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How to Hit a Slice Serve in Tennis: 4-Step Slice Serve Tutorial

Written by MasterClass

Last updated: Aug 11, 2020 • 2 min read

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The serve is one of the most important shots of a tennis game, and there are many different types of serves players can use. Along with a solid forehand and backhand, a good tennis serve is an asset that can alter the ball’s trajectory, dragging your opponent way off-court, or forcing a ball to their weakness, giving you a definitive advantage in every game you serve.

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What Is a Slice Serve?

The slice serve is a type of serve for tennis players that adds sidespin to a first serve or second serve. Unlike flat serves that are hit primarily from the back, or kick serves that are hit “up” to add topspin, slice serves brush along the side, effectively changing the spin and bounce of the ball.

What Are the Advantages of Slice Serves?

The slice serve technique draws the opposing player out wide to the ad or deuce side, leaving the rest of the tennis court open. The slice serve motion creates sidespin, which causes the ball to bounce farther away when hit into the outer corner of the service box, or right into the returner’s body when hitting down the “T” (the perpendicular center mark on the court). The tennis slice serve tends to sit low on the court due to their sidespin and can get your opponent out of position, giving you an opening to take advantage.

What Are the Disadvantages of Slice Serves?

Slice serves may be advantageous with their placement, but it comes at the cost of speed. Slice serves are much slower and less powerful than flat serves, so the opposing player has extra time to strategize their return.

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How to Hit a Slice Serve

A good slice serve can be a literal game-changer during a match, saving you from the dreaded double fault. For how to properly hit an effective slice serve, check out the following steps:

  1. Get the right grip. You can use a continental grip (or for some, an eastern grip) to perform this effective serve. This grip provides a more natural slicing motion when attempting to execute a slice serve.
  2. Toss the ball high with your non-dominant hand. A high serve toss is essential for a successful slice serve. You should keep the ball above your head, as changing the positioning of your ball toss can signal to your opponent that you are about to try something different.
  3. Slice the ball. With your hitting arm, use your wrist to cut around and slightly under the side of the ball (a swing from high to low). For a right-hander, the follow-through should cross your body to the left side, and for a lefty, vice versa.
  4. Avoid pronation. Pronating your wrist will cause you to hit your contact point flatly, so try to keep your racket face in a chopping motion as you follow-through your slice serve.

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