Backhand Slice | How to Knife It Like Federer
To watch the video, click here: https://youtu.be/loH3YzgFNP4
Want to Knife Your Backhand Slice like the pros?
Hey There, Ramon Osa with you here and if You’ve been watching Federer’s matches at Wimbledon, you’ve seen him absolutely KNIFING his slice.
And if you’re like me, you’ve thought… I wanna be like him.
He’s PeRFect… (see what I did there?)
Anyway… Roger’s can really knife his slice, and in this video, I’m going to walk you through exactly how he does it… and in turn, how you can do it too.
Let’s get started
Ok, the Slice… awesome shot to have, because it’s super versatile. You can use it in defense if your opponent pulls you wide, and you need some time to get back into the court… you can use it offensively if your opponent hates the low ball… and you can absolutely use it in when you’re in transition to get into the net, put the volley away, and celebrate.
Here are some things that you’ll want to do, if you really want to knife the slice.
- Grip, continental all the way. Some people hit the slice with an easter forehand grip… but I like to keep it simple, you can get that knifing action with a continental grip, bonus being, it’s the same grip you’l want to use up at the net, if your’e thinking of coming in.
Notice here, Roger is going to knife his backhand slice, and if ya peek at his grip, you’ll see he’s in between a continental and eastern forehand… you can experiment with this, but I say go with continental!
- Preparation… this one is absolutely key if you want to consistently keep your opponent scrambling for your slice, and trying to pick up the low ball.
Couple of things going on here… . Knuckles to the sky on your dominant hand. And you can see Roger here modeling this… by the way, if it sounds like I have a major man crush on Roger… I totally do, I admit it… and Roger, if you’re watching this… call me up, let’s do some videos together.
The next thing in the preparation is your non-dominant hand, so if you’re a righty, that’s your left… is going to be supporting the racket… I like keeping my left hand around the throat, It doesn’t really matter where it is, but make sure you’re using your non-dominant hand, it helps stabilize the old racket head before you knife your backhand slice.
Last thing on the preparation, and this is the most important part… you want to make sure your racket head is ABOVE the ball… more precisely it’s above the height where you’re going to contact the ball.
If you try and hit a slice on the same level as the ball, the ball is going to float on you, your opponents going to be all over it, and you’re going to be scrambling around the court… you don’t want that… you want him to be doing the scrambling.
- Ok, you’ve got the right grip, your preparation looks like a pro, now what. Well, we’re going to swing. The swing path will be different depending on if you’re trying to hit that deep, hard, penetrating slice, of if you’re trying to hit a short angle, or even a dropshot very similar. And the image I like is the smile. Mainly because tennis is fun, but also Because as you’ll see from the side here, the racket starts high, you swing down on the ball, and then it can come back up again. Much like when you smile.
Incidentally, I had a coach who said the backhand slice is like “airing the armpit”… great analogy… but make sure you’ve showered recently, if you plan on showing this to your good looking doubles partner… it’ll help them receive the message the right way, if ya know what I mean.
- Now as you’re executing your swing, you gotta remember to stay sideways. Otherwise what happens is you over rotate, you lose power, you pull away from the ball, accuracy goes out the window, that’s no good.
You want to Make sure you stay sideways through the stroke, finish your smile, and THEN open up back into the court and get ready for your next shot.
If you watch the pros do this in real time, you’ll say “Ramon, I swear they’re rotating through the stroke!”…I hear ya… but let’s look at my man Roger here, knifing his slice, staying sideways through contact and voila, then he opens up, and prepares to pepper the next ball at his opponent.
Now you may be asking, Ramon… when do I actually make contact with the ball. and it’s a great question, I’m glad you asked, because as you know… the moment you hit the ball is the moment of truth… it’s largely what determines if the ball does what you want it to do… in this case,it’s if you get that knifing biting slice that you want.
The answer is, the 45 degree angle into the court. If you’ve subscribed to my channel, first off… great to see you back… you’ve heard me talk about this all the time. You want to make contact right here at the 45. By the way, if you haven’t subscribed, I’d definitely like to have you aboard, so go ahead and click the subscribe button!
Ok, contact at the 45 degree angle… now, the racket has got to be slightly open because we’re swinging DOWN at the ball, and if we did that with a neutral racket, it would plop right into the net.
So you’re probably thinking how open should I be?
And the answer is “it depends”… and it’s something you’re going to have to feel, and practice with trial and error… but basically, if we’re talking about a knifing, deep, penetrating slice, you’ll notice the more “DOWNWARD” motion you have on your swing, the more open your racket face can be. We’ll talk about the short angle slice in another video, so if that interests you, make sure you subscribe so you get that lesson when it comes out.
Again, this is something you’ll have to really feel.
The next big thing, is keep your head still through contact. This one is absolutely key… and I always used to get curious when I was learning this shot, and I curiously hit a lot of balls long, wide and into the net.
It’s the weirdest thing… but you want to train yourself to keep your head still through contact, famous pictures of Roger everywhere show his head just still and centered on contact… and let’s just take a second to admire this thing… (Cheesy music playing)
Ok… so keep your head still, don’t get curious and pop your head up… it will actually help you be MORE accurate, and hit a better knifing slice.
And Just as an aiming tip… MOST players I watch hit their slices too high over the net… so when your’e practicing this, I recommend you actually AIM for like the top tape… if you’re consistnetly floating the ball, then even aim for th middle of the net. And you’ll start really getting a feel for KNIFING the backhand slice.
Thanks so much for watching this video, I had a great time making it for you.