13 Drop Shot Tennis Tips & Tricks

What exactly is a drop shot in tennis? A drop shot is a softer shot that barely clears the net and lands short in the court.

They are most effective when the opponent stands behind the baseline or is out of position (i.e., forced out wide). This is due to the opponent’s inability to move toward the net and reach it before the ball bounces twice. If you don’t use the drop shot in your game already, it will be a great tennis strategy to add.

The more strategies you can employ, the better you will be able to manage different opponents. This article is a free guide that will teach you how to hit a drop shot with the proper form. Feel free to skip ahead to your preferred topic.


The Continental Grip is ideal for hitting a good drop shot. It’s the same grip you’d use for a slice or volley. With the Continental Grip, you can hit the ball out in front to control placement and spin.


You usually don’t swing back if you want to hit drop shots. A take-back or backswing is merely a disguise. If you catch your opponent off guard, you must use a shorter backswing as a disguise. If you don’t start with a take-back, the opposing player will be able to recognize your next move and be readily prepared for your short ball.

Don’t forget that when hitting a short drop shot, keep your racquet slightly above the contact point. The drop shot’s swing path is very similar to a slice and so creates a brushing effect on the ball, which will result in backspin. Backspin slows the ball down, resulting in a shorter bounce once it hits the court, making it harder for your opponent to return it.

To sum up, use a short swing with an open racket face on the drop shot, so it doesn’t travel too far. Make it a soft shot without hitting the ball hard; otherwise, it will simply balloon up in the air, leaving you very exposed!

Contact Point

To avoid inconsistency, maintain the same racquet angle and avoid cupping the racquet less than a second after making contact. The contact point is slightly in front of you. The best contact height is usually below your shoulders and above your hips, while the hip height should be the most manageable. It’s also critical to keep your eyes fixed on the contact point for at least a second after contact.

Follow Through

At times a drop shot needs a longer follow-through than one might think. The follow-through often occurs when your racket moves more quickly, resulting in more backspin upon ball contact.

Hide Your Drop Shots

To keep the opposing player from reading your drop shot too early, you must fake a normal backhand or forehand shot beforehand as the best disguise. Carlos Alcaraz, for example, has the remarkable skill to hide drop shots on his forehand side, whereas Roger Federer can flawlessly hide his backhand drop shot.

Best Time to Hit Drop Shots

The ideal time to hit a drop shot is when your opponent is out of position or standing behind the baseline, especially after a series of hard and deep shots. If your opponent is a quick runner, make sure you put your shot so far away from him that he cannot make it, no matter how fast he runs. If your opponent is not a player that comes to the net a lot, you can also use a drop shot.

In order to attack, you can also use the drop shot to move from the baseline or mid-court to the net. As a result, you’re closer to the net, and your opponent’s shot selection is now limited since you decreased the angles for their next shot. They often have to hit up on the ball, making it easier to hit a put-away volley as a winner for the next shot.

tennis player at net

Best Drop Shot Opportunities

Next, I’ve listed several occasions when it’s ideal for hitting the perfect drop shot:

Opportunity 1:

If your opponent is tired, slow, or out of position, the drop shot is a viable strategy at any level of skill.

Opportunity 2:

The drop shot, for example, is a very effective tactic late in the third set because your opposing player isn’t as fresh as they were in the first set.

Opportunity 3:

If you’ve dragged the opposing player off the court wide with a short-angle topspin shot, it’s often a good time to hit a drop shot right after while they try to recover. The opponent will be thrown off balance by this change of direction.

Opportunity 4:

The drop shot is highly effective if you can move the opposing player far behind the baseline with hard and deep shots.

Opportunity 5:

Another great tactic for a drop shot is when your opponent is moving backward. As a result, aggressive players like Alexander Bublik, Carlos Alcaraz, and Lorenzo Musetti hit a lot of drop-shot winners. Drop shots can be a great surprise when your opponent expects a powerful shot deep in the court.

tennis player at net hitting a drop volley

Best Drop Shot Tactics

Tactic 1:

Most tennis players preferred drop shot is down the line. It’s an easy short ball to hit because you’re closer to the target than if you hit it crosscourt. But, on the other hand, it is more successful because the ball takes less time to hit the ground, allowing your opponent less time to react and get it.

Tactic 2:

That I always follow many backhand and forehand drop shots to the net. (Unless, of course, I’m asleep!) So I give my opponent no chance by rushing to the net (the closer, the better! ). Unless your drop shots are too high, in which case it’s more of a suicide than a drop shot.

If my opponent gets to the ball, they’ll get to it when it’s already low, so they’ll have to hit it defensively – slow and low to high. That scenario allows me to put away the next ball quickly and easily by already being at the net.

Tactic 3:

I’ve never attempted drop shots from behind the baseline. That is simply too difficult. And the chances of missing it are far too high. Especially when you consider that the farther you are from the net, the longer the flight time of your drop shots, implying that your opponent has an easier time reaching it!

Tactic 4:

On a second serve, I frequently hit the short ball and it works like a charm! It’s satisfying you won’t believe it! It’s simple because you can decide on this shot ahead of time, and it messes with your opponent like nothing else: Isn’t it the last of your thoughts on a second serve to get ready to run forward?!

Tactic 5:

Hit a sequence of hard and deep shots to push your opponent back further and further. This way, you can set up the next drop shot, which the opposing player likely won’t expect or is too tired to run down anyway.

Drop Shot No, No

When you’re out of position, never use a drop shot. The best time to try the drop shot is when the opposing player is out of position; the worst time to try one is when you are out of position. You must be in a stable body position with your feet on the ground if you want to hit amazing drop shots.

Furthermore, if the drop shot is used too frequently your opponent might anticipate it more often than you would like, and when that happens, they will be able to counter the ball right back at you.

Read Your Opponent’s Drop Shot

By closely reading your opponent’s backswing, you can easily distinguish between a drop shot and a groundstroke. For example, if the opponent’s backswing is going up high, it will likely be a drop shot. The slice motion is on a much lower plane and usually occurs in a straight line.

Best Way to Handle a Drop Shot

After you’ve learned to read the opposing player’s drop shot, you must decide your next move. In most cases, players counter-drop shot deep down the line to gain good net coverage. On the other hand, a deep crosscourt ball gives the opposing player more room to hit into the open court or counter it down the line.

Best Tips to Improve Your Drop Shot

  • Have your coach, your regular tennis partner or a ball machine feed you a bunch of balls where you can practice the correct drop shot technique by implementing the fundamentals mentioned above.
  • Use the proper grip (continental), keep your backswing short, and swing the racket in a circular motion toward the ball.
  • To improve the effectiveness of the drop shot, you must disguise it; otherwise, an opponent with a quick pair of legs will get you in trouble. So, whenever possible, disguise your next move by pretending to hit a groundstroke next.
  • It’s a strategic shot, not a routine one. So, use it sparingly and in moderation.
  • Drop shots can be used in various ways, such as an approach shot to catch your opponent off balance or change the game’s pace.
  • Keep your eyes on your opponent to identify a drop shot from the opposing side. The high backswings are vital for noticing when the opposing player attempts a drop shot.

So there you have it, our complete guide to hitting a drop shot in tennis. We hope you’ve found this information helpful and that it will give you the edge next time you find yourself playing a match. Remember, practice makes perfect, so be sure to hit the court frequently and work on your drop shot technique until it’s as deadly as Roger Federer’s. Good luck!


Why is a drop shot important in tennis?

A drop shot is one of many tactics that tennis players use to catch their opponents off guard to win a point during a tennis match.

This shot has become so important as it makes predicting a player’s shot pattern much harder and adds another dimension to a player’s attacking arsenal. 

What is a drop serve in tennis?

To execute a drop serve, the server releases the ball from the non-racket hand and strikes it with the racket with the head pointing downward before it hits the ground with an underarm motion into the opponent’s court.

What is a drop volley?

A drop volley is a low shot that needs a soft touch. The player hitting the volley needs to try to gently hit the ball over the net, as close to it as he can, to increase the distance the opposing player must cover to get to it.

How is the drop shot different from a backhand slice or forehand slice?

The drop shot has a much shorter backswing, whereas the slice swing path extends forward way past the player’s body in a linear fashion. The short backswing of a drop shot aids in gaining more touch and so hitting the ball more softly.

Who has the best drop shot in tennis?

Men: Novak Djokovic, Carlos Alcaraz, Roger Federer, Kei Nishikori, Alexander Bublik, Alexandr Dolgopolov, Benoit Paire, Richard Gasquet, Marcelo Rios, Marcos Baghdatis, Guillermo Coria, Radek Štěpánek, Andrey Medvedev, Mardy Fish, David Nalbandian, Fabrice Santoro, John McEnroe, Florian Mayer, Jürgen Melzer, Ernests Gulbis, Marcel Granollers.

Women: Ons Jabeur, Jelena Jankovic, Ashley Barty, Agnieszka Radwańska, Bethanie Mattek-Sands, Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez, Ekaterina Makarova, Monica Niculescu.

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Christoph Friedrich is a German tennis player and coach currently residing in Oakland, California. He began his tennis journey at the age of eight and has since dedicated his life to the sport. After working as a tennis coach and hitting partner in New York City for eight years, Christoph decided to share his knowledge and experience with tennis players around the world by creating the My Tennis Expert blog. His goal is to make tennis education accessible to everyone and help players select the best equipment for their game, from racquets and strings to shoes and overgrips. Christoph's extensive research and expertise in tennis technology make him a valuable resource for players of all levels.

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