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Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Backhand Slice

Getting the fundamentals right...

This week, the Jordan Briones Primetime video series again works from the baseline. Instead of the servers, though, this post focuses on the return of serve and, in particular, the backhand slice by viewing his video Backhand Slice Success | How To Hit A Great Pickleball Backhand SliceWe will follow along through Jordan's presentation as he breaks the shot mechanics down and then puts it all together at the end.

But first, why even bother with a slice? Why isn't a regular backhand good enough? Simply put, the slice puts additional pressure on your opponent. It has a couple of benefits.

The first step in hitting the backhand slice is judging the ball headed your way and deciding the shot is appropriate. Then it becomes a matter of mechanics.

The first movement is to turn your paddle shoulder across your body and allow your corresponding foot to follow until your body is perpendicular to the net. At the same time, the paddle rises up to ear while the body's weight is loaded onto the back leg.

A point of emphasis for Jordan is the action of the non-paddle hand. It always serves as a balance to the action of the paddle swing. But it serves a second purpose on this shot. It is used to set the paddle near the ear.

The above are the components to get set for the shot. The final set position should be similar to that pictured below.

The set position must have you in balance so that your first movement of the swing is forward momentum of the body that allows the contact with the ball to be out in front.

The swing itself is an arc from the starting position near the ear to the finish up near the paddle shoulder. The swing is down and across the body with the paddle never changing position throughout. A stable paddle means that no wrist action should be used and the paddle should not undercut the ball. The paddle also should be held with a slightly open face.

To summarize the swing:

As I mentioned above, Jordan puts it all together in the end. This slide shows the key components of the entire shot process.

I would like to point one more thing in Jordan's shot-making as you view the video. Watch his ideas as he completes the swing. They stay focused on the contact point well after the ball has left his paddle. That is something to emulate with every shot. An example is shown below.

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