The Drop Shot

A teenager in our church youth group shared a conflict that escalated to a physical altercation. Without going into too many details the scenario went like this; the teen’s personal space was invaded, a request was made to correct the situation, the invader replied by hitting the teen, the teen hit them back even harder, and the adults were informed. Oh yeah, I almost forgot, the teen’s friend jumped in and took off chasing the invader.


This was a fast developing conflict that seemed to have little opportunity for resolution. It went from words to blows in less than 90 seconds. How does this happen? How can it be resolved? I’m glad you asked. Let me use an illustration.


When I learned to play tennis as a child I tried to win matches by hitting every shot as hard as I could. One day my coach, Mr. Dee, taught me the drop shot. He showed me how hitting the ball hard when close to the net could send the ball sailing out of bounds. He suggested that i not hit the ball with my full strength, but instead, pull my strength away from the ball at the exact moment it touched my racquet. By pulling the racquet gently away from the ball at the point of impact, I was able to slow the ball down. This intentional move caused the ball to drop lifelessly on the other side of the net. If I made the decision ahead of time to use a drop shot, it didn’t matter how hard my opponent hit the ball toward me. I could simply adjust how much to pull back to get the drop shot I wanted.


“A soft answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger.” (Proverbs 15:1 NKJV)

Many conflicts can be resolved before they occur if we develop a drop shot. When we are young and learning to master our life skills, we sometimes develop pre-programmed responses. If someone talks about us, we talk about them. If they curse at us, we curse at them. If they hit us, we hit back. I’ve even heard parents tell their kids “If someone hits you, hit them back.” That’s like being pre-programmed to hit a tennis ball as hard as we can. But there is another way. 
Just like the drop shot in tennis, we must make a decision to be peaceful and resolve conflicts before they get to us. When we keep this posture and attitude of resolution we are better prepared to make adjustments in the direction of peace when people hurt us, insult us, or make us angry. Our soft (controlled, gentle, nonaggressive) answers will turn away wrath instead of stirring up more anger and escalating conflicts from words to blows.
What are some preprogrammed responses you’ve learned in life? What responses do you believe God wants you to use instead? Leave a reply.


One thought on “The Drop Shot

  1. I’ve learned that if you are in a confrontation if you keep quiet the other person will be quiet. It take two or more to have a confrontation. I pray and ask God to help me to be quiet. It is hard because you feel that you should say something. That’s when I say satan get back.

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