When you watch the pros, they very rarely miss an overhead. One of the reasons for that is they actually PRACTICE hitting overheads. Many of us hit three or four overheads during warm-up and those are the only ones we ever hit, except during a match, when the pressure is dramatically different.
Tips From The Pros
Practicing any stroke will not only improve the technique of hitting; but will also give you confidence that you can actually make the shot “when it counts.” But practicing the wrong motions will only reinforce bad behavior. Here are some tips from the pros that can help instill the correct behavior patterns…
• Dick Stockton advises adapting the classic pose: as soon as you see the overhead coming, turn sideways and raise your off arm to ‘point’ at the ball.
• And if you have to go back to hit it, side step backwards (don’t backup with your shoulders parallel to the net)
• And he suggests you let most lobs bounce before hitting them.
• Per Chuck Kinyon (former Dartmouth tennis coach): Start with the racquet head higher than lower and watch something ON the ball as it is coming to you.
• Online tennis instructor Brent Abel says on deep overheads, SNAP wrist for power
For me, the summary of all these keys comes down to saying three words as the lob is coming in my direction:
• TURN (sideways to the ball, with your off arm up and the racquet over my head),
• BALL (watch something on the ball) and
• LOCATION (where am I hitting the ball).
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