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The Drop Shot - What, Why, Where, When, Who
By:  Scott Baker | Tennis4you  | Tennis Forum  | E-mail

I love the drop shot. What is a better way to demoralize your opponent with just one simple shot? What is a better way to force them to the net if they are not comfortable at the net, or to simply play with their mind as you force them to cover every inch of the court? However, is that why you use the drop shot or do you use the drop shot for less desirable reasons?

A lot of times the pros (and many of us) will use the drop shot as a move of desperation. Maybe we are being out rallied from the baseline and have lost some confidence, or maybe we get tired and want the point to be over quickly. Either way, I do not recommend that you use the drop shot as a desperate resource. Rather, use the drop shot as a smart and offensive shot in which you know will result in turning the point into your point to win. In most cases, using the drop shot as a desperate resource will cause you to hit a poor drop shot from a lousy position and you will most likely not win the point.

You always want to be in a favorable position to hit a drop shot. You never want to attempt to hit a drop shot when you are well behind the baseline. This means the ball has a longer distance to travel before it crosses the net, allowing your opponent more time to react and get to the ball. The best position to hit a drop shot is inside the baseline.

One of the biggest weapons you can have when you are going to hit a drop shot is the element of surprise. Anytime you telegraph (let your opponent see what you are going to hit) the drop shot you could be in deep trouble. If your opponent sees that you are going to hit a drop shot they might run sooner than you expect. If they get there in time while the ball is still high enough they might have a good shot to hit a winner or to take control of the point. To keep from telegraphing your shot, you need to bring the racquet back like you would normally to make it look like you are going to hit a ground stroke. I see a lot of players bring the racquet back and then stand straight up before the swing. By doing this you let your opponent know too early what your plans are. The longer you can make your shot look like a regular ground stroke the more off guard you will catch your opponent. The slice ground stroke lends itself beautifully to the drop shot. There is almost no difference in the stroke until you hit the ball. If you are a big topspin slugger, hitting the drop shot in disguise will be a little tougher and will be telegraphed sooner.

The drop shot seems like such a simple shot, but can be very tricky to hit and hit at the right time in the point. Let's take a look at the where, when, why, what & who's of the drop shot.

What is a good drop shot?
1. A good drop shot is hit with slice/backspin.
2. A good drop shot bounces 6 times before it reaches the service line. A great drop shot never makes it to the service line.
3. A good drop shot is one in which the ball is on it's way down when it crosses the net.
4. A good drop shot is one your opponent does not expect.

Why do you hit a drop shot?
1. To make your opponent run.
2. To take control of the point.
3. To bring your opponent to the net.
4. To win the point.

Where is a good place to hit the drop shot?
1. In the service box furthest away from your opponent. Always hit to one side or the other, never down the middle. Hitting to one side will give your opponent a longer distance to run and opens the court up for you.
2. Hit the drop shot behind your opponent so he/she will have to stop and change directions before they start to run to the ball.

When is a good time to hit the drop shot?
1. When your opponent stands well behind the baseline to return your shots.
2. When you drag your opponent well off of the court deep to one side or the other.
3. When you are standing on or inside of the baseline. Avoid hitting drop shots when you are standing behind the baseline. This gives your opponent more time to react and makes it a much tougher shot to execute!
4. When your opponent is not expecting it.
5. When you are hitting into the wind.
6. When the balls are getting old.

Who do I hit the drop shot against?
1. Players who do not run fast
2. Players who do not like the net
3. Players who stands too far back in the court
4. Clay court players

Good Luck on the Court!
Scott Baker
Tennis4you.com