Tennis is among the most-watched and enjoyed sports on the planet. Year after year, flood into stadiums and tune in from their homes to see who can outmatch the greatest of the greatest. Tennis has brought us the most recognizable names in sports.: Williams, Agassi, Graf, Novak, Kournikova, Sampras. These people have become the beacons of fitness and sport for entire generations of athletic hopefuls. If you’re looking to find your sport inspiration in tennis, you’re in luck! There’s a whole host of diff things techniques and schools of thought to try your hand at one of the noblest sports around. Before you get to that, though. There are some basics you need to have under your belt. You need to have them perfected to a millisecond—to the millimeter. Here are the 4 different strokes (or shots) in tennis and how to train them.
Your first basic shot is the serve or a service. The serve is when you initiate the game by shooting the ball diagonally with an overhand stroke. This is typically the most calculated and powerful shot in the game. Some of the more advanced players don’t just try to get the ball rolling, they try to win the match with the “serve” itself. When you match the best tennis rackets with trained focus, you can get that perfect shot. If you hit a game-winning serve, it’s officially called an “Ace”.
A forehand shot is a shot from the dominant side of the player. It’s when you’re swinging the racket with a frontal exposure of the body towards the target you want to hit. If you were playing handball, this strike would actually hit the open palm of your hand. The forehand “strike” has multiple grips and variances within the shot itself. It also depends on the diameter you’re most comfortable with. Experts at places like Racquet Sports Center have great resources to help you choose. It really depends on the style that you subscribe to and, more than anything, how much work you put into that particular shot.
The backhand shot is the inverse of the forehand stroke. It’s when you use your non-dominant side to swing the racket. You take the gripped racket from your dominant side, bring it over to the non-dominant side and hit it almost in the complementary form of a baseball swing from the other hand. If you’re taking the racket away, it’s a backhand smack.
A volley is a shot before the ball touches the ground. You know, like volleyball. A volley is often done in quick scenarios where you’re closer to the net than you would be on a forehand or backhand shot. The volley is a test of reflexes more than power and often is the decider of many a match. Sometimes you can get lucky and throw in an overhead smash. Sometimes it’s just a quick drop shot.
Tennis, once you get the hang of it, is completely addicting. It’s one of those sports that rely on heavy training to initiate a flow state. Very few activities nowadays can do that. If you’re willing to put in the work, you can train that skill. More importantly, it’s a whole lot of fun.