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Why I Think Most Drops Are Not Really Drops At All

Perhaps this is me being pedantic, and maybe it’s because I am an English teacher, but I believe a drop shot should “drop” onto the front wall. Allow me to explain.

25 August 2022 / 3-Min Read

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I am quite prepared to be convinced otherwise and this is not something I would strongly argue over. Onto the point.

The trajectory the ball takes to reach any point on the front wall is either a straight line or an arc. After it hits the front wall, most, if not all? shots will be an arc, although the angle of that arc might be very small making i appear a straight line – just like the Earth is flat, right? I suppose that’s pretty obvious.

I was always told that when hitting a drop shot, the ball should be dropping onto the front wall. That’s where the concept of the arc comes from. Of course the ball will lose speed once it hits the wall and as a side note, I wonder if the percentage it loses is linear or if it changes based on the speed – I suspect the latter.

Anyway, back to the ball dropping onto the front wall. Before I get hate mail I do concede that if a player make contact with the ball and very close to the wall AND at or below the height of the tin, then technically, the trajectory would be upwards as it hits the wall. But besides that unusual situation, shots played with a straight line as their trajectory and NOT drops for me. They are something else.

I was going to define them as “kills” but I don’t believe that every shot hit short should be described as a kill. For me, a kill is when the ball is hit hard either to hit the nick or at the very least to hit a winner. There are plenty of shots that fit into the range from Drop (softest) to Kill (hardest – and yes, I accept that a kill doesn’t have to be hit hard)

Is It So Important, Phillip?

No, because really as long as you are clear of what you are trying to do with the ball and its result, the name of the shot is as important as the brand of your shoe laces, i.e. NOT AT ALL! But yes, it can be because I found that when players visualise the trajectory of the ball for soft shots they are better able to hit softly and play a good shot.

I’ve even gone as far as build “walls” with cardboard to get the idea across, and with a little imagination, you could easily construct some fun little games with the walls.

Final Thoughts

Spend a little time, thinking about the flight of the ball, especially for drops and lobs and visualise that trajectory. It may help you play better shots that stay close to the front wall.

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