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Cindysphinx
12-13-2009, 05:14 PM
Last week, my pro decided it was high time I learned to do the footwork to hit an overhead even if the ball is over to my left. Up until now, I usually didn't bother to try to get in position for a lob headed over my left shoulder. Instead, I just hit a high BH volley and tried to angle it or place it to win the point that way. At the higher levels, this is no longer winning me points.

I am wondering if you all have any pointers for me on this shot. For instance, when the lob goes up, how do you know if you have time to convert it to an offensive overhead rather than high BH smash or volley?

Also, I noticed that pointing with LH and putting racket back right away didn't work well for me. I just never seemed to get into position fast enough to hit a good overhead. It worked better if I ignored all that pointing stuff and just scrambled into good position and then started the overhead preparation. Will doing it that way get me into trouble?

naylor
12-13-2009, 06:37 PM
Last week, my pro decided it was high time I learned to do the footwork to hit an overhead even if the ball is over to my left. Up until now, I usually didn't bother to try to get in position for a lob headed over my left shoulder. Instead, I just hit a high BH volley and tried to angle it or place it to win the point that way...
I am wondering if you all have any pointers for me on this shot... It worked better if I ignored all that pointing stuff and just scrambled into good position and then started the overhead preparation...

In terms of movement, it's very similar to the backward steps you take when you're playing an inside-out forehand from the ad side (for a rightie). As you're facing the court, you drop your right leg back so you turn sideways to the court (facing the fencing on the right side) and then you take some steps back. The body turn gets you in a broadly similar position (side-on to the net) as for a serve from the ad side. There was a clip of Federer doing inside-out forehands in a recent posting, there's bound to be good examples of the movement in there.

I would agree with you that you get into position first, and then you point at the ball and execute the overhead in one smooth sequence. I would also add that what you're trying to do/learn is fine provided you do have the time for it (to play a proper smash), ie to get into position and still hit the ball with a decent smash swing at proper smashing height. For that, the ball going over your left shoulder is a reasonably high lob without much forward penetration (ie topspin). If the ball has topspin, or if it's lower that a normal lob but will go to a good depth (say, a lob volley just high enough to clear your partner in the front half of the service box on the ad side, which you're trying to cut off coming across and behind him/her because you anticipated it and took a more defensive volleying position), then your best option is to still go for the high volley or backhand smash to try to cut it before it gets past you. If it's a topspin lob, once it's past you you've lost the race; if a lob volley, you may get to it, but the ball hasn't enough height to give you time to move around and take a smash (even off the bounce).

5263
12-13-2009, 07:03 PM
Last week, my pro decided it was high time I learned to do the footwork to hit an overhead even if the ball is over to my left. Up until now, I usually didn't bother to try to get in position for a lob headed over my left shoulder. Instead, I just hit a high BH volley and tried to angle it or place it to win the point that way. At the higher levels, this is no longer winning me points.

I am wondering if you all have any pointers for me on this shot. For instance, when the lob goes up, how do you know if you have time to convert it to an offensive overhead rather than high BH smash or volley?

Also, I noticed that pointing with LH and putting racket back right away didn't work well for me. I just never seemed to get into position fast enough to hit a good overhead. It worked better if I ignored all that pointing stuff and just scrambled into good position and then started the overhead preparation. Will doing it that way get me into trouble?

Well at least this explains why you think any lob over your head is a scramble situation.

Bungalo Bill
12-13-2009, 08:45 PM
What no tips? lol

Blake0
12-13-2009, 09:05 PM
You judge the timing to see if you can hit an overhead or have to hit a high volley in the following order.
1.)Does the ball have any spin?
2.) Is it high?
3.) Can i get to the correct position in time to hit the overhead?

You have to judge the spin the person used to hit the ball right when they hit it. If it's topspin it will dip down, slice will stay in the air longer, and flat lobs are normal. You can judge it by looking at them hit the lob..did they pop it up, brush the back of the ball, or cut the ball? On topspin lobs you don't have time to let the ball drop.

Next thing you have to consider is its height. The higher it is, obviously the more time you have to get into position. If the lob is really high, you can let it bounce, if it's not you'll have to hit it before it bounces.

Last thing is to see if you have enough time to get into position. This is determined by when you started to move. If you started to get into position right after it is hit, you'll have plenty of time to get to the ball. If you waited till the ball starts going down, then you'll have less time to move into position.

Its better to start moving with your racket and left arm already in position, because if you don't have time to let the ball bounce, you're in trouble if your racket isnt ready.

Heres a couple tips on over heads. On the overheads that you have time to let the ball drop, make sure you get behind the ball and move in after its bounce. By that i mean, if you see the ball going really high, then go back far enough so that the ball lands 2-3 feet in front of you, then when it bounces back up, move into the ball and hit it. Make sure to keep your eye on the ball. This helps get in good position on the really high lobs and keeping the ball infront of you.

On the ones that you don't have time to let it bounce, get into position so that if you didnt swing, you could catch the ball with your left arm without bending/moving it.

Nellie
12-14-2009, 05:39 AM
I think you need to get in a mindset that if the ball is a lob, than you must hit an overhead. That means getting the racquet up and start back/side peddling as soon as possible. If you take out the indecision, you will have another split second to get those feet moving to get into position.

The backhand overhead is more out of necessity with a high ground stroke over your backhand side. In that instance, if you start moving, the ball will already be past you.

Fedace
12-14-2009, 06:03 AM
Last week, my pro decided it was high time I learned to do the footwork to hit an overhead even if the ball is over to my left. Up until now, I usually didn't bother to try to get in position for a lob headed over my left shoulder. Instead, I just hit a high BH volley and tried to angle it or place it to win the point that way. At the higher levels, this is no longer winning me points.

I am wondering if you all have any pointers for me on this shot. For instance, when the lob goes up, how do you know if you have time to convert it to an offensive overhead rather than high BH smash or volley?

Also, I noticed that pointing with LH and putting racket back right away didn't work well for me. I just never seemed to get into position fast enough to hit a good overhead. It worked better if I ignored all that pointing stuff and just scrambled into good position and then started the overhead preparation. Will doing it that way get me into trouble?

Pointing with left hand doesn't work cause you are Not sideways when you hit the overhead. Typical 3.5 women hit the overhead with their chest facing the net. You must turn sideways and chest pointing toward the alley then move toward the ball then you put your left hand up and point then swing pushing off with your right foot.

how do you decide ? medium height offensive lob to the backhand side, hit with the backhand overhead up the middle, medium pace, don't hit that too hard. Slow defensive lob very high, run around the backhand and rip it.:)

jrod
12-14-2009, 06:05 AM
In general, a good lob is not in reach and requires some degree of retreat on my part. If so, the BH OH is not a shot that comes to mind. I don't really possess a BH OH "smash"...more of a placement shot with possibly some slice on it. I'd prefer to either try and get in position to hit a regular OH smash or, if necessary, let it bounce and either hit an OH or ground stroke if the bounce is lower. Only if I can reach it from a volleying position will I hit attempt to hit a BH OH since this takes time away from my opponents.

Cindysphinx
12-14-2009, 06:35 AM
You know, this probably is a mindset problem.

If I am nervous about running around these lobs, I'll get a late start. Part of the disease could be that I have played ad court for years, so I would usually be in good position already to take a lot of lobs as FH overheads.

Now I'm playing more deuce court, so more overheads are to my left. Ideally, my partner would take these balls as FH overheads, but many of my partners do not take the net and so would let these balls bounce. So I gotta learn to call these balls and overhead them.

Ugh. The way I have learned to break other bad habits is by doing what Nellie says -- changing my mindset. Pledging that I'll do it the new way from now on. So I guess I will have to start telling myself that hitting a BH high volley isn't an option, and I have to hit an overhead.

This could get messy. My next match is a playoff match -- not a great time to try to break an old habit . . . :)

jrod
12-14-2009, 06:40 AM
....This could get messy. My next match is a playoff match -- not a great time to try to break an old habit . . . :)

Seems to me your new mindset is more aggressive than passive. My observation is that mindset wins more often than it loses. I say go for it and don't look back. Good luck!

fuzz nation
12-14-2009, 07:49 AM
No fun when your partner can't help out so much.

Learning to deal with lobs is essential for anyone who wants to go to net in singles or doubles. In my coaching and teaching experience, the one cue I repeat the most often for whenever the ball goes up in the air off your opponent's racquet is to turn sideways! If you have a hitting partner feed you a few lobs, this move should routinely become your most immediate reaction. After your first step or two, then you can start to point at the ball and get set to hit it. Even if the ball isn't deep and you don't need to retreat to hit it, you still need to get sideways right away.

After a few thousand more lobs from your opponents, you ought to start to get an instinct for where the ball is going as soon as it's hit your way. That better instinct will help you decide more quickly how you can handle that ball.

The high backhand volley is sometimes the only option, but I've gotten really comfortable with a two-handed sort of overhead. Nothing crazy acrobatic here - this is a shot that I can use if I get back under the ball in time. If the ball isn't so deep that I can get under it, I just use an easy two-handed wave over the top and through the ball. After practicing a few of these, it turned out to be a really predictable shot. I even use it if I chase down a deeper lob that I need to let bounce on my backhand side. Once it bounces up high again, I just give the ball an easy "whup" to generate a rather aggressive reply. Might be worth experimenting with in your spare time.

Cindysphinx
12-14-2009, 11:47 AM
A 2HBH overhead smash?

Oh, dear. No way. If I gotta try to reach a high ball with my BH volley, I'm going with the one hand. Most women I see with a 2HBH who try to reach these high balls don't do well and usually slam them into the net. 1HBH is my normal volley anyway, so it would feel weird to try to volley with 2H.

Two snaps up for you if you can manage it, Fuzz.

junbumkim
12-14-2009, 12:31 PM
You start to develop an instinct on which balls you can run around to hit an overhead or to hit an backhand overhead.

It's more of split second reflex / reaction as soon as you see the ball go up. Sometimes you do make miscalculation. The more you practice, the more you learn about what you are capable of.

Also, it's much easier to hit inside out on these overhead than inside in.

If you are late for overhead, it's probably more related to you not watching the ball coming off your opponent's racket and not understanding the situation that your opponent is in.

When you are up at the net, you have to watch very attentively at how your opponent is swinging and is positioned. Is he off-balance, late? Is his racket face open? Does he only have one hand on the racket or two? These are cues that you can anticipate a lob.

Footwork wise, you have got to turn side ways the moment you see a lob. Usually, you want to use a crossover step to get to a deep lob, not backpedalling.

LeeD
12-14-2009, 12:50 PM
Key in the decision is whether or not you can hit a real forcing overhead from backpedalling into position, hitting the ball, then falling off the side of the court. If you can put the ball away, go for it. If you can hit directly between the two opponent's, go for it.
If not, use your backhand overhead to hit a deep ball between your opponents or angle off a short CC winner.

Bagumbawalla
12-14-2009, 04:08 PM
In addition to all the various suggestions, you should actually practice watching the ball, and moving into position and hitting to a specific spot.

Stand about mid way (or so) between the net and the service line and have some sadisticly cunning "friend" (from about the same location on the other side of the net) toss up "lobs" that force you to watch and move and set up and pound the ball toward a towel or cone set on the court.

The very experience of doing this, feeling awkward, finding better ways to move, getting balanced, striking through the ball, eventually feeling more graceful and quicker to respond is, in my opinion, better than just thinking about the problem in a clinical sort of way.

Keep it up until you are completely exhausted, then you do the tossing...then repeat.

LeeD
12-14-2009, 04:16 PM
I agree practicing and experimenting with this shot is the key.
But a mental decision DOES have to be made....
Based on your ablility to win the point with a fading overhead, falling to your hitting side as and after you hit the overhead.
If you reel into oblivion off the court, and your overhead doesn't penetrate, you should not hit that shot.
If you cartwheel off the court onto your butt, dropping your racket and skinning your hands, but put the ball away for a winner, it's a possibility in your repetoire.
You're closer to something in between in reality, so choose your poison. You can hit the fading overhead and fall off the court, but what does that contribute to the idea of winning the point?
Sometimes, not always, it's better to poke a weak push/puff ball between your opponents and get into better volleying position....not necessarily near the net.

Fedace
12-14-2009, 04:24 PM
What about doing the Jimmy Connors,,, "SKYHOOK" overhead ?? If the ball is gone over you and you are late getting there, i think this kind of works well. I still think it is better than letting it go over you and chasing it down and hitting a defensive lob. I think most of us Cant' hit this shot as hard as Connors. but i can hit this medium paced up the middle and i can still close in on the net....

5263
12-14-2009, 05:04 PM
What no tips? lol

No long list of things?
No tips either?

crystal_clear
12-14-2009, 05:16 PM
Also, I noticed that pointing with LH and putting racket back right away didn't work well for me. I just never seemed to get into position fast enough to hit a good overhead. It worked better if I ignored all that pointing stuff and just scrambled into good position and then started the overhead preparation. Will doing it that way get me into trouble?
Practise more IMHO~ Cindy, do you realize how little we have practised overhead shots?

Cindysphinx
12-15-2009, 06:54 AM
^Yeah, I know. In a typical week, I will hit four warm-up overheads if I have a match and that's it.

I had lined up a practice session with a friend for Friday. She wants to learn to lob, I need overhead practice. Perfect, right?

We can't get a court. :(

charliefedererer
12-15-2009, 08:07 AM
^Yeah, I know. In a typical week, I will hit four warm-up overheads if I have a match and that's it.

I had lined up a practice session with a friend for Friday. She wants to learn to lob, I need overhead practice. Perfect, right?

We can't get a court. :(

That's a pity you can't get practice in before your challenge match. Without the practice, it's unlikely you will have success on such a difficult shot.

Suggestions:
1. Don't immediately point your finger at the ball.
2. As soon as you see the ball is going over your head and to your backhand, dip you back shoulder down and RUN in a low, compact sprinter-out-of-the-starting blocks stance looking over your shoulder for the 3 or 5 steps you will need to get to the position to the you will have to hit the ball, with your last step on your back foot, and with most of your weight on your back foot allowing you to shift your weight into a trophy pose (with your hand pointing up to the ball if you desire - I don't).
4. This will allow you to step into the ball with a powerful overhead swing.
5. If you've run back a little too far, hopefully you have the time to take a little skip forward in your trophy pose to make the adjustment. (The best of course is to time the run and weight balance transfer into the trophy pose withoutht having to make an adjustment, but that usually takes a lot of practice.)
6. If you haven't run back quite far enough, hopefully you have the time to take a little skip backward in your trophy pose before exploding up and into the ball.
7. Try practicing the shorter 3 step back overheads first, then the 5 step backward overheads. You can even decide to move onto the 7 step backward overheads of defensive lobs from just in back of the baseline.
8. Just like the serve, groundstrokes, and volleys, overheads need practice at least a few times a week to stay really proficient.
9. You are really going to love clocking these overheads.

LeeD
12-16-2009, 08:50 AM
Not sure if many women enjoy "clocking" their overheads. Just seems like a mental block here. They don't want to play too aggressive, they mostly don't have big serves, or big overheads, and mostly, they play against players who's groundies are their strengths, not their putaway shots, so that mentality constantly creeps into the back of their brains.
Sure the William's can clock overheads, as some of the taller women seem to even in the olden days. But I think they are the exceptions to the rule, rather than the norm/average.
And pro women tennis players are certainly an exception.

Cindysphinx
12-16-2009, 09:25 AM
I had one -- just one -- overhead opportunity last night. The ball was fading only slightly to my LH side. I was in front of the service line. This should have been the easiest of all easy put-aways.

I missed. Into the net. Which is the worst possible way to miss an overhead. I did *nothing* right and knew when I swung that all was lost.

: hangs head in shame :

Honestly, I can't remember the last time I hit an overhead to be proud of. I seriously need to practice this shot. I'm a mess.

http://pix.motivatedphotos.com/2009/5/25/633788617203321505-tennisfail.jpg

LeeD
12-16-2009, 09:29 AM
Pity...
For sure, even the pros miss some sitters, so sorry....
I assume depth target was just behind the service line? Placement target was assumed before you swung, so it should not be on your mind.
So you didn't look at the ball !! WHY NOT?

Cindysphinx
12-16-2009, 09:32 AM
Looking at the ball wasn't the problem. I made great contact, right into the net.

I didn't do any footwork and I didn't turn. I just kind of froze.

I think I have lost confidence in the shot at this point. The last time we worked on it in clinic, I was a disaster because I had a knee injury. It hurt to do the footwork. I think I still don't trust that knee (although there's no reason to feel that way), and I need to get over it.

Managed to get a court tomorrow, so I will get in some overhead practice then.

Nellie
12-16-2009, 09:53 AM
Don't try to kill the overhead if you are struggling - focus on contact and placement to the open court.

LeeD
12-16-2009, 09:59 AM
Funny ding yesterday...
5 doubles sets, maybe the first 10 odd overheads pure first serve speed winners.
Missed long on the next, then overcompensated and missed into the net.
So, back to basics, lower speed to 75, mission accomplished, back to first serve speed overheads the next 7 or so.
Sometimes, you have to go back to basics when you miss, and basics is TURN sideways, move your feet, look at ball, early racketprep, and stroke smoothly watching the ball with your target in mind.
And don't swing 90% speed unless you are confident or don't care. Instead, try to swing about 75% speed.

Ripper014
12-16-2009, 10:01 AM
Don't try to kill the overhead if you are struggling - focus on contact and placement to the open court.

I agree work on good contact, being balanced, placement... and not hitting down on the ball... I always like to say feel like you are hitting out to your targets.

Ripper014
12-16-2009, 10:04 AM
Funny ding yesterday...
5 doubles sets, maybe the first 10 odd overheads pure first serve speed winners.
Missed long on the next, then overcompensated and missed into the net.
So, back to basics, lower speed to 75, mission accomplished, back to first serve speed overheads the next 7 or so.
Sometimes, you have to go back to basics when you miss, and basics is TURN sideways, move your feet, look at ball, early racketprep, and stroke smoothly watching the ball with your target in mind.
And don't swing 90% speed unless you are confident or don't care. Instead, try to swing about 75% speed.


You will end more points with placement than speed with an overhead... if you hit the ball at a skilled player no matter how hard they have a pretty good opportunity to get it back... hit it away from them in a well placed spot and it is probably a winner... it is hard to out run a well hit tennis ball, especially with todays equipment.

LeeD
12-16-2009, 10:12 AM
er... first 10 were untouched to the backboard, so I guess I know what you mean by placement.
But you sound like a modern tennis coach to a 12 year old player. You emphasis safety and replicabilty over pure power and fun.
Why don't we have more kids inside the top 100? Conserative teaching is why!
Blast a few, enjoy the sheer fun of tennis, don't focus on the winning every time you play a match. Focus instead on how you can make a tennis ball move just like a PRO player.

Ripper014
12-16-2009, 10:18 AM
er... first 10 were untouched to the backboard, so I guess I know what you mean by placement.
But you sound like a modern tennis coach to a 12 year old player. You emphasis safety and replicabilty over pure power and fun.
Why don't we have more kids inside the top 100? Conserative teaching is why!
Blast a few, enjoy the sheer fun of tennis, don't focus on the winning every time you play a match. Focus instead on how you can make a tennis ball move just like a PRO player.

I was focusing on Cindy's ability to win points... and even the pro's do not hit every overhead as hard as they can. In fact when they have a clear opening they will just push it in the corner rather than take the rare chance of mis-hitting the ball and losing the point. Well ok... maybe just the good ones... the dumb ones still have some testosterone issues.

LeeD
12-16-2009, 10:22 AM
"don't focus on winning every time you play a match"
That means, when you want to WIN, you focus on basics and some conservativeness, and of course, percentages. But when you want to have FUN, you can blast the ball to your hearts content, until you want to WIN.

naylor
12-16-2009, 11:50 AM
Not sure if many women enjoy "clocking" their overheads... They don't want to play too aggressive, they mostly don't have big serves, or big overheads, and mostly, they play against players who's groundies are their strengths, not their putaway shots...

I think this applies to men too, not just to women, and it's more a question of playing level. If you give a 3.0-3.5 man a simple smash very close to the net, then for sure he can use brute force to slam it down and put it over the back fence, which a 3.0-3.5 woman is probably not strong enough to do. But if you make the same man play a smash from deeper, say bouncing a couple of feet behind the service line you'll probably find that his rate of success (play it in and win the point with the smash or an easy putaway of the opponent's return) is quite similar to a 3.0-3.5 woman playing the same shot - quite low. And I'd say the men will most miss because they go for power and hit long, and the women will most miss into the net.

At those levels and below, what the players lack is proper placement. Very often, I see my partner (male or female) at the net move to intercept a volley from the opponent at the back, but his/her interception is "very broadly" aimed with very little authority (i.e. somewhere in the "racket area" in the middle, rather than a proper punch at their feet) at the opponent at the net. The result is the ball often comes back... and as a winner because the volleyer is out of position. Whereas in most cases, the target should in fact be the "hole" between the opponents - unless it's an easy putaway past the opponent at the net, placed past where he/she won't reach to cover (feet, gip hand side).

Likewise for run-around overheads. Unless you're left with a short smash (because the lob got held up and ended short) where you can use power, in most other instances you'll end up no closer to the net than the service line and on one side of the court, so you have some angles to play with. If you're still going to play an overhead, you should trade some power for placement, going between your opponents or (if you feel confident) exploiting the angle and going wide of the ad player. If you go straight at the opposition, they've had more time to get in defensive position at the baseline than you have (they made you run back around, or even switch), so unless you can really "power" it past them, you may find that they can play a good return that turns defense into attack for them.

LeeD
12-16-2009, 11:56 AM
er....
Balance of you tumbling off the court after your overhead vs your ability to cleanly hit a forcing shot.........
ClintEastwood... a man's gotta know his limitations.

GuyClinch
12-16-2009, 12:48 PM
I think this applies to men too, not just to women, and it's more a question of playing level. If you give a 3.0-3.5 man a simple smash very close to the net, then for sure he can use brute force to slam it down and put it over the back fence, which a 3.0-3.5 woman is probably not strong enough to do. But if you make the same man play a smash from deeper, say bouncing a couple of feet behind the service line you'll probably find that his rate of success (play it in and win the point with the smash or an easy putaway of the opponent's return) is quite similar to a 3.0-3.5 woman playing the same shot - quite low. And I'd say the men will most miss because they go for power and hit long, and the women will most miss into the net.

We might miss em - but honestly smashing overheads is crazy fun. You only get a shot or two like that a match. It would be a crying shame to dink it in - even if its the percentage play..

Your so calm and calculated. I wouldn't even consider placing a service line overhead in softly. Baseline..okay then maybe you might take it easy if it doesn't bounce that high and hit a forehand lob..I suppose..

Pete

Cindysphinx
12-16-2009, 01:30 PM
Well, I'm not buying the "killer instinct" argument that Lee made. I think when someone waves their overhead in rather than hitting a proper one, the reason is usually Post Traumatic Overhead Syndrome. You miss a few, so you start doubting yourself. Then you don't get into position to attack the ball because you're being cautious. And then you're even missing the attempts to play it safe.

Ugh. It's going to be difficult to fix this in the winter. I need a hit a bazillion overheads to find my range again, and it's hard to do that with indoor court time expensive and unavailable.

Ripper014
12-16-2009, 01:51 PM
Well, I'm not buying the "killer instinct" argument that Lee made. I think when someone waves their overhead in rather than hitting a proper one, the reason is usually Post Traumatic Overhead Syndrome. You miss a few, so you start doubting yourself. Then you don't get into position to attack the ball because you're being cautious. And then you're even missing the attempts to play it safe.

Ugh. It's going to be difficult to fix this in the winter. I need a hit a bazillion overheads to find my range again, and it's hard to do that with indoor court time expensive and unavailable.

There is no need to hit a bazillion overheads... it is about learning to recognize a lob and being able to get in position quickly and effectively. At which point you maintain good balance and form to deliver a quality shot... which you always follow-up in good position in case there is a return.

I think most people struggle with their overheads because they are never in position and always off balance.

You will get more out of practicing smart than out of repetition, when practicing repetition you can just ingrain bad habits.

LeeD
12-16-2009, 02:04 PM
Not sure what CS is implying about "killer instinct" overheads...
I don't have a killer instinct, always preferring to toy with the victims, and oftentimes getting burned.
But I like to hit the ball hard, to impress myself mostly, so swing away.
But really CindyS, can you hit 20 overheads from just behind the service line and make them all go deep and hard? I can, mostly 18 out of 20, but I hit them over 90 mph too.
Practice makes perfect. If you're not confident, hit more in practice.
I'm not at all confident in my baseline topspin forehand. But then again, that's only against equal or superior opposition.

naylor
12-17-2009, 02:37 AM
... Your so calm and calculated. I wouldn't even consider placing a service line overhead in softly...

In many ways, you smash the way you serve. I'm a rightie, but my favourite serve is the slider (basically, a mirror image of the leftie swinging serve) that lands half-way up the side service line and slides away. Any smash I hit from behind the service line (particularly, off the bounce) I hit the same as a slider serve. The reason for that is it has so much side movement that even if I hit it straight at one of the opponents, unless they watch it all the way to their rackets they won't hit it off the sweetspot, so either it won't make it over the net, or if it does it'll be an easy putaway. And when I go for the angled smash, from the right I can get it to bounce short and slide away, and from the left (like, when I'm running around and back for it) the slice brings it around from the sideline (which I'm facing as I swing) to the far corner and gives me a few extra feet to keep it in. Make no mistake, I don't hit them soft, but I put a lot of action on them.

Cindysphinx
12-17-2009, 07:48 AM
Ironically, I had a good overhead in the past. The reason was repetition.

I was playing 3.0, 6.5 combo, 3.5. At that level, people lob like mad and Lob Queens reign. Maybe you'd miss the first overhead or two, but you had plenty of opportunity to hit that shot and work out the kinks. Without an overhead, there was no way to beat those lob queens.

Now I am playing mixed (where guys do not lob much) and 7.5 combo (much less lobbing). In that last match, I had exactly one overhead opportunity. I might have been able to get away without practicing overheads before, but I can see now that I'm going to have to really give that shot some attention on the practice court because it's going to be so rare in actual match play.

Nellie
12-17-2009, 08:12 AM
It is actually pretty easy to practice overheads against a wall on a warm day - you need to aim the overhead to land in front of the wall. The ball will bounce up, off the backwall, and continue to go up and return to you. I would not hit too hard - maybe a 50% effort (otherwise, you will end up chasing a mis-hit to the next county). With a little practice, you could get 10-20 in row, which means you could get several hundred overheads in a short practice.

naylor
12-17-2009, 09:54 AM
Ironically, I had a good overhead in the past. The reason was repetition. I was playing 3.0, 6.5 combo, 3.5. At that level, people lob like mad and Lob Queens reign...
Now I am playing mixed (where guys do not lob much) and 7.5 combo (much less lobbing). In that last match, I had exactly one overhead opportunity... I'm going to have to really give that shot some attention on the practice court because it's going to be so rare in actual match play.

Don't bother, you're now past the stage where if you play a slightly forcing shot a return lob is automatic. Work on your volley (crisp and to the correct target), serve (good placement on demand by your partner at the net, either wide to the forehand or to backhand with kick, and same for second serve), return of serve (crosscourt with pace, clearing the netperson well so no chance of intercept) and passes (down the middle, with some dip). This is when doubles gets to be serious fun (and good tennis).

LeeD
12-17-2009, 04:02 PM
Seems to me...
Not matter what level, up to 7.0, you can encounter a team that decides to try lobbing as part of their overall strategy. Just because you're past 3.5 doesn't mean you won't face lobs any more.
Even my 5-5.5 buds lob, sometimes just for the fun of seeing the netmen scramble back and for the practice of return their overheads.
I do it quite often when the netman poaches effectively a couple times.
You can't ever think you "own" any shot, as that shot is surely going to be the one you need dearly in an important match.

Cindysphinx
12-17-2009, 05:52 PM
^Oh, I agree.

If I start losing, I will most definitely try lobbing. I don't care what level we are at. Everyone has weaknesses; might as well find out if the overhead is an issue.

Also interesting is that I see a lot of people who can only take their overheads crosscourt. If you pop one up short, just take off. You might get there in time! :)

Ripper014
12-17-2009, 05:55 PM
^Oh, I agree.

If I start losing, I will most definitely try lobbing. I don't care what level we are at. Everyone has weaknesses; might as well find out if the overhead is an issue.

Also interesting is that I see a lot of people who can only take their overheads crosscourt. If you pop one up short, just take off. You might get there in time! :)

The lob is an overlooked shot... mainly used when you are in a defensive position... something high and deep to give you time to get back in position and/or move the opponents off the net. However when given time and the opponents are tight to the net... an offensive lob is an opportunity to win the point outright.

crystal_clear
12-17-2009, 05:56 PM
^Yeah, I know. In a typical week, I will hit four warm-up overheads if I have a match and that's it.

I had lined up a practice session with a friend for Friday. She wants to learn to lob, I need overhead practice. Perfect, right?

We can't get a court. :(

I normally hit three overheads during warm-up before a match if any. As a matter of fact, there is no overhead during warm-up if it is a friendly match.
I hit one overhead out, one to the net and the third in the court. I have only one opportunity to impress my opponents.

Overhead is the least shot we ever practice if we don't practice in a lesson.

LeeD
12-18-2009, 03:50 PM
I haven't practiced overheads during warmups in over 30 years.
Haven't practiced them in practice because I don't practice.
But today, 5 sets of high 3.5 to average 4.5 doubles, hit maybe 20 all together, missing a couple (hit to an opponent who got it back, my bad).
Get sideways, sideways hop back, and hit 70% but flat, or 80% using slice.
Always aim between your opponents and account for you natural spin.

Cindysphinx
12-18-2009, 04:21 PM
Had that practice session today.

Practice partner doesn't lob well. If she does get a lob over someone, she forgets to come in. I, on the other hand, need to re-train my brain to do the footwork to hit more balls as overheads rather than BH volleys, and I need to get a good turn.

We made up a drill where she was at baseline and I was at the T. She lobbed with a goal of hitting the baseline, and I tried to overhead everything back to her. If she hit a ball that made me turn my back and run, she had to follow it in or "lose the point" so to speak.

It worked really well. Man, I really had to move to reach a lot of those balls.

I can't say the problem is solved, but I feel a lot more confident.

crystal_clear
12-20-2009, 12:06 PM
Had that practice session today.

Practice partner doesn't lob well. If she does get a lob over someone, she forgets to come in. I, on the other hand, need to re-train my brain to do the footwork to hit more balls as overheads rather than BH volleys, and I need to get a good turn.

We made up a drill where she was at baseline and I was at the T. She lobbed with a goal of hitting the baseline, and I tried to overhead everything back to her. If she hit a ball that made me turn my back and run, she had to follow it in or "lose the point" so to speak.

It worked really well. Man, I really had to move to reach a lot of those balls.

I can't say the problem is solved, but I feel a lot more confident.
I had some overhead practice with my hitting partner last Friday. She practiced her lobs at baseline and I stayed at service line to work on my overheads. I found hitting overheads at service line is more difficult than at net. I could have easy time with overheads closer to the net if I could handle overheads at service line. I gave her lots of pressure as she had to lob deep close to baseline or I would smash the immature lobs.

I'd like to practice more shots at service line, volley, half-volley, swing volleys, overheads...

Cindysphinx
12-20-2009, 01:41 PM
I love to practice from the service line.

You know what they say: If you can volley from there, you can volley from anywhere!

Well, they don't actually say that, but maybe they should. :)

5263
12-20-2009, 03:52 PM
I love to practice from the service line.

You know what they say: If you can volley from there, you can volley from anywhere!

Well, they don't actually say that, but maybe they should. :)

Well someone sure says it, cause I hear it all the time on this board. I don't share the opinion, but it does seem quite popular.
Merry Christmas!

LeeD
12-20-2009, 03:59 PM
Certainly if you can hit penetrating deep volleys from the service line, you should be able to block away clean winners from 4' from the net.
As for no man's land volleys, some can do it well, but it makes for tough court coverage, so I won't recommend practicing those at all.