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What Is Topspin in Tennis?
Topspin in tennis refers to the forward rotation of the tennis ball. Where a slice shot will give the ball backspin or sidespin, topspin will propel the forward motion of the ball, causing it to bounce deeper and higher, while also raising the chance it will stay inside the lines. Forehand topspin is one of the most essential skills to develop, as it is many players’ go-to stroke.
How Can Topspin Improve Your Tennis Playing?
Topspin can give you a greater margin for error because the physics of the shot spin the ball forward and downwards, allowing you to hit higher and deeper while still keeping the ball in play within the boundaries of the tennis court.
Due to the high ball bounce, a topspin shot can be especially effective against those with one-handed backhands, since it is harder to return higher balls with them. A perfectly timed and angled topspin cross-court or down the line shot can be an unreturnable winner or a strategic shot that catches your opponent off guard.
How to Hit a Topspin Forehand
Topspin is one of the best forehand techniques you can hone for your groundstroke game. For a step-by-step guide on how to hit with a lot of topspin, see below:
- Choose the right grip. You can technically hit your groundstrokes with any grip, but certain ones are more advantageous than others. For instance, Semi-Western grips and Western grips are more popular choices for tennis players who want to hit with topspin. Players who opt to use an Eastern grip may have difficulty generating enough topspin. However, some professional players (like Roger Federer) will use an Eastern forehand grip while still managing to create spin.
- Keep your racket face slightly closed. In order to provide the right trajectory, your racket face should be slightly closed. This will allow you to hit with more power, without hitting it over the fence. Ideally, keeping the racket face at a 45-degree angle can add enough spin for a good tennis forehand.
- Brush up on the back of the ball. Your racket head should dip below the ball in order to get the right angle, and your swing path should travel from low to high while also extending your racket in a forward swing motion to get the right amount of topspin.
- Hit the ball in front of your body. If you hit the ball too late or too early, you’ll lose control of the ball. Use your footwork to set yourself up in a neutral or open stance in order to meet the ball in front of the body and get yourself in the right positioning to add a lot of spin to the ball.
- Pronate your wrist. After you reach the point of contact with the ball, you should pronate your wrist, moving it in a windshield wiper-type motion that brushes up and over the ball, adding maximum spin.
- Follow through. One of the most common mistakes tennis players make (especially beginners) is not following through properly. Make sure you maintain your swing speed as you reach the contact point with the ball and follow through. Your follow-through can end by your hip or over your shoulder, but what matters is that you commit to your swing path with the right motion and speed, ensuring your ball has enough topspin to dip back into the court.
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