The Pros and Cons of Hitting a Slice Shot in Pickleball

Since so many Pickleball players have also played tennis, you will see a lot of balls hit with top spin.  That means the top of the ball is rotating forward and you hit this by using a low to high motion, making sure you brush up on it.  But since I come from a racquetball background, I am in the minority of players who hit slice shots most of the time.  This means my paddle goes from high to low and I am cutting the ball so it imparts back spin on the ball.  I think since it is an unusual shot, I have many players asking me how to hit it.  While it isn’t hard to learn this technique, I think the real question is whether it is worthwhile to add the shot to your arsenal.

The advantage of using a slice when you hit the ball is that it stays low after it bounces. 

Even when I play against advanced players, they often have trouble lifting up enough on the ball to get it over the net if I hit a drive return.  So I think this is one of the most effective times to slice the ball using either a forehand or backhand return of serve.  Since a slice return stays in the air longer than a ball hit with top spin or flat, it also means it goes deep in the court.  So your opponents are pinned near the baseline, making it difficult to get up to the kitchen after hitting the third shot. 

Unfortunately, there is one big disadvantage of hitting a slice shot.  While the slice shot stays in the air longer, it also means the ball can float on you. 

Therefore the goal is to hit the ball low over the net if you are hitting a hard slice shot.  So I would recommend when starting out to try the slice, but dial back the power at first.  You will still achieve the same effect of  keeping the ball low after it bounces while minimizing the chance of it going out.  As you feel more comfortable with the technique, work on getting the ball as low as possible over the net.  Then you can add back more power to have a really effective shot few people hit.

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