Pickup Location

Overheads, Slices and Drop Shots

Overheads, slices and drop shots are common shots you will play from inside the baseline.  Use the continental grip (holding the racket like a hammer) for all three shots.

The Overhead

Use the overhead shot when the ball is above your highest reach.  It looks like a serve, has similar mechanics, but is in the court.

To hit the Overhead:

  • Turn sideways, lift your racked and non-hitting arm up, point to the ball, crossover or shuffle to move in position, and get behind the point where the ball will bounce. In a good position, you should be able to catch the ball with your non-hitting hand.
  • Swing up to the ball in the direction of your target.  Keep your eye on the ball and watch your racket move through the ball.  Step forward with your back leg to catch your balance and add power.

The Slice

The slice can be a defensive or attacking shot.  The slice is a slow shot that floats low over the net and bounces low with backspin.  This time and low bounce allows you to run into position.  For defense, the shot is done to block high balls or very low ball back in play with spin to slow it down.  For offence, the shot is done to change the pace of the rally, to tempt your opponent to hit a slower and higher ball, or give you time to approach the net for a volley.  Make sure the slices land deep in the opponent's court because a slow and short slice can invite them to attack.

How to Hit a Backhand and Forehand Slice:

The Drop Shot

The drop shot is an attacking shot done from inside the baseline or court when the opponent is deep behind their baseline.  Its a slice that drops very close to the net in the opponent's service box, usually with so little pace and so much spin that it will bounce three or more times in the box and even change direction.  This shot forces the opponent to rush to sprint to the net to keep the ball in play, and can force them to hit a weak and off balance shot if they don't get to the ball quickly.  It's also a good shot to use if you know your opponent is weak at the net since it forces them out of their comfort zone and exploits a weakness.  Hit drop shots when receiving a ball on the rise so that the highest point of the arch is before the net.  You can also use the volley technique to help hit a drop shot with less effort.  Be careful not to hit drop shots into the middle of the court, as that will invite the opponent to attack a slow ball.  

How to Hit a Drop Shot