Tennis Overhead Smash Tips

It’s a “go to” shot for pro players and is often the last finishing shot that completes the point and cuts off the opponents chances to hit any additional tennis shots. Watching the tennis overhead on TV and in person can be both fun and exciting for the audience.

Top pros make the tennis overhead smash look easy

Top pro players make the tennis overhead look like a piece of cake and at the pro level, as soon as the player receives a floating lob at the net, the point is almost always over in favor of the player hitting the tennis overhead. The pros then execute the tennis overhead with perfection, usually with extreme power leaving the returning player no chance to remain in the point.

Pete Sampras’s Tennis Overhead Smash

Pete Sampras had one of the best tennis overhead smash in the history of tennis. The crowd would stir in awe watching many of Sampras’s tennis overhead dunks. Pete Sampras had a remarkable overhead and even jumped several feet in the air on occasion to hit the overhead smash in tennis (similar to how basketball players jump up several feet in the air to make a slam dunk – hence the name tennis overhead slam dunk).

Pro players are the creative minds behind their beauty and grace of their tennis overhead smash. Coupled with great athleticism, flair and artistic touch the tennis overhead is merely a walk in the park for these players.

Recreational and Club Players Tennis Overheads

Recreational players often have less than ideal tennis overheads. Their tennis smash is usually not a highlight of their game, and is a shot often avoided if at all possible. The tennis overhead smash is rarely practiced and every player has an unrealistic expectation for the tennis smash. They want to hit the tennis smash like the pros, but without the proper practice on the correct tennis overhead technique, hitting a tennis smash like the pros is nothing but a shot in the dark.

Check out these tennis overhead smash tips to help your tennis smash become a shot that you can rely on, rather than hope that it will stay in the court.

Overhead smash tips

Tip #1 Don’t Pray and Spray the Tennis Overhead Smash

The first tennis overhead smash tip is to have the proper mindset. Having the proper mentality for the tennis overhead will directly affect the outcome. This tennis overhead smash tips apply to all players. Most tennis player try to hit the tennis smash as hard as they can anywhere they can and pray that it will stay in.

With little regard to the proper tennis overhead technique, they inproperly throw their entire body into the ball, without first getting balanced and clearing the head mentally and visualizing a target into the court to aim at. Pick a spot in your mind that you intend the tennis overhead smash to go, and that will automatically set your mind and body into the correct mode to hit the overhead smash.

Tip #2 Quiet your mind on the Tennis Overhead Smash

The second tennis overhead smash tip is to quiet your mind as soon as the opponent hits you a lob. Most tennis players become anxious and rushed as soon as the opponents throw up a lob. If you haven’t practiced the tennis smash in quite some time, you may be extra nervous about hitting that shot. Your mind might be talking negatively even before you hit, but in order to execute the tennis smash correctly your mind and body must be completely focused on just preparing for the tennis overhead, rather than being preoccupied in the past or in the future outcome.

Tip #3 Tennis overhead smash requires quick tennis footwork

Another common misconception and belief amongst recreational players on the tennis overhead is that it requires very little tennis footwork. This tennis overhead smash tips apply to all tennis players who have brick feet when it comes to the tennis smash. Most tennis players drag their feet when they initially see that tennis overhead smash coming, rather than quickly moving backwards and getting into position with quick initial body preparation.

A key tennis overhead smash tips to remember is to begin the preparation for the tennis overhead as soon as possible, right after recognition of the opponents initial shot. Don’t wait long before getting your feet started. It may be tempting to wait or move slowly with the speed of the ball, but this will only make you very late to the tennis overhead resulting in a poor and weak tennis smash.

Overhead smash example

Tip #4 Quick preparation of the tennis overhead

An important tip for the tennis overhead smash is to begin the preparation and start moving backwards as soon as possible. This includes the tennis footwork, and most importantly the upper body. While moving backwards, make sure to bring the racket hand up in the power position and avoid taking an excessive backswing. A compact preparation will load the upper body and assist with the coil during the preparation for the overhead.

Tip #5 Keep the left arm up throughout the overhead

A good tennis overhead smash tip is to keep the left or non dominant hand up throughout your movement to the tennis overhead. Pro players are excellent at keeping the non dominant hand up throughout the entire tennis smash. By keeping the left arm up, this will help with tracking the tennis ball and mainting the proper shoulder position. This will also maintain the proper coil which will assist with generating power.

Don’t point at the ball while hitting the tennis overhead, simply keep the left arm pointed to the sky throughout the entire stroke, and this will facilitate a natural, efficient and effortless tennis overhead smash.

Tip #6 Don’t backpedal to the tennis overhead smash

It’s tempting to rush the tennis overhead and hastily arrive there as soon as possible. The body’s initial tendency is to backpedal in order to move backwards. This will throw your balance completely off, and actually make you slower to arrive to the tennis overhead smash. Instead, you need to move backwards using shuffle steps or crossover steps which will initiate much quicker tennis footwork. This is the most important tennis overhead smash tip of all.

The footwork used in the tennis smash is similar to that of some other instances in various sports. In football, football player must catch the football using three step drops, five step drops and even seven step drops. What they consist of is quick, small and explosive crossover or crossback steps, and these steps are rapid fire and quickly get the player back and ready to catch the ball. This is very much the same for the tennis overhead. Instead of using backpedal steps and potentially tripping and falling, stay in good balance using crossback or shuffle steps.

Tip #7 Get Sideways and Stay Sideways Through the Hit

This tennis overhead smash tip is alone can make a big difference in your ability to generate a power tennis overhead smash versus a weak dinker. Once you recognize that your opponent is sending you a tennis smash along your way, turn sideways with your body right away – and from there begin moving backwards using either shuffle steps or cross over steps. Make sure your feet are spread atleast shoulder width apart or greater as you move to get in position to hit the tennis overhead smash. I like to have the feet at least two shoulder width apart from each other, while maintaining a strong athletic foundation. This means that I keep my center of gravity low and stay low while I hit my overhead.

Tip #8 A Tennis overhead smash tip is to Use the entire body to hit the tennis smash

The tennis smash is not an all arm shot, and while the majority of the power as it seems will consist of have a good arm motion remember that in order to generate a powerful tennis overhead smash you need to use your whole body.

Never stand completely upright when moving or hitting the tennis overhead. Make sure to stay low and take quick small steps in moving to hit the tennis overhead.

Tip #9 Don’t Be A Sitting Duck

It’s tempting to stay put and watch the tennis overhead smash travel through the air, and it may be difficult to anticipate the flight path of the incoming ball. It may seem easy to simply reach up with your arm rather than getting into the proper and exact position each and every time to hit, but forcing your body to take the additional steps neccessary to get in balance will make the difference between a respectable tennis overhead smash and a poor shot.

Tip #10 Develop a Smooth and Fluid Arm Action

The tennis overhead smash technique is an essential part of a good tennis smash. Learn to develop a smooth arm action to hit the overhead smash. Avoid taking an excessive backswing or risk hitting late on the overhead. The tennis overhead is a powerful tennis stroke when executed correctly and with the proper arm action.

These tennis overhead smash tips are designed to teach players to learn the tennis smash and avoid the most common mistakes made on the tennis overhead.

Practice these tennis overhead smash tips and with the proper amount of practice time you can own the tennis overhead smash shot in no time.

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