By: Andrew S. Rosz
South Florida Professional
Tennis Instruction, USA
COMMON OVERHEAD ABUSES
- Hitting every overhead as a direct shot.
- Hitting the overhead too hard.
- Attempting a direct shot on high bouncing balls.
- Hitting an "overhead groundstroke."
- Attempting an offensive overhead in a defensive situation.
- Hitting an overhead with topspin.
- The hitting arm is not fully extended at impact.
- Dropping the elbow of the hitting arm on the follow-through.
- Inadequate sideways rotation at impact.
OVERHEAD TECHNIQUES (Listed in their order of importance)
- Decide which type of overhead is appropriate.
- Watch the ball all the way to the strings.
- Keep the ball well in front of your body (toward the net) at impact.
- Hit UP (not down) on all overheads.
- React quickly; get you racket back and wait.
- Hit the ball flat and without spin.
- Maintain a firm wrist at impact.
- Use full strokes; follow-through completely with elbow up.
- Rotate TM2 to the proper o'clock position.
- Hit all offensive overheads from a balanced position with both feet on the ground at
- Recover quickly back to the ready position.
SPECIAL EMPHASIS TECHNIQUES
- Offensive overheads... 2,3,4,8,10
- Defensive overheads... 2,4,8
OVERHEAD DEVELOPMENT EXERCISES
- The "Bouncing-Overhead" exercise. In this exercise one player purposely hits
short, high-bouncing lobs. The other player returns the lob with a defensive overhead
after the ball has bounced. This exercise helps to develop solid overhead skills by first
learning to hit high bouncing balls. A high bouncing ball will be moving very slowly at
impact thus making it easier for the student to obtain solid hits.
- The "Lob-Overhead" exercise. As a more advanced overhead exercise, one player
hits lobs exclusively while the other player hits overheads exclusively. Both offensive
and defensive overheads can be practiced with this exercise. As both players gain
experience with this exercise, overheads should be directed alternately to the right and
left backcourt target points providing a challenge (and a work-out) for both players.
- Overhead development using the practice wall; The "Second-Shot Overhead"
exercise. Set up to hit an overhead by hitting a lob as the first shot in the sequence.
The lob should be aimed about 6 to 10 feet above the line on the wall so that the ball
will rebound off the wall in an upward direction. An overhead can now be hit as the second
shot. Be sure to hit your overheads so they will adequately clear the imaginary net. The
third and final shot of the sequence is an easy groundstroke setting up another lob
opportunity (first stroke of the sequence).
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