How To Hit The Ball In Tennis: A Practical Guide!

Want to hit the ball with more power and consistency? Check out our guide for improving your strokes!

Hitting the ball accurately with the right speed & power in tennis is challenging to master.

If you've been struggling with inconsistent tennis shots, then probably there's something wrong with your grip, stance, and swing.

Learning these is the most effective way to improve your game, so if you want to know how to hit a tennis ball harder or hit the perfect backhand stroke, then this guide is all you need!

Follow these instructions, and soon enough, your opponents won't be able to get the ball past you! 

1. Grip

Before hitting sharper angles, you need to ensure you have the proper grip. There are four main grips – the eastern grip, continental grip, western grip, and the two-handed backhand grip. Experiment with each grip to see which one feels most comfortable for you.

The continental grip

This is the most common and adaptable of grips. It allows easy access to various basic strokes, including forehands and backhands of all speeds. To hold this grip, hold the racquet with the palm of your hand facing up and spread it apart from the index finger. This grip is often favored by the clay tennis courts and those who like to spin the ball. 

The eastern grip

The Eastern grip is generally taught as a beginning tennis grip because it accommodates a variety of stances and swings. The racquet is held with the palm facing the body and the index finger on top in this grip. It is said that this is an easy grip to learn for children who are not yet coordinated enough to hold a racquet comfortably in a more traditional style.

The western grip

This grip is used mainly for hitting powerful backhands, giving more leverage and strength. Position your hand with the palm facing down and the thumb on top. It is not recommended for beginners, as it can be challenging to control strokes with this grip.

The semi-western grip

This grip is for tennis players who have a more continental style in their swinging. It is made by placing the hand out in front of the ball, with fingers pointing towards the ground. 

2. The stance

Position your feet parallel to each other, with knees slightly bent and shoulders relaxed. Keep your eyes on the ball until you are ready to hit it. The racquet should be held upright in front of your nose, pointing downward for a forehand hit or upward for a backhand, with both hands gripped around the handle.

3. The swing

First, take a practice swing to get into position to hit the ball. Then, using your shoulder, arm, and hand muscles, swing the racquet forward while keeping your fingers together and pointing at the ground. Then, release when you feel resistance in your arm, and try to hit the ball as hard as possible.

4. The footwork

After every shot, take a step forward with your opposite leg (so if you hit a forehand shot, step back with your right leg and vice versa). This is important because it will keep you from turning around and running after every shot, and it will also help you get in position for each.

5. The accuracy, speed, and power to hit the ball hard

Tennis players can also influence the accuracy of the ball by playing it softly so that it rises quickly to a high point or hit the ball harder so that it falls quickly close to the ground. You can develop precision by start practicing hitting stationary or slow-moving balls.

The more momentum you generate, the faster you will hit the ball. Speed can also be manipulated by changing the placement of your feet. Beginners often get confused about hitting the ball harder, although you could quickly master this skill. You can also increase power with kinetic energy by hitting the ball hard in a downward motion, as this will give it more force and speed when it hits the ground. You can practice your power by hitting balls with high incoming speed or deliberately sending the ball off the court.

These tips will help you hit the ball early and give you more control over your tennis stroke.

Hitting the tennis ball


The serve is the first attacking shot in tennis that is easy to do. It can be done by positioning yourself at the side of your service box. One of the main things to keep in mind during this time is not moving away from the baseline once you have served it.

Position yourself firmly on both feet with your racquet positioned above your head. Next, use a powerful downward finish towards the ball to make contact- there should be enough power behind it that will cause you to bounce the ball high into the air, making it easy for you or your opponent to hit it back.

Once you have hit the ball, your next step is to follow through with a full swing towards where the ball would bounce too. Doing so allows you to make a solid return; this will help you achieve good control of your serve and enables you to apply more power behind it and get more accuracy from the serve. To increase the power of your serve, keep your swing low and use the momentum from your lower body to help give more power to the shot. Another thing you can do is to pull your head in slightly right before contact is made; this will allow you to hit a more powerful shot. 

Forehand shot

When hitting forehand shots, it is essential to have an open stance. You want to have your weight evenly distributed on both feet with your knees pointing outward diagonally.

Typically, you are ready to swing when you feel the tension in your upper arm. Swing the racquet by bringing it out between your legs and swinging forward. Release when there is tension in your arm. If you have problems with forehand shots, start closer to the net and move further away.

Backhand stroke

The backhand stroke is one of the most important in tennis. First, make sure you are holding the racquet with a continental grip- this means that your palm should be facing down when you hold the racquet. Then, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Swing your arm back and forth like you are throwing a baseball, keeping your fingers together and pointing at the ground. When you reach the front of your swing, snap your arm forward and hit the ball with the back of your hand. Keep your arm close to your entire body and follow through with your swing.


Volleys are a great way to win a point without hitting the ball across the net. To volley, stand close to the net with your racquet in front of you with your hand relaxed. When you see the ball coming, hit it with a quick forward swing and make sure to keep your hand relaxed.

It's essential to be aware of the racquet angle and your position. You should have a rounded back and a deep bend in the knee. You also want to have a forward press on the ball. The movement of your arm should be to the bottom right of the ball, so you will need to have a backswing. On contact with the ball, push through with both feet and swing straight down into the dirt.


Once you have mastered the grip, stance, and swing, you will need to be in a position to return the ball as soon as it bounces. Get into the proper position by standing close to the ball with feet parallel; hold your racquet with a continental grip and make sure your arm is bent. When the ball approaches, hit it early before it bounces up; use your wrist to flick the ball up into the air and over the net.

Overhead shot

To hit overhead shots in tennis, you should start by gripping the racquet with your dominant hand as if you are shaking hands. Your stance should be wide with your dominant foot in front of your non-dominant foot. Swing your arm back and then forward, keeping your fingers tight and together. Make sure to time your swing correctly and release the ball at the correct moment. 

Drop shot

Approach the net with your racquet in front of you, then scoop up the ball in a 'j' shape. Now head straight to the back of the court, and when it's time for you to swing, make sure your left arm is in front of your upper body and a straight line.

When you are ready to hit the ball, aim for where your opponent is not. If they are close to the service line, it will be difficult for them to move out of the way in time; if they are further back towards the baseline, you can push them closer to one side of the court. To do this effectively, make sure to hit the ball softly enough to drop just over the net. This can be a hard tennis shot to master, but it can be very effective when used correctly!

How to hit the ball early in tennis

To hit the ball early, you will have less time to swing correctly and make contact with the ball at the top of the bounce. This can be tricky, especially if you are new to the tennis game. If you want to hit the ball as soon as the opponent hits the ball, then follow these steps:

1. Get in the correct position. You want to be at the back of the court, with your feet parallel to the baseline.

2. With your dominant foot, move forward. This will help you generate power when you hit the ball. 

3. Bend your knees and get into a low, athletic position. You want to use your legs to have the momentum required for hitting the ball with force.

4. When you are ready, hit the ball hard with a smooth movement being sure to follow through as long as possible after contact (keep those knees bent).

5. If you make contact with the ball correctly, you will feel the ball hitting at the center of the racquet, and the ball will travel quickly across the court. 

Final thoughts

There are many ways to hit the ball; what works best will depend on your height, arm length, power type (backhand or forehand stroke), and how you prefer to play the game.

Find a good coach for regular tennis lessons who can help you refine your technique if necessary. Remember: hitting early is not always good!

It might be better to wait and use more of an angle before attacking with a powerful flat shot instead of going all out from the start.

You need the patience and practice to win games!

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