kid with overhead problem

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by Clay Mize, May 11, 2018.

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  1. Clay Mize

    Clay Mize Rookie

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    I have several kids who want to face the net, instead of turn on the overhead. What are the best ways to help them break this habit?
     
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  2. Curiosity

    Curiosity Professional

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    Feed them overhead balls which require moving a few steps forward or back. Teach them by example that moving forward and back is easier when facing the sideline. Have them try it.

    Are they hitting normal serves yet? If so, teach them that taking an overhead uses essentially the same form as the serve, off-arm up to sight the ball (and eventually ease rotation), racquet back over their hitting shoulder, etc., trying to take the ball when it is (if possible) at the location of their usual service contact.

    Do they change grip for the overhead? That may be part of their hangup. Next question: Do they have two hands on the racquet before the overhead is up?
     
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  3. Clay Mize

    Clay Mize Rookie

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    Yeah, I have tried most of that stuff, but the grip is not something I have questioned.
     
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  4. S&V-not_dead_yet

    S&V-not_dead_yet Legend

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    Do they not understand the benefit of being sideways or they just naturally continue to face forwards?

    Do drills without the ball: just yell "lob" and make them turn sideways, move backward [shuffle, crossover, combo], and shadow swing an OH. The presence of a ball might be triggering a panic response so they forget they're supposed to turn.

    Next, hit a very high, shallow lob and tell them to let the ball bounce. This introduces the ball but at a very measured pace so they still have a lot of time.

    By the time they've mastered this, do a more realistic lob drill; the sideways motion should be ingrained by now.
     
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  5. 3kids

    3kids Rookie

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    I've seen too many lessons where the coach tells the kids to get sideways and stay sideways on overhead. I've seen and overheard too many interactions between kid and parents or coaches reminding the kids that they forgot about getting and staying sideways during point and/or tournament matchplay.

    Most kids are taught to point the off hand at the ball thus there's little shoulder turn and they open up too early and face the net. Instead they need to have and keep the off hand on the throat of the racquet as long as possible thus promoting and keeping the shoulder turn (similar idea to keeping off hand on throat of racquet for unit turn of forehand takeback).

    This is the progression I do with my kids when we practice overheads:
    Player shadows the footwork, shoulder turn and swing x 3
    I hand feed lob while standing close to player and player executes overhead x 3
    I racquet feed simulated lob while standing on same side of net as player by bouncing the ball into the ground x 3

    All this is done with focus on keeping off hand on throat of racquet with proper shoulder turn. We don't go on to lobs from other side of the net until the execution is correct.

    These kids are not trying to do it incorrectly! They are just not given the technical cues and reps to build this muscle memory. From my observations, a coach on the other side of the net telling the kids to get sideways over and over usually doesn't work. The kids may do it a few times during the lesson but will go back to their old habits outside of the lesson.
     
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  6. Kevo

    Kevo Hall of Fame

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    I usually don't practice overheads until they are serving reasonably. Then we work on it like a serve where instead of tossing you position with the feet under the ball. The practice starts with them sideways before the feed. I try to catch any lazy starts and not feed until they are sideways. If they are having a bit of trouble with the positioning then we catch the ball with the toss hand up in the trophy position.

    To me it's most important for them to be serving proficiently. I don't see bad overheads that much when they are serving well.
     
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  7. S&V-not_dead_yet

    S&V-not_dead_yet Legend

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    I've never seen it taught this way.

    So, after they get the hang of turning sideways, do you teach them to do the more traditional method or do they stay with holding the throat?

    When they release their off-hand, what does the off-hand do? One reason to get the off-arm up is to counter-balance the swing of the on-arm. If you lose that counter-balance, that could make things less smooth.

    I can see some potential disadvantages of the "hold the throat" method:
    - you won't get the shoulder tilt that you normally get in the trophy position with your off-hand pointing up at the ball
    - moving while your off-hand is on the racquet is more cumbersome [although football QBs do it when fading back for a pass]
    - you no longer have a pointer

    I'm not sure the traditional way is inferior; it just has to be drilled many times, like everything in tennis. Some will pick it up quickly and others not so quickly. I'd be interested to see 2 groups taught the different ways and to compare results.
     
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  8. Clay Mize

    Clay Mize Rookie

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    I would be interested in that too. Not sure holding the throat will automatically make the kid turn sideways. And yes the balance of the off hand is important.
     
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  9. 3kids

    3kids Rookie

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    Sorry I don't mean they keep off hand on throat of racquet forever and never point up at the ball.
    They just keep the off hand on throat of racquet longer and release later pointing up at ball. Again similar idea as keeping off hand on throat of racquet longer for unit turn on forehand takeback to promote shoulder turn but the off arm after releasing on forehand points to side fence instead of up in the air for overhead.
    Yes you do need the shoulder tilt and balance for efficient swing similar to serving.
    Actually moving with your off hand on racquet is easier and more efficient than moving with racquet back and off hand pointed up in "trophy" position.
    I'm sure no one is going to take 2 groups, teach them 2 different ways, and compare the results they get.

    The kids that get the "traditional" teaching without issues...more power to them, I wouldn't change a thing!
    The kids that have trouble getting and staying sideways...I guess one can keep telling them "get sideways, get sideways, get sideways" over and over and hope they get it!
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2018
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