The Limitations of Topspin Shots

and why juniors should avoid too much of a good thing.


The topspin forehand is a crucially important shot that every junior should have in their repertoire of strokes. It is a very versatile, low maintenance shot that can be hit in any situation from mostly any position. The topspin can be hit on the run or on the spot, it can be hit when the ball is jamming you or when it is way far away from you. Such great functionality however comes at the price of many limitations. The most glaring of all is not being able to effectively handle high balls.

The topspin shot should be seen for what it is – a low grade, blanket shot that keeps the rally going and can only be used marginally to tilt the balance of the point in oneís favor. As a parent you must look at the topspin forehand as a complimentary, scrappy stroke, a poor playerís tool to keep the ball in play while waiting for their opponent to make a mistake.

Building an effective topspin shot is not something that parents need to concern themselves too much with, as it comes naturally from playing a lot during practice and matches. So why not use topspins all the time? Most players unfortunately do. The problem with only having a top spin shot in oneís stroke repertoire is that it is not effective on the high spiny balls that all juniors love to hit.

It is common knowledge that in order to hit a high quality topspin shot, one must hit the ball with a lot of racket head speed from low to high. The topspin shot is best used on balls that are at or bellow the hitting zone. When faced with high balls above the hitting zone, most juniors only feel comfortable dropping back thus hitting the ball running backwards out of balance off their back foot. Rare is the junior who, when faced with high balls, hangs in at the baseline and rips one flat forehand after another.

The advantage of hitting a BIG FLAT FOREHAND when faced with a high spiny ball is that it instantaneously turns the point in the favor of the aggressor. The player who can consistently master the big forehand, can be in control of most points and therefore be in control of most matches. The junior who can flatten out a lob on a consistent basis, can stand like a towering giant amongst an army of lobbers regardless of their actual height. That junior is the product of great coaching, tons of practice and with your help, that junior can be your own son or daughter.

Read more about what it takes to get your son or daughter well on the way to mastering the BIG FOREHAND.