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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

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Comment by hofertennis on January 5, 2008 at 2:52pm
Thanks for the comment Tommy. I am very sorry to hear about your father.
I do have more tennis tips on my website at

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