Approach Shot (noun) [uh–prohch shot]
Definition of the Approach Shot
An offensive shot that allows a tennis player to transition from the baseline to the net hitting either a forehand or a backhand. Also, referred to as an approach.
Examples of Approach Shot in a Sentence
She didn’t do enough with that approach shot, so her opponent easily passed her for a winner down the line.
If you don’t keep the ball deep in the court, your opponent is going to move forward and hit an approach shot putting you on the defense.
Context for the Approach Shot
The approach shot is an offensive tennis shot that players will hit so that they can transition up to the net to try and close out the point.
Typically, a player will hit this shot when they receive a short ball that lands closer to the service line than the baseline. Ideally, this short ball sits up high enough allowing them to swing confidently to place the ball deep in the court and force their player to hit a defensive shot which can then be put away with a volley or two.
A player can hit an approach shot as a winner, but it’s frequently used a setup shot in that the player isn’t looking to win the point on this shot. Instead, they’re attempting to force a defensive ball from their opponent which subsequently can be put away with a volley to win the point.
A few common problems that occur with approach shots:
Approaching Too Soon
Many players will frequently attempt to hit an approach off a ball that was hit too well by their opponent. Approaching too soon often occurs because a player is overly eager.
For example, consider a point where your opponent hits a clean groundstroke that lands relatively deep in the court. If you try to move forward and hit an approach shot, then you may not be able to transition to the net quickly enough. The result can open up a variety of angles for your opponent to easily pass you.
Closing Too Far
Overly eager players may execute a great approach shot but subsequently close the net too far which makes them an easy target for their opponent to lob them. It’s a delicate balance. You don’t want to move forward too far because of the lob, but if you don’t close enough, you’re going to open yourself up to a passing shot.
Not Doing Enough with the Approach
When you move in for an approach shot, it’s important to strike the ball with confidence and ideally, keep the ball deep in the court. That’s partially the reason why you don’t want to approach too soon. Instead, you want to wait for an ideal ball that allows you to move forward with an aggressive shot which forces your opponent to play defense and sets up your volley.
Common Questions & Answers About the Approach Shot
Where should an approach shot be hit in tennis?
An approach shot should be hit deep in the court to prevent opening up angles for your opponent to pass you. Beyond that, your placement of an approach shot will depend on each point with the goal of keeping or putting your opponent on defense.
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