Many of us look into the modern day of Pro tennis and the power that many players such as Djokovic, Serena, Wawrinka and other possess. However, what many players do not realize is that there is unfortunately a huge training level difference between these players and many club players.
The advantages that pros have over “us humans”:
- Professionals invest multiple hours a day into one-on-one training where they fine tune technique and physique as well as produce thousands upon thousands of repetition to fine tune timing and confidence
- Their footwork and balance allows them to control power whereas club players often struggle with balance issues causing many errors when attempting powerful shots
- Talent- I could only dream of the talent a player like Roger Federer possess to make power and precise shots in big moments.
Therefore, the chip or slice is an “old school” shot that is highly underutilized in today’s modern game and especially at the club level. A slice is one of the simplest shots from a technical perspective to hit. There is no drop under the ball, a follow-through is not necessarily a necessity, body rotation is minimal, and swing speed does not need to be fast in order for the shot to be effective.
Tactically the shot forces an opposing player to bend their knees and stay down on the shot. A Slice can also force an opposing player to come to the net against their will and exploit a weak volley game and or a slice can be used to come to the net forcing the opposition to swing up on the ball neutralizing power and taking away the lob.
Next time you are on the court play some old school tennis and use your chip to throw off your opponent in a multitude of ways. Sometimes hitting harder is not necessarily smarter!
About the author: Eric Hechtman is Tennis Director at Royal Palm Tennis Club, located in Pinecrest, Florida, Miami-Dade County. As well as running the teaching programs at Royal Palm, Eric was named USTA Junior Competitive Coach of the Year 2013.
Hechtman is a hitting partner for Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Venus Williams and Serena Williams. Eric enjoys teaching all levels but specializes in fitness, technique and strategy at the intermediate to advance level.