Tennis shot types: Which are the different types of shots in tennis?

Tennis shot types: Which are the different types of shots in tennis?

Kenneth Mwenda
January 26, 2023 at 5:19 AM

There are several tennis shot types every player must master to play the game effectively. Depending on the strengths and weaknesses of each player, each of these shots has different variations that can be simple or sometimes difficult. Read on to explore how you can develop into a more adaptable and challenging opponent the next time you play tennis.

Tennis shot types: Which are the different types of shots in tennis?
Taylor Fritz (top) of the USA playing against Novak Djokovic of Serbia during the Nitto ATP Finals on November 19, 2022. Photo: Nicolò Campo
Source: Getty Images

Professional tennis players practice different types of tennis shots to enhance their skills; these shots help them get the most from their game. The majority of beginners are unaware of these crucial shots, and therefore, they need to master them if they would like to get started.

Different types of shots in tennis

Once you have mastered your grip and stance, there are 8 basic shots in tennis that every tennis player needs to master in order to play the sport well. Your tennis game will get tighter as you learn and practice these common shots more. Here are the basic tennis shots.

1. Forehand

Types of forehand shots in tennis
Novak Djokovic plays a forehand during The Championships Wimbledon 2022 at All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on July 10, 2022, in London, England. Photo: Simon Stacpoole
Source: Getty Images

It is the most effective tennis shot, including table tennis, and is one that every player should be able to execute. All players typically learn the forehand groundstroke first. With your dominant hand (or, in some cases, your preferred hand), you take your main shot across the body, moving from low to high with the follow-through over your shoulder.

Once you get your grip, you can hit your forehand groundstroke with one or two hands, depending on the type of stroke you want to execute. With a one-handed forehand, you can reach further with your racket to retrieve balls than you can with two hands, which gives it an advantage (though a two-handed forehand can sometimes give you more power). A topspin forehand is normally a player's most accurate weapon in a tennis match.

2. Backhand

What are the different types of tennis shots?
Carlos Alcaraz in action during the US Open Tennis Championship 2022 at the USTA National Tennis Centre on September 11 2022, in Flushing, Queens, New York City. Photo: Tim Clayton
Source: Getty Images

As the name suggests, the reverse forehand shot is executed by swinging the racket away from the body on the side opposite the dominant hand. Many players execute the backhand with just one hand, but a number also use two hands. Some professionals find the one-handed backhand to be superior to the two-handed backhand.

The one-handed backhand would give professionals a wider range of motion, a little more drive and power, and more spin versatility. Refining your backhand into a consistent shot to play tennis at the highest levels would be best. Consequently, it would be best to strike it with a decent pace, depth, spin, and placement.

3. Serve

What are the 8 shots in tennis?
Casper Ruud of Norway serves during the US Open Tennis Championship 2022 at the USTA National Tennis Centre on September 11 2022, in Flushing, Queens, New York City. Photo: Tim Clayton
Source: Getty Images

This is one of the most effective in tennis, and players have no choice but to master it since they have to be able to perform it to commence a point. It is delivered diagonally from the server into the service box from behind the baseline on one side of the court. To get the best angle possible, the tennis player typically throws the ball into the air and hits it at its highest point.

Professional athletes frequently hit serves that are nearly impossible to return at speeds well over 100 mph. A serve that the opponent cannot return is referred to as an ace.

4. Volley

Different types of shots in table tennis
Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain plays a volley during the Adelaide International semi final tennis match at Memorial Drive on January 13, 2023, in Adelaide, Australia. Photo: Peter Mundy
Source: Getty Images

Nowadays, the majority of tennis players regularly use this type. The volley shot is typically used when a player seizes the ball without waiting to bounce. In this shot category, a player would want to smash the tennis ball with all his might. Volley shots significantly impact the game, so one must be aware of them.

The volley is launched near the net area or in the middle of the court. This shot requires someone to be placed in a very strategic manner because the opponent can choose a place to attack that would not be easy to get to. As a result, it might lead to a simple point.

5. Slice

Most effective tennis shots
Kei Nishikori of Japan plays a backhand slice during the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships at All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on July 11, 2018, in London, England. Photo: Clive Mason
Source: Getty Images

Tennis slices can be difficult to master but are useful for changing the ball's bounce or slowing down a point. A slice undercuts the tennis ball with a backspin or sidespin, removing the topspin and lowering the ball's position on the court. A ball that has been sliced requires the opponent to stoop down and stretch to recover it, making a powerful return difficult.

A well-hit slice can be a shot that deals a lot of damage to the opponent. A good slice will stay low and skid on the surface. Additionally, volleying a slice with a tight rotation can be challenging.

6. Overhead

Tennis shot types: Which are the different types of shots in tennis?
Nadia Petrova of Russia hits an overhead shot against Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark during the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, California, on March 12, 2013. Photo: Frederic J. Brown
Source: Getty Images

An overhead shot is one that you make above your head. The motion is very similar to a serve, except that the ball will be struck at you rather than you starting the stroke. Overheads may be struck from the air or after they have touched the ground.

If taken out of the air, perfect timing is required to hit an effective overhead. On occasion, it is best to let the ball land on the ground before removing it from the air. The ball can be struck over your head if it bounces high enough. Because the fundamentals of the serve and overhead are so similar, if you have a good serve motion, you will also have a good overhead.

7. Drop shot

Basic tennis shots
Marie Bouzkova of the Czech Republic hits a shot from the ground after falling at the All England Lawn and Tennis Club at Wimbledon on July 5, 2022, in London, England. Photo: Simon Bruty
Source: Getty Images

An opponent must run forward to return the ball before it bounces twice when it is shot with a drop shot, a trick shot that gently drops the ball right over the net. It is softly struck and works best during a fierce, deep baseline rally.

Drop shots can surprise your opponent by abruptly changing the point's tempo and direction. Your goal is to hit the ball so softly and closely to the net that it bounces twice before your opponent can get to it.

8. Lob

Different types of shots in tennis
US player Serena Williams (L) chases a lob shot from Romania's Simona Halep during the 2019 Wimbledon Championships in Wimbledon, southwest London, on July 13, 2019. Photo: Glyn KIRK
Source: Getty Images

This shot requires skill and a high level of technique, making it a little more difficult to master. A lob is a slow-moving shot with a high trajectory used in tennis, and its goal is to make a net player hit a challenging shot or go over their head.

The forehand or backhand can be used to strike the lob. Although slice can be used, topspin is more frequently used. For three distinct reasons, a topspin lob is much preferred and more effective.

One is that topspin will assist in keeping the ball in play. Two, slice shots tend to float more and are much simpler to hit than fast-spinning, rapidly dipping balls, making it harder for your opponent to hit them.

Most tennis beginners are curious about the basic shots in the sport. You are now well aware of them. You can also learn and use them in your game if you are familiar with all the fundamental strokes.

READ ALSO: Which are the best tennis courts in the world currently?

Sportsbrief also published an article about the best tennis courts in the world. Tennis is one of the sports that has grown significantly in popularity around the world, and because of this, some of the best tennis courts have been built.

Most fans, however, tend to concentrate more on the players and frequently forget the amazing grounds where these players play their games. Click on the above link to read more!

Kenneth Mwenda photo
Kenneth Mwenda
Kenneth Mwenda is a business and sports writer with over five years of experience. At Sportsbrief, he contributes to writing biographies and listicles.