Playing Strokes Successfully

Playing Strokes Successfully 2019-11-08T19:56:36+00:00

platform tennis strokes and shotsHaving your body in the right position is key to completing a successful platform tennis stroke or shot. So with that in mind, what are the different strokes that can be played and what exactly should you do to successfully complete each one?

Below you will find a list of the various strokes played in platform tennis, with instructions walking you through each part of the shot, from how you should stand and hold the platform tennis paddle, to your follow through swing.  We have also included videos of some of the more popular shots to give you a visual aid to learning, after all, it is easy to understand when you can see the stroke in action.

Forehand Drive

There are two different types of forehand drives. The drive off of a serve or overhead, and the drive off of a volley. These drives have different contact points and, therefore, require different preparation and follow-through’s. Both drives are also hit with topspin, which holds the ball on the paddle longer and makes the ball dip. You should be more interested in placement than power. A semi-western grip allows the racquet head to come over the ball naturally. You are looking for clearance of one foot over the net. Anything less and you risk sending the ball into the platform tennis net, one thing you never want to do.

From ready position:

  • Rotate shoulders 90° (paddle goes back simultaneously)
  • Keep back swing compact Paddle should be back before ball bounces
  • Take many small adjustment steps
  • Maintain balance and control with your footwork
  • Forward swing motion should begin once the ball bounces
  • Contact point is in front between waist and shoulder high
  • Swing path is low to high brushing up to impart topspin
  • Follow through over your opposite shoulder

 

You are aiming to strike the ball early with topspin so that your opponent is forced to volley below the net. Your paddle face is closed and chest high, anticipating a high ball (especially in warm weather). Keeping your left hand on the paddle throat ensures a proper shoulder turn. Your stance is somewhat open to avoid being jammed by the serve.

By the time the serve bounces in the service box, you have anchored your weight on your back foot and have set up with your palm facing downward. Your left hand is extended outward to keep you balanced and turned. Otherwise, you would tend to slap at the ball, rather than stroking it.

Your weight has been transferred ahead to your left foot and the paddle has brushed up the back of the ball. The contact point is chest high and slightly ahead of your foot. In order to make the ball dip at the server’s feet, the paddle face fans across your body, imparting more topspin.

Your weight is fully on the left foot and your right heel should be up. The right shoulder hits your chin and the paddle finishes across your body.

Drive Off Screen

  • Shoulders turned
  • Move back to back screen
  • Weight on back foot
  • Contact point ahead of left foot between waist and shoulders
  • Small adjustment steps
  • Moving with the ball
  • Weight on front foot
  • Stepping into the green
  • Follow through over left shoulder
  • Hips and shoulders fully rotated
  • Belly button facing the net
  • Chin on right shoulder

It is better to drive the ball off the deck when the ball is short in the court. The short ball will allow you to step into the green, where it is safest to drive. When you drive from the brown, you risk hitting off balance and getting drop-shotted.Your focus should be on early preparation, lots of small adjustment steps, a contact point at your waist that is just ahead of your left foot, and finishing over to your left shoulder. If you can make your opponent reach, you should expect an error or another short ball.

It is also worth noting that it is better to drive off the screen when the ball is hit deep and fast. Letting a deep, fast overhead go into the screen will bring the ball forward into the court and improve your position to drive. The ball is already traveling toward the net, so it is important to abbreviate your back swing so you won’t overhit it. The ideal contact point is between your waist and chest. When you let the ball drop below your waist, you risk hitting it into the net.

If you position yourself behind the ball and move with it as it proceeds back towards the baseline, the ball seems to slow down for you. Therefore, it is easier to place the drive at the specific spots you are aiming.

Remember, don’t try to hit it too hard.

Lobs

Now that we are playing in very cold weather, it’s imperative that you lob higher.

The higher lob will give you more time to get back into your home base (centered in the second panel, 2 steps behind the baseline) and get ready for the next shot.

If your lob is short and low, your opponent’s can close in and hit difficult screen shots to you and your partner and you would be playing defense in the backcourt.

If your team happens to hit a short lob, take one step towards the alley and prepare to potentially block the difficult screen shot.

Here are some key tips to better lobbing:

  • Squeeze your grip firmly just before contact in case of off center hits.
  • Use a continental grip for a more open paddle face.
  • Get your paddle 2 feet below the ball so that you strike the underside of the ball.
  • Use your big muscles. Bend your knees. Your legs will give you added height.
  • Follow through over your head.
  • Aim for the lights. They are your benchmark.
  • Remember…..A high lob is an offensive shot.

 

Bankhand Lob

From the ready position:

  • Rotate shoulder’s 90° (paddle goes back and low simultaneously) thumb of hitting hand goes down to opposite thigh with paddle face open.
  • Take small adjustment steps
  • Maintain balance and control, bend your knees
  • Swing motion should begin once the ball bounces
  • Contact point is in front and waist high
  • Swing path is low to high, focus is on hitting the bottom of the ball forward and up
  • Aim to get the peak of the lob on your side of the net, to ensure that your lob will stay in.
  • Follow through above head

Forehand Lob

From the ready position:

  • Rotate shoulder’s 90° (paddle goes back and low simultaneously)
  • Take small adjustment steps
  • Maintain balance and control, bend your knees
  • Swing motion should begin once the ball bounces
  • Contact point is in front and waist high
  • Swing path is low to high, focus is on hitting the bottom of the ball forward and up
  • Aim to get the peak of the lob on your side of the net, to ensure that your lob will stay in.
  • Follow through above head

Overhead

Attack overheads are the shot of choice to hit on short lobs, meaning your feet are inside the service line. Your target is your opponents backhand screen. Do not over hit, you should try to hit just hard enough so the ball hits the side screen first and just reaches the back screen. Remember this is not a “winner” so don’t stand and watch, get into position and be ready for your next shot.

For attack overhead into ad court side back screen, aim like shooting a bow and arrow.

  • Exaggerate left shoulder turn
  • From ready position
  • Turn shoulders
  • Both arms go up-compact motion
  • Right foot drops back, completing the turn (left foot if left handed)
  • Take many small adjustment steps-staying sideways
  • Position body behind ball
  • Point of contact in front of hitting shoulder
  • Weight moves forward
  • Move paddle forward and through on line with target
  • Complete follow through to opposite thigh
  • Return quickly to ready position

When playing an overhead hit out of the backhand corner, (ad court), the net players shift position. One player covers the alley and the second player covers the middle of the court. By playing the net in a 2:1 ratio you avoid the possibility of having to hit backhand overheads. Your team is balanced so the correct player takes the most effective overheads, and you can place the ball where it can’t be attacked – deep in the court with controlled speed and spin. This way you remain a balanced, controlled and ready position, with the highest percentage of court covered as a team.

Backhand Overhead

The backhand overhead is one of the toughest shots in paddle because it is hard to control and place the ball back deep into the court. If the opponent lobs deep, it pulls you back. Frequently you have to lunge and leap to reach the backhand overhead. The tendency is to snap your wrist, which sends the ball fast and short in the court. That puts you off balance and out of position for the next shot., which opens an easy shot for your opponents to attack, with you off the net!

Serve

From the ready position:

  • Stand sideways to the net
  • Use a continental grip
  • Balanced and relaxed
  • Ball toss in front of hitting shoulder and forward into the court
  • Back swing motion compact
  • Balance goes to front leg, knees are flexed
  • Toss should be to point of contact-full extension
  • Paddle moves up and forward through ball toward target
  • Body rotates forward into court, first step into court with back leg
  • Continue forward with follow through and body moving toward net and center of court
  • Prepare for first volley, stay balanced

 

Volley

From the ready position:

  • Paddle centered to her body
  • Shoulders square to the net
  • Knees bent
  • Quiet, steady hands
  • Squeeze the grip just before contact
  • Do not hit with much pace

“Shoulder high, let it fly”

  • Paddle head above her right hand
  • Right hand stays relaxed in ready position
  • Left hand rules
  • No turning or stepping needed
  • Paddle only travels 4 inches after impact
  • Deflect the ball, don’t attack it

Be careful. Forehand volleys can pop long!

Spin Volley

You can also play a spin volley, which is as good or better than a drop shot if done correctly.  The video below shows you exactly how to perform this stroke.

 

Slash

  • Shoulders turned beyond 90°
  • Continental grip
  • Left palm faces side screen
  • Knees bent
  • Contact point shoulder height
  • Right thumb points toward right ear
  • Wrist remains cocked at contact point
  • Hips and shoulders rotate
  • Stroke shaped like a banana
  • Aiming long and low toward the center of the court
  • Follow through is out and to the left

Backhand Screen

  • Shoulders turned and paddle set
  • Move close to the back screen
  • Paddle rests on left palm at waist
  • Contact point at waist
  • Eyes on the ball
  • Feet balanced under shoulders
  • Lift comes from big muscles (legs)

Following through overhead head:

  • Paddle stays on opposite side of your body
  • Firm wrist
  • Arm points down
  • Weight on front foot
  • Aiming as high as the lights

Forehand Block

Rotate shoulders

  • Taking the paddle back at shoulder high
  • Take small adjustment steps
  • Maintain balance and control
  • Swing motion should begin once the ball bounces
  • Taking the ball off the deck on the way up
  • Contact point is chest high in front of front foot
  • Paddle face is open
  • Swing path is forward and up

Backhand Block

Rotate shoulders

  • Taking the paddle back at shoulder high
  • Take small adjustment steps
  • Maintain balance and control
  • Swing motion should begin once the ball bounces
  • Taking the ball off the deck on the way up
  • Contact point is chest high in front of front foot
  • Paddle face is open
  • Swing path is forward and up

Drop Shot

Opponent either lobs short and low or drives from too deep-big mistake! Move extremely close to the net. Paddle head must be above net level. Lighten your grip at impact and pull paddle head back slightly. Conceal your grin.

 

Roll Volley

  • Turn and close the paddle face
  • Take a minimal back swing
  • Strike ball on right side (4 o’clock)
  • Roll your wrist over the top of the ball
  • Aim for the corner of the deuce court service box
  • Follow through across your body
  • Right thumb points downward on finish
  • Ball should hit the 1st post on the side screen 1 1/2 feet above snowboard, and die before the back screen

Slash Drop

  • Shoulders turned
  • Left arm across your body
  • Eastern backhand grip
  • Index finger spread v Paddle head up
  • Contact point is out to the right
  • Right and left wrists stay near
  • Lighten your grip
  • Strike the ball at 3 o’clock
  • Paddle face slides down the side of the ball and curls around the front
  • Palm faces toward you
  • Weight shifts to back foot at impact
  • Ball breaks left and dies

There are plenty of other shots and variations of each of the above, but hopefully these will not just get yo started but if you can master them, take your game to a very high level.