generally speaking, you’re going to want to use either Continental grip or Eastern Backhand grip; most players will probably want to use Continental, but it’s a good idea to experiment to see what works best for you.
Basically, what you’re trying to do is to use the racquet to gently nudge the ball towards your dominant side. If you are a right hander, start by tossing the ball just slightly to your dominant side and striking the ball laterally on the same side; if you’re successful, the ball will curve to the left and continue curving to the left after it bounces.
The idea is to draw your opponent off to the side in order to keep the ball in play – and this gives you an opening to score, provided you’re ready for their return. One thing to keep in mind is that when you use a slide slice serve, you’re getting minimal (if any) topspin on the ball, so you’re not going to be able to aim too high. This is another reason why this tennis serve is something for more advanced players looking to take their game to the next level.
The key to the tennis slice serve is really in the follow through. What you need to do is to bring your racquet down and around your body, using your wrist to very slightly turn the angle of your racquet inwards as you go. However, it’s your shoulder which really does the work here – bring it down and around.
This should probably go without saying, but it’s important enough to bear repeating even to intermediate to advanced players – make sure that you follow through on your slice serve and bring the racquet all the way around. What happens as the ball is leaving your racquet is every bit as important, if not more so, than what happens at the moment it makes contact. Curl around the ball as you finish the swing and you’ll have a slice serve that will amaze your friends and frustrate your opponents before you know it.
Like any other techniques, perfecting the tennis slice serve takes time and of course, plenty of practice. It’s not going to happen overnight, but if you give yourself some time to work on this one and remember to be patient with yourself, the results will be more than worth the time and effort you put into developing this advanced serve technique.