All the types of tennis strokes explained

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All the types of tennis strokes explained

In tennis, there are a wide variety of shots that you can use to keep the ball in play. Whether you want to play competitively or just for fun, fully understanding the different types of tennis strokes can be helpful and informative. It can also provide a foundation for understanding which tennis shots and shots you would like to improve. This way, when you hit the court with a friend or a tennis coach, you can make the most of your time.

Types of base tennis strokes

The most common types of tennis strokes are perhaps the most frequently associated with tennis, they are the forehand and backhand strokes. Groundstrokes are usually delivered standing a few feet from the baseline as a forehand or backhand.

Forehand and backhand topspin.

The forehand and backhand are usually the first strokes a player will learn. A forehand will be hit with the dominant hand and arm (right if right-handed and left if left-handed), while a backhand will be hit with two hands for a two-handed backhand or with one hand (which is still the hand dominant) for a one-handed backhand. Most players will use one of tennis’s three forehand grips: eastern, semi-western, or western. Each grip has advantages and disadvantages. However, today, the semi-western forehand grip is the most common.

A double-handed backhand is usually held with the dominant hand with a continental grip and the other hand above the dominant hand on the handle. A one-handed backhand is usually a reverse eastern grip. A typical forehand and backhand have topspin, where the player grazes the top of a tennis ball to generate spin. This allows players to hit the ball more aggressively while ensuring that the ball lands back on the court and also with a higher bounce. In a rally, players can hit some variations of their forehand and backhand, that is, down the middle of the track, at the track crossing, or down the line.

Flat forehand and reverse.

A flat forehand or backhand is one in which the player simply doesn’t apply much spin to their shot. Players with an eastern forehand grip can usually hit this shot more effectively as the angle of their racket is less conducive to spin. Conversely, players with a semi-western or western grip may find it difficult to “flatten” the ball because the angle of the tennis racket is conducive to generating topspin. On the backhand side, most players typically don’t have much trouble flattening the ball when using a one- or two-handed backhand. A player will hit a flat forehand or backhand when he doesn’t want to give his opponent that much time to react. With a topspin groundstroke, the ball hits the court and bounces up and toward your opponent, typically giving you more time to respond. However, flat shots with little topspin do not bounce high, they almost slide down the court, especially on grass courts.

A flat ground shot is usually more difficult to hit while keeping the shot within the bounds of the tennis court, as there is not much topspin. As a result, most players hit flat shots in moderation.

Forehand and reverse cut

A chopped forehand or backhand is essentially the opposite of a topspin shot. Instead of skimming the tennis ball, a “slice shot” is hit by skimming under the tennis ball and creating a backspin. Players hit the forehand and backhand with one hand, usually with a continental grip or a slight variation of this grip that borders the east.

Slicing can be very effective in quickly changing the pace of a play to throw an opponent off the track. It is often hit as a defensive shot when a player has little time to react, or when a player is on the run. In addition, on a tennis court like the grass court, the cutting works very well since the ball bounces much less on this surface.

Inverted right cross

A reverse forehand is a popular tennis shot that occurs when a player runs around his backhand and hits a cross forehand. Typically, this shot is hit by a player with a strong forehand to take control of the point or by players who have a weaker backhand and prefer to hit a forehand.

Right inverted parallel

Similar to a cross reverse forehand, a player hits an inside-out forehand when he runs around his backhand. However, instead of hitting the cross forehand as you would a cross reverse forehand, you hit the forehand.


In tennis, a volley is a shot that a player hits without letting the ball bounce off his side of the court. Usually, the player is on or near the net when he hits the ball. The main purpose of approaching the net and volley is to take control of the point and allow yourself to hit with more angles, thus closing the point quickly.

Forehand and backhand volleys

Similar to forehand volleys, forehand volleys are hit with the dominant hand, to the right side of your body if you are right-handed and to the left side of your body if you are left-handed. Backhand volleys are hit with the dominant hand on the left side of the body if you are right-handed and on the right side of the body if you are left-handed. On volleys, a continental grip is maintained, resulting in a neutral racket face designed to easily deflect balls toward the opponent. This type of grip helps ensure that the ball can reach the top of the net without sending it too far. In some cases, youngsters and beginning tennis players will be encouraged to hit their backhand volley with both hands for better support, although this is not recommended.

Half volley

Players can hit a half volley as much as a forehand or backhand in volley-like situations: either while approaching the net or while at the net. In short, a half volley is a shot where you can’t get to the ball to hit a volley before it bounces, and you don’t have enough time to hit a full groundstroke. As a result, you let the ball bounce and then quickly block or deflect it to the other side of the court. In most cases, it is preferable to hit a volley while the ball is in the air or a groundstroke after the ball bounces. However, there are always times when you can’t get to the volley and you don’t have time to prepare for a hit at the net, which makes the half volley a fantastic option.

Half volleys can be hit as a forehand or backhand using a continental grip.

The service

The serve is the shot that begins each point, which the players hit. In either case, a player has two chances – the first and second service – to hit the ball in the service box on the opposite side of the tennis court. Serves are performed with a continental grip, which allows players to hit a variety of different types, including flat, kicking, and rebounding serves. Although the little ones usually start with a classic right-hand grip since it is difficult to make that abrupt turn of the wrist for the little ones.

Flat serve

A flat serve is one that is hit with a minimum, if any, spin. The biggest advantage of a flat serve is the ability to hit the ball with a lot of pace, or speed, which gives your opponent very little time to react. Because players apply little spin to the ball, flat serves are more difficult to hit in the serve box. As a result, this is a shot that is hit only on a player’s first serve to ensure that he can hit a more reliable serve, such as a kick serve, on the second serve.

Topspin serve (Kick serve)

To hit a topspin serve, players generate a significant amount of topspin by hitting the ball and rotating their wrist on contact. This action ensures that the ball travels high over the net and lands in the service box due to the topspin. A topspin serve is an excellent option because, with practice, most players can learn to hit this shot on the court almost always. In addition to consistency, the kick serve is also a weapon for many players who can generate enough spin on the ball, causing the ball to “hit” the ground when it lands in the service box with a much higher bounce.

An effective kick bounces the ball much higher than the ideal height for a forehand or backhand. Most players will normally want to return the ball when it bounces at waist height, so anything above this height starts to become more difficult to hit. As a result, your opponent is forced to either step forward and return the ball quickly from the bounce or step back to give himself enough time to hit a return at a more appropriate height. The topspin serve offers high security, therefore it is a frequent shot used by players on their second serve to ensure that the ball is in play.

Serve cut

Players hit a cut serve by hitting the outer edge – the right side of the ball for right-handed players and the left side of the ball for left-handed players – to produce a lateral spin that slides when it hits the court and bounces in the direction of the effect. The cut serve can be extremely effective, especially when hitting from a distance or towards a player’s body. When hit wide open in the deuce box, the player is forced to come out to the side of the court, thus opening the court for an inning shot.

When struck towards the player’s body, a slicing serve can make it extremely difficult to hit a forehand or backhand, which can ‘freeze’ a player who is guessing which side to hit or could not prepare quickly enough.

The return of the serve

A remainder is a player’s response to his opponent’s serve. As a result, he will hit the rest while standing on the right side of the court, or on the left side of the court when facing the net.

The rest can occur in different ways. However, it typically involves hitting a forehand or backhand from your opponent’s serve, presenting a unique set of challenges in which the ball travels quickly, often leaving you little time to react. Also, it is not always easy to read the type of serve or the direction in which the opponent is going to hit. With the rest, preparation is key, and in many cases, the goal is to simply keep the ball in play or neutralize the point without preparing your opponent for an easy one-shot shot.

Special tennis strokes

In tennis, there are many special strokes, which are struck in specific situations when the strokes mentioned above are not ideal or can be difficult to execute.

Approach shot

As the name implies, you’ll be taking an approach shot as you get closer to the net, which makes it perfect for transitioning from the baseline. Approach shots can be hit with a forehand or backhand, and typically occur when the opposing player hits the ball short on the court, allowing you to get in and move forward and into the ball. The approach shot can be effective as it puts pressure on your opponent. If executed effectively, it allows you to take control of the point and close it out while at the net with a winning shot.

Passing shot

The passing shot is one that players hit when their opponent is at the net, and they try to hit the ball without the opponent touching it. Passing shots tend to put a lot of pressure to make a great shot, which can force many players to go for too much. However, execute well, and you will put equal pressure on your opponent while having the opportunity to leave him disoriented at the net.


The spike is a shot in tennis that players often hit from a balloon. If you move into the net and put pressure on your opponent, you will often find that they will hit a balloon. Since the launch can be difficult to execute, you will see that many of them fall right on your head when you are on the net. In this case, you will have the opportunity to hit a smash, which is essentially a slightly modified version of your serve while on the move at the net. As with the serve, you will hit overhead using the continental grip.

Winner or winner stroke

A “Winner” or winning shot is an expression used to describe any shot that has been successfully made on the opposite side of the court, out of the reach of your opponent. A successful passing shot is a winner, an overhead shot that your opponent cannot reach is a winner, and a forehand that crosses the court or goes down the line that your opponent cannot reach is also a winner

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