A one-dimensional ground stroke style allows opponents to adjust to your game. To keep them on the defensive (an you on the offensive), learn a variety of spins and when to use them. Let’s take a look at some useful spin variations.
1. High-looping topspin – almost like a lob with topspin, this style pushes your opponent back and keeps them from being able to hurt you, because their contact point is above their strike zone and behind the baseline. It has the added benefit of producing errors or short balls you can attack.
2. Heavy Penetrating topspin – sometimes described as a “heavy ball”, this style generates huge topspin that jumps off the court at your opponent and makes it difficult for them to control. This takes a lot of racket head speed and practice to hit and hit consistently.
3. Underspin – this style covers slices and drop shots. There are lots of options here…forehand slice, backhand slice, forehand or backhand drop shots, short angle slices, slice approach shots. Deep slice shots during a rally can throw your opponent’s rhythm off. Short slices and drop shots can win the point outright or draw your opponent to the net on your terms (playing the ball up from their feet).
A very important point to keep in mind is that no matter what shot you hit, it does no good if you can’t hit it consistently. You must practice these different spins religiously to make them consistent. Choosing which spin to hit takes a lot of trial and error, but here are a few basic rules. If you are well behind the baseline, hit with topspin to bring the point back to neutral and give yourself time to improve your court position. From inside the baseline, you can try slices and drop shots. By using spin and not giving your opponent the same shot every time, you put them at a disadvantage and give yourself more opportunities to win points.