Tip of the Week Archive

   To hit a good drop shot one needs a good slice or underspin shot. A drop shot
is really nothing more than an underspin shot that lands short or close to the net.
The continental grip is the best for both the forehand and backhand drop shots
because it naturally tilts the strings open to lift the ball up. This allows the player to
put more backspin on the ball by cutting down and forward on the ball. The ball
goes up over the net because the strings are tilted open allowing the player to hit
down more on the ball for backspin.
   Great drop shots have two things in common. First, the ball must go up! Drop
shots are not shots in which the ball skims 1� over the net. Drop shots have
height and a good arc. This allows the ball to drop close by the net on your
opponent’s side of the court.
   Second, a good drop shot has spin! Lots of underspin or backspin. To get the
amount of underspin needed, you’ll need to have the racquet strings tilted
open. The more the racquet face is open the more spin and height you’ll get.
This requires a swing that is forward and almost parallel to the ground. Since this
is the case, the best ball to attempt a drop shot is a low, short ball.
   Angle is another important factor in great drop shots. Drop shots should usually
be hit cross court to utilize the lower net and longer ball path a cross court shot
uses. This allows one to swing through the ball with a longer swing motion. The
ball also stays closer to the net and travels away from the court. Hitting the drop
shot down the line or straight is only for the very skilled or very foolish.
   The last factor in a good drop shot is disguise. A good drop shot should look
like your going to hit a slice backhand. If you don’t possess a slice or
underspin backhand then you cannot have a good drop shot. To switch from a two-
handed topspin stroke to a drop shot is a dead giveaway. The racquet goes way
back over the shoulder and a good body turn. Starting with a short or small
backswing is an indicator that a drop shot is eminent.
   Hitting drop shot or even short balls is an excellent strategy for any level of play.
Most players, as they progress can hit the ball from side to side to make someone
move but only the very good players can move the ball short and deep as well.

Doug Hofer, USPTA      July 16, 2004