Tennis Tips - Overhead
OK - you're in the middle of a tough point. You've been trading groundies with your
opponent, and finally, you hit a couple of deep returns and make your way toward the net.
Your approach shot is so tough and close to the baseline that your opponent's only shot
is a short, desperation lob right to you. You move in for the kill, smack your lips, and,...
oops, you frame it into the net or over the back fence!!!!
Relax - EVERYONE, and I mean EVERYONE (including the pros who practice this stuff for
hours every day) has made a fool of themselves on overheads before. As much as I hate to
admit it and as hard as you, dear reader, may find it to believe, even Ace has flubbed an
overhead or two!
But fear not! Ace has an easy fix for this common problem. Just follow the tips below, and
never worry about hitting a bad overhead again - I guarantee it!!!
Symptom 1: "Ok Ace, what's the secret to hitting my overhead and not making a fool of
myself? I just can't seem to get a solid hit - I always miss-hit it and the ball never hits my
Cure: The cures to a poor overhead are so simple, that most people refuse to do them.
This is especially true for advanced players who think they know it all!
I think the reason (at least partially) is that they think it makes them look "uncool!" Like I
said before, Ace plays tennis, in part, because it's the coolest sport. And as far as Ace is
concerned, hitting a strong, smooth, and solid overhead is VERY cool.
So what do you do? Read the tips below and you'll be hitting overheads with ease!
1. Backpedal into position when you see a lob is going over your head, keeping your eye
on the ball at all times. Never turn around and run toward where you think the lob is going!
Unless you are a superior athlete like Ace, blessed with major league grace, outstanding
timing, and vision, you have to do this so you don't lose track of the ball. Ace has seen
many a hacker get conked on the head by a lob or lose the ball because of the wind when
they didn't follow this advice! The only time you should turn your back and run full speed
is if you are caught with a low offensive lob and a sprint full speed toward the baseline is
your only chance to keep the play going.
2. Make sure you keep the ball in front of you when you hit it. Too many people hit the ball
when it is right on top of them, or even behind them!
3. This is the part that people think is uncool: Get your racket up in the air, and, with your
other hand, point at the ball as it comes toward you. THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT!!! If you
remember nothing at all, remember this - POINT AT THE BALL. Trust Ace on this, it works!
4. Use a Continental grip. You don't need to worry about getting spin to bring the ball down
into the service box - you have the entire court to hit into. Using a Continental grip gives
you just enough control to still hit crushing smashes. (See my Grip Page for more details!)
5. Don't use a big backswing - an overhead is NOT like a serve. With a serve, you're
practically teeing up the ball with your toss. But a lob is going up, coming down, you may
be running after it, the wind may be blowing, etc. In short, you don't have the time to take a
6. Finally, when it comes time to hit, especially when you are close to the net and have a
sweet sitter, knock the crap out of the ball!!! Enjoy the power!!! Why do you think they call
it an overhead SMASH? This is your chance to intimidate the other guy - don't pass it
P.S. - One final recommendation:
7. If you're standing near the baseline, don't try to hit an overhead from there. I don't care if
it's a slow and easy floater that's coming right to you and/or you don't even have to move
for it. Most people either screw it up or the overhead loses steam by the time it reaches
your opponent. Let the ball bounce and hit a safe groundstroke.