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View Full Version : Overheads: how do you track the ball for an overhead?


Loco4Tennis
03-29-2008, 04:40 AM
My question is: how do you track the ball for an overhead?, Iíve read a couple of methods to do this and different people have different opinions on the subject, but also I wanted to get an idea as to how many people use one method over the other/s

Feel free to elaborate on your response on what else is needed to complete the overhead, such as positioning of feet, body and how you strike the ball, etc..

1012007
03-29-2008, 04:55 AM
Point a finger at the ball

Rickson
03-29-2008, 05:08 AM
Djoko fan, you're up.

Loco4Tennis
03-29-2008, 05:11 AM
i choose to track the ball with my eyes now,
ive read several posts when i ran a search on this, where people where doing what i was told to, to point at the ball, but until this year i did not give it much tought,
recenttly played a doubles match agains 2 moonballers, it was an overhead debacle to say the least, my shots where weak, uncontrolled and nothing like hitting a serve, i was constantly out of balance, bakcpeddling all the way and also kept hitting more into the net then to the other court, i decided to look it up online and came across this site:
http://od-tennis.blogspot.com/search/label/Tennis%20Overhead%20Smash
i could not wait to try this myself after reading this,
i can't say i am hitting everything in now, but i can say some of the control, power and balance are back
it could be due to more practise i am now doing for this, but then again maybe its this new technique
regardless of what or which method you personally use, the videos on the page speak for themselves, specially the roddick one, IMO

Essential Tennis
03-29-2008, 05:26 AM
Every stroke in tennis needs to be accompanied by close and watchful focus on the ball at all times, all the way up to the moment you make contact. Go to my blog to read several pages on this.

The pointing of the finger/arm is done to get your body in the correct position to hit a good overhead, not to help you watch the ball. Good players use this method to 1) get their shoulders and core turned to the side to use their whole body to make the overhead swing 2) get their stance to the side to make it easier to move back to the ball if needed rather than back peddaling 3) use the opposite hand as a guide to position themselves to the ball correctly. I often tell students to move their bodies to the spot on the court where they could catch the ball in their opposite hand with that arm stretched out towards the ball. This puts the body in the right place to make a good overhand swing at the ball.

Watching the ball is completely seperate, from the things above, and certainly completely necissary.

bhupaes
03-29-2008, 05:28 AM
I used to have great problems tracking the ball, until I started tracking it with the racquet head. I don't know how to describe it - I get into the trophy position like in the serve, but when it come to making contact, I don't drop the racquet down all the way, just use a little more hand/arm than in a serve.

Loco4Tennis
03-29-2008, 05:45 AM
I used to have great problems tracking the ball, until I started tracking it with the racquet head. I don't know how to describe it - I get into the trophy position like in the serve, but when it come to making contact, I don't drop the racquet down all the way, just use a little more hand/arm than in a serve.

if you havent already, the poll answer "other" i left up there for people like you who came up with a unique shot to the overhead

Babb
03-29-2008, 06:13 AM
I point. When I have time, that is.

Rickson
03-29-2008, 06:16 AM
Honestly, I don't track 6 story high overheads for the smackdown, I get in position and I let them bounce. I don't know why everyone wants to be like Federer when it comes to overheads. I will track an overhead that's dipping down from a reasonable height, but I certainly won't be pointing at it like it's Superman. If my left arm goes up, it's from the habit of doing a serve motion, but I don't do the full circular serve motion, but rather an abbreviated motion. To sum it up, you're tracking the ball with your eyes and not your index finger.

Babb
03-29-2008, 06:18 AM
^^^
I was just taught to point. And I started hitting better overheads when I did :D

Rickson
03-29-2008, 06:21 AM
^^^
I was just taught to point. And I started hitting better overheads when I did :D

Do you point when you serve? Why don't you just put your tossing arm up like the serve and without your index finger pointing at the ball?

hewittfan3
03-29-2008, 06:27 AM
yeah i hate when people point at the ball...i dont know why but its like a pet peeve of mine...and i think its harder to hit an overhead while pointing at it

Loco4Tennis
03-29-2008, 06:45 AM
there is contradicting points on either side, both legit, and it all boils down to what you are thought and whether its been working for you,
the pointing technique did not work for me on the game i played, i tried something else and it seemed to fix my issue, it could also be all the extra practise i put for it recenttly
i think the main thing whether you point or not is still to get into possition quick
the other thing that helped me was to hit out into the court so i would not try to smash the ball down, witch is why it whent into the net for me

Djokovicfan4life
03-29-2008, 11:40 AM
IMO overheads should always be tracked by pointing at them. Just try to do it in a way that doesn't make you look like a total moron.

elee3
03-29-2008, 01:04 PM
I track the ball with my eyes and then raise my off arm when I'm in the rough region of the ball to hit the ball. I use to struggle with my overheads until I got this down along with my grip.

I really don't see how pointing at the ball is going to help you figure out where the ball is going to land at all. You use your eyes to see and your hands and arms to feel. It's like trying to use your ears to say what color are my shoes. Absolutely makes no sense what so ever. I don't see baseball players pointing at the ball when they are catching fly balls that are at least 50 feet in the air.

But keeping the off hand up is extremely important in keeping your head up and gets you more power with less effort when you drop it as you swing. Very similar to the serve. You don't keep your arm up to track the ball on a serve. If you do you would see some pretty wild off arm swinging in windy conditions.

Keeping your hands up is very important and crucial in a overhead but it isn't going to magically give you gps coordinates on the location of the ball.

blakesq
03-29-2008, 01:08 PM
I don't use my hand, but i use my eyes and feet. I watch the ball with my eyes, and use my feet to position myself so that the ball would hit me in the left shoulder, of course I hit the ball before it hits me, and my shoulder is basically aimed in the direction that I want to hit the ball.

WildVolley
03-29-2008, 02:08 PM
Moving with your hand pointing up in the air isn't efficient. Move into place and then point up at the ball in order to time it and get the shoulder-over-shoulder motion that will provide easy pace on your overheads. So, I agree with pointing, but only once you've positioned yourself for the shot.

Zachol82
03-29-2008, 02:12 PM
I point at the ball. I hit the ball right before my finger reaches 12 o'clock. If it does reach 12 o'clock then I either need to step back or jump. Pointing at the ball also gives me more balance and more power on the overhead.

And yea...I'm not going to run from baseline while pointing my finger in the air the whole way.

quicken
03-29-2008, 04:03 PM
middle finger up to the ball of course

daku10
03-29-2008, 06:55 PM
i thought the trick for tracking balls was more like having the palm of your left hand in an open position ready to catch the ball (i'm righty)...i dunno but this seems to work for me

MichaelChang
03-29-2008, 07:06 PM
middle finger up to the ball of course

LMAO.

Back to the topic: one proper way to go is use your finger to point at the ball, as many have said.

BeHappy
03-29-2008, 07:34 PM
middle finger up to the ball of course

LOL

I will be doing that from now on.

BeHappy
03-29-2008, 08:15 PM
turn sideways as soon as humanly possible, sidestep/crosstep/shufflestep, whatever.But turn sideways.

Loco4Tennis
03-30-2008, 04:32 AM
turn sideways as soon as humanly possible, sidestep/crosstep/shufflestep, whatever.But turn sideways.
i agree here, getting into possition quick is the best way
but i found out for me atleast, that when i did not point at the ball while i moved into possiton, i could keep my balance better, since my hands would be infront of me while i move they would counter balnace my moving from side to side with my head up looking at the ball all the time
the article above mentioned this, and its something i was able to follow with good success ever since, i am still hitting some into the net, but its because i forget to do what its also said in the article, which is to hit out into the court, and not try to hit a full swing, but rather an avrebiated shot

Loco4Tennis
03-30-2008, 04:39 AM
Every stroke in tennis needs to be accompanied by close and watchful focus on the ball at all times, all the way up to the moment you make contact. Go to my blog to read several pages on this.

The pointing of the finger/arm is done to get your body in the correct position to hit a good overhead, not to help you watch the ball. Good players use this method to 1) get their shoulders and core turned to the side to use their whole body to make the overhead swing 2) get their stance to the side to make it easier to move back to the ball if needed rather than back peddaling 3) use the opposite hand as a guide to position themselves to the ball correctly. I often tell students to move their bodies to the spot on the court where they could catch the ball in their opposite hand with that arm stretched out towards the ball. This puts the body in the right place to make a good overhand swing at the ball.

Watching the ball is completely seperate, from the things above, and certainly completely necissary.

for the people who like to point at the ball, read the article and/or the comments by this person, it will illustrate or expalin the reason why pointing works for you,
if i understand it correcttly, it is to make your body turn to the proper side to be ready for the hit,
the pointing and the arm raising does have a purpose, but its not to locate the ball; that can be done with just the eyes