A drop shot in tennis is a lightly touched ball that barely makes its way over the net, thus making it difficult for the opponent to reach the ball before it reaches its second bounce. A drop shot is one of many tactics that tennis players use to catch their opponents off guard to score during a match. When done/placed perfectly, it can help achieve a point during a match. More importantly, it can get in the head of your opponent that you have another way to score points during a match.
So, when should you use a drop shot during a tennis game? How do you perform a drop shot in tennis? How should you defend against this type of shot during a game? Finally, is there any difference between this shot and a slice?
Here is the complete guide to tennis drop shots and more.
When Should You Use a Drop Shot in Tennis?
A tennis match could be a back-and-forth adventure that can take the breath out of even the best players. A drop shot is effective, but there is a preferred time to perform this shot. If done at the wrong time, instead of presenting a challenge for your opponent, it could prevent you from getting the proper footing in the event your opponent returns the shot. Therefore, two times, it would be advised to try a drop shot.
The first instance is when you see your opponent is visibly tired from the match. Tennis is a game of endurance, but some train harder for that endurance than others. For example, if a rally has dragged on for some time and your opponent is not as sharp as they usually would be, then hitting a drop shot would be advisable because they would have difficulty catching up to this short ball.
The next instance that would be opportune to hit a drop shot is when your opponent is on the baseline. Even if they have a good endurance level, it can still be challenging for any player to make their way from the baseline to the net on a tennis court; that is a long journey. Some players are better at returning shots at the baseline, so if you see that they are not comfortable with being close to the net, then using drop shots would give you the advantage.
How Do You Hit a Drop Shot in Tennis?
Now that you know when to shoot a drop shot, it is essential to learn how to hit a good drop shot. The first step in the drop shot technique is to know that when hitting a drop shot, it is best to use a continental grip. The same as if you were hitting a short slice. This type of grip will give you better control of the tennis ball’s placement and spin.
A good forehand or backhand slice will come in handy because they have the same similar swing path, but when hitting a drop shot, it is vital to have a shorter backswing or a good drop volley. This backswing will improve your chances of hitting the ball. The final step is to open the racket face more than you usually would. This open racket will allow you to hit the ball at the angle necessary.
Of course, to perform a proper drop shot, you must hit the ball from underneath so the ball will have more of a floating motion. Not only that, but you will also need to move the racquet at a side angle so that when in the air, it will have better sidespin and move a little to the side as it makes its way into the opponent’s court. This sidespin will decrease the opponent’s chances of reaching or properly returning the ball.
How Should You Defend Against a Drop Shot in Tennis?
Defending a drop shot can be difficult, but some ways will give you the best chance of obtaining the point. The first option would be the play cross-court. This cross-court strategy means that if you can reach the ball, your goal is to return the ball to the open end of the court, preventing the opponent from getting it and returning it.
Another tennis tip for drop shot defense is simply hitting a counter drop shot. After hitting a drop shot, most players will elect to back up toward the baseline, as they will not be expecting you to be able to find the balance to strike another drop shot. However, if you can get the right footing and take the tips mentioned in the previous section, you can return with a drop shot and catch your opponent flat-footed.
What is the Difference Between a Slice and Drop Shot?
A drop shot is a lightly hit ball meant not to go too far over the net and land close to the net. On the other hand, a slice requires more power and an angle. The idea of a slice is to create backspin on the bounce, which will confuse your opponent on where the ball is going.
Conclusion: What is a Drop Shot in Tennis?
In summary, hitting a tennis drop shot could be the very thing a person needs to score. It can take the best tennis coach and tennis drills to master this type of tennis shot. Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal are notorious for using the drop shot in grand slam matches. So is the case for many other high-profile tennis players.
However, if you can get it right, it’s a clever groundstroke that can end a match quickly. It’s a technique used only in the right circumstance, and if you are very confident in your skills, if the opponent can return the ball, it can present a challenge for even the best players. But some of the greatest moments or wins have come off a drop shot, and they will remain an important role in tennis for many more years.
Greg Kristan, owner of The Stadium Reviews, LLC and TM Blast, LLC, brings his extensive experience visiting over half of the MLB ballparks, along with numerous MLS, NHL, NBA, and NFL venues, to provide in-depth coverage on the bag policy, food options, and parking. He has also been interviewed about his experiences on several sports podcasts.