Too Many Drop Shots?

Me and Mr. Parker (The Drop Shot King)
Me and Mr. Parker (The Drop Shot King)
Many of the top senior players have excellent drop shots and employ them tactically during a match. But while there is no “magic number,” sometimes the tactic can get overused to the point where the match is no longer “fun.” Or, should that count for anything?

After beating me easily in the first set of a singles match in our Friendship Cup (New England vs. Canada), my very polite opponent apologized for using so many drop shots. But as it turned out, that was the only weapon he had that he could use to beat me (I eventually figured out the strategy to take that away and won the match in three tough sets).

But the point is… is it ever “wrong” to use a tactic that is winning for you?

Too many drop shots?
Serving underhanded?
Too many bloopy moon balls?
Hitting ALL the balls to his weaker backhand?
Having an opponent who doesn’t run very well and making him?

Tournament vs. Friendly

I think the simple answer is: in a tournament or league match, anything goes. But if you are just playing a pick-up match, you should limit yourself (if you want to play with that same guy again).

Because from a personal point of view, I play tennis because it is FUN. And if you make me run for 50 drop shots during a match, that will not be fun.

What do you think?

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7 thoughts on “Too Many Drop Shots?

  1. I think you are right on with your opinion. League or tournament matches anything
    goes to win. In fun pick up matches you should never serve underhanded unless you
    have a shoulder or health issue and you must serve underhanded all the time.
    Drop shots should be able to be used most anytime it is an attribute that some may
    have where other have a nice top spin shot. What is the difference if one is using his
    better shot. Another is a topspin lob which is very effective when two are at the net.
    Again many of us don’t have that shot. So if you possess it let it fly.
    If someone can’t run to get these they certainly possess other excellence like great
    hands. How about all is fair in love and war. Use the tools you have and most of all
    have fun win or lose. One thing to remember is if you can’t play a sport be one.

    Phil – i love the last line! tks. george

  2. Tournament level there is no limit on any shoot to win. Do you tell a player who is
    hitting aces to slow up his serve so you can have more fun. There are times a drop
    shot player is just the guy you want to play, because he is losing with it. Do not forget the player who is winning with the drop shot is having fun.

  3. George: I had forgotten that you played with us at Friendship Cup. I enjoyed playing with you, Nick, and Whitey last summer in NH preparing for FC. Nick and I won Williamstown using the drop shot on Lynch and Canepa. I will use any shot I have to have fun and it’s a lot more fun to win than otherwise. David

    David – as i said, in tournaments, almost anything goes! tks george

  4. I think there are counter-strategies for every type of play. I’ve caused a lot of serve and volleying and chip/charging out of guys who are otherwise disinclined to get to the net so as to discourage my drop shotting.

    I’m thinking that they are *thrilled* to have that opportunity and are having a blast.

    They might also be disinclined to go back to cover lobs, but I’m sure they appreciate the chance to practice *that* aspect of their games, too. 🙂

    Kevin – I am sure that YOU are a lot of fun to play against!!! george

  5. Drop shots and soft angle shots are great weapons for senior players but the best time to use them is during important matches especially against slower players. Using those shots a lot during pick up or practice matches makes the match boring and takes the fun away. The unimportant matches should be used to practice those shots and tactics which need improvement.

    Tony – my thoughts, exactly! thanks, george

  6. George, back in the late 1980s/ early 1990s, I used to play in a couple of men’s summer and winter (indoors) singles leagues in New Jersey. There was this one fellow — call him McGill (not his real name) — who basically had only two shots in his arsenal, a “killer drop” shot and a lob. Most times he didn’t need the lob as his drop shot was that good.

    McGill was about 15-20 years older than me at that time, but it still was brutal to play him. For reasons explained below, his drop shot really was a “killer.”

    One summer he was outside playing a singles league match (4.5+ level) against a guy who was slightly older than him. But it was one of those typical New Jersey days — 100% humidity and about 97 degrees, with ozone air pollution everywhere so you could not breathe. McGill hit a drop shot, his opponent took a step to try to reach it, and he collapsed on the court. He was DOA by the time they got him to the hospital. A massive MI.

    The next fall, those of us who played in an indoor singles league with McGill used to draw straws with the winner getting the privilege of NOT playing against him. I confess that I was in much better shape then, but McGill’s drop shot was so good and he used it so frequently, I just hated playing him all the same.

    The following summer McGill was back outside playing another singles match on a brutally hot day against another opponent who was, maybe, in his late 60s or early 70s when the unthinkable happened. That’s right. McGill hit another drop shot, and for the second time in two years, his opponent collapsed on the court and suffered a heart attack. This guy managed to get to the hospital, but he succumbed a few hours later. Very tragic.

    That fall, one of the guys in the indoor league commented to another, who did not know the full story about McGill, “Did you hear about McGill? He killed somebody on the tennis court.” The other guy responded, “That’s old news. Everybody knows that.” And then the first guy responded, “No, I don’t mean LAST summer. I mean he did it AGAIN this past summer.” We then made a pack that we would only let guys who were 35 years old or younger on the court against McGill…. It just was not worth risking our health. But even the young guys used to break out in huge sweats after going only an hour and a half against him, and more than one walked off the court swearing, “Never again.”

    McGill lasted one more season with our indoor crowd. The last I heard he moved to the East Coast of Florida where he planned to retire and, what else? …. play a lot of tennis. I think you West Coast guys should be safe.

    Marty – GREAT story! My answer is in just saying two words, “Nice shot.” and not running for the ball. george

  7. Drop shots, moonballs & lobs, preferably on a windy day, mixed up with a bit of slice & dice, now you’re talking my language George !
    Looking forward to TF28.
    Best wishes

    Howard – when it comes to that “stuff,” You da Man! see you in October. george

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