The overhead smash is one of the most spectacular shots in tennis but it's easy to get it wrong. Follow our guide and you'll never miss an overhead again.
Melbourne, 31 May 2013 | Australian Tennis Magazine
The overhead smash is one of the most spectacular shots in tennis. And it comes with the added advantage of effectively ending a point!
Timing is crucial and some players can’t resist the temptation to over-hit the ball (who doesn’t love the feeling of finishing off an opponent with a powerful and spectacular shot?) which can lead to embarrassing mistakes.
To make the smash a winner for you, remember these key tips.
Perception is everything
It’s important to read the degree of difficulty of the lob with which you’ve been presented. If the lob is deep, make sure you’re not closing toward the net.
Get in position
Turn to a side on position and raise your racquet to shoulder height.
Get well back behind the ball – either by side skipping or using a crossover scissors footwork pattern. Choose the movement that’s most comfortable for you.
You now need to decide whether you let the ball bounce. Unless the ball is extremely high or deep, it’s generally better to smash without letting the ball bounce.
If the lob is getting behind you and you need to jump, take off on your back foot and land of your front foot.
Keep your eye on the ball. Racquet head preparation should be completed by reaching up to make contact in front of your body. If you’re a right-hander, you should ideally meet the ball on the body.
Finishing the point is a priority but don’t become impatient; remember you need to get your racquet through the hitting zone to effectively execute the shot.
Three final points
Don’t run backwards: it won’t allow you to get behind the ball properly and with an open stance, you’ll be hitting the smash cross court.
Don’t take your racquet back like a serve: you don’t always have time
Don’t aim too close to the lines: hitting the smash well will see you win the point anyway.