The Groundstroke in Racket Sports

In the realm of racket sports, from the iconic grass courts of Wimbledon to the vibrant courts of badminton championships, the groundstroke is a fundamental shot that every player, whether amateur or professional, must master. But what exactly is a groundstroke, and why is it so crucial to these games? Let’s explore this essential move, its significance, and the art of executing it perfectly.

What is a Groundstroke

A groundstroke is a type of shot in racket sports where the player strikes the ball after it has bounced once on the court. In tennis, the two primary groundstrokes are the forehand and the backhand.

In other racket sports like squash or badminton, while the term might not be commonly used, the principle remains the same: striking the ball or shuttlecock after a single bounce.

Why Groundstrokes Matter

  1. Building Rallies: Groundstrokes set the tone of a rally. Players exchange these shots, moving each other around the court, looking for an opening or a weak return to capitalize on.
  2. Versatility: Groundstrokes can be defensive or offensive. A player can hit a deep, topspin-laden groundstroke to push their opponent back or a sharp, angled one to draw them off the court.
  3. Endurance & Consistency: Long rallies in tennis often involve consistent groundstrokes. Players who can consistently hit deep and accurate groundstrokes can wear down their opponents over time.

When to Use Groundstrokes

  1. Starting a Point: After serving in tennis or returning a serve, players typically use groundstrokes to start building the point.
  2. Maintaining Rally Depth: To keep an opponent on the defensive and prevent them from approaching the net, players use deep groundstrokes.
  3. Setting up Winners: After several groundstroke exchanges, if a player gets a shorter or weaker return, they can use an aggressive groundstroke to set up a winning shot or approach the net.

Tips for Mastering Groundstrokes

  • Balanced Stance: A good groundstroke starts with a solid foundation. Ensure your feet are shoulder-width apart, and you’re balanced when striking the ball.
  • Early Preparation: Turn your shoulders and hips as the ball approaches. This rotation generates power and allows for better shot direction.
  • Follow Through: After contacting the ball, ensure a complete follow-through. It aids in imparting spin and controlling the ball’s direction.
  • Watch the Ball: It might sound basic, but keeping your eye on the ball until contact significantly improves accuracy.


Groundstrokes are the backbone of racket sports. They provide players with the ability to control rallies, defend their territory, and set up more aggressive shots. While they might appear straightforward, executing a perfect groundstroke requires a combination of balance, timing, power, and strategy.

For those new to racket sports, mastering groundstrokes can significantly improve their game, while for seasoned viewers, appreciating the nuance and skill in these fundamental shots can enhance the watching experience.

So, whether you’re on the court or cheering from the stands, remember that behind every smashing winner, there’s often a series of well-played groundstrokes paving the way.