Good players with no overheads!

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by Steady Eddy, Apr 12, 2014.

  1. Steady Eddy

    Steady Eddy Hall of Fame

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    I see guys at the courts who let the ball drop so they can hit a groundstroke instead of taking the overhead. I like to take the overhead even behind the baseline. That's not a problem, I just make sure not to hit down on it.

    The overhead is one shot, besides the serve, you can practice on your own. Use your racket to hit the ball straight up, let it bounce, then go for the smash. I think some people might think it's a difficult shot only because they never practice it.

    Your overhead doesn't have to break the sound barrier. Just learn to direct them DTL or CC and you'll get lots of placements. (Generally, lots of points can be one by placing a medium paced ball away from your opponent rather than trying to over-power him, IMO).

    If I'm in a match with a slugger who can't smash, I won't hesitate to lob him mercilessly. But some people flat out tell me, "The overhead is a really tough shot". Agree or disagree?
     
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  2. Maximagq

    Maximagq Banned

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    I don't like hitting overheads. It's a mental thing and for me it is also hard to time. Just like how the number two player in the world has a mental phobia of the overhead!
     
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  3. WildVolley

    WildVolley Legend

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    A good lob is not easy to hit, even for Federer.

    However, the overhead is mostly a difficult shot because it isn't practiced. It does require precise timing and positioning, but if you practice it enough, it is a fun shot to hit.
     
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  4. Steady Eddy

    Steady Eddy Hall of Fame

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    You mean this guy finds overheads difficult?
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N4YCFPbUrfY
    A few things I've found that make it easier: I'll take it lower, with a short comfortable swing, make it a hands thing, no large arm and shoulder movements. It's not hit a ton, but it does go in often, and with my light, oversize racket, a little wrist gives it enough pop to usually win the point. I love the short lob. :)
     
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  5. movdqa

    movdqa Legend

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    Djokovic hits the overhead well and I think that all of the top-20 ATP Pros practice it before matches in in practice sessions. That said, on deep lobs that they let bounce, I often see pros hitting a slice overhead back to the other side without a lot of pace. The overhead isn't meant to win the point unless the other player guesses wrong - but it gets it back into play without weakening their position.

    The things that I always took away on learning to hit the overhead is to sight the ball with your left hand in the air. This, of course, means that you have to get your feet into position to do so. So good things come from remembering that piece.

    Sun, wind, rain, etc. can hamper your overhead too.

    In many cases, you do not have to do that much with it to win the point. Placement can be just as important as pace.

    Of course pace feels better.
     
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  6. mightyrick

    mightyrick Hall of Fame

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    By far, Novak Djokovic is the best player ever to not have a decent overhead.

    I cannot count the number of times I have seen Djokovic throw away break-points or set points with horribly mis-hit overheads. Even high punch-forehand putaways he has blown. The guy just hates high balls at the net.

    Still, I've seen him hit three of those shank errors and still win matches. It's pretty incredible given the thin margins that separate players at the top.
     
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  7. GuyClinch

    GuyClinch Hall of Fame

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    I like your idea of overhead practice - mine is decent because my serve is okay. But I never thought of doing that..
     
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  8. Steady Eddy

    Steady Eddy Hall of Fame

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    Odd that the two preceding posters mention Djokovic, one that his overhead is solid, the other that it is weak. But my intention isn't really to critique professionals. I mean when a short ball bounces near the net, that should be an easy smash, but I still see it botched often.

    I think it doesn't occur to people to practice the overhead. Look at how many hours had to be put in to hit a forehand. If you'd have a solid overhead with one-tenth the practice, then it hardly deserves to be called a "tough shot".

    But where I might critique players of all levels is in the modern pursuit of baseline bashing over becoming a complete player.
     
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  9. Steady Eddy

    Steady Eddy Hall of Fame

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    Thanks. I'm jealous that you have a good serve. On the overhead you don't get to place the ball where you like as in a serve, but on the other hand, you've got the entire court to hit it into.
     
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  10. TeamOB

    TeamOB Professional

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    On the Kyrgios/Thiem/Zverev bandwagon!
    I am pretty confident in my overhead. I think, if practiced well, the overhead is not "a very tough shot". I think the "touch-the-net, overhead" is a very good practice drill. You touch the net, then run back for the overhead. Then run back to the net and touch and go for another overhead. Repeat for about 30 balls. Really a killer drill. After a while, running back and hitting overheads becomes second nature.
     
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  11. movdqa

    movdqa Legend

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  12. Fuji

    Fuji Legend

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    I don't like hitting an overhead without letting it bounce due to an old rotator cuff issue. One weird misshit and my shoulder is in agony for weeks. It's not worth the risk of aggravating an injury to take an overhead out of air. :razz:

    I actually know a couple people who are in similar situations to me, so I know I'm not that crazy! :lol:

    -Fuji
     
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  13. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    I hated overheads as a junior and that carried into my adult tennis life as well. Then I met a guy years ago that will lob 90% of the time when I attack the net. The first few times we played I lost every set but eventually the match play gave me enough practice that I have since completely turned a bad matchup for me into a bad match up for my opponent.
     
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  14. TeamOB

    TeamOB Professional

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    On the Kyrgios/Thiem/Zverev bandwagon!
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  15. mightyrick

    mightyrick Hall of Fame

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    For doubles, I wish I practiced my overhead more. It isn't horrible, but I really need to keep is slow and deliberate. It's a shot that I have trouble hitting a lot of pop.

    As for singles, I find that I almost never need an overhead. In singles, the shot I wish I practiced more is the high volley on a ball maybe 6 inches above your head. Not an overhead, but not a forehand, either. That shot drives me crazy when I come forward to the net.
     
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  16. Steady Eddy

    Steady Eddy Hall of Fame

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    Alot of pop is for show. A medium swing that hits the sweet spot and goes in deep in the court will most often win the point anyway, even if it doesn't produce a "wow" moment.

    I used to hate that high, slow, volley. Much better to have an opponent who rips it, and all I have to do it get my racket on it to return the power. With that slow, high one, you have to generate the power. Just give it some wrist, (yes, pros who teach never use the wrist are wrong on this one, it needs some wrist to give the racket head some speed). Just a bit is usually enough to hit it past his outstretched racket.
     
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  17. winstonlim8

    winstonlim8 Semi-Pro

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    I'm weird because I have a good bounce overhead which I can hit and place for a winner even when I'm down on my knees but a really lousy smash when taken on the fly - mainly because I don't get back into position in time (I developed a bad habit of watching the ball go up and up instead of moving back quickly), don't turn my shoulders properly, fail to keep my eye on the ball properly (even when I try to point at the ball with my finger) and have lousy depth perception (very important on a vertically dropping ball against a clear sky with few or no clouds).

    On top of that, I prefer to take a high ball on my backhand volley because I do get into position in time for that even if I have to skip backwards a bit (I don't know why) and can play a backhand semi-smash drive-volley better than a forehand overhead taken on the fly.

    I've learned to deal with balls on the fly by cutting my overhead take back short and not doing much except trying to meet it cleanly and placing it effectively. I don't worry about literally pounding the ball any more because I've found that being able to place it accurately is just as effective. But I'll still put three into the net for every seven winners I hit on my right side.
     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2014
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  18. aimr75

    aimr75 Hall of Fame

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    I've improved my overheads more recently. One good tip I came across was (for a righty) to cross the left arm to the right of the ball from your line of sight and to prep the trophy position early. The left arm across ensures you turn sideways rather than the body facing the net
     
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  19. Steady Eddy

    Steady Eddy Hall of Fame

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    I definitely like to let them bounce. I don't need to pound it, if I hit it off the center of the strings it'll work. Your ratio is 7:3? If you could just improve that 1 of 10 you'd have a solid 8:2 ratio. Then you'll be 4.0! (Well, maybe).
     
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  20. winstonlim8

    winstonlim8 Semi-Pro

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    I must try this!

    Oh, and Eddy, 4.0 is a bit of a stretch for me until I can find a way for my knees and hands not to go wobbly at the end of the first set. :) Or to lose 25 lbs quickly without the problem of my blood sugar dropping even faster. But thanks for the vote of confidence.
     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2014
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  21. dominikk1985

    dominikk1985 Legend

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    that is because you and novak are baseline pushers:p
     
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  22. Maximagq

    Maximagq Banned

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    Mhm you bet! Live by the grind, die by the grind.
     
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  23. Steady Eddy

    Steady Eddy Hall of Fame

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    I have that problem too. So I keep glucose tablets in my tennis bag. You can get them at the drug store.
     
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  24. winstonlim8

    winstonlim8 Semi-Pro

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    Not in Malaysia, I am afraid. I have to buy a whole tin, pre-mix it into flasks and take them to the court. I've been experimenting with my diet lately and I've found that a heavy hi-carb lunch with lots of hi-fibre, leafy green vegetables about three hours before I play seems to keep my sugar levels fairly regular from 5pm when I start playing until around 7.30pm. After that, there's a noticeable drop in my energy levels and mental alertness unless I start sipping my glucose drinks. First thing to go haywire is always my (forehand) overhead, then my serve. By the time I start missing off my backhand overheads and high volleys, I'm usually close to blacking out already.

    Trying to lose weight without making myself feel utterly drained is a real problem. So now after playing and on non-playing days, I try to eat very little carbo but pile on the fruits and veggies instead.

    I had to stop going to the gym after playing because I just didn't have the energy and I was afraid of dropping the weights if I got giddy or blacked out. I used to go to the gym on non-playing days but my body couldn't recover in time unless I took a break after one playing day and one gym day - not a satisfactory solution for me because I love to play.

    I plan to try working out before I play starting from later this month, though I'll be sensible and start with light weights and just one exercise for each body part first, until my body gets used to the training again. I've lost too much muscle mass to avoid the gym any more. I just have to be more careful about not re-injurying all injuries parts (like my knees and back, for example).

    Sorry about slightly de-railing this thread, OP.
     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2014
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  25. treo

    treo Rookie

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    I've hit with some players who have weak serves but great overheads. A pro example is Hingis. It seems common for some women to have timid serves but attacking volleys and overheads.
     
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  26. Steady Eddy

    Steady Eddy Hall of Fame

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    Another one was Lottie Dod who won Wimbledon 5 times. She had an underhand serve, but a good overhead.

    I have some tips for the overhead. One is don't prepare the racket and run. I used to do that and it didn't work. Get to the ball first. Keep it in front and don't worry if you have to drop your elbow to meet it low. You can still hit it fairly well even if it's only slightly over your head. Finally, let the power come from the wrist snap.
     
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  27. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    I always considered the overhead WAS the reward for hard work, deep shots, then deep approach shot, strong volleys, THEN you get to hit an overhead.
    It's the candy inside the box you're trying to open. Eat it.
     
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  28. bullet1020

    bullet1020 New User

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    I love to swing volley though .. specially my forehand .. I hate over heads
     
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  29. Steady Eddy

    Steady Eddy Hall of Fame

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    Why, because you just don't like hitting them, or because it doesn't work out?
     
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