Tennis Shot Types

What Are The Types Of Shots In Tennis

One of the most important aspects of winning a tennis match is using the right shots. The wrong shot selection can cripple a player’s game, while using the perfect shot at the perfect time can clinch a vital point. With that in mind, what are the types of shots in tennis? Which are the most important? Read on below to find out.

What Are The Types Of Shots In Tennis?

There are many different types of shots in tennis. These shots include:

  • Approach Shot
  • Backhand
  • Drop Shot
  • Forehand
  • Flat
  • Groundstroke
  • Half-Volley
  • Inside-Out/Inside-In
  • Lob
  • Passing Shot
  • Serve
  • Slice
  • Topspin
  • Volley

Approach Shot

An approach shot is made when a player quickly approaches the net to play the ball. Approach shots can be hit forehand or backhand, and they are usually made when a player’s opponent hits a shallow shot. Approach shots allow players to put pressure on their opponents and are great for closing out points.


A backhand shot is made by swinging the racket around the player’s body, with the back of the dominant hand facing forward as it grips the racket. Backhands are usually used to play groundstrokes, although backhand volleys are occasionally used by players close to the net. Backhand shots can be made one-handed or two-handed. Backhand shots do not typically achieve as much power as forehands, but they are known for their exceptional potential for spin.

Drop Shot

drop shot in tennis

Drop shots are when the ball is hit softly with precision over the net in an attempt to get the ball to bounce two times before the opponent can run and reach it.


What Is A Forehand In Tennis

A forehand shot is made with the palm of the dominant hand facing forward while holding the racket. A forehand is made by swinging the racket across a player’s body in the direction they want the ball to go. Forehands are the most powerful type of shot and they are great for achieving topspin.


No topspin is involved when the stroke is flat. The ball is hit straight toward the ground and giving little time for the opponent to react, shoots up like a line drive at their racket.


A groundstroke is a forehand or backhand shot that is made after the ball has bounced on the court. A good groundstroke has a combination of depth, speed, and spin and is often played behind the baseline. Groundstrokes are the opposites of volleys, which are made before the ball hits the ground.


A half-volley is a blocking shot used when a player is too far behind the ball. A half-volley is made by allowing the ball to bounce and then quickly deflecting or blocking it over to the other side of the court. A half-volley is a great choice for when a player can’t get to a volley or doesn’t have time to set up a groundstroke.


An inside-out forehand is when the ball is hit by a player cross-court with a strong forehand to an opponent with a weak backhand. An inside-in forehand is when a player hits the ball down the line with their forehand.


The lob is a very high shot. It’s used to put the ball out of the reach of an opponent and to allow a player to have time to recover because the ball stays up in the air for longer.

Passing Shot

A passing shot is made when a player’s opponent is at the net, in an attempt to get it past them. The ideal passing shot will be high and just in bounds. Passing shots can be risky, as it is easy to overhit them out of bounds, but they are a great way to take control of the point when an opponent is charging the net.


​​What Is A Serve In Tennis

In order to be a skilled tennis player, one must have a powerful and accurate serve. The serve has to be hit from behind the baseline on one side of the court into the service box of their opponent diagonally from them.


​​What Is A Slice In Tennis

A slice stroke is the opposite of a topspin stroke. To slice the ball, a player gently brushes the bottom of the tennis ball with their racket. A slice shot is always performed with one hand on the racket.


These are one of the first types of strokes that a tennis player will learn. To generate topspin, a player gently brushes the top of the tennis ball with their racket while returning the ball to their opponent. A forehand is just hit with one’s dominant hand, as a backhand stroke often involves the use of two hands.


The tweener is one of the most difficult shots in tennis, but also one of the most exciting to watch. A tweener occurs when a tennis player hits a ball–usually a lob–between their own legs (hence the term “tweener”), typically while their back is turned. Tweeners are notoriously difficult because they require players to hit a ball that is out of sight when it is hit, meaning that the player must intuitively know where the ball is.


The volley is another basic shot in tennis. Forehand volleys are performed hitting the ball with one’s dominant hand to that same side of their body. Backhand volleys are performed hitting the ball with one’s dominant hand to the other side of their body. A half-volley is a forehand or backhand shot that is often implemented by players when they are by the net or when the ball is bouncing or high in the air.


What is the most common shot in tennis?

The most common shot in a tennis match is the groundstroke. One of the fundamental tennis shots, groundstrokes are common in tennis because allowing the ball to bounce once before hitting it gives the player some time to prepare, makes hitting the ball easier, and helps moderate the flow of a rally.

What is the easiest shot to hit in tennis?

Generally, the forehand is considered the easiest shot to master in tennis. Forehands are easy because they employ a very natural hitting motion, making it inherently easier to direct the ball and apply power to the shot. Forehands are extremely versatile, but because of how basic they are, they can become predictable, and should not be used exclusively.

What is the hardest shot to hit in tennis?

There is no one accepted answer for what is the hardest shot to hit in tennis, but there are a few shots that are extremely hard to hit. These shots include the backhand smash, the drop shot, the serve, and the tweener.