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Don't Blow The Drop Shot Return:
Use Valuable Racquet Head Weight
by John W. Naprstek, Sr.

If you are going to spend valuable energy sprinting toward the net to return a drop shot --- DO NOT WASTE THE ENERGY!!!

I often see tournament pros sticking their racquet way out in front as far as their arm can possibly reach in order to just reach a ball. They find it and push with the stringbed flat to the path they want the ball to take. This method often results in a blown shot.

Pros on tour are quite fit and very strong, but not utilizing the weight of the racquet head in motion to produce this shot is counterproductive!

At full stretch there is no racquet head momentum available for such a shot. The forward motion of the body cannot be utilized with the racquet stuck straight out front. In order to get the ball over the net the shot must be pushed to the side roughly 90% off of the line of advance, sometimes on a line almost parallel to the net.

Utilizing the Continental grip you can add the momentum of the head weight of the racquet to such a shot by incorporating three simultaneous preparatory motions:

  1. Supinate the forearm.

  2. Bend the elbow, drawing the racquet away from the proposed contact point.

  3. Cock the wrist as you would to drive a nail. Your racquet head should now be laid back 45 to even 65 degrees to the path of the ball.

Now, even if the ball is already down to ten or so inches above the court surface, you will be able to get under it. As you uncock your wrist, swing your racquet head with plenty of speed and it will slide under and contact the bottom of the ball with momentum.

You will be rewarded twice:

  1. With uplift for the ball to clear the net on a sharp angle.

  2. With a ton of backspin.

These two factors will make your opponent's return quite difficult because your shot will be low and drop only a short distance over the other side of the net and have a weird bouncing action. Your ball may not even bounce high enough for your opponent to make a return.

You usually have hit an outright winner!

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