How to Handle High Balls in Tennis (Backhand and Forehand)


for most club players and juniors and pros hitting a high ball on the back end is a very difficult shot and today I want to show you in terms of technique and in terms of tactics how we need to handle the high ball whether one handed back end or two handed or forehand so here are few tips how to handle a high ball the most common mistake that players make on a high ball is that they want to hit it down so when you hit the ball down and the ball is shiny when you hit the ball down that ball will usually land short and it’s going to bounce right at the perfect context point of your opponents and then your opponent can create pressure and dictate the point so it looks something like this because many players actually figure out that hitting the ball down does not work for them then their only solution is actually to feed the ball back up that’s a short-term solution because it prevents your opponent from attacking but it doesn’t get you out of a high ball rally so your opponent is just going to keep hitting high to your back-end because your high ball is too slow and doesn’t create any pressure so it looks something like this so if you opt for a highball so returning highball with a highball then if you’re playing a relatively good opponent sooner or later you’re going to drop the ball short and they can take advantage of the rally so what is the best shot to play on high ball in my opinion the best shot to place to think horizontally so you’re not heating up you’re not hitting down but you just think about hitting the ball straight and let the gravity bring the ball down in a little bit of spin and that ball tends to land deep and he still has some speed so it creates a little bit of pressure on your opponent and that’s how you can feel the point from there so this was an example of how you hit a few deep shots with a straight ball eventually a forced a shorter ball and you can attack and finish the point so let’s see another example so you can use the same approach on the forehand side just think about when you’re hitting a high ball just think horizontal I will show a technical drill how to use the right technique but just think horizontal let the gravity take the ball deep and then you wait for the short ball so you can start building the point and hurting your opponent and eventually finishing the point who Shahid butchart okay so this was an example of hitting a horizontal ball still applying pressure and then taking the chance when you see a short ball so what is the technique of hitting a high ball is slightly different than hitting the ball at waist height and I’ve noticed in my experience that a lot of club players actually have a problem with the high ball in terms of technique so let me show you what’s the difference between a waist high shot and a high shot so I just want to show you the the main technical problem that players have and I think the problem lies in this that when you hit waist high the racket head is horizontal and so we’re used to having a horizontal racket head and then applying topspin by lifting on the ball what happens on the high ball is that if we try to do the same we have no more power and no more space to go really up high and so if I show you then it this looks like this so I’m trying to apply a horizontal racket head and I feel no power so I can just brush the ball a little bit but the back end is not really going so it’s similar for two-handed backhand if you want to hit if you want to hit with horizontal it’s going to look something like this and as you can see something is wrong it’s a little bit easier on the forehand because the wrist is more flexible this way so it’s actually a little easier to hold the racket horizontal and we can actually hit a high ball almost with the horizontal racket so the main difference in hitting a high ball is actually allowing the swing to take the natural path so when we’re hitting a normal back and let’s say I’m hitting the ball at this height then if I continue my swing then eventually the racket will be diagonal and eventually it’s going to be vertical and so if I just take my normal swing and hit the ball then I will hit the ball with a diagonal racket and it doesn’t matter you don’t have to apply a vertical topspin what may is that you brush the ball so on the high ball especially on the backhand side one-handed and two-handed we actually don’t spin forward we actually pull across and that still gives us power because we can pull with the shoulder this way or we pull we here with both shoulders this way so we still have power and we try to hit the ball more horizontal so here’s an example okay so I’m just pulling across when I’m getting a high ball let me show you in slow motion what I’m trying to do so I’m just allowing my swing to take natural like just natural swing and it just as you can see at this height the racket naturally is like this so this very awkward doesn’t feel good but this if I hold the racket like this just like my normal back end I’m just pulling across so here’s one more example here’s one more example okay you you you so another thing that’s very important in terms of technique is that you prepare fire most players are so used to hitting from low to high have that in mind and hitting with topspin that even though they get a high ball they still start very low and then they’re unable to hit horizontal so shy eat can you feed me one more high ball so their technique looks like this they go into their normal back end back swing they go out low and as soon as they get low and then they have to approach the ball that’s high the racket is going up high there so they will always hit a high ball and so you need to actually become conscious for a while maybe to prepare the same height as the ball as the incoming ball so I’m preparing my backhand higher and I’m just pulling across horizontal and then I can actually do it it’s actually easier on the forehand side but again I’ve seen many players that are so used to dropping the racket that even though they get a high ball so I’ll show from this side so they get a high ball they still go here then they pull up and all they can produce is another high ball because the racket has this path so in order to hit the ball you need to prepare a kit same height and then just pull across ok one more so I’m preparing high and I pull more across and that allows me to hit the horizontal ball which still creates pressure but it’s not too risky so a good exercise to feel this technique of how to handle high balls is to actually do this on the fence and you need to keep two things in mind the first one is high preparation and the second one is pulling across so rather than hitting up on the ball which you can do when the ball is waist high on a high ball you actually have to think more pulling across so Shahid is with me again today to demonstrate and what asks sure he to do is on the forehand side just to feel that the hand goes high so rather than high and then drop low high and stay high and then you come to the net and then try and feel that you pull across so just drive you sure he is oh yes you can also ask the player to look at their hand because oftentimes the feeling deceives them so they think their hand is high but it’s actually not so you can do this look at your hand so you come to the racket and pull across okay so the same on the backhand side so you prepare your back end and instead of dropping down you just go same height and then try and feel that you’re pulling across yes on the fence exactly okay so on one hand I will demonstrates on one hand so if this is my usual swing so my hand goes down in this case I try and feel that I prepare higher and I just come to the ball and I pull across the fence is a good thing because it gives you a little bit resistance so you can feel that you actually have to use these muscles here on the back end and here on the forehand I mean to hand it back end to actually pull across the ball so try these tips and let me know how it goes

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