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Overhead General Tips & Rules of Thumb
By:  Scott Baker | Tennis4you  | Tennis Forum  | E-mail

The overhead is an important shot in tennis even though it is not used as often as other shots such as ground strokes. The overhead is also one of the easier shots in tennis to execute, however, there are still many players who struggle with the shot. Below are some general tips and rules of thumb to help hit your overhead.

1. Keep your eyes on the ball. As soon as you start thinking about missing, you might have the tendency to take your eyes off the ball before contact. When your eyes leave the ball, your head shifts and when the head shifts, the face of the racquet does so as well.

2. As soon as you see the shot is an overhead, get your left hand up and point at the ball until you hit it. Doing this helps you keep your eyes on the ball. Watch the pros, they point at the ball as soon as they see it is a lob! Note: This step is assuming you are right handed. For left handed people, point with your right hand

3. Make sure you get under the ball early. Move with the ball as soon as you see it is a lob.

4. Bring your racquet back early! The earlier you bring your racquet back before the swing, the more time you have to prepare to hit the shot. If you wait too long, you will be in a rush to swing and it can throw off everything.

5. Do not try to slam balls that are too low. Some balls that are low look like they can be overheads, but they should be high volleys. It can be extremely difficult to hit an overhead on a low floater. You will have to determine for yourself which is which.

6. Avoid swinging at the ball as hard as you can. You do not need to knock the overhead into the stands like the pros. Slow the swing down and go for placement. Usually on an overhead you can easily put it away hitting only 50-60% as hard as you can, but with nice placement. (I usually go for about 80% or so).

7. If the ball gets behind you, just try and hit the ball back in play. Trying to hit an overhead that gets behind your body will make the ball soar too long. Try to hit the ball a foot or so out in front of your body, just like the serve.

Try to follow these general tips for successful overheads. The overhead needs to be a shot that you can execute easily as you are in complete control of the point.

Good Luck on the Court!
Scott Baker