Tennis Serve: 3 Tips To Master The Slice Serve
Are you struggling to hit a great slice serve?
The slice serve was one of my best shots on the tour and took me a lot of time to develop.
Well luckily for you, I’ll give you 3 great tips – to do with your grip, your “sound”, and your angle to help you master your slice serve.
Tip #1: The Grip
Make sure that you have a continental grip. I’ve seen and coached a lot of tennis players who use a forehand semi-western, or eastern grip on the tennis serve.
Even those with a continental grip have the tendency to open their hand and switch their grip after tossing the ball.
If you’ve been playing tennis for any length of time, you know what a continental grip is.
But, here’s a couple of things that you should keep in mind. First, spread your index finger and angle the hand on the racquet, both are very important. Second, get the heel of the handoff of your racquet.
Third, keep your arm and hand nice and loose to reduce tension throughout the shot.
Here’s a video of me demonstrating the Continental Grip.
Watch from 2:18 to 3:26
Tip #2: The Ball Sound
Listen to the sound of the ball hitting the strings and notice the different sounds.
This is an awareness drill, an awareness concept. A lot of players focus on what’s called the clock face.
I have people emailing me, and sending me messages on YouTube, on my blog, and on my website all the time about the clock face, should I go from 9 to 3 or 6 to 2.
I’ll be honest with you, I’ve rarely thought about the clock face when I was a player and now as a coach.
Instead, I recommend focusing on the sound and making the necessary adjustments after each serve.
For instance, you can ask yourself: should I get more of the ball? Or perhaps accelerate more or less at contact?
Tip #3: The Contact Point
I learned this tip from John Yandell years ago, when I was playing on the tour.
So, when you reach up to make contact, when you’re hitting a slice, you want to feel like the racquet is more up and down.
The more that the racquet is straight up and down, the more that you can carve around the ball.
Now, don’t get me wrong when you’re hitting a slice serve, there’s still some pronation that can happen.
A bonus tip to improve your contact point in the slice serve has to do with your toss. If you’re a righty, you’ll try to toss the ball a little bit more to your right; and if you’re a lefty, you’ll toss the ball slightly to the left hand side.
This small adjustment will allow you to hit better slice serves.
In terms of the height, I recommend a low toss for the slice serve. You’ll be able to hit the ball as it’s rising or right at its peak.
In fact, if you have a low toss, it is easier to slice the ball or hit it flat.
Those are your three tips to master the slice serve. We cover the grip, the sound coming off the racquet, and the angle of the racquet at contact.
The key to successfully implementing these valuable tips is to focus on the process and work on each concept at a time. You’ll be amazed to see how you’re able to hit those amazing and wide slices serves in a short period of time.
As the Serve Surgeon, I’m committed to helping players all over the world, and I want to get you to the next level faster in your serve journey.
By Jeff Salzenstein, Founder Tennis Evolution
Jeff is a former top 100 ATP player and USTA high-performance coach
committed to helping players and coaches all over the world improve.
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