3 Pro Tips for Mastering the Backhand Slice in Pickleball

The backhand slice is not just another shot in pickleball – it’s a strategic weapon that can significantly diversify your gameplay. This shot applies backspin to the ball, making it skid and stay low post-bounce, challenging your opponent with a tricky return.

Coach Will East’s Pro Tips for an Effective Backhand Slice

1. Stabilize Your Paddle:

  • Use Your Non-Dominant Hand: For right-handed players, use your left hand to stabilize and guide the paddle into position.
  • Execute a Sharp Cut: During your swing, aim for a sharp cut at the ball.

2. Limit Wrist Movement:

  • Keep Your Wrist Firm: Maintain a stable paddle angle and more controlled slicing action by keeping your wrist firm throughout the swing.

3. Shift Your Weight:

  • Proper Weight Transfer: Ensure proper weight transfer through the contact point to compress the ball and maintain a low trajectory, essential for an effective slice.

Optimal Situations for Using the Backhand Slice

1. Low Bounces:

  • Utilize the slice when the ball bounces low, as the paddle angle helps get underneath the ball effectively.

2. Defensive Scenarios:

  • An excellent choice when you’re pushed wide or back, buying you time to reposition.

3. Neutralizing Power:

  • Use the slice against powerful hitters to disrupt their rhythm and pace.

4. Setting Up Offensive Plays:

  • A well-placed slice can result in a weaker return, setting you up for an attacking shot.

5. Drop Shots:

  • Particularly useful in the kitchen area for creating opportunities to attack.

When to Avoid the Backhand Slice?

1. Slow Serves:

  • Avoid the backhand slice when the serve is hit to you slowly. Instead, opt for a topspin return to make the ball bounce away from your opponent.

2. High-Bouncing Balls:

  • Slicing high-bouncing balls could lead to easy shots for your opponent.

3. Off-Balance Positions:

  • Slices are less effective and harder to control when you’re not well-positioned.

4. Windy Conditions:

  • The unpredictable nature of the wind can affect the control and trajectory of a slice.

5. Skilled Net Players:

  • If your opponent excels at net play, especially against low shots, consider varying your shots for better effectiveness.

What do you think?

Written by Pickle Pete

Pete is a semi-professional pickleball player known for his powerful serves and strategic play. Growing up in Austin, Texas, Pete was introduced to the sport at a young age and quickly developed a passion for the game. His athleticism and dedication to training have made him a formidable opponent on the court.

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