There are eight basic shots that any tennis hopeful will have to learn before they can properly play the game. Although individual shots suit some people rather than others and players do favour some shots over others, it still remains a fact that every player must at least must have a grasp on the basics.
A competent tennis player has eight basic shots to learn; the serve, forehand, backhand, volley, half-volley, overhead, drop shot and lob.
A shot that you have no choice in mastering as you have to serve at the start of every point during a service game. The serve can be the ultimate weapon as performed correctly can be unplayable.
The forehand can be used in two different ways:
- Forehand return of serve
An essential shot for returning a serve, when returning a defensive return the forward swing will be familiar to that of a volley. Keep the swing impact and the grip firm.
- The Open Stance Forehand
Most tennis pros now hit most of their forehands with the legs in an open stance which allows for more power.
Also a secondary benefit to the open stance forehand comes from a quicker recovery after playing the shot.
The backhand is a little more tricky to play than the forehand as the shot is played on the left hand side.
Sometimes this shot is played double handed which gives a greater deal of control over the shot whilst adding more power.
The volley is sometimes considered as one of the easiest shots to learn because of it’s simplicity. It is executed by having simply to block the ball in the air, there is little or no backswing.
The Half Volley
Possibly the hardest shot to master of all, the half volley requires perfect timing, eyesight and good racketwork. The half volley is basically a pick-up shot. The ball meets the ground and racket face at nearly the same time, and the ball bounces off the ground onto the racket strings.
The overhead or sometimes called the Smash is often used a defense / winner to a lob.
It is imperative to keep your eyes on the ball at all times, get your left hand up and point at the ball until you hit it. Make sure you get under the ball early, move with the ball as soon as you see it is a lob.
Avoid swinging at the ball as hard as you can, often the pursuit of power will lose you accuracy.
The Drop Shot
The drop shot is a clever shot that aims to land just over the net and out of the reach of your opponent. To perfect this shot you have to master slice and backspin. Drop shots can be either forehand or backhand shots.
A good drop shot requires great touch, the ball should bounce low and near the net. Often if the backspin is great enough, the bounce of the ball will be shorter, and in some cases will even cause the ball to bounce back towards the net.
Sidespin may also be put on the ball so it kicks sideways upon contact with the ground.
A lob is a high arching shot with additional hang time that is initiated by a forehand, backhand or even a volley.
Once these eight basic shots have been learned then the tennis learner can then go on to perfect them and add additional aspects to them.