You have your opponent(s) running and deep in the court after a long rally; and you go for the “killer dropper”! But it either hits the net and falls on your side or it sits up for an easy put-away winner by your opponent(s). How come?
One Expert Dropper’s Opinion
Those of you who have ever played with or against Spike Gonzales know what great touch and drop shot he has. So I asked him to give us a few pointers on this often misplayed shot.
“We would all agree that the drop shot should be hit with backspin, in order to retard the ball bounce. Accordingly, the ideal grip is the continental, which tilts the racquet back on both the forehand and backhand sides.
“We would also agree that the striker should be well inside the baseline to attempt a drop shot. Ideally the incoming ball is still “on-the-rise,” which assists in imparting backspin and giving most of the energy to the shot. The best opportunity to hit drop shots is against a weak second serve!
“However, there are a couple misunderstandings on hitting a drop shot.
1. The ball should go low over the net. Not so, the ball should go up to four feet over the net. What’s important is that the ball is falling before or at the time it gets to the net. This allows the second bounce (with backspin) to stay close to the net and disguises the shot somewhat because the opponent cannot quickly perceive that the ball will be short. (When you hit it low over the net, your opponent will start coming in immediately, and the second bounce will go deeper.) I liken the drop–shot to being a “mini-lob.”
2. The drop shot should be a winner. In most cases the intent of the drop shot should be to get the opponent out of position, or out of their comfort zone. Trying to hit a winner with a perfect placement will end in the ball going into the net too often. Remember, “It doesn’t have to be that good.”
3. It should be hit cross-court. Yes, a successful cross-court drop shot is devastating; but trying to hit it results in more errors. Your mind has a more accurate estimate of how far the net is from you when you hit straight-ahead. The net gets farther and farther away for cross-courts.
“If you miss a drop shot, or lose the point because of your hitting it, pause and record mentally what you could have done to be more effective next time!”
After Hitting the Drop Shot
“Move inside the baseline, slightly cross-court to protect against the re-drop or attempted angle put-away. If you can get your racquet on the angle you have an easy winner; if your opponent goes down-the-line they have to carefully go over the high part of the net to the shortest amount of court left so you often have time respond with a lob when they are quite vulnerable. By moving in slightly, you should be able to get to a re-drop to carefully tap the ball down-the-line or with an angle.”
How about YOU, how do you hit a successful drop shot?
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