Approach Shots

Approach Shots in Racket Sports

Racket sports such as tennis, squash, and badminton are not just about power and speed; they’re also about strategy. If you’re watching a match and notice a player rushing to the net after hitting the ball, they’re most likely executing an approach shot.

This move is critical to gaining an upper hand in rallies, and today, we’re going to delve into its importance and how best to use it.

What is an Approach Shot?

In the simplest terms, an approach shot is a transitional shot that a player uses to move from the baseline or middle of the court towards the net.

The main goal? To place your opponent in a defensive position, forcing them into a difficult return, while you prepare to volley or smash their reply for a winner.

Why is it Important?

The approach shot serves as a bridge between defensive play at the back of the court and an aggressive stance at the net.

By choosing to approach the net, you’re putting pressure on your opponent to make a perfect passing shot, lob, or another defensive return. This increases the likelihood of them making an error or giving you an easy ball to finish the point.

When to Use an Approach Shot

The timing and decision to use an approach shot can make or break a point. Here are some scenarios when it can be particularly effective:

  1. Weak Returns: If your opponent hits a weak return or a short ball that lands closer to the net, that’s your cue. Approach the net to take advantage of their lapse and hit a shot that sets you up for a winning volley.
  2. After a Deep Groundstroke: If you’ve hit a deep groundstroke that pushes your opponent to the far end of the court, it might be a good time to approach. Their return will most likely be defensive, giving you the upper hand.
  3. Change of Pace: Surprising your opponent is always a good strategy. Even if they’ve been returning well, an unexpected approach shot can catch them off guard, forcing a hasty and often inaccurate reply.
  4. When Your Opponent is Out of Position: If you notice that your opponent is off-balance or out of position, approaching the net can maximize your chance of winning the point.

How to Perfect Your Approach Shot

Perfecting the approach shot takes practice. Here are a few tips to get you started:

  1. Keep it Deep: A shallow approach shot gives your opponent ample opportunity to pass you or hit a winning shot. Aim deep into the court to limit their options.
  2. Choose Your Side: If you recognize that your opponent has a weaker backhand or forehand, approach towards that side. Exploiting their weakness can set you up for an easy volley.
  3. Stay Low and Ready: Once you approach the net, be prepared for a quick reaction. Keep your racket up, knees slightly bent, and be ready to move in any direction.


The approach shot is a game-changer in racket sports. It’s the bridge between defensive play and aggressive dominance at the net. By recognizing the perfect moment to approach – be it after a weak return by your opponent, a deep groundstroke, or simply to change the pace of the game – you can keep your opponent on their toes and dictate the flow of the match.

Like any skill, perfecting the approach shot requires practice and keen observation. So, the next time you’re on the court, remember to incorporate this strategy, and watch as your game elevates to new heights!