Learning how to hit high balls in tennis sounds easy but it’s not.
In tennis, high balls are the ones that you hit above the height of your shoulders. Most players in their first years of tennis struggle with this shot so if you want to be able to take the next step, improve your level and learn how to hit a solid return on high balls continue to read.
The high balls can hit on your backhand as much as your forehand however players normally find it easier to deal with them with the foremost. If you can adjust the technique and the timing then you will be able to return all of them even getting a point from it.
Other than just trying to return the shot of your opponent we will analyse how to perform a quality shot, able to become an attacking weapon for your game plan and not only a defensive strategy.
HOW TO HIT HIGH BALL FOREHAND
First of all, start by adjusting your position and movement in the court. To hit a high ball forehand requires coordination and technique. Below are some techniques to be used to provide an efficient return to your opponent and make it a defensive into an offensive one:
- Increase maximum height meaning you have to hit the ball when you are jumping so the fact the ball is high will be balanced by your jump and you would gain some centimetres
- Adjust with either vertical swing path or the horizontal one as you see drill
- Don’t take the arms above the shoulders
- Use your rotational axes to absorb the shot and make it naturally
- The racquet head is higher than the grip at the moment of the contact
- The contact should be below the shoulders and above the waist
The above-mentioned techniques aren’t so automatic if you try to insert them in your game after years of playing however with more and more practice this can be a routine that will also avoid the risk of injuries when you hit high balls without the necessary stability/ rotation of your body.
HOW TO HANDLE HIGH BALL ONE-HANDED BACKHAND
If you use the one-handed backhand to hit balls your preparation must be perfect as this is the most difficult shot to handle for a one-handed backhander. Let’s see some examples of things you can train to improve it and reduce the number of errors during a match:
- Use your peripheral vision to be ready to understand where the bounce will happen and follow it to organize your shot
- Decide whether it’s worth it on the clay as the surface is less predictable and this could create an extra issue to your shot
- Hit it on the rise
- Don’t let the ball be too high or you’ll be in trouble
- Move one step forward to gain time on the bounce
If you follow these simple but very effective tips you won’t allow your opponent to get a simple shot to return. In some cases your bad return if you aren’t prepared can result in a free point for the opponent (i.e. ball on the net or long shot out of the court).
HOW TO HANDLE HIGH BALL TWO-HANDED BACKHAND
Deciding to handle a high ball two-handed is a wise decision, especially on surfaces like clay, as we have discussed before for the simple reason that you are more in control of the shot.
Your body is preparing your shot with the two-handed backhand so you should absorb with your body the power of the shot and get the rotational axes to do their natural job. Some tricks on how to handle high ball two-handed backhand are explained below:
- Transfer the weight of the body forward for your hitting
- Use your legs as an extra resource of power. Do not rely solely on the hip movement
- Create a letter C movement when you hit the ball by not stopping it after hitting the ball but by accompanying the shot
- Assuming you are a right-hand player pay attention to your left arm and train that arm to be more stable
- Move backward to hit the ball with a slice
- Hit the ball on the rise
To conclude following the explanation on the techniques and tricks to improve your chances to have a powerful return on high balls whether you do it with a forehand, two-handed backhand, or one-handed backhand the key here is to train your body to follow the right movement.
Many professional athletes spent weeks, months, and years creating a movement memory to their bodies to allow them to develop a consistent movement that works for them. Not everything that works for someone else can work for you and that’s extremely right in tennis when we talk about hip movement, positioning, and power. Injuries happen quite often when you try to imitate someone else’s movement while using your body which is different and doesn’t have the same strength.
On a closing note learn to hit high balls in tennis will give you also the advantage to be more versatile in your game plan whether you are an aggressive player or a defensive one.
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