Types of Tennis Shots in 2024: A Comprehensive Guide

If you’re new to tennis, you may be wondering about the different types of shots involved in the game. Tennis shots are the various ways players hit the ball during a match. Knowing the different types of tennis shots and when to use them can help you improve your game and become a better player.

There are several types of tennis shots, including groundstrokes, serves, returns, volleys, and specialty shots. Groundstrokes are shots hit after the ball has bounced on the court, and they include forehands and backhands.

Learning the different types of tennis shots and practicing them regularly can help you become a more versatile player. By mastering these shots, you can develop a more effective playing style and improve your chances of winning matches.

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05/23/2024 06:25 pm GMT

Understanding Tennis Shots

Tennis is a game that requires a variety of shots to be played effectively. Understanding the different types of tennis shots is essential to improve your game. In this section, we will provide an overview of the most common types of tennis shots and their characteristics.

Groundstrokes

Groundstrokes are the most common tennis shots. These tennis shots are played from the baseline and are typically hit with either a forehand or backhand stroke. Groundstrokes can be hit with topspin, slice, or flat. Topspin groundstrokes are hit with a forward motion and create a high arc over the net. Slice groundstrokes are hit with a side-to-side motion and create a low, skidding shot. Flat groundstrokes are hit with a straight-arm motion and create a fast, low shot.

Serve

serve tennis shot

The serve is the most important shot in tennis. It is the shot that starts every point and can set the tone for the rest of the game. There are three types of serves: flat, slice, and kick. Flat serves are hit with a straight arm motion and create a fast, low shot. Slice serves are hit with a side-to-side motion and create a low, skidding shot. Kick serves are hit with a forward motion and create a high arc over the net.

Volley

The volley is a shot played at the net. It is typically hit with either a forehand or backhand stroke. Volley shots can be hit with topspin, slice, or flat. Topspin volleys are hit with a forward motion and create a high arc over the net. Slice volleys are hit with a side-to-side motion and create a low, skidding shot. Flat volleys are hit with a straight-arm motion and create a fast, low shot.

Specialty Shots

Specialty tennis shots are shots that are not commonly used in tennis but can be effective in certain situations. These shots include the drop shot, lob, and overhead. The drop shot is a shot that is hit with a soft touch and creates a low, slow shot that lands just over the net. The lob is a shot that is hit with a high arc and creates a slow, looping shot that lands deep in the opponent’s court. The overhead is a shot that is hit with a high arc and creates a fast, powerful shot that is hit from above the head.

Types of Tennis Shots: Basics

When starting out in tennis, it’s important to master the basic tennis shots. These shots are the foundation of your game and will help you progress to more advanced techniques. Here are the basic tennis shots you need to know:

Forehand

forehand tennis shots

The forehand is one of the most important shots in tennis. It’s the shot you’ll use most often and is typically hit with your dominant hand. To execute a forehand, you’ll need to step forward with your non-dominant foot and swing your racket forward, making contact with the ball in front of your body.

Backhand

The backhand is the shot you’ll use when the ball is coming towards your non-dominant side. To execute a backhand, you’ll need to step forward with your dominant foot and swing your racket across your body, making contact with the ball on the opposite side of your body.

Lob

lob tennis shot

The lob is a shot that’s used to hit the ball over your opponent’s head. It’s typically used when your opponent is at the net. To execute a lob, you’ll need to hit the ball with a high arc, aiming for the back of the court.

Return

The return is the shot you hit after your opponent serves the ball. It’s typically hit with your non-dominant hand. To execute a return, you’ll need to step forward with your non-dominant foot and swing your racket forward, making contact with the ball in front of your body.

Types of Tennis Shots: Forehand Shots

When it comes to tennis shots, the forehand is one of the most important and widely used shots in the game. It is the shot that is hit with your dominant hand on the same side as your dominant eye. In this section, we’ll explore the three main types of forehand shots: the flat forehand, topspin forehand, and slice forehand.

forehand tennis shot

Flat Forehand

The flat forehand is a powerful shot that is hit with a flat racket face, meaning there is no topspin or backspin on the ball. This shot is great for hitting winners and for putting your opponent on the defensive. To hit a flat forehand, you need to have a strong grip on the racket, such as the eastern forehand grip or the semi-western grip. You should also have a compact swing and use your body to generate power. Good footwork is also important to get into the right position to hit the shot.

Topspin Forehand

The topspin forehand is a shot that is hit with a racket face that is tilted slightly forward, causing the ball to spin forward and downward. This shot is great for adding power and control to your shots, and for hitting shots with more margin for error. To hit a topspin forehand, you need to use a grip that is more western or semi-western, which allows you to brush up on the ball and create topspin. You should also use a longer swing and rotate your body to generate power. Good footwork is also important to get into the right position to hit the shot.

Slice Forehand

The slice forehand is a shot that is hit with a racket face that is tilted slightly backward, causing the ball to spin back and downward. This shot is great for changing the pace of the game and for hitting shots that stay low and skid through the court. To hit a slice forehand, you need to use a grip that is more continental or eastern, which allows you to hit the ball with a more closed racket face. You should also use a shorter swing and keep your body more upright. Good footwork is also important to get into the right position to hit the shot.

Types of Tennis Shots: Backhand Shots

backhand tennis shots

When it comes to tennis shots, the backhand is one of the most important tennis shots that every player must master. It is a shot that requires a lot of control, accuracy, and footwork. There are different types of backhand shots, including the one-handed backhand, two-handed backhand, and slice backhand. In this section, we will cover each of these backhand shots in detail.

One-Handed Backhand

The one-handed backhand is a classic shot that requires a lot of skill and finesse. It is a shot that is used by many professional players, including Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka. To execute a one-handed backhand, you need to have a good grip and a smooth swing. The grip for a one-handed backhand is usually an Eastern grip, which allows for more power and control.

The one-handed backhand is a great shot for players who want to generate more power and spin on their backhand. It is also a great shot for players who want to hit a backhand slice, which is a shot that is used to change the pace of the game and keep your opponent off balance.

Two-Handed Backhand

The two-handed backhand is a shot that is used by many players, including Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal. It is a shot that requires a lot of power and control. To execute a two-handed backhand, you need to have a good grip and a strong swing. The grip for a two-handed backhand is usually a Semi-Western grip, which allows for more power and control.

The two-handed backhand is a great shot for players who want to generate more power and control on their backhand. It is also a great shot for players who want to hit a backhand with more topspin, which allows the ball to bounce higher and kick off the court.

Slice Backhand

The slice backhand is a shot that is used to change the pace of the game and keep your opponent off balance. It is a shot that requires a lot of finesse and control. To execute a slice backhand, you need to have a good grip and a smooth swing. The grip for a slice backhand is usually a Continental grip, which allows for more control and accuracy.

The slice backhand is a great shot for players who want to hit a low, skidding shot that stays low to the ground. It is also a great shot for players who want to hit a backhand approach shot, which is a shot that is used to approach the net and put pressure on your opponent.

Types of Tennis Shots: Service Shots

tennis shots

The serve is the most important shot in tennis, as it starts every point of the game. There are three main types of service tennis shots: the flat serve, the slice serve, and the kick serve. Each of these service shots has its own unique characteristics that can help you win points.

Flat Serve

The flat serve is the most common and fastest of the three service tennis shots. It is hit with a flat motion and is designed to go straight into the service box with speed and accuracy. The flat serve is usually hit from a T-serve stance, which allows you to hit the ball with maximum power and control. It is an effective shot for getting aces and forcing your opponent to hit a weak return.

Slice Serve

The slice serve is a slower and more accurate service shot than the flat serve. It is hit with a side-spin motion that causes the ball to curve in the air and bounce lower than a flat serve. The slice serve is hit from a slightly wider stance than the flat serve and is often used to hit the ball out wide to the opponent’s forehand or backhand. The slice serve is a great shot for setting up an approach shot or a volley.

Kick Serve

The kick serve is a high bouncing service shot that is hit with a topspin motion. It is designed to bounce high and away from the opponent, making it difficult to return. The kick serve is hit from a slightly closed stance and is often used to hit the ball to the opponent’s backhand side. The kick serve is a great shot for getting your opponent off balance and setting up an easy put-away shot.

Types of Tennis Shots: Net Shots

volley net shot

When you are playing tennis, being able to move quickly and accurately at the net is crucial to your success. Net shots are a type of tennis shot that are played when you are close to the net. There are several different types of net shots, each with their own specific techniques and strategies.

Volley

The volley is one of the most common types of net shots in tennis. It is played when you hit the ball before it bounces on the court. To execute a successful volley, you need to have good footwork, reach, and accuracy. It is also important to keep your eye on the ball and to use a short backswing.

Half Volley

The half volley is a challenging shot that requires a lot of skill and practice. It is played when you hit the ball just after it bounces on the court. To execute a successful half volley, you need to have good footwork, speed, and accuracy. It is also important to keep your racket head low and to use a short backswing.

Overhead Smash

The overhead smash is a powerful net shot that is played when your opponent hits a high lob. To execute a successful overhead smash, you need to have good footwork, reach, and timing. It is also important to keep your eye on the ball and to use a long backswing.

Backhand Volley

backhand volley shot

The backhand volley is a net shot that is played with your non-dominant hand. To execute a successful backhand volley, you need to have good footwork, reach, and accuracy. It is also important to keep your racket head high and to use a short backswing.

Forehand Volley

The forehand volley is a net shot that is played with your dominant hand. To execute a successful forehand volley, you need to have good footwork, reach, and accuracy. It is also important to keep your racket head high and to use a short backswing.

Types of Tennis Shots: Special Tennis Shots

trick tennis shot

When you want to add some variety to your game, you can turn to special tennis shots. These shots are not used as frequently as the standard tennis shots, but they can be effective when used at the right time. Here are five special tennis shots you can add to your repertoire:

Drop Shot

The drop shot is a soft shot that lands just over the net and barely bounces. It’s a great shot to use when your opponent is playing too far back on the court. To execute a drop shot, you need to use a light touch with your racket and angle it downward. Your footwork is also crucial, as you need to move forward quickly to get into position for the shot.

Smash

The smash is a powerful shot that you hit when your opponent lobs the ball high in the air. It’s an overhead shot that requires speed, accuracy, and a strong arm. To hit a smash, you need to position yourself directly under the ball and jump up to meet it at the highest point. Your racket should be held high, and you should swing it down with force to send the ball back over the net.

Approach Shot

The approach shot is a shot that you use to move in closer to the net and set up for a volley. It’s typically hit with a forehand or backhand and is aimed at the sidelines. Your footwork is important when hitting an approach shot, as you need to move quickly and get into position to hit the shot.

Passing Shot

The passing shot is a shot that you use to get the ball past your opponent when they are at the net. It’s typically hit with a forehand or backhand and is aimed at the sidelines. Your footwork is important when hitting a passing shot, as you need to move quickly and get into position to hit the shot.

Tweener

The tweener is a shot that you use when you are caught off guard and need to hit the ball between your legs. It’s a difficult shot to execute, but it can be effective when used at the right time. To hit a tweener, you need to have good reflexes and be able to quickly turn your body around. Your racket should be held between your legs, and you should swing it up to hit the ball.

Types of Tennis Shots: Shot Techniques and Grips

To master the different types of tennis shots, you need to understand the different grip techniques. The grip is how you hold the racket, and it affects your control and accuracy when hitting the ball. There are three main types of grips: Eastern, Western, and Continental. If you want to learn more about rackets, feel free to read our article “Best Tennis Rackets for Every Level”.

Eastern Grip

The Eastern grip is the most common grip used in tennis. It is also known as the “shake hands” grip because it mimics the way you would shake someone’s hand. To use the Eastern grip, place the base knuckle of your index finger on the third bevel of the racket handle. This grip allows for good control and accuracy on groundstrokes and serves.

Western Grip

The Western grip is also known as the “topspin” grip because it allows for more topspin on the ball. To use the Western grip, place the base knuckle of your index finger on the fifth bevel of the racket handle. This grip works well for players who hit with a lot of topspin on their forehand and backhand shots.

Continental Grip

The Continental grip is also known as the “hammer” grip because it mimics the way you would hold a hammer. To use the Continental grip, place the base knuckle of your index finger on the second bevel of the racket handle. This grip is commonly used for volleys, overheads, and serves.

Your grip is not the only thing that affects your shot technique. Your stance and swing also play a significant role. When hitting a groundstroke, you should have a neutral stance with your feet shoulder-width apart. For forehand shots, your racket should be above your shoulder, and for backhand shots, your racket should be below your shoulder.

Tennis Shot Practice and Drills

tennis shots exercising

To improve your tennis game, it’s important to practice different types of tennis shots regularly. Tennis drills can help you improve your level, footwork, movement, and positioning on the court. Here are some drills you can try to improve your game:

1. Drop Shot Drill

The drop shot is a tricky shot that can be difficult to master. To practice this shot, set up a target on the court and try to hit the ball so that it lands just over the net and drops quickly. This drill will help you improve your touch and feel for the ball.

2. Forehand and Backhand Drill

This drill is great for improving your forehand and backhand shots. Stand on the baseline and have a partner hit balls to your forehand and backhand side. Alternate hitting forehands and backhands and try to hit the ball with good technique and control.

3. Serve and Volley Drill

The serve and volley is an aggressive tactic that can be very effective in matches. To practice this shot, start by serving the ball and then quickly move to the net to hit a volley. This drill will help you improve your positioning and footwork on the court.

4. Outer Edge Drill

The outer edge shot is a shot that is hit with the outer edge of the racket. To practice this shot, hit the ball with the outer edge of the racket and try to keep the ball in play. This drill will help you improve your shot-making ability and add more variety to your game.

5. Match Play

Playing matches is one of the best ways to improve your tennis game. It will help you develop your strategy, tactics, and mental toughness. Try to play matches against players of different levels to challenge yourself and improve your game.

FAQ

How do you master 3 basic tennis strokes?

To master the 3 basic tennis strokes, which are the forehand, backhand, and serve, you need to practice them consistently. The forehand is the most common shot in tennis and involves hitting the ball with the dominant hand across the body. The backhand involves hitting the ball with the non-dominant hand across the body. The serve is the shot that starts the point and is hit from behind the baseline. To improve your forehand, you should focus on your grip, stance, swing technique, and spin variations. For the backhand, you should focus on your grip, footwork, and swing technique. For the serve, you should focus on your toss, grip, stance, and swing technique.

How many basic shots are there in tennis?

There are five basic tennis shots: groundstrokes, serve, return, volley, and specialty shots. Groundstrokes are shots hit from the baseline, including forehand and backhand shots. The serve is the shot that starts the point and is hit from behind the baseline. The return is the shot that the receiver hits in response to the serve. The volley is a shot hit in the air before the ball bounces. Specialty shots include drop shots, lobs, and overheads.

What type of shots are there in tennis?

There are different types of tennis shots, including flat shots, slice shots, and topspin shots. Flat shots are hit with a level swing and have little to no spin. Slice shots are hit with a downward motion and have backspin. Topspin shots are hit with an upward motion and have topspin, causing the ball to dip and bounce higher.

What do you call a hit in tennis?

In tennis, a hit is called a shot. Tennis shots can be hit with different types of strokes, such as forehand, backhand, and serve. Different shots have different objectives, such as hitting the ball deep to keep your opponent on the defensive, hitting the ball short to draw your opponent to the net, or hitting the ball with spin to make it difficult to return.


What’s your favorite shot to play and why? Are there any tennis shots that you find particularly challenging or rewarding? Share your thoughts and insights on the topic in the comments section below.

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Alexander Krause
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