What is the key to a great overhead?

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by mileslong, Sep 5, 2006.

  1. mileslong

    mileslong Professional

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    its really the missing piece of my arsenal. im now moving from 4.5 to 5.0 now according to guys i play. i have a 6.0 serve. 6.0 forehand. 4.0 backhand 4.0 volley and a 3.0 overhead.

    my serve lets me play with pretty much anyone, even guys rated much higher than me but they always find my weakness and exploit it and win the match. i beat most all 4.0 to 4.5 guys now. my problem is that i didnt take advantage of enought short balls in the past off of my serve and would rush to the net late and make too many errors.

    i have started to serve and volley now with great results. my volley has improved thanks to playing doubles some now but my biggest weakness always costs me against 5.0 to 5.5 guys and above, thats the overhead.

    i can be in great position at the net and my opponent will hit a short lob and i will send the thing off of the fence or in the net way more than i hit it for a winner. i need help but dont have the time for lessons now. any quick tips to help me try and improve in the meantime?

    thanks!
     
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  2. kevhen

    kevhen Hall of Fame

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    If you have a 6.0 forehand and 6.0 serve, run around and hit forehands after you unload the bomb. You should still be able to beat most 5.0s and 5.5s with shots like that provided you stay away from going to the net and are fast enough to run around your backhand.

    Overhead is all about timing and usually highly indicative of your overall abilities. Practice it more if you want to improve.
     
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  3. MasterTS

    MasterTS Professional

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    Overhead is about clean contact and getting your feet in the right place..

    I find it funny and hard to beleive you claim a 6.0 forehand and serve and 4.0 other stuff.. But anyway.. Clean contact is the key to overhead..
     
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  4. Narcissist

    Narcissist Semi-Pro

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    Being quick enough to get your 3 steps back as soon as you can see a lob coming. I've often had to hit overheads snapping my wrist down because I'm not far back enough, this makes an error likley or a lame overhead.
     
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  5. Jay27

    Jay27 Rookie

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    The secret to successfully smashing an overhead is to NOT miss it. I think relaxing is a key ingredient in doing just this. I used to get very tight when returning/smashing a lob hit to me. I'd even sometimes miss the ball entirely. I then started relaxing and moved my arse into position. Once I did that, I started hitting the ball more cleanly. It's now a pretty important part of my "finish" game. You get'em on the run and when they lob, it should be a pretty certain point. Anyway, I'd say relax and get into position.
     
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  6. andrew_b

    andrew_b Rookie

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    Footwork. practice.
     
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  7. kevhen

    kevhen Hall of Fame

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    Get back behind the ball so you can step into your shot. Point with your off arm at the ball (hand or elbow) to help with balance and timing. Focus on the ball all the way in and go for it when inside the service line. Don't be afraid to lob it back if you are falling backwards behind the service line. Use some side slice if hitting an overhead from behind the baseline.
     
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  8. Marius_Hancu

    Marius_Hancu G.O.A.T.

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    the first step is crucial: make a large step with your right leg towards the baseline, in order to orientate the shoulder line relatively perpendicular to the net

    your left leg should pivot on its toes during that action

    only then start stepping back (side steps, in fact), in a quick, agressive, fashion, keeping your left arm pointed at the ball and the ball in your sight

    the next-to-the-last step should compress your right leg for the jump!

    JUMP:)
     
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  9. spot

    spot Hall of Fame

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    get your shoulders turned. The people I have seen with lousy overheads always end up just facing their shoulders parallel to the net instead of perpendicular like you would be for a serve. I bet once you concentrate on getting your shoulders perpendicular then your overhead will come right around if you have a serve that strong.
     
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  10. kevhen

    kevhen Hall of Fame

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    yeah a 6.0 serve and a 3.0 overhead seems rather unusual. What is your NTRP rating?
     
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  11. tennisfanatic

    tennisfanatic Rookie

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    you may want to see this: http://tennisone.com/newsletter/template/2.22.06.newsletter.html
     
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  12. andrew_b

    andrew_b Rookie

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    #12
  13. tennus

    tennus Rookie

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    You would think so, however, I have seen quite a few good servers with poor overheads. I'm with you it doesn't seem to make sense. Perhaps it's the footwork issue. :confused:
     
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  14. rfprse

    rfprse Professional

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    It's all about timing. So, I would try 100 overheads everyday for a week, and see it makes any difference. If you don't have time for lessons, it's hard to improve the shot actually, since it might be the toughest shot to get the timing down.
    However, until you have the time for practice, try to cut back a little and just go for the placement instead of thinking about putting it away with power. You don't need extra power for the overheads, which I suspect you may have been trying to do. All you need is a solid contact and decent placement.
     
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  15. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

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    Who are you playing 9.0's? If you have a 6.0 serve and forehand you don't have to worry about your overhead to play 4.0-5.0.
     
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  16. Mark S. Hogan

    Mark S. Hogan Rookie

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    Would you guys let it go? Why not just have a good discussion on overheads? I'll send an investigation team later to look into his claims. :)
     
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  17. saqdeez

    saqdeez Semi-Pro

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    stiff or loose wrist??
     
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  18. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

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    Sorry, but I can't take anyone seriously who makes such a claim, and then wants tips on how to hit an overhead.
     
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  19. tennisfanatic

    tennisfanatic Rookie

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    well it's possible... ever heard of roddick being criticize because his backhand doesn't look like a backhand in a pro level?
     
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  20. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

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    Funny, but I don't think so. Roddick does have a pro backhand, and anyone who says differently does not have a clue. If he didn't he would not be in the top 10 or top 100 for that matter.

    Granted his backhand may not compliment his forehand, or be as good as other players on tour but he still has a good backhand. Not everyone on the tour has a bomb of a serve like Roddick. Does that make their serves--- "not pro level"? I don't think so.

    The OP says he has a 6.0 serve and forehand and is playing with 4.0 4.5 players. That in itself is a joke. A guy with a 6.0 serve and forehand is essentially pro/challenger level.

    With a serve like that against the type of competition he is playing he would not lose 1 point on serve. Returning serve, with a forehand like that he may lose a few points here and there but would not lose a single game.

    4.0-4.5 players are light years away from the 6.0 level of competition-I don't care what the rest of his game looks like (3.0, 3.5 etc), if he really has a serve and forehand like that, even 5.0 level players woud not have a chance against him.
     
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  21. JCo872

    JCo872 Professional

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    All you need to crush an overhead is good shoulder turn, non hitting arm pointed up to the sky, and properly pronate on every overhead. Improper pronation is, in my opinion, the biggest cause of weak overheads.
     
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  22. SoBad

    SoBad G.O.A.T.

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    It's just like hitting that 6.0 serve, except you're closer to the net and have all of opponent's court instead of service box to hit into, no?
     
    #22
  23. goober

    goober Legend

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    Well to be fair he actually said the guys he is playing with made the ratings. In reality it would be incredibly rare to have somebody with that much of a difference between strokes. I mean the difference betwee a 6.0 FH and a 4.0 BH is 4 levels! To the 4.-4.5 level guys he is playing with it may seem like a really good FH and serve but FH and serve are probably just one level above them would also seem really good. I bet these 4-4.5 level players have never even really faced a 6.0 level serve or FH so they probably don't even have a clue of what they are talking about.

    I agree that if he truly had a 6.0 serve and FH he should never lose to a 5.0 player because the 5.0 player will not break a 6.0 level serve and his FH should win him enough points on return games to break at least once.
     
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  24. AJK1

    AJK1 Hall of Fame

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    Overheads are the least practiced shot in tennis.
    I know how to hit overheads, but i wish my doubles partner did, it causes me no end of stress watching him hit sitters into the bloody net!! Shheeesh!!
     
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  25. paulfreda

    paulfreda Hall of Fame

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    Clean contact, feet in position, a very quick 3 steps back, and lots and lots of practice with a good ball machine are all good suggestions.
    I would add trying different grips to see which suits you best. An Eastern forehand will give very solid contact while an Eastern BH will we good for balls that get behind your head. And the in between is the Continental which most people like.
     
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  26. MaxT

    MaxT Rookie

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    Find a wall to practice overhead. You can hit 30 in one minute. A few times of this you are set.
     
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  27. Trinity TC

    Trinity TC Semi-Pro

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    This drill will also give you abs o' steel.

    BTW, key off of the back leg and plant the right foot first on the overhead if you are right-handed. Many decent players key off the front foot like on the serve BUT that actually throws your arms and legs out of phase on the overhead. Try swinging your right arm and right foot forward at the same time the next time you walk. You'll look like a penguin. That be outta phase.:p

    Plant the back foot and shift the weight like a baseball pitcher...that way you can always keep the ball in front of you and in your line of sight. Plant your front foot and the ball tends to bounce around in your line of sight because hips get out of whack from your limbs being out of phase.:cool:
     
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