Pro Tips – The Backhand Slice

As an instructor at Carmel Valley Tennis, Donald “Don” Gomsi assists players at all levels. Don Gomsi focuses on helping beginning and intermediate players to develop good technique and advanced players to work on their game strategy.

The backhand slice can help a player in a number of ways, including as a way to slow the ball down or as preparation for an approach shot. The technique creates backspin as the strings make contact underneath the ball, but it requires careful attention to mechanics. A proper backhand slice should have a subtle high-to-low path, which the player achieves through upper-body rotation and by turning the shoulder.

A well-executed backhand slice also involves bending the knees, which allows the player to swing through the ball. This helps the slice to take on a length and smoothness that, when combined with acceleration, puts power behind the ball. Power requires control to be effective, however, so a player employing the backhand slice should attempt to scoop under the outside edge of the ball as he or she sends it on its way.

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The College Knowledge Tennis Event in San Diego, California

An instructor with Carmel Valley Tennis, Don Gomsi has served as head tester for the California and San Diego Division of the US Professional Tennis Association (USPTA) since 1985. In this capacity, Don Gomsi helps certify prospective USPTA members. He maintains a website associated with the San Diego Division of the USPTA that builds a sense of community among tennis pros. One event featured in the May, 2015, issue of Get Courtside is College Knowledge, which was held at the Rancho Valencia Resort and Spa in April.

This well-attended event brought together high school and junior players to engage with USPTA-certified coaches in learning about the college tennis experience. A United States Tennis Association (USTA) Tennis on Campus representative delved into the intricacies of achieving varsity team scholarships and the demands that college athletes face, even at the club team level. Other participants included the University of San Diego women’s assistant coach and the University of Southern California women’s tennis West Nott, CMS head coach. These participants were able to give intimate perspectives on the ways their programs work and the attributes they seek in student athletes.