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Don’t Fear the Drive:
Sometimes it’s a good idea to rip it on the third shot. If you can overpower your opponent, the third shot drive is a great opportunity to gain the upper hand in the rally. Generally, drives are easier than drops. The goal of the third shot drive is to stay out of trouble and even cause problems for your opponent. A good drive will keep your opponent from attacking since most drives are returned with a non-threatening volley. An even better drive can also cause trouble, leading to outright points or a good setup for a quick put away. A good drive is hit fast and low. The best drives are hit off balls that are around net height. Hit the ball at its highest point to maximize consistency. To drive lower balls, add topspin and limit your hand speed to keep the ball in the court. It’s a good idea to try drives in non-ideal situations such as when the return was challenging or the wind is blowing.
Key to the third shot drive: Hit it low and hard to set yourself up for the point.
Key Technical Skills:
Forward Impact Point - Hitting out in front will help you generate the power you need while keeping the ball low for an effective drive.
Relaxed Hitting Feeling - Do not tense up your arm or wrist when hitting the drive. Keep it relaxed and smooth for consistency.
Rotate Through the Shot - Rotate your hips and shoulders to generate speed.
Move After Hitting the Drop - If you hit a good drive, advance to the net. If you hit a poor drive, stay put and get ready for a return drive.
When Your Partner Hits the Third Shot - If your partner is inconsistent, wait and see. If you have a lot of trust in your partner’s ability, move up to the net.
Third shot drives are generally easier than drops to get over the net and keep you out of trouble, but a good third shot drive can set you up to win the point.