This article will look at the 8 main types of tennis shots that players will need to master if they want to improve their tennis.
Types of Tennis Shots
The forehand is probably the most popular shot to hit in tennis as it feels like a very natural shot to hit and is one of the main reasons why lots of recreational and club players favor hitting balls on their forehand side.
There are three main types of forehand that you can hit i.e. a slice forehand, flat forehand, or a topspin forehand.
The slice forehand is usually used when you are in a defensive position or if you want to mix up the pace you are giving your opponent.
The flat forehand is used when you want to go for a winner as the ball will go through faster through the court so your opponent will have less time to react.
The topspin forehand will be the forehand you use the most as it allows you to hit the ball with a good margin over the net while still keeping the ball deep so it will be harder for your opponent to attack your ball.
A backhand in tennis can be hit with one hand or two hands and is considered one of the more difficult shots to master as it doesn’t feel as natural as a forehand to hit.
For many players, their backhand is weaker than their forehand so often they will go to great lengths to avoid hitting one.
Just like your forehand, you can hit your backhand with slice, topspin, or flat.
The serve is probably the most important shot in tennis as it is the first shot in every point and can play a big part in how easy you can win a tennis match.
If you have a good serve that lets you win your service games fairly easily then you will only need to break your opponent once in order to win a set.
However, if you have a weak serve where you are struggling to win your service games then you will feel like you have to break your opponent’s serve every time as you can’t rely on winning your own service games.
This is why I would recommend that if you get professional coaching on anything, it should be for your serve as it is easy to develop flaws in your serve technique if you don’t get proper coaching.
Mastering the volley technique can be challenging as many beginners tend to struggle with hitting a consistent volley, especially when a ball is hit at them with lots of pace.
If this sounds like you then I can recommend this video from the Essential Tennis YouTube Channel for some great tips on how to hit a better volley.
The overhead is a real marmite shot in tennis as you will either love hitting your overheads or you will dread the thought of hitting one.
For those who hate hitting overheads, I think the main reason that many beginners don’t have much success hitting overheads is that they don’t use the proper grip (continental) and they don’t move back in time to hit their overheads.
Another big mistake I see is that players hit the same type of overhead regardless of where they are on the court.
It is alright to blast your overhead when you are right at the net but if you are between the service line and the baseline then your overhead needs to be a more controlled shot with more spin or slice on the ball.
The lob is probably the most underutilized shot in tennis as recreational players often try to hit through their opponents rather than hitting a lob.
As I discussed in my article on how to beat a lobber in doubles tennis, a lob can be one of the most frustrating shots for your opponent to deal with so you should try and incorporate the odd lob into your game.
7. Drop Shot
If the lob is underutilized in recreational tennis then the drop shot is definitely overutilized in tennis as recreational players use it far too often.
A well-executed drop shot can be a great way to mix things up but if you are using it in every second point then you are going to lose the element of surprise.
My recommendation would be to only hit a drop shot if you are inside your baseline and your opponent is behind their baseline.
8. Squash Shot
The squash shot in tennis is used when you have been pulled out wide by your opponent and you are forced to hit a squash shot instead of your regular topspin forehand.
The squash shot is very difficult to pull off and for that reason, you won’t see it often at the recreational or club level.
Probably the most well-known proponent of this on the pro tour is Roger Federer.