Three Basic Tennis Shots

As a partner at the law firm of Eckert Seamans Cherin & Mellott, LLC, in Philadelphia, Jonathan Nadler represents employers in labor and employment law matters. Outside of the office, Jonathan Nadler enjoys leading a physically active lifestyle and is particularly fond of tennis and golf.

In tennis, there are a multitude of racket grips and kinds of strokes for hitting the ball and producing spin. These can be categorized as three basic types of shots: the top-spin shot, the slice, and the flat shot. Top spin is one of the more common shots a player will employ during the course of a match. By slightly closing the racket face and swinging in an exaggerated, low-to-high arc coming up the back side of the ball, the hitter causes the ball to rotate forward at rapid speeds. This rotation causes the ball to dramatically dip down after travelling deep into the opponent’s court. Top spin is effective for an aggressive yet measured style of play.

Slice, in many ways, is the antithesis of top spin. Slice, or back spin, is achieved by opening the racket face and swinging from high to low down the back side of the ball. Slice is generally used as a defensive shot, as it is slower and can be easily attacked by opponents, although it provides the player hitting the shot with time to recover if hitting out of position or from an awkward defensive stance.

Finally, a flat shot is the ideal weapon in an offensive player’s arsenal. When a player is in a comfortable, balanced position, he or she can contact the ball with a perfectly squared racket face. Without spin, there is little margin for error in terms of clearing the net and landing the ball inside the court. However, when struck above the net and with pace, a flat ball can be placed with precision and is hard for an opponent to attack.