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View Full Version : Extreme Bounce Overheads and Slice Overheads


Cindysphinx
07-23-2009, 09:49 AM
I usually do pretty well with my overheads. I'll boot one now and then, but I hardly ever hit them into the net (tending to miss long or wide when I do miss). I am happy with my overhead, for the most part. In singles, I will go behind the opponent or right at their feet. In doubles, I will go at the feet of the net person, or an angle or up the middle if both are at baseline. So far, so good.

Still, there is one type of overhead I have never, ever hit in a match or a practice. It is the overhead that is struck so hard that it bounces too high for the opponent to reach.

I wonder if I should try to learn to do this Extreme Bounce Overhead, and if so, whether there is a way to learn it while practicing on my own. I worry that someone 5'4" like me might be wasting her time. Is this Extreme Bounce Overhead especially useful, and if so, when is it best used? What are the things to keep in mind to make sure it bounces high enough to be unplayable?

Also, a pro told me that it is possible to slice an overhead. I think I have seen the pros do this, when they hit an overhead and bend it away from their opponents. I have played around with slicing overheads, and I can do it. The result is always good for a few giggles (opponents will badly misjudge the ball), but I am not sure when it is best to use this shot. Does its success depend on where I am in the court, where my opponent is, or something else?

Wes_Loves_Dunlop
07-23-2009, 09:53 AM
for making the ball bounce extremely high, you have to hit it vertically. you have to use a lot of wrist snap.
you cant hit it too far out or else it will be a regular overhead. the ball should bounce before the service line and go way over.

the only times you need to hit it is if you're opponent is standing ready to return the smash.

GuyClinch
07-23-2009, 11:05 AM
You should be able to hit when your close to the net.. Then you can really aim down a bit and it will bounce up high. As for slice overheads - its pretty much all I hit. Its just like a slice serve if you can hit one of those.. You just have to get your footwork right and swing across the ball. Its best to go for a little bit of topspin and slice....if you can.

LuckyR
07-23-2009, 11:30 AM
I usually do pretty well with my overheads. I'll boot one now and then, but I hardly ever hit them into the net (tending to miss long or wide when I do miss). I am happy with my overhead, for the most part. In singles, I will go behind the opponent or right at their feet. In doubles, I will go at the feet of the net person, or an angle or up the middle if both are at baseline. So far, so good.

Still, there is one type of overhead I have never, ever hit in a match or a practice. It is the overhead that is struck so hard that it bounces too high for the opponent to reach.

I wonder if I should try to learn to do this Extreme Bounce Overhead, and if so, whether there is a way to learn it while practicing on my own. I worry that someone 5'4" like me might be wasting her time. Is this Extreme Bounce Overhead especially useful, and if so, when is it best used? What are the things to keep in mind to make sure it bounces high enough to be unplayable?

Also, a pro told me that it is possible to slice an overhead. I think I have seen the pros do this, when they hit an overhead and bend it away from their opponents. I have played around with slicing overheads, and I can do it. The result is always good for a few giggles (opponents will badly misjudge the ball), but I am not sure when it is best to use this shot. Does its success depend on where I am in the court, where my opponent is, or something else?


Given what you currently have, I would not invest a lot of time and energy into developing a "bounce it over the fence" overhead. You will probably hit more into the net than additional points you would win hitting them the way you currently do.

Danstevens
07-23-2009, 11:41 AM
You should be able to hit when your close to the net.. Then you can really aim down a bit and it will bounce up high. As for slice overheads - its pretty much all I hit. Its just like a slice serve if you can hit one of those.. You just have to get your footwork right and swing across the ball. Its best to go for a little bit of topspin and slice....if you can.

Yeah, it's not easy to crush an overhead to clear the fence if you're a long way back. The advice given by the two posters above is basically spot on as to the technique of an "extreme bounce smash". Once word of advice though, it's imperative to make the overhead bounce really high and go a long way. Over the fence if at all possible. If it bounces short, there is a risk that if your opponent runs way behind the baseline, the smash will have come down enough for them to put it away for their own winner. Hit it hard and leave nothing to chance. Don't lash at it though.

The slice smash is pretty difficult when compared to other more basic overheads. As for when to use it, I would personally try to avoid it as much as possible. There's so much more chance for things to go wrong. I generally employ the slice smash in a few scenarios. Firstly, if I'm quite wide on court but not close enough to the net to crush it. You just cut across the ball and bend it back in to court. Other times when it can be useful is when used as a surprise tactic or when there's just no other way you'll be able to get the ball around your opponent.

Nellie
07-23-2009, 11:56 AM
I hit a slice overhead at times - like a service motion, when I am deep in the court and try to gain court position on a high ball (like in response to a defensive lob), instead of trying to kill it with a low percentage shot.

Danstevens
07-23-2009, 11:59 AM
I hit a slice overhead at times - like a service motion, when I am deep in the court and try to gain court position on a high ball (like in response to a defensive lob), instead of trying to kill it with a low percentage shot.

That's a good point actually. Sometimes the slice smash is a higher percentage shot (like in the circumstances you describe) but generally, I don't think it is.

mikeler
07-23-2009, 12:24 PM
I hit a slice overhead at times - like a service motion, when I am deep in the court and try to gain court position on a high ball (like in response to a defensive lob), instead of trying to kill it with a low percentage shot.


This is when you should use the slice. I played a guy in high school that could run down lobs and hit this crazy slice overhead that was almost unreturnable b/c he put so much spin on it. If you are close to the net, just kill it. At 5'-4", it will be hard to put the overhead bounce above your opponent. I'm a 5'-8" man and can rarely do it.

skiracer55
07-23-2009, 01:16 PM
I usually do pretty well with my overheads. I'll boot one now and then, but I hardly ever hit them into the net (tending to miss long or wide when I do miss). I am happy with my overhead, for the most part. In singles, I will go behind the opponent or right at their feet. In doubles, I will go at the feet of the net person, or an angle or up the middle if both are at baseline. So far, so good.

Still, there is one type of overhead I have never, ever hit in a match or a practice. It is the overhead that is struck so hard that it bounces too high for the opponent to reach.

I wonder if I should try to learn to do this Extreme Bounce Overhead, and if so, whether there is a way to learn it while practicing on my own. I worry that someone 5'4" like me might be wasting her time. Is this Extreme Bounce Overhead especially useful, and if so, when is it best used? What are the things to keep in mind to make sure it bounces high enough to be unplayable?

Also, a pro told me that it is possible to slice an overhead. I think I have seen the pros do this, when they hit an overhead and bend it away from their opponents. I have played around with slicing overheads, and I can do it. The result is always good for a few giggles (opponents will badly misjudge the ball), but I am not sure when it is best to use this shot. Does its success depend on where I am in the court, where my opponent is, or something else?


...and it's not a 5' 4" thing. The caveats are:

- As others have said, ya gotta be relatively close to the net for the extreme bounce overhead. There's a drill for this, which my coach also used to have me to to work on more snap on the serve. Stand close enough to the net so that you're hitting right down into the opponent's court but not so close that you hit the net with your racket. Get your racket up in the air like you're waiting for an overhead, toss the ball like you would for a serve, and snap your wrist down, where the objective is to try to get enough oomph on the ball that you bounce it over the fence. In answer to your above question, it's unplayable when it goes over the fence, so this is a good drill to get that feeling. If you watch any Men's Open Doubles, there aren't that many overheads, because there aren't that many lobs...because most guys at this level can and do bounce any short overhead out of the stadium, thus ending the point. If it doesn't go out of the playing arena, it at least has to plaster the other team up against the back fence...otherwise, you just bounced the ball up in the air for nothing.

- Yep, you can slice on an overhead...why not? An overhead is just a serve where somebody else tosses the ball for you. Why would you ever slice an overhead? Watch the ATP, and you'll see it in two circumstances:

(1) The player got run all over the place to get to the lob, maybe it even went over his head and it bounced, and he just barely got there. It's maybe a little easier to feather/control a slice rather than trying to pound it back full-on from this position.

(2) If you're Roger Federer, you can actually use it to yank somebody out of court, just as you can with a slice serve.

So I guess my advice with the slice over head is "If ya got it, and it works on defense, use it. If ya got it and it works on offense, give it a try...but if you don't have it, and perfect placement to boot, leave it in the closet and instead go for the Extreme Bounce..."

x5150
07-23-2009, 01:31 PM
It's useful in sending a statement like 'I just dunked on you'. You are the muscle on the court and they better not push and send weak lobs or I'm going to bully you guys.

You won't get to use this shot that much. You probably need to be on the half of the service box closest to the net to bounce it over the fence and a new-ish ball.

Then you have go fetch it.

I think it would be more useful to be able to angle your overhead off to the side more.

dman72
07-23-2009, 01:48 PM
I used to do it easily when I did jump/scissor kick overheads.

I don't do those anymore, so trying to utilize the same wrist snap that I used to with the jump overhead puts the ball in the net.

As for the slice overhead, it can be WILDLY effective at punishing the moon baller. A guy a play regularly learned to do this while playing in a USTA doubles league where moonballing was common..believe me, after having 3 moonballs that hit near the baseline come back at about 75 MPH with a ton of spin..you think twice about moonballing again. I've been working on it, and it isn't that hard if you know how to hit a slice serve.

SystemicAnomaly
07-23-2009, 02:20 PM
in order to hit the spike overhead, you must adjust the contact point forward. For most overhead smashes the contact point is directly above you or slightly in front of you. For the spike overhead try to get the contact point way out in front of you.

To learn this, try tossing some balls for yourself. Put your racquet arm in the trophy position (or even in the scratch position). Now, instead of tossing the ball directly upward (in front of your hitting shoulder), gently toss the ball up and away from you so that your arm & racket extends forward about 45 degrees or so instead of vertically. After mastering this simple exercise you should be able to hit some spike overheads in a real game situation.

naylor
07-23-2009, 02:57 PM
I hit a slice overhead at times - like a service motion, when I am deep in the court and try to gain court position on a high ball (like in response to a defensive lob), instead of trying to kill it with a low percentage shot.

The swing and contact point are pretty much like a sliced serve, so you play this when you're close to the baseline. The big difference (against a serve) is you don't jump up to hit it, so you lose contact height - therefore, the shorter you are, the further inside the court you have to switch from power to slice/placement. I say you don't jump, because in a jumping smash you want to keep the swing mechanics as simple as possible (i.e. hit the ball mainly downwards) - to get the slice spin you also have to hit the ball more outside-in (from 2 to 8 for a crosscourt sliced smash from the right) and get the racket to brush around the ball (with your arm, or through trunk rotation), which is difficult to coordinate when you're in the air. So you eliminate the flying bit, and take it with feet on the ground.

I'm 5-10, and anything that would bounce more than a couple of feet behind the service line for which I'm not in perfect position to jump up and play an attacking smash, and which I therefore have to let bounce, I let it drop and put less power and more slice.

In terms of the spin you place, it depends on where you smash from - baseline on right side, you smash crosscourt, so the spin is like a slice serve; baseline on left side, you again smash crosscourt, but the spin here (if you want it to go wide) is more like a kickserve.

yellowoctopus
07-23-2009, 03:45 PM
Given what you currently have, I would not invest a lot of time and energy into developing a "bounce it over the fence" overhead. You will probably hit more into the net than additional points you would win hitting them the way you currently do.

I second this advice.

However, developing a slice overhead, which is pretty much the same as slice serve, is very useful to have and most likely worthwhile to develop. Being a small person you described yourself to be, I would think that you could probably hit an effective slice overhead from the backcourt also, if your opponent give you an appropriate ball to do so that is.

Bagumbawalla
07-23-2009, 04:58 PM
Well, you have about 13 answers, that I skipped over. Most likely I will just be repeating what may have been said.

Sure, why not have as many shots in your repertoire as possible. To bounce the ball over the fence, you need to be relatively close to the net, and rather than hitting deep, as you normally do, pound the ball down into the center area in front of the service line. To practice, get a lot of balls and go to the wall. I know you know how to practice overheads at the wall. Get into a rhythm, then pound one down at a shap angle and bounce it over the wall, repeat until you are out of balls. Pick them up and start over again.

You mentioned a slice. Sometimes one is forced to hit a "backhand overhead". This is when I find the slice most effective. You may not be able to hit the backhand "smash" as powerfully as the "forehand", but by adding some slice, well, it just throws in some extra junk to make the opponent's life a little more difficult.

Also, if you are caught deep in the back-court and must hit an overhead, the margine of error is pretty narrow for a conventional "smash". So, you can hit it much like a kick or topspin serve with enough arc to get it over the net and into the court. If both opponents are at the net (in a similar situation) you can, also, hit a sort of "lob overhead" by adding extra spin to direct the ball over their heads then back down into the court.

Cindysphinx
07-23-2009, 06:29 PM
OK, follow-up questions:

1. I once tried to practice overheads against a wall and almost lost an eye. I have been afraid to try it again. Is there an easy and safe way to do this?

2. For the slice overhead, I have to admit I like it for its trick shot value more than anything else. A question about positioning: If I'm a rightie hitting from the deuce court, where is the correct placement for a FH slice overhead? How about if I am in the ad court? I think I remember trying it from the ad court and finding it to be counterproductive. If I tried to slice to the ad court, I had almost no room for error, and if I tried to slice crosscourt from the ad side, the spin seemed to neutralize the angle so the ball went up the middle. So is the slice overhead best done from the deuce side primarily?

Bagumbawalla
07-23-2009, 10:27 PM
To practice overheads against a wall, start off by standing about 15' back fron the wall (experiment to find a good spot that works foryou) and hitting a "gentle" overhead so it lands on the court a couple feet from the wall with just enough oomph so it bounces up against the wall then right above your head so you can hit it again and again until you get the feel/co-ordination/motion down. Then you can start hitting a bit harder so that each time it "pushes" you back, forces you to adjust, step back. Then at some point, imagine you are pounding the ball down for that impressive, unreturnable, fence-jumping winner- so, imagine the spot where it must land in order to angle up and over the wall and...

As far as the slice overhead, well, what makes an overhead effective is its speed, power, placement and surprise. When you slice it, you sacrifice the most of those things, and with little added benefit. I would suggest the slice mainly for situations when you can't really pound it or put it away and just need to get it back into the court with, possibly, a little extra something that may throw off the opponent- just hit it away from them or to their weaker (usually backhand) side.

naylor
07-23-2009, 11:01 PM
... A question about positioning: If I'm a rightie hitting from the deuce court, where is the correct placement for a FH slice overhead? How about if I am in the ad court? I think I remember trying it from the ad court and finding it to be counterproductive. If I tried to slice to the ad court, I had almost no room for error, and if I tried to slice crosscourt from the ad side, the spin seemed to neutralize the angle so the ball went up the middle. So is the slice overhead best done from the deuce side primarily?

Read my post above, with some of the answers. The broad direction is always crosscourt. Spinwise, from the deuce court you put normal sliced serve; but from the ad court the spin is more like a normal kick or topspin serve (for the reason you have already spotted, you don't want slice to bring the ball inside the court, you want topspin to kick forward or kicker-spin to make it break further right). Targetwise, in doubles you aim for the sideline of the singles court (to give yourself the tramlines as margin for error), in singles a good 3 ft. inside the sideline; depthwise, for singles or doubles you go somewhere between the service line and a good 6 feet before the baseline.

You don't really expect this kind of a smash to generate an outright winner that leaves your opponent stranded. It works more like a shot that you can still hit reasonably hard and early (rather than wait till the ball drops for a normal groundie), which gets your opponent out of position. Because "normal" slice spin is more natural, the sliced smash from the deuce side tends to be the more effective - you can put more slice/cut and go shorter, but hit it less hard, and the sharp angle does the work for you. From the ad side, there's always the danger that you go for the angle but hit it too soft and too short, so you give your opponent the chance to step in and drill it down the line. For that reason, from that side you tend to go for depth rather than angle.

Nellie
07-24-2009, 07:30 AM
I think of a slice overhead as a serve that I need to get into the court (instead of just the service box). In singles, I will hit it either down the line or crosscourt, depending on the position of the opponent, but not to the middle of the court, because most good opponents will follow a good lob to the net.

skiracer55
07-24-2009, 08:42 AM
To practice overheads against a wall, start off by standing about 15' back fron the wall (experiment to find a good spot that works foryou) and hitting a "gentle" overhead so it lands on the court a couple feet from the wall with just enough oomph so it bounces up against the wall then right above your head so you can hit it again and again until you get the feel/co-ordination/motion down. Then you can start hitting a bit harder so that each time it "pushes" you back, forces you to adjust, step back. Then at some point, imagine you are pounding the ball down for that impressive, unreturnable, fence-jumping winner- so, imagine the spot where it must land in order to angle up and over the wall and...

As far as the slice overhead, well, what makes an overhead effective is its speed, power, placement and surprise. When you slice it, you sacrifice the most of those things, and with little added benefit. I would suggest the slice mainly for situations when you can't really pound it or put it away and just need to get it back into the court with, possibly, a little extra something that may throw off the opponent- just hit it away from them or to their weaker (usually backhand) side.

...that's pretty much what I said, above, about the slice overhead. It's really a defensive overhead, most of the time, and I'd only use it if it was my only option.

That's also about the best way to practive overheads against a wall. Practicing overheads against a wall is going to give you a feel for the stroke, but it's going to be hard to guage the results. If you want to work on overheads productively, I think a ball machine (or a partner who can feed lobs accurately) is the way to go...