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Instruction - Overhead Smash

Grips: The Eastern forehand grip or the continental grip are recommended for the overhead. If you're a former tennis player, use whatever grip you used for serve and overhead in tennis.

Never........never........never..... back up while facing the net in an attempt to hit an overhead. You are to likely to lose your balance leaning back and fall and hit your head. This is especially true for us seniors that are less agile on our feet than we used to be!

  1. As soon as you see the lob coming, turn the shoulders and therefore the body and feet and get into a sideways position immediately.
    1. This will allow the younger player and advanced senior players to move back athletically and jump off the back foot with a scissors kick.
    2. The rest of us will try to back up sideways and then step forward with the front foot to hit the overhead.
    3. On any lob that is high enough for you to move over and hit a forehand overhead, you should do so. Only use your backhand overhead when the ball is so low that you don't have time to move around it.
  2. As you turn sideways, you should put both hands up high. The front hand should be up and is often described as pointing at the ball. Even if you don't actually point at the ball, which many players don't, it will serve to keep your head up and is good for balance. Keep your eyes on the ball looking over your left shoulder at the ball.
  3. Don't forget to move your feet. Try to get right underneath the ball so that if you didn't swing at it, it would hit you on the forehead as you stepped into it with your front foot.
  4. As you step forward and swing at the ball, your front hand comes down out of the way and you end up facing the net just as if you had thrown a ball.

Other Tips on hitting the overhead

Don't aim too close to the lines and make a lot of errors. Have patience and wait for a short lob before taking a chance.

If you often hit your overheads long, it is usually because you are not hitting the ball far enough ahead of you.

If you often hit your overheads short, it is usually because you are hitting the balls to far in front of you.

Use the middle. In Pickleball, it is often difficult to hit the ball away from two good defensive players. If your opponent hits a lob that makes you hit a smash from 3/4 court or farther, don’t try to do too much with your reply. Hitting a solid overhead down the middle can be a smart and effective way to keep your opponents on the defensive. The opposing team might be confused as to who should handle the overhead, and it draws them into the center of the court, creating more angles for your next shot. They will usually hit another lob, and if you get to hit it around the no-volley line, you are more likely to hit a winner from there.