The overhead, or smash as it is commonly referred to, is the one shot in tennis that will almost always end the point in your favour if executed correctly.
Normally your opponent is in trouble or on the defensive when they put up a lob. Sadly many club players make a mess of the overhead due to poor fundamentals, gifting their opponent an undeserved point.
You can solidify your overhead by remembering the following three components of both the set-up phase and the execution phase.
During the set-up phase, you should always remember to “turn, point and scratch.”
You turn sideways to generate weight transfer and allow for more efficient movement backwards and forwards. You point up to the ball with your non-racquet hand. This helps you line up the ball and maintain an upright stance for your stroke. And finally, you scratch. Take the racket behind you as if you were going to scratch your back with it as you wait for the ball.
If you follow these three key steps, then you are in position to hit the perfect smash. Now for your moment of glory!
During the execution stage, you should always remember to “reach, watch and finish.”
Try to make contact with the ball as high as you can reach with a straight arm. Keep your eyes up at contact and watch the ball hit the racquet. Too often, players look away before contact, mostly to see how amazing their shot is.
Finally, you need to finish the shot. After hitting the ball from the elevated contact point, allow the racquet to move down and past your opposite leg for maximum power. Don’t stop the motion abruptly.
Follow these guidelines and “smash” your way to a winning result.
Tennis coach Warren Urquhart is the owner of Cayman Sports Limited, which provides a variety of tennis classes at the Camana Bay Sports Complex and elsewhere on Grand Cayman.