Watching the masters perform an overhead smash is one of the greatest sights in tennis, it is one of the hardest shots to master but once you have then it is a devastating part of your attack. Done correctly it is neigh impossible to return.
To perform a smash timing is crucial and for a lot of players the temptation is to over-hit the ball. The feeling of finishing off a point with a powerful and spectacular shot is hard to resist. However, it can lead to very embarrassing mistakes.
Perception Is Key
For the perfect smash it is of utmost importance that the player reads the degree of difficulty of the lob that is presented. If the lob is deep, ensure that you are not moving in towards the net.
Get In Position
As in any shot in tennis, your position is very important before you try and execute a smash. The following tips will help your form your position:
- Get into a side on position and elevate your racket to shoulder height.
- Make sure you are well behind the ball, either by side skipping or using a crossover scissors footwork pattern. Select the way you move by what is the most comfortable and natural.
- To smash the ball effectively with the most power it is preferable you do not let the ball bounce, but if the lob is exceptionally high or deep then the shot can be played on the bounce.
- If you have misjudged the distance and the ball is behind you, you may have to jump. If this is the case always take off on your back foot and land on your front.
At all times keep your eyes fixed on the ball, the racket head preparation should be done by reaching up to make contact in front of the body. If you play right handed then you should ideally meet the ball on the body.
Although you may be anxious to win the point perform the shot correctly, remember to get the racket through the hitting zone to effectively execute the shot.
What Not To Do
The three final points to remember are:
- Never run backwards, it will not allow you to properly get behind the ball, when this happens you tend to play the smash with an open stance, and this means you will be hitting the ball across the court.
- Do not try to take your racket as far back as you would serving, you simply do not have the time.
- Don’t be too clever and aim to close to the lines, hit properly a smash is a winner anyway.
Without doubt a good smash is one of the most devastating shots in the business if correctly performed.
It is something that you should perfect with your coach on a one to one session. Although not a priority of your armament it does define the better players from the average.