How to Hit a Drop Shot in Tennis (Try This 3 Techniques)

How to Hit a Drop Shot in Tennis
  • Place Backspin on the Ball
  • Hit With a Continental Grip
  • Play From an Appropriate Court Position

   Your Guide

Gavin Davison   Gavin Davison

Hitting a drop shot in tennis is one of the shots that is not exploited enough in my opinion.

With the modern-day game, players are often slugging it out far behind the baseline.

This alone suggests that a drop shot is a great way to mix things up, especially since they would then need to track forward to the net from all the way back behind the baseline.

Of course, the purpose of a drop shot isn’t always to end the point, despite what some people think.

In most cases, playing a drop shot is simply done to SWITCH UP THE RHYTHM or gain a MORE DOMINANR POSITION in the point.

With that said, in order to play a drop shot successfully, you need to be fully aware of how to execute the shot.

And as you can see from the information presented above, you can give yourself the best chance possible of a successful drop shot by following those three tips.

Note that this doesn’t guarantee a 100% drop shot success rate, but these tips will certainly improve how effectively you hit the shot.

And now, I’d like to take some time to run into further details on each of the three points raised above.

A More Effective Drop Shot Explained

If you need any confirmation as to how prolific a great drop shot can be, look no further than the 2020 French Open match between Stan Wawrinka and Hugo Gaston.

(Hugo Gaston vs Stan Wawrinka – 2020 Tennis Match)

Wawrinka is a huge hitter of the ball, and he is far better than Gaston from the back of the court.

But Gaston was able to beat the great Swiss player by simply hitting AWESOME DROP SHOTS.

Obviously, this match was played on clay, which is the surface in which drop shots are used more often, in general.

But regardless, the Gaston drop shot managed to completely turn the outcome of this match!

And now that I’ve highlighted how effective a great drop shot can be, let me run through the three tips mentioned earlier.

1) Applying Backspin

When hitting a drop shot, the aim is to get the ball as tight to the net as you can.

Since you can win a point in tennis by getting the ball to bounce twice, this is the best shot you have of an outright winner from a drop shot.

But this isn’t always, and shouldn’t always be your aim when hitting this shot.

However, the objective is always to get your opponent out of position and hustling forwards to the ball.

Now, in addition to hitting the ball tight to the net, it’s always important to add a little backspin if you can.

This is what stops the ball from sliding through the court, which is advantageous if you are dragging your opponent OUT OF POSITION.

To apply backspin successfully, I recommend cutting down on the ball – not necessarily slicing right underneath.

It’s also good if you can reduce the follow-through of your racket when playing a drop shot, as this will stop the ball from carrying too far into the opposing court.

I’d recommend watching this video of Roger Federer hitting drop shots to get a better understanding of how this is done:

2) Continental Grip

If you are to successfully hit backspin on the ball, you need to hold a continental grip on the handle.

This is the grip that is used for serving, volleying, and when hitting slice backhands.

When holding the racket in this position, the racket face is more open than usual, so you can really cut down on the ball, which creates the backspin.

I also find that it’s easier to control the amount of spin and power you are putting on the ball with this grip.

However, beginners and sometimes intermediate players try to hit the shot with a standard forehand grip.

But when doing this, your racket face is flat to the ball on contact.

So not only is it very difficult to cut under the ball with this grip, but the ball will then push through the court after the FIRST BOUNCE.

This reduces the margin for error that you have on the shot, and it increases the likelihood that your opponent will track the drop shot down easily.

This then puts you in a defensive position instead of an attacking position following a drop shot.

3) Appropriate Court Position

Finally, I’d like to talk about when you should actually be hitting a drop shot in tennis.

Besides the technical pointers raised above, if you don’t play the drop shot at the correct time, it will not work in your favor – I promise you.

So what is an appropriate court position?

Well, there are two parts to this answer really.

The first answer is your own court position.

Personally, I would only be looking to play a drop shot if I find myself inside the baseline.

The one and only exception to this is if my opponent is way behind the baseline, as a standard rallying position.

I recommend this because it INCREASES THE CHANCES of success on your drop shot.

Secondly, you need to have a fundamental understanding of your opponent’s positioning, which I’ve touched upon earlier.

To hit the most effective drop shot, you need to hit this ball when your opponent is either off balance or out of position.

This gives them the least chance of actually tracking the drop shot down. 

Finally – make sure that you actually follow your drop shot in once you’ve played it.

I see many club players making this mistake and getting burned for it. Remember, the most likely return from a drop shot is another drop shot.

This is also the easiest shot to hit once you’ve tracked one down.

Therefore, you need to move forward with the ball in order to eliminate this shot choice from your opponent.

Has this helped you to understand what’s required to hit a great drop shot? Let me know in the comments if so!

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