Tip of the Week Archive

   Any good overhead should start with the continental grip. The
only way to have maximum reach is when the hand holding the
racquet in a proper serve grip.
   The first thing one should do when preparing to hit an
overhead is to run the body sideways and get the racquet arm up
over the head. The non-racquet hand is raised and points at the
ball. The opposite shoulder should be turned so that one is
tracking the ball by looking over the non-racquet arm’s
shoulder. The back is turned towards the net more than it is
sideways. The racquet should be held in a “trophy positionâ
€� which has the racquet tip pointed skyward and forward. The
legs are slightly bend and flexed. The shoulders are tilted so that
the tracking arm is higher than the racquet arm.
   When the balls comes into the contact zone, the non-racquet
arm begins to drop which starts the shoulders turning. The
racquet tip drops behind the head and then loops around the
back. The legs are straightening, propelling the body upward. The
racquet tip is flicked up at the ball as the racquet arm shoulder  
goes up and the toss arm shoulder is going down. The body is
rotating forward and the racquet whips around and up at the ball.
To increase the speed of the swing, the toss arm shoulder should
stop and the toss arm drops toward the stomach. This will
accelerate the speed of the racquet arm.
   If using the continental grip, the racquet arm shoulder will rotate
slightly outward and at the same time the arm is pronating out.
   If you must move back for the overhead, keep your body
sideways and run back using a cross over step or turn and run
keeping your racquet over your head.
   The key components to remember are to: 1) turn to shoulders
and keep them turned until it’s time to use them on the swing;
2) keep your head up and still during the swing; 3) move quickly
under the ball.

Doug Hofer, USPTA          May 12, 2005