Do you have a pesky opponent that is a consistent
baseliner but has shown weaknesses at the net? If your
opponent is better than you at the baseline then you don't
want him doing battle with you from there! The key is to
bring him out of his comfort zone so that you can exploit
his weak volleys.
But when and how do you bring the baseliner to the
net? Sometimes it can be difficult to find the right ball
to drop if you get into baseline rallies with a deep
One idea I like to teach is to take your opponent's
serve and hit a soft drop just over the net. Your goal is
not to necessarily win the point off the shot but to force
your opponent to get out of his comfortable hitting area
and also to make him pop the ball up on his next shot.
Think of hitting a volley with very little backswing or
follow through and use only the pace of the incoming serve.
A harder serve might require you to have soft wrists when
hitting this shot. Once you hit this nice shot you might
consider moving into mid-court to anticipate your opponent
popping the ball up for you.
With a little practice you can make this an
effective shot to use in singles or doubles when your
opponent is trying to avoid the net. It should also
open up more court for you to lob over your opponent or at
least force the baseliner into covering your passing shot
attempts. The drop return is definitely a feel shot that
requires practice and confidence. But you can drop this new
weapon into your arsenal against the pesky baseliner.