Playing a successful drop shot is surely one of the best feelings you can have on a tennis court. Let’s be honest, particularly in club games, one of the pleasures is that it really tends to both frustrate and annoy your panting opponent as they just fail to reach it! So, here are some useful tips for developing this shot…
The perfect set up is important. Your aim is to drive your opponent back to or beyond the baseline with a series of deep, probing returns. Then, that dinky drop shot, just making it over the net, which then uses backspin to deaden the bounce, is hugely difficult to deal with.
To use a drop shot, it’s best to wait for a ball that isn’t too low over the net, and also one that has been returned with some pace. Drop shots are notoriously difficult off a slower moving low return.
Next, slip on a fake mustache and beard. No, not really – but being able to disguise the shot itself is vital. You’d like your opponent to be expecting another deep shot and be both at the back of the court and set back on their heels.
Now, approach the ball just as you would when smacking back a powerful topspin drive. Appear to take that full back swing – and then… suddenly, shorten it. Open the face slightly as you move your racquet to the ball. At the same time, relax your grip, and aim to bring your racquet gently down the back of, and then underneath, the ball.
By doing this, you have robbed the ball of much of its pace, and also added that vital backspin mentioned earlier. And that’s the drop shot. If you had worn a fake mustache, this would be the moment to twirl the ends like a comic villain and shout: ‘Got you my good man (or woman)!’
Well, no actually, because you haven’t finished yet. Don’t assume that your opponent is instantly humbled. Move closer to the net just in case they do manage a return. Always be ready for the next shot, rather than simply admiring the last one!
Photo: fun shots of giants, dwarfs, and conjoined twins at Japan Open tennis 2011 by globalite licensed under Creative commons 5