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How to play topspin in tennis

How to Play Topspin in Tennis

Topspin is a must to learn techniques in the modern game of tennis to advance further. This shot has a higher margin of error which restrains you from committing faults. If you become a master in topspin, you will have more control and consistency in your play which is the key to success in tennis.

What is Topspin in Tennis?

Rotation of ball for topspin
Trajectory of topspin ball after bounce
Concept of topspin in tennis

Topspin is the phenomenon that alters the trajectory of a tennis ball. When the ball rotates against the direction of airflow, the top surface of the ball collides with air, which results in the creation of a high-pressure zone. The bottom surface of the ball travels in the same direction of airflow which helps the air to accelerate and forms a low-pressure zone.

So, due to the difference in pressure, there is a downward force on the ball. In this case, the ball dips and travels less than a non-spinning ball. It is the topspin that you can create by the swing of the racket in the direction of the ball. 

What are the Advantages of Topspin in Tennis?

  • Topspin makes it easier to bounce the ball constantly in the opponent’s area.
  • You have more control over your shots which increases consistency in your game.
  • As the ball kicks up after bounce, it is harder for your opponent to manage a head-high ball.
  • As the ball dips and travels less in topspin, you can hit the ball much harder.
  • You can go for longer rallies and wait for your opponent’s mistake.
  • To return a heavy topspin ball on the backhand side is not an easy task.
  • It is easy for a cross-court or down-the-line winner with topspin shots.
  • It is safer to go with a kick (topspin) serve to minimize the chances of errors in the 2nd serve.

Drawbacks of Topspin

In topspin, the ball follows a higher trajectory and moves slowly through the air which gives your opponent more time to react.

How to Hit a Forehand Topspin

Nadal playing forehand topspin
  • Choose the Right Grip: Though you can hit topspin with any grip, semi-western and western are the most suitable grips for forehand topspin. However, some professional players like Roger Federer use the Eastern grip for forehand topspin.
  • Keep the racket face slightly closed: In order to generate topspin, you have to brush the ball tangentially. By keeping the racket face slightly closed, you can hit harder for the required topspin. 
  • Position your racket lower than the ball before hitting: To get topspin, your racket should move from low to high during impact. So keep your racket face below the ball to get the required arc.
  • Your racket movement should be vertical as well as forward.
  • Your hand should be well below the elbow so that the path of racket movement is circular rather than linear.
  • Hit the ball in front of your body: Work on your footwork to meet the ball in front of your body. The open stance gives you more advantage to maneuver with your shots to generate high topspin.
  • Your wrist should be flexible enough to get more topspin.
  • Follow up your racket up to head high or shoulder level to get more momentum. 

Forehand Topspin Vs Backhand Topspin

Backhand topspin

In the forehand topspin, you use your dominant hand and arm (right hand for right-handers and left hand for left-handers), while the backhand topspin may be one-handed or two-handed.

In the forehand topspin, three types of grips are used, Semi-western grip, Western grip, and Eastern grip. Among the three, the Semi-western grip is more popular. 

In a one-handed backhand, the eastern backhand grip is used to brush at the top of the ball to create spin. It is the continental grip with your dominant hand for two-handed while the other hand rests above the dominant hand.

How to Get More Topspin in Tennis

The key to generating more topspin is to increase the racket speed and contact the ball at the right angle. But how can you do that? 

  • Take an open stance to hit the ball right and in front of your body ( if you are right-handed)
  • Your elbow should be close to the body to make the desired angle for the topspin.
  • The racket strings should be closed enough to roughly face the ground.
  • Keep your racket head low enough for a wider path of movement to get more momentum during impact.
  • The movement of the racket should be more verticle than forward to follow a circular path.
  • Follow your racket beyond the shoulder or head to increase the racket speed during the brushing action.

If you are interested in a visual explanation, you may check the nice video by “Top Tennis Training – Pro Tennis Lessons“.

Wrapping Up

Understanding the knowledge of topspin is essential to improve consistency in your game. But to implement it properly on the ground, you have to practice hard. Take advice from your coach to build up your techniques and practice to introduce topspin in your game. The more you practice, the more unbeatable you will be.

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