Drop Shot

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					Drop Shot


It’s a risky play, but great disguise, excellent footwork, and solid technique make Hingis’ drop shot a
winner.




In a game dominated by power hitters, Martina Hingis’ brand of control-oriented tennis makes her a fan
favorite. A genius at geometry, the former world No. 1 uses the whole court to beat her opponents. Not
only does she use angles and drives to move them side to side, but she also regularly throws in hard-to-
read drop shots to get them running up and back. Here’s how she executes them.




1. Hingis has recognized that she has to hit a backhand, and her preparation has begun as it would for a
backhand drive. There’s nothing at this point that would give her opponent a clue that she’s going to
deliver a drop shot instead. Also, notice her location on the court. She’s right on top of the baseline and
moving forward, which is ideal for the drop shot. You don’t want to try difficult finesse shots from deep
behind the baseline.


2. Look at her feet. You can tell she’s using small, measured steps to put herself in position for the
oncoming ball. Although Hingis may not be the fastest player on the tour, her footwork—the way she
prepares with her feet for each shot—is among the best. As a result, her entire body, from her shoulders to
her feet, is perfectly balanced. She appears to be using a semi-Western grip with her left hand and a
Continental with her right, which is ideal for two-handed backhands.


3. We now see the first hint that Hingis won’t be driving the ball. Her hands are separating on the grip,
indicating that either a slice or a drop shot is on the way. She uses her left hand to cradle the throat of the
racquet and assist in the take-back. Also, because Hingis uses a Continental with her right hand on her
two-hander, she doesn’t have to change her grip with that hand regardless of her shot selection. Her
weight is loaded onto her back foot as she gets ready to step into the ball.


4. We can now tell that Hingis is committed to a drop shot, and not a slice, because her racquet is going
higher but not much farther back. If she were planning to deliver a slice, the racquet would be more behind
her. Note that Hingis’ body is facing the side of the court, something that players with two-handed
backhands often fail to do. For a drop shot, let the ball come to your side more than you would for a drive.




5. Hingis’ weight has almost fully transferred onto her right leg as she continues to move into the ball.
Again, look at her balance. The legs, hips, shoulders—everything is in the right position. Her hands are
perfectly behind the ball and she’s measured exactly how she wants to address it. Her left hand is still
cradling the throat of her racquet and her left palm is lined up with the racquet face, helping to guide it into
position.


6. Hingis makes contact right in the middle of the string bed. Keeping your shoulders closed helps you
swing through the ball, and players with one-handed slice backhands do that by letting their off hand move
back and act as a counterbalance. Players with two-handers tend to push through with their off hand—as
Hingis does here—and, as a result, have to make a special effort to stay turned.


7. After hitting the ball, Hingis continues to move through the shot and into the court. Her footwork is
exemplary. She’s using what’s called a carioca step, which allows her to move forward while remaining
sideways. If you look back, you can see her core has remained sideways since the second frame. Her
focus is still on the contact point; her head has remained still, and she hasn’t looked up to follow the ball
yet.


8. Hingis has started her recovery and has begun to look to the other side of the court to gauge the
success of her drop shot. She’ll continue to move forward after striking the ball and will try to anticipate her
opponent’s reply, if there is one, and take it out of the air if possible. She never assumes that her drop shot
will be an outright winner. This is a great lesson for everybody

				
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