Tennis: Rally cross-court and surprise down the line

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Nail, Tennis coach


2 players rally together in cross court direction. Player A picks the right moment to surprise the opponent and hits the drop shot down the line.

Drill specifications:

1 minute and switch

4 players can work on forehands and backhands at the same time so 1 minute periods for switching are appropriate. Waiting players can perform some footwork exercises on the ladder to keep the feet active or they can imitate drop shot to get more comfortable with disguising the shot and changing the grip right before the point of contact.


Element of surprise is a huge weapon in an offensive game of any player. The best thing we can do is keeping the opponent uncomfortable by varying different offensive shots and not using the same tactic all the time. One of the most effective weapons classified as a “surprise” is a drop shot. Especially in the modern tennis based mostly on baseline game and powerful groundstrokes, adding touch shot to the skills of the player is an asset that can bring many easy points during the match. Agnieszka Radwanska is a great example from the WTA Tour who uses drop shot to confuse the opponent and force her rivals to raise the level of performance.

In this drill players work on adding surprising element into a tactical pattern. Cross court rally is a basic picture of any tennis match so many players tend to lose focus and their reaction is much slower. Using drop shot at the appropriate time can win us a point straight away or can put the opponent into a difficult situation. Even if the opponent will get to the ball he has to still come up with good control over this difficult response while being tired. From the tactical point of view, playing drop shots is a good way to bring a typical baseliner to the net and check his net skills. Additionally, few sprints to the net can be killing for rivals who don’t spend enough time on off-court training. Coach should explain to players that the effectiveness of the drop shot depends on disguise and picking the right time to use it so players should focus on these aspects. Coach should also ask players how they can prepare the drop shot opportunity with the previous shot to increase the chances of getting the right ball.



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