How to Hit an Approach Shot in Tennis

Are you looking to add a nifty approach shot to your game and improve your presence at the net?

We’re going to walk you through every step, so you can start hitting a more effective approach shot, start dominating points, and go on to win more matches.

Let’s look at how to improve your approach shot in tennis and get you being a force of nature at the net!

Why is it Important to Learn How to Hit the Approach Shot?

Recognizing when to hit an approach shot and take control of the point is a fundamental part of becoming a better tennis player. It is crucial to take your opportunities when they come, especially when you reach higher levels of the game. 

We will address two types of approach shots in this article. Both of them are important to understand and be able to hit. 

The first of these, and the more straightforward one to master, is when your opponent brings you into the net. This will be when they hit a short ball, a miss hit, or a drop shot that lands in the service box and you are naturally going to play the ball back and come into the net. 

The reason why this shot is a little more straightforward to hit is that there are fewer decisions to make when hitting it. Your opponent has brought you into the net and you’re just trying to do the best you can in the situation you find yourself in. The aim here is to at least put your opponent under some sort of pressure, either by hitting the ball deep to take their time away or by hitting an angle to move them around the court. In this position, your aim is to get yourself in the best position to hit an effective volley as your next shot. 

However, the alternative approach shot actually comes when you decide to hit it. This could result from hitting a heavy forehand and then ghosting into the net. It could also be a case of recognizing that your deep or wide ball has put your opponent under pressure and then you are going to step inside the court, looking to hit your approach shot on your own terms. 

Effectively, the main difference between these two approach shots is the decision-making behind them. With the first one, you have been forced to hit an approach shot by your opponent who has drawn you into the net. Whereas, with the second one, you are actively making the decision to approach the net because of the quality of your own shots.

Both of these approach shots are incredibly important to learn if you want to improve your tennis.

How to Hit a Better Approach Shot 

As you might expect, learning to hit a more effective approach shot in tennis won’t happen overnight. But, that doesn’t mean it can’t happen quickly if you follow a few simple steps and execute them correctly on the court! 

Step 1: Look at’s Forehand Domination Course

The first thing you can do that will make a big difference to your approach shot game, is to check out our Forehand Domination online course. Whilst there is no substitute for hard work on the tennis court, it is equally important to have a strategy and know what you’re trying to work on. 

Use our online course to give yourself a head start with your development of skills, so you can go onto the court armed with new knowledge to help improve your approach shot. Our forehand domination course is your perfect guide to help improve your consistency, spin, power, and variety, making your forehand a more dominant shot. 

Learning how to deal with different shots from your opponent on your forehand is a great way to help recognize when to come into the net and when to stay consistent at the baseline. Most of the time, since the approach shot is more of an attacking shot, it is usually hit with a forehand. 

Therefore, using our Forehand Domination course to improve your short ball forehand approach is the perfect way to feel more confident in your transition play!

Step 2: Recognize the Short Ball

The next step towards improving your approach is to recognize a short ball. 

This may sound like a straightforward thing to do, but in fact, it is one of the skills that recreational tennis players struggle with the most! But, this actually starts with looking not just at the short ball itself, but at the position your opponent is in first. 

The key here is to see if your opponent is leaning back, opening up their racket face to hit a slice, taking a shorter swing at the ball, or off balance. You can use this opportunity to take a step inside the court and be prepared extra early. 

This is one of the keys to hitting a great approach shot, so you are well-prepared and ready to hit the ball at the top of the bounce rather than when it is dropping around your ankles!

Step 3: Recognize the Quality of Your Own Shots

The next step to improving your approach shot is to actually give yourself a pat on the back when you hit a great shot yourself! However, this is not to say you should just sit and admire your own handiwork, rather you should understand that when you hit a heavy ball or a shot that takes your opponent out of court, you can use this to move into a better position. 

When you have pushed your opponent out wide, proactively getting inside the court, moving into a better position to use your forehand, or even getting all the way into the net are all great ways to improve your approach game.

Step 4: Adjust Your Swing to the Height of the Ball

Next, it is important to adjust your swing based on the height of the ball. If the ball is low, which it could well be if your opponent has drawn you into the net, you should start your backswing down low, so you can get underneath the ball more easily. Also, you’ll want to emphasize more spin than power when hitting a low approach shot, as more control is needed to get the ball up over the net, whilst still bringing it back down inside the court. 

However, on a higher approach shot that is also perhaps slower too, you can flatten out your swing path and hit the ball with more power and less spin.

Step 5: Move Forward Through the Shot

Another point to consider is actually continuing to move through your approach shot whilst you are hitting it. This is important to maintain your forward momentum and use your body weight to add more venom to the approach. 

Step 6: Follow Your Shot (Positioning)

Finally, once you have hit your approach shot, you should think about where you are going to position yourself for your next volley. You should always try to follow the direction of your approach shot in order to cover the angles more effectively. 

Whichever side of the court you have hit your approach shot, make sure to take a couple of steps closer to that side of the court to ensure you’re in the best position possible to put away the volley!

Once You’ve Mastered the Approach Shot, It’s Time to Improve Volleys

Once you have become a master of approaching the net and putting your opponent under pressure, the next step to becoming a more complete tennis player is to improve your volleys. Understanding the fundamentals of hitting a great volley will give you more confidence when approaching the net in itself. 

This combined with your new approach shots will help make you an aggressive and feared tennis player!

So, if you want to take your transition game to the next level and improve your volleys, check out our Art of Volleying online course today!

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Simple Guide to The Tennis Approach Shot

Overall, coming into the net doesn’t have to be difficult or intimidating. Learning how to hit a great approach shot will take your game a long way, especially if you want to become a more aggressive and forward-thinking tennis player. 

Following the steps mapped out above will help you to start improving your approach shot and transition game, but if you really want to take things to the next level, check out our Forehand Domination and Art of Volleying courses. 

We have specifically designed them to be as user-friendly, detailed, and match-specific as possible. So, not only do you learn the best techniques, but you also know how to use them in a real-life situation too!

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