Though it’s one of the lesser used shots, the overhead is still an important one to have in your arsenal. And even though it’s a relatively simple shot to execute, there are still many players who struggle with it, who prefer to lob back any and all lobs that come their way.
That’s fine, but you might be giving your opponent the opportunity Rather than doing that, and giving your opponent plenty of time to get back into position, you should take the ball out of the air instead with an overhead, and dramatically cut their reaction time.
Take these 7 tips to heart and achieve overhead success:
Keep your eyes on the ball.
I know this seems like a given, but many players have the tendency to take their eyes off the ball and look down the court for a spot to aim the ball. When that happens, your eyes leave the ball, and your head shifts… and when your head shifts, the face of the racket does too. So don’t worry about placement… just keep your eyes on the ball and hit it.
Use your free hand.
As soon as you see that the shot is an overhead, get your free hand up and point at the ball until you hit it. Doing this helps you keep your eyes on the ball, and allows you to gauge the speed. Watch the pros… they all point at the ball as soon as they see it is a lob.
Get to the ball early.
Start moving to the ball as soon as you see it is a lob. Don’t get directly under it, rather keep it a little in front of you, like your serve. Getting too far under it can cause you to hit an error.
Bring your racket back early.
The earlier you bring your racket back before the swing, the more time you have to prepare to hit the shot. If you wait too long, you will be in a rush to swing as the ball is getting closer, and that can throw off everything.
Don’t try an overhead with every lob.
Don’t try to slam balls that are too low. Lower floaters can be deceiving and make you think you can do overheads, but really those should be high volleys, or swinging volleys if you’re further back in the court.
Don’t use full power.
Avoid swinging at the ball as hard as you can. You don’t need to bounce the overhead into the stands like the pros.
Slow down your swing and go for placement. Your opponents already see that your shot will be an overhead and are probably backing up (and leaving lots of room for an angled put-away overhead), so most of the time you can hit with 50 – 60 percent power easily put it away. (I usually go for about 75%.)
Just keep the ball in play.
If the ball gets behind you, just try and hit the ball back to get it back in play. Going for an overhead that gets behind your body will make the ball fly high and/or long. Try to hit the ball a foot or so out in front of your body, just like your serve.
When hit correctly, the overhead can put you back in control of the point. Follow these general tips and you’ll hit more winners!