The shots are the serve, forehand, backhand, volley, half-volley, smash, drop shot and lob. Having the right weight and type of tennis racket to help you perform these shots is paramount but learning the fundamentals of each shot first is far more important.
The serve is perhaps the most difficult of all the shots to master but once you get it right it can be a really strong part of your game. The service is all about achieving accuracy and speed but also the ability to disguise the intent of the direction and spin. Top players can achieve swerve and spin on the ball through extensive practice and experience.
This is the first shot most players will learn as it tends to be the most natural and therefore most powerful and effective of all tennis shots. The grip on the racket can be used to change the direction and ferocity of the forehand. The forehand has historically always been a one handed shot but the modern game has seen many of the top players adopt a two handed version which creates more power and more control.
The backhand is a step up in difficulty from the forehand. It is a shot that is primarily played with two hands as it allows a player a higher a higher level of control is what is a less comfortable position to play the ball from. The two handed shot does reduce the amount of reach a player has though but some of the top ranked players in the world, such as Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams are experts at the shot.
The Volley and Half-Volley:
The volley is often a decisive and point winning shot due to the power that a player can put into it and also because the volley is very often played as an offensive shot close to the net. It’s a shot that’s played before the ball bounces so players can take full advantage of the pace of the ball before it is slowed by contact with the playing surface. The half-volley is a more difficult shot and is played just after the bounce giving less control and accuracy and is again much more difficult to master.
The lob shot is mostly played from a position towards the back of the court, near the baseline. It’s a shot that can completely take your opponent out of the game as they have to run backwards in an attempt to save the point and if it can be executed accurately it is a very effective part of a players arsenal.
Just as the name of this shot suggests it’s a powerful and aggressive shot designed to give the opponent very little chance of returning the ball. It is often played as the result of an unsuccessful attempt at a lob and is very often a point winner.
This is a delicate and subtle skill that takes a lot of practice and skill to master. The drop shot is played to drop just over the net giving the opponent very little time to react and cover the distance to the net in an attempt to save the point.