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Tennis strokes - the right technique is what counts

Whether in singles or doubles, a tennis game depends on the right technique. Therefore, in this blog post, we introduce you to the most important types of tennis strokes and explain how to perform them correctly.

Basic strokes in tennis

We will start with the basic types of strokes: These include the forehand, the backhand and the serve. The forehand is usually taught and played with one hand, with the ball played on the side of the batting hand. So if you are right-handed you play the ball with your right, if you are left-handed you play the ball with your left. You initiate the forehand strike with a backward movement. Ideally, you should hit the ball on the side in front of your body at hip level.

Next, let's look at that Backhand: You can perform this stroke with one or both hands. As a beginner, we advise you to train the backhand with both hands at the beginning, as it is easier to do. With the backhand, the tennis ball is played on the opposite side of the batting hand.

As the last type of tennis, which is one of the basic types, we would now like to give you the surcharge to introduce. This initiates the rally. If you have the right to serve, you must hit the tennis ball from a position behind the baseline into the opposite service court. You should note that the lines belong to the service area and that touching or exceeding them is a violation of the rules. As a server you have two attempts, with your opponent receiving a point after an invalid second attempt. The right to serve changes after a game. As an advanced player, you can hit the service with different rotations, depending on your tactical design. A distinction is made between a flat, fast serve, which only has a slight forward spin, and a topspin or slice serve. We'll take a closer look at the different ball rotations in a moment. In order to achieve the highest possible ball speed, it is important that you hit the ball with the most favorable angle. You can do this by throwing the ball above head height and hitting it at the highest possible point.

Ball rotation strokes

In this section, as already mentioned above, we will introduce you to the different ball rotations. Because during a stroke you can influence the rotation of the tennis ball. The self-rotation in turn affects the flight curve and the jumping behavior.

First of all we would like to give you the "Drive" to explain. This is particularly popular with beginners and hobby players, as it can be performed intuitively and effortlessly. The drive is a basic stroke with only slight rotation of the tennis ball. Ideally, you should hit the ball at a 90 degree angle. The disadvantage here is that powerful strokes, thanks to the flat trajectory, often no longer end up in the opposing field, but rather outside. In addition, a drive is the least problematic for the opponent, since the principle of angle of incidence equals angle of reflection applies here. This enables him to better calculate the meeting point. The advantage of the drive is its high flight speed: This forces your opponent to react quickly and run.

The most common stroke variant in modern tennis today is the Topspin, which describes a forward rotation of the ball. You create this forward spin by running your club face over the top of the ball. At the point of impact you should keep the club face inclined slightly downwards (less than 90 degrees), as this will give the ball lift. This gives the flight curve a stronger, vertical curvature, which extends the flight time of the ball. Thanks to the changed bounce behavior, these balls are very difficult for your opponents to calculate. Because in relation to the flight curve, the tennis ball bounces off flatter and faster. This variant is usually only played by advanced players, as it requires good technique and a lot of strength. In addition, the risk of hitting the ball with the tennis racket is very high due to the forward-sloping surface of the racket.

The last stroke variant must be the "Slice" to be named. With a slice, the ball is rotated backwards, which allows you to play the ball very flat over the net. When it hits the opposing field, the ball hardly bounces off. Therefore, you can use the slice as a preparation shot for a network attack or to buy yourself more time out of a defensive situation. You can also use this beat to vary the pace of the game to throw your opponent out of the rhythm.

Strategic strikes

In addition to the surcharge, the "Return" to one of the most important blows. It is also an opening stroke with which the rally is initiated. With the return you play the tennis ball back after your opponent serves. A weak return gives the opponent the opportunity to build up pressure with the first stroke. As a returnee, you are usually only able to passively hold out the tennis racket with a short backward movement on the first serve. So you can try to use the pressure of the opposing service and give the return the desired direction.

Another important type of stroke in tennis is that smash - also called smash. This blow is considered to be the most powerful attack blow in tennis. It is similar to a serve in terms of the execution of the movement: It is also an overhead strike at high speed. You usually play a smack in response to your opponent's attempt at praise. In the next section we will explain exactly what “praise” is.

A "Praise" is a hit ball that you can use to try to overcome your opponent once they have reached the net. However, you should note that your opponent can respond with a smack if you hit the praise too short or too flat. However, if you hit the praise too slowly or too high, your opponent will have enough time to run back and play the ball with a forehand or backhand. This stroke is one of the most technically difficult strokes and is therefore rarely seen by amateur athletes. Advanced players play a lob with topspin, which allows the ball to fly at a very high speed. If this is carried out in a technically clean manner, the opponent can no longer run over the ball.

If your opponent is near the net, you can get one Passage deploy. With this type of stroke you play the ball past him to the side so that it is inaccessible to him. You can play the pass with the forehand or backhand.

Another important strategic blow is that Stop ball. You play the ball so that it falls just behind the net. Similar to a slice, you play the ball with a backward spin. The tennis ball hardly bounces off the ground after hitting it. Thanks to the backward spin, the ball no longer bounces forward, but ideally backwards. Therefore, you should use this punch when your opponent is well behind the baseline. Due to the surprising effect, the stop ball is very effective and the opponent hardly has the opportunity to reach the ball.

Next we want you to "Volley" and explain its three special forms. In a volley - also known as a flying ball - you play the ball back before it hits the ground. You should perform this stroke close to the net so that your opponent has to get into position quickly.

A special form of volley is that Drive volley: With this stroke you don't "push" the ball into the field, but hit it with high speed and spin, like with the forehand. This volleyball is mainly used by women, it only plays a subordinate role in men’s tennis.

Another special form is Full stop. This refers to a stroke technique in which the opponent's stroke becomes a stop ball. The difficulty with this type of shot is to take away the speed of the tennis ball and to place it as close as possible behind the net.

The Half volley is another volleyball where you have to hit the ball shortly after it bounces. You should only use this stroke in an emergency, as you cannot put pressure on your opponent with a half volley.

As a last volley, we want to give you the one at this point Pike volley to introduce. In a pike volley, you try to jump to the side, reach a pass from your opponent and hit back into his field.

Another type of tennis is that "Cross". You play the tennis ball in the diagonally opposite corner of the court. Since the diagonal is longer, you can hit harder balls that fly farther.

The last type of stroke is the so-called "Longline" to strategic hits. With a longline, you play the ball parallel to the touchline in the opposite field. If you are to the side outside the court, you can play the ball past the net post in accordance with the rules.

Winning strokes

The winning strokes are also important in tennis. This includes the "Winner". The winner is a ball that you place in such a way that it cannot be returned by your opponent.

Also include "Ace" and "Service Winner" to the winning strokes. Ace describes a serve in the field, which can no longer be reached by the receiver and thus automatically leads to a point. But you need a lot of experience to do this, because you have to recognize, among other things, in which direction the recoil could move. If your ball can still be reached by the opponent, but it still comes to a point for you, it is called a service winner.


Finally, in this section we explain the mistakes in tennis: These include the Forced error and the Unforced error as well as the double fault. An "Unforced Error" is when you lose a point because of your own mistake and this was not influenced by the previous stroke of the opponent. A “forced error” is when you cannot properly return the ball due to a hard-to-reach hit from your opponent. Since the transitions between these errors are mostly fluid, the classification is usually up to the discretion of the respective statistics manager.

Last but not least, we want that Double fault explain: After two illegal serves, the end of the service loses one point. This is known as a double error and counts as an Unforced Error.

Now you have learned all the important tennis strokes and are ready for your training. ERIMA wishes you a lot of fun with your next tennis game.