ETI 025 | Drop Shot – playing North to South


Play the ball to the open court.  Run your opponent.  Hit it where they “ain’t” (sorry).

Too often we focus on moving the ball east and west, meaning from side to side.  Another option, in some instances a better option, is to play the ball deep and short, very deep and very short.  Think of this as moving the ball north and south.

Drop shots will do the trick.  Backspin, finesse, stroking from high to low with an open racquet face.  But, and this is most important, always meet this ball on the rise, from inside the baseline.

Federer uses this shot more and more.  That might be the best reason for you and I to try the same.

P.S. – We will be working on the drop shot and more on our tennis holiday to Nuevo Vallarta – be sure to check it out if you are interested.

24 Comments

  • Josh

    Reply Reply August 4, 2013

    Jim,

    First of all thank you very much for sharing your knowledge. I have been watching your videos for quite some time and I have always found them very useful. You have the tact for taking complex things and explaining them in a simple and easy to understand fashion.

    Great tip about hitting the drop shot against a ball that is on the rise. I have a couple of questions if you don’t mind:

    1. What about the length or extent of the motion. I have learned over time that the extent of the motion is inversely proportional to the speed of the incoming ball. So for a fast incoming ball I just need a very brief brushing motion north to south. Is my understanding right?

    2. The drop shot is more effective with an element of fake. Federer is a great example. He makes it look like he is going for a big forehand and then at the very end hits a drop. I have been struggling with faking part. If I setup like I am about to hit a forehand and then try to change it to a drop shot it almost always turns into a suicide shot. Any tips on how to transition from a forehand setup to a drop shot? For me faking is easier on the backhand wing because I setup as if I am about to hit aggressive backhand slice and then stop my swing right after the contact with the ball.

    Best,
    -Josh

    • Jim McLennan

      Reply Reply August 4, 2013

      Josh – yes with more incoming ball speed the stroking action is shorter if not softer – as to the fake that is easier if you already use an under spin stroke (like the backhand) but for the forehand if you are low eastern or semi western then there must be a grip change just before the forward swing – and that is more difficult to be sure
      Jim

  • Robert

    Reply Reply July 31, 2013

    Your on-court camera angle shows very well the height that the ball should reach in flight. It took seeing a drop shot during a major from that camera angle quite by chance for me to realize how high a trajectory the shot needs to have. If you don’t mind me giving your backhand lessons a plug, I can add that the prep for this shot on the BH looks the same as for the flat drive and for the fade down the line. And yes, I have been using that to deadly effect on second serve returns and against base line bombers when I get a shorter ball I can handle.

  • Noushin Kananian

    Reply Reply July 31, 2013

    Many thanks for sharing your invaluable knowledge.

  • Mike

    Reply Reply July 30, 2013

    Thanks for the tip. Seemed to me that your drop shots bounced somewhat high and closer to the service line than I would think optimum. Could be the camera angle. Always enjoys your videos.

    • Jim McLennan

      Reply Reply July 30, 2013

      Mike – might have been the camera angle – if you skim the net the ball will often carry more – I was trying to get 3 4 and 5 bouncers within the service box – did my best
      Jim

  • Daryl

    Reply Reply July 30, 2013

    Very informative. To the point. You make it look so easy. Thank you.

  • Armand

    Reply Reply July 30, 2013

    Again thank you Jim!!! your insights and window into the subtleties of tennis are amazing!!!

  • Rebecca Tornaritis

    Reply Reply July 30, 2013

    Great the pros tips you give us!!!
    with tennis pro changing so much, maybe it is adviceble to use also more drop shots and short angles and not only East-West side strokes.
    it is a “soft touch” stroke that u need to feel its lenght as u hit it.
    keep doing the great job u doing!!!

  • Jeff

    Reply Reply July 29, 2013

    are you all advanced players now?

  • Rodger Schuester

    Reply Reply July 29, 2013

    I find that aiming my drop shots at the middle of the service box quadrants helps keep my drop shots out of the net. About 50% of the time they will be pretty darn short. Rodger S.

    • Jim McLennan

      Reply Reply July 29, 2013

      Rodg – your drop shots, and general feel for back spin, and even side spin – was pretty darn impressive at the club last week !!
      Jim

  • Rodger Schuester

    Reply Reply July 29, 2013

    I have two possible projects coming in. If one comes in, I will book Nuevo Vallarta. Rodger S.

  • Joe Smiley

    Reply Reply July 29, 2013

    I have gotten some very good tips from you and just wanted to say thanks and keep them coming.
    Joe

  • Bebe McGraw

    Reply Reply July 29, 2013

    You make so much sense to me, thanks for sharing. You are the best!
    I have learned so much. Keep shining. Bebe

  • Freddie Asis

    Reply Reply July 29, 2013

    I never thought that there’s a significant difference in hitting a drop shot with the ball rising or falling but now it does. Thanks much for the insightful explanation!

  • Tim Phan

    Reply Reply July 29, 2013

    Jim, How much speed of the incoming ball will determine whether or not I should try the drop shot? Assume an opponent is behind the base line and the ball lands one feet or more from the base line on my end.

  • Larry Bookman

    Reply Reply July 29, 2013

    Hi Jim

    Nice. Did not know that hitting the shot on rise is the way to go.

  • Estelle

    Reply Reply July 29, 2013

    Very good drop shot instruction. I’m going to try it

  • Martin Hassner

    Reply Reply July 29, 2013

    Short the ball..wins the dough…memorable if not rap Hall of Fame-worthy..
    less is more might work too

  • Alan Soffer

    Reply Reply July 29, 2013

    Jim, you are the best. What I learned is that I have to practice this shot. I do it better than most, but with practice I could be even better.

  • Georgia Beletsos

    Reply Reply July 29, 2013

    Nice primarily for singles….most of us play doubles…any tips for us.

    THX.

  • Babak

    Reply Reply July 29, 2013

    Jim thanks for a great tip i’m playing younger guys who play consistent back court tennis, this is a shot that I shall definitely be developing.

    All the best Babak

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