The backhand slice is not just another shot in pickleball – it’s a strategic weapon that can significantly diversify your gameplay.
This shot applies backspin to the ball, making it skid and stay low post-bounce, challenging your opponent with a tricky return.
According to professional pickleball player and coach Will East (the-prince of-pickleball), the backhand slice shines when you’re stretched on the court. It offers greater reach than a two-handed backhand, which is limited due to the positioning of both arms.
Coach Will East’s Pro Tips for an Effective Backhand Slice
- Stabilize Your Paddle: Use your non-dominant hand (left hand for right-handed players) to stabilize and guide the paddle into position. Then, execute a sharp cut at the ball during your swing.
- Limit Wrist Movement: Keep your wrist firm throughout the swing. This consistency ensures a stable paddle angle and more controlled slicing action.
- Shift Your Weight: Proper weight transfer through the contact point is crucial. It compresses the ball and maintains a low trajectory, essential for an effective slice.
Watch and Learn
For a visual guide, check out this short video where Will demonstrates these tips in action:
Optimal Situations for Using the Backhand Slice
- Low Bounces: Utilize the slice when the ball bounces low, as the angle of the paddle helps get underneath the ball effectively.
- Defensive Scenarios: It’s an excellent choice when you’re pushed wide or back, buying you time to reposition.
- Neutralizing Power: Use the slice against powerful hitters to disrupt their rhythm and pace.
- Setting Up Offensive Plays: A well-placed slice can result in a weaker return, setting you up for an attacking shot.
- Drop Shots: Particularly useful in the kitchen area for creating opportunities to attack.
When to Avoid the Backhand Slice?
Avoid the backhand slice when the serve is hit to you slowly. If you have time to drive the ball and, more importantly, with topspin, you must do so. A topspin return will bounce away from your opponent rather than a backspin that checks up off the surface and can be attacked.
Also, avoid the backhand slice in the following situations:
- High-Bouncing Balls: Avoid slices here as they could lead to easy shots for your opponent.
- Off-Balance Positions: Slices are less effective and harder to control when you’re not well-positioned.
- Windy Conditions: The unpredictable nature of the wind can affect the control and trajectory of a slice.
- Skilled Net Players: If your opponent excels at net play, especially against low shots, consider varying your shots for better effectiveness.
To Sum Up
Mastering the backhand slice in pickleball is a bit of an art. It’s super strategic and can really up your game, but remember, it’s all about when and where you use it.
The backhand slice is excellent for controlling the pace of play, forcing your opponent into awkward positions, and setting yourself up for winning shots. It’s particularly effective in situations where you need to extend your reach or respond to fast-paced shots from your opponent.
Practice Will’s pro tips, understand when to use this shot, and you’ll add a formidable tool to your pickleball repertoire.
We are sorry that this post was not useful for you!
Let us improve this post!
Tell us how we can improve this post?