The One-Handed Backhand Sidespin Slice: Photo Lesson

01
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Starting Backswing

One-Handed Backhand Sidespin Slice: Starting Backswing
(C)2006 Jeff Cooper licensed to About.com, Inc.

The one-handed backhand sidespin slice usually has considerable backspin. The mixture of the two spins varies with each stroke. One shot may have only a touch of sidespin, the next quite a heavy sidespin. Hitting some backspin makes the shot easier to execute, and the backspin helps to magnify the sidespin's effect by slowing the forward velocity of the ball so that the sideways curve is sharper. As with the backspin slice, the sidespin makes an excellent approach shot, and if your opponent looks up to see where you are at the net while trying to hit the ball (a common mistake), the sidspin can move the ball off course enough to cause her to miss or make poor contact. You can also use the sidspin to curve the ball into your opponent (jam him) or make it curve away so that he has farther to run. Probably the only significant drawback to adding sidespin to your slice is the risk of hitting wide by aiming straight down the line and failing to taking into account the ball's curving flight. A sidepsin slice curves both in the air and on the bounce.

A few points to observe in this photo:

  • Left hand on throat to help ensure shoulder turn and set precise racquet position
  • Full Eastern backhand grip
  • Preparing to step forward
02
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Backswing Complete

One-Handed Backhand Sidespin Slice Backswing Complete
(C)2006 Jeff Cooper licensed to About.com, Inc.
  • Left hand sets racquet position
  • Upper body aligned with sideline
  • Looking over shoulder at ball
  • Taking large step forward
03
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Mid-Swing - One Frame Before Contact

One-Handed Backhand Sidespin Slice: Mid-Swing - One Frame Before Contact
(C)2006 Jeff Cooper licensed to About.com, Inc.
  • Racquet face fairly open
  • Long step forward helps get body low and transfer weight forward
  • Weight squarely on front foot
  • Since previous photo, body has dropped one foot; racquet has dropped more than two feet
  • Left hand balances right
04
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Contact

One-Handed Backhand Sidespin Slice: Contact
(C)2006 Jeff Cooper licensed to About.com, Inc.
  • Racquet has dropped roughly another foot since previous frame; strings are brushing down the back of the ball
  • Racquet face fairly open: necessary to give ball some lift, given that the strings are brushing downward
  • Meeting ball around 18 inches in front of front foot
  • Upper body well balanced above center of gravity
  • Left hand balancing right
05
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One Frame After Contact

One-Handed Backhand Sidespin Slice: One Frame After Contact
(C)2006 Jeff Cooper licensed to About.com, Inc.
  • Racquet moving to the right (away from the camera) indicates sidespin
06
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Early Follow-Through

One-Handed Backhand Sidespin Slice: Early Follow-Through
(C)2006 Jeff Cooper licensed to About.com, Inc.
  • Racquet continues to the right
  • Body remains low: this is one of the shots where one really should "stay down" for a bit, unlike on a topspin drive
07
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End of Follow-Through

One-Handed Backhand Sidespin Slice: End of Follow-Through
(C)2006 Jeff Cooper licensed to About.com, Inc.
  • The long downward sweep of the swing is naturally counterbalanced by a high finish
  • Body rising to start to get ready for the next shot
  • Left hand still balancing the right