by Nicolette Mok
Perhaps one of the most difficult tennis moves to master, the overhead smash involves hitting a ball over your head and down into your opponent’s court with force.
This typically occurs when your opponent hits a lob that isn’t high enough, setting up the opportune moment to execute an overhead smash – especially if you’re not too far from the net. It is an aggressive shot that you can use if you’re looking to end a rally and secure the point.
Hitting an overhead smash is somewhat similar to serving. However, it is done over your head and while on the move. Run forward or backpedal in order to get to the ball, before swinging your master arm back, much like a golf backswing. You may wish to place your other arm in the air as well, in order to sight the ball.
Team Singapore tennis player Stefanie Tan with arm outstretched before executing the overhead smash. Photo: SportSG
Make contact with the ball at the highest point that you can get to, using your strength to hit it downwards, over the net, and into the opposite court. Because of the force of the shot, a successfully executed overhead smash is often likely to cause your opponent to be unable to return it, winning you the point.
As an overhead smash is a challenging shot that requires coordination, footwork, strength, and aim, it is a move not often favoured by beginners. However, if you wish to wow your friends during your next game, working on the following drill may just help you to pick it up!
To practise your overhead smash, it is recommended that you work with a companion who is fairly proficient with his or her lobs. Stand close to the net and get him or her to feed you a lob that would necessitate some backpedalling in order to return the shot with an overhead smash.
The next shot that your companion feeds you should be closer to the net, requiring you to run forward in order to smash it. Here, this drill not only helps you to practise your overhead smash; it also polishes your footwork and coordination!
Contact with the ball is made as Stefanie Tan executes a tennis overhead smash. Photo: SportSG
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