Approach lessons for intermediate players
The approach shot is perhaps one of the most underestimated shots in all of tennis. You already know how to hit a ground stroke from the baseline, so surely hitting a ground stroke that’s closer to the net would be easier right? Wrong. The approach shot has a lot of unique aspects to it, that no other shot requires. One of the most important approach lessons for intermediate players to understand is the footwork involved in hitting the shot. This article will focus on the footwork required to hit a great forehand and backhand approach shot.
Beginning players are always told to keep their feet on the ground and not jump at the ball on their ground strokes. While that’s great advice for ground strokes from the baseline, hitting an approach shot has a different set of rules. As an intermediate player, it’s important for you to learn the hop-step for your approach shot. Keep in mind, that a hop is not a jump, there is a difference. The hop-step is used most commonly on approach shots, when the ball lands shallow in the court and you have an opportunity to move forward towards the net. As you go to hit the ball, all your weight should be transferring to your front foot (the foot closest to the net) while your rear foot comes off the court. Nearing contact, you are going to hop off your front foot, make contact with the ball, and then land on the same front foot. Since your body movement is moving forward, your hop should result in you landing closer to the net. It sounds complicated, but with enough practice it will come easy. The hop-step works on both the forehand and backhand sides and is extremely effective in allowing you to apply pressure and move closer to the net. Learning this technique is critical in developing your movement on court as a player.
Watch this great video on how to execute the forehand hop-step approach shot.
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