What Are the 5 Basic Tennis Strokes?

For anyone who wants to start playing tennis, it’s important to know all the different ways you can hit the ball over the net! And for any who have played – whether you’re still a beginner or a competitive player – there are always ways to improve your technique.

It’s important to know the basic tennis strokes because this is the foundation of your on-court game. How you’re able to generate power and hone in your accuracy is going to play a huge role in how practice or a match will go.

So, what are the five basic tennis strokes, and what should you know about them?


We wouldn’t be able to have tennis without the serve – it’s the start of everything! The general idea when it comes to the use of your body to make a serve happen will generally be the same, but it’s also important to know your body, what works well, and what doesn’t work as well for you specifically.

Anyone can tell you that the most frustrating part of an unsuccessful serve is hitting the ball straight into the net. This video will help you prevent that from happening more times than not.


A player’s forehand is usually their strongest shot on the tennis court. Why is that? Well, it’s because this particular stroke typically involves a player’s dominant hand doing most of the work. Other key components of a successful forehand stroke are to have sound footwork, make sure your racket is prepared for impact, and to stay balanced.

There’s no tennis player on the planet that doesn’t want their forehand to be both effortless and powerful. Learn some of the basics to making that a reality with this video.


There are two variations of a backhand – a one-handed shot and two-handed shot.

One-handed backhands typically provide you with longer reach, while also being the best way to handle shots coming into your body. On the other side of the coin, two-handed backhands provide more control and stability. It’s also common for players to have an easier time successfully hitting high balls with this variation.

Not sure which one is the best fit for you? Try them both out! That’s the only way you’ll know which one feels the most natural. Once you get the form down of the one you like the most, you’re able to add things, like some topspin.


The keys to successfully volleying a ball back over the net is to have a compact backswing while making sure you’re making contact with the ball in front (and to the side) of your body, along with maintaining sound footwork. Most of the work comes before the actual shot, so it’s imperative that you put yourself in the proper positioning.


Last but most certainly not least, we have the overhead stroke, which looks very similar to a serve. The main differences, though, are that you don’t need to toss a tennis ball up in the air and it requires more footwork. To make contact with the ball in your ideal strike zone – which will be the same place it is for your serve – you must be able to anticipate where the ball is going to be so you’re able to get into position.

Interested in signing up for an adidas Tennis Camp this summer? Click here to find a camp near you and receive more information.