When to Use a Drop Shot in Tennis

Are you looking to improve your finesse on the tennis court?

Well, if you are tired of relying on big ground strokes and lung busting rallies to win your points, you’ll want to incorporate the drop shot into your game. This will give you more variety and help you keep your opponent on their toes.

So, let’s take a closer look at how to use the drop shot at the right time and incorporate it into your tennis game today.

Why is it Important to Know How to Use the Drop Shot? 

Understanding how to hit the drop shot and when to use it are important elements of developing a well-rounded tennis game. 

Using a variety of shots to move your opponent around the court is a great way to keep them off balance and on their toes. 

The drop shot is usually hit as a short, soft slice that is hit when moving forward. The idea is that your opponent will be expecting a hard approach shot so will be backing up behind the baseline, ready to absorb your pace. 

But instead, you quickly change your shot shape to be a low, short, soft slice that bounces inside the service box. 

This is a very effective tactic when done correctly, as you can effectively stun your opponent and make it incredibly difficult for them to reach your shot since they will most likely already be moving backward. 

However, if the drop shot is used too often, at the wrong time, or against the wrong type of player, it can be a bit of a disaster that will leave you in no man’s land!

When to Use a Drop Shot in Tennis 

So, let’s take a closer look at when you should use the drop shot in tennis. 

1. When You Are Approaching the Net

One of the best times to use the drop shot in tennis is when approaching the net. There are a few reasons for this. 

First of all, if you are in a position to be approaching the net, then most likely your opponent will be on the back foot, out of position, or off balance. 

Therefore playing a drop shot and forcing them to sprint forward toward the net puts them in a vulnerable position. 

Also, if your opponent is expecting a heavy approach shot and has backed up behind the baseline to give themselves more time, the last thing they’ll expect is a soft, delicate drop shot. 

This will also keep them on their toes when you are next approaching the net, as they will probably be looking to hedge their bets and not get caught out again.

2. When Your Opponent Plays a Counterpunching Game Style

If your opponent plays a more defensive, counterpunching game style, then it would make sense to use the drop shot more often. 

Whilst a counterpuncher relies on their speed and court coverage, using the drop shot every so often to get them running inside the court as well as side to side is no bad thing. 

Even if your opponent does manage to get to your drop shot, they will have to hit the ball up and therefore will probably struggle to play an aggressive shot from that position. 

As a result, using heavy forehands and backhands to move a counterpuncher around the court, and then throwing in a drop shot every now and then is a great tactic to keep them on their toes. 

If you want to take your understanding of the game to a new level, then take a look at our Singles Tactics Online Course. We have combined our knowledge and worked with LTA Master coach Dave Ireland to take your game to new heights. 

In this course, you’ll learn about plug-and-play tactical routines, understand all of the different ways to win points in tennis, and be able to outsmart your opponents more easily. 

So, check out our Singles Tactics course today.

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3. Break Up Your Opponent’s Rhythm 

Another way to use the drop shot in tennis is simply to break up your opponent’s rhythm. If you are competing against someone that is just teeing off and playing with a lot of consistency then throwing in a drop shot just to break up their rhythm can be a good tactic. 

Sometimes, just giving your opponent a different look can be enough to throw them off their game.

4. Using the Drop Shot on Different Surfaces

The drop shot can be used on all surfaces, but the approach can vary slightly depending on whether you’re playing on hard courts, grass courts, or clay courts

Using the drop shot on clay is a very effective tactic since changing direction quickly is more difficult than on any other surface. Also because of the higher bounces and slower court speed, most players tend to play further behind the baseline. 

This offers a great opportunity to catch your opponent camping out at the back of the court and use the extra court space to your advantage with the drop shot. 

On grass courts, the slice backhand is a commonly used shot due to the low bounce and fast, zippy court surface. However, shaping up to hit a slice can act as the perfect disguise to bring out the drop shot instead, keeping your opponent on their toes. 

When playing on a hard court, extended rallies can often occur when two strong baseliners are crunching flatter groundstrokes up the middle of the court. However, being able to change the pace and bring in the drop shot when you want is a great way to break up the rhythm of your opponent.

Once You’ve Learned When to Use the Drop Shot, the Next Step is to Work On Your Volleys! 

The drop shot is a fantastic tool to get your opponent moving around the court, but you should look to move inside the court after hitting it so you can close down the angles. 

In this situation, the next shot you’ll likely hit will be a volley, so it makes sense to improve your court positioning, technique, and tactics at the net. 

Our Art of Volleying online course is the perfect companion to help improve your net game. You’ll learn how to close down the net more effectively, keep your volley technique simple, and when to come into the net at the right time.

Transform Yourself into a Ninja at the Net!
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Simple Guide to Using the Drop Shot in Tennis

Overall, the drop shot is a great tactic to employ on the tennis court when you want to keep your opponent on their toes and change things up quickly. 

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