Slice (ball sports)

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Schematic representation of a (high) slice

The slice , also called undercut, is the name of a type of stroke in tennis and table tennis , in which the ball is played with a backward spin. In tennis and table tennis, this stroke variant is used with both backhand and forehand.

Striking technique

When slicing the ball is brushed with the club in a downward motion from back-top to front-bottom. The air flowing past the bottom of the ball, relative to the top of the ball, more slowly (the air particles carried along by the ball move in the opposite direction to the direction of flight, which is why the air is slowed down) and the turbulence cause overpressure and thus lift due to the Magnus effect . This results in a flatter, more elongated trajectory compared to the ball without rotation. In tennis, the ball is taken from the highest point if possible. In tennis, the backhand slice should be played with the flapping arm stretched out at the point of impact and the racket surface at right angles to the ground until slightly open. An upper body rotation should hardly take place. The player should stand to the side of the ball if possible; the shoulder of the flapping arm points to the net. With the chip, in contrast to the normal slice, the movement is ended early after the point of contact, as the player is usually already moving forward when the punch is executed. Often the slice can only be played at relatively low speeds, as otherwise it would fly over the baseline. After the impact, the ball bounces flat - because of the extended trajectory and because it is slowed down by its rotation - but at a greater angle than a ball without a slice.

In table tennis , the slice, which is called the undercut ball, is often played by defensive players far behind the table and far below the height of the table. The distance to the table can be several meters for undercut defense. The opposite technique, topspin , is used equally by offensive and defensive players ( balloon defense ).

Tactical application

This striking technique is used in tennis either as an attack ball, stop ball or defensive ball. Often the player gives the ball an additional side spin , which means that the ball bounces off to the side after hitting it. When attacking, this stroke technique is used for precise placement and gives the player time to move closer to the net because of the slow flight of the ball. The slice also saves time on the defensive in order to enable a player who has been pushed out of the middle of the field to take a more advantageous position. When struck as a stop ball, players with higher performance give the ball a particularly strong backward spin when it stops, so that the ball may even bounce back against the direction of movement.