The Drop Shot
The drop shot is one of the most stylish and subtle shots in the game and also one of the most surefire ways of winning a point. A drop shot is used when a player and their opponent have been striking the ball from the back of the court, around the base-line, and one player surprises the other by hitting a much slower ball that ‘drops’ just over the net making it impossible for their opponent to return it before it bounces for a second time.
It is a shot that will catch the opponent off guard and will force them to adjust their position rapidly. If they do manage to reach the ball near the net in time, then the chances are they will be wrong-footed, off balance and running towards the net at speed, making it unlikely that they will win the point. The key to a successful drop shot is disguising it so that the opponent doesn’t know it is coming forcing them to rush towards the net suddenly.
The techniques used for a good drop shot might seem simple but they require a great deal of practice. Firstly there will normally be a series of deep shots that have been played at pace from around the base-line. It is this fast pace which is required in order to apply the necessary spin to the ball. As the ball approaches the player around the base-line they position themselves and their body to make it look as though they are about to return the ball with a conventional forehand or backhand drive shot.
Right at the last second though, the player shortens their swing considerably and the racket is brought to meet the ball at a much slower and fuller pace. The player’s grip becomes much looser and the face of the racket meets the oncoming ball full on and without much force. The existing pace of the ball will propel it over the net so only a small amount of additional force is then needed to help it over the net and then ‘drop’. It will look like a shot-gone-wrong if it doesn’t work but if it does then it will certainly look the complete opposite.
Another important part of the drop shot is the spin on the ball. In order to make absolutely certain that the ball will be unreachable for the opponent, many players apply spin to the ball to ‘kill it dead’ when it lands preventing it from travelling deeper into the court and nearer the opponent.
Back spin is used to make the ball drop over the net and bounce where it lands, or in some instances even back towards the net again. To apply back spin, a back hand stroke is often used and the ball is sliced underneath the base, as though it were having the underside shaved off mid-air. With enough follow-through, the player raising the racket high above their shoulders afterwards, it will then send the ball over the net, spinning backwards in the air and land over the net out of the opponent's reach. The legs are stationary during this shot and all of the force comes from the arms and shoulders.
Here is an example of a successful drop shot
Drop Shot 2