Tennis Shot Selection

How to Win More Tennis Matches using shot selection

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If you want know how to win more tennis matches against better players: Then, Read this article. You will discover how shot selection helps you win more tennis matches!

Your ultimate goal in tennis is to win the match! To achieve this, we must win the last point of the match or the last 2 consecutive points of the match…but how do you achieve this?

In this article you will discover the concept of shot selection, the 60 different shots available to you and how we can manage shot selection so that it wins you more tennis matches.

Because, Tennis is more than just getting the ball over the net and into the court. How we hit the ball and where on the opponent’s court the ball lands is very important. Keep reading as I reveal to you more, but first things first…

What is Shot Selection?

Shot selection can be explained really simple. It’s our ability to hit the right shot at the right time, directing the tennis ball to the right place on the opponents court. We use the court geometry in our favor.

In short, we play it smart and safe.

Why is shot selection so important in tennis?

It is important because it reduces our probability of producing errors. It promotes good court recovery.

Also, It increases the probability of errors from opponent and gives us a clear vision of hitting clean winning shots ourselves.

Fact: According to most statistics, if we manage to win 53% of all points played out during a match, we will most likely win that match!

Types of shots and variations:

Depending on the players’ skill level we can organize the shot selection into 3 Categories.

1. The basic 10 shots:

The Serve, the Second Serve, the Forehand Return of Serve, the Backhand Return of Serve, the Forehand, the Backhand, the Forehand volley, the Backhand volley, the Lob and the Overheads.

2. The Specialty Shots:

Here we will add Spin Variations to each of the previous 10 basic shots. These variations include Top Spin and Slice for each, which now bring the number up to 20 shots. Here we will also add the Inside in Forehand, the inside out Forehand, the forehand and backhand drop shots and the forehand and backhand half volleys, bringing the number to a total of 26 possible shots!

Note each of these can be multiplied by 2 which are the cross court option and the down the line option so now we have a total of 52 shots!

3. Fantasy and tricky Shots

Another 8 or so, so there are approximately 60 shots in Total that we can work on 🙂

How do we manage Shot Selection?

As with any basic Management situation we need to have an integrated approach to it. On our Practice sessions and Match play we want to work on our shot selection throughout these 4 Phases: Planning, Organizing, Executing/Directing and Controlling/Evaluating.

  • Planning: The first thing we need to look at is our resources available. For this we need to ask the following questions: How many of these 60 different shots are we able to produce with good quality and consistency?  How many can our opponent hit comfortably? What type of player are you? What type of player is he or she?

The higher the players’ level, the more options available there will be but the idea is to keep it as simple as possible.

  • Organizing: Once we know our resources available, it is a matter of organizing a Strategy around our own playing style and strengths and if that is the case, also around our opponents weakness.

This Strategy needs to include our shot selection outlining plan A, plan B and even plan C if necessary, considering our most reliable patterns of play.

  • Executing/Directing
    During the rally we must choose the right shot and shot combinations at the right times. This decision making process happens very quick but it is very important that we do our best to send each ball towards a good landing target which will enable us to use the court geometry in our favor to gain better position on court.
  • Controlling/Evaluating: During the rally we want our opponents to produce some errors (forced and unforced) and of course we want to make some winners ourselves. In our shot selection and patterns of play we can also come up with some Variety to break rhythm or to keep our opponents guessing. Varying Speed, Height, Width, Depth, Spin and Finesse are all in the menu.

We will also need to consider the external playing conditions. These also wage its part on any given practice session or match, some examples are the weather, the type of surface we play on, the type of balls, the altitude, and so on.

Finally, we must pay Extra attention to shot selection during the Key moments of the match. For example, if the score is Even, during Break points, during Game points and at Set points. How we play these Big points can make all the difference in the final score of the match.

To follow up, we Evaluate what worked well and what didn’t. This information is key to keep on improving your game.

By working on our shot selection throughout these 4 phases we are on the right path to become better tennis players.


Understanding Shot Selection and Managing Shot Selection is our key for winning more matches. Once we are able to see clearer what is really going, things become easier.

If you would like to know more about this topic or how can it be applied into your own game, you can get in contact with me or book a one on one On-court private coaching session, I will be happy to help you achieve your Tennis Goals.

Thank you for reading. If you liked this Article, please share!

Book a private lesson!  For more information you may also reach me at:

Phone, SMS and WhatsApp: +52 1 984 105 7507




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How to Win More Tennis Matches using shot selection
Article Name
How to Win More Tennis Matches using shot selection
If you want to win more tennis matches even against better players: Then, Read this article. Discover how shot selection will win you more tennis matches!
Publisher Name
Mar Tennis Playa del Carmen & Riviera Maya

4 thoughts on “How to Win More Tennis Matches using shot selection”

  1. Never thought about all those shot possibilities! Thanks for pointing them out Pancho, I’ll start hitting more than just a few next time.


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