Want to have a great overhead? Lynne Rolley, the director of tennis at the Berkeley Tennis Club in California, has one command: Get moving. “Once you know you are in trouble, you have to go,” Rolley says. Too often, people panic when a lob goes up, or they don’t react until the ball is past them. Rolley tells her students to mimic a quarterback going back for a pass. “Run. Move. Get behind the ball,” she says. If you use a crossover step, as shown here, you’ll be able get into position and then to step into the shot.
• Make sure you don’t open your shoulders too soon. Rolley says your opponent should see a little of your back as you prepare to hit the ball. If that’s not the case, your shoulders are not turned far enough. If you open up too soon, your head will drop and you’ll either hit a weak overhead or miss it entirely. Your weight should be moving forward as you swing.
• Don’t run with your racquet hanging down your back. Instead, keep the racquet up, as shown above. Your racquet will drop as you swing. “It’s a little loop with a loose wrist,” Rolley says. The overhead swing needs to be smooth, not herky-jerky.
Master Other Strokes:
Originally published in the Jan/Feb 2011 issue of TENNIS.