Now that you’re comfortably holding your racquet, let’s hit some balls! Here’s a list of basic strokes that will leave you ready to rally – a sequence of continuous shots between players:
A forehand is when you hit the ball on your dominant side.
Pivot your feet and turn your hips and shoulders towards your dominant side, pull your racquet back and swing forward from low to high following through over your opposite shoulder.
The ball goes wherever the racquet face is ‘looking’ so make sure it faces the target for the length of the stroke.
A backhand is when you hit the ball on your non-dominant side.
Pivot your feet and turn your hips and shoulders towards your non-dominant side, pull your racquet back with one or two hands on the racquet and swing forward from low to high following through over your opposite shoulder.
Avoid snapping your wrists with your strokes and instead drive through the ball with your body weight.
Canadian star Denis Shapovalov has one of the most feared backhands on the ATP Tour. Watch a short compilation of his backhands against Russian Andrey Rublev during a win at the 2019 Miami Open below:
A volley is a short and quick shot before the ball bounces on the ground. It is most often hit from the net but can be hit from anywhere on the court.
Keep your feet shoulder-width apart, stand about three feet from the net and hit the ball prior to it hitting the ground.
Stay on your toes and make small rapid steps! Playing the net requires a lot of agility and quick reflexes. Also, avoid swinging your racquet. A volley does not require a full follow-through. It’s more like a punch or even a light tap.
Here’s Canadian Félix Auger-Aliassime executing a perfectly-placed, drop-shot volley at the 2019 Miami Open:
A serve is the overhead tennis shot to start a point. It’s more common to serve overhead, but underhand is just fine.
Lightly toss the ball into the air, and then extend your racquet overhead and hit the ball when it reaches its highest point. Be cautious of where your feet are. You want to keep them behind the baseline.
Lightly toss the tennis ball and raise your racquet above your head at the same time. As the ball is rising drop your racquet behind you as if you are going to scratch your back with it and then extend it fully above your head and hit the ball. Don’t forget to follow through!
Below is an example of some superb shot making by Canadian superstar Bianca Andreescu at the 2019 BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells. Take note of which of her shots are forehands, backhands and volleys.