The Overhead:  Take the Vow

The overhead is typically the recreational player's worst shot, and not because the technique is all that difficult.  After all, the overhead is a kid's service motion: racquet down behind your shoulder, reach up and snap over the top of the ball.  It's the motion I'd teach a child when first learning how to serve.  Yet, it's the weak link in the repertoire because it doesn't get practiced.

Think about it.  You go out for a little hit with a tennis buddy.  You'll likely hit hundreds of ground strokes, maybe a few serves.  How many overheads do you practice?  The usual answer is zero.  So it's not surprising that as your game improves, you have more confidence in your groundies and serves than net play, particularly the overhead.  And, of course, this widening gap between your confidence in your baseline technique and your lack of confidence in your volleys and overhead results in tennis phobia numero uno:  dread of net. 

Change this dynamic by taking the overhead vow:  I will not set foot on a tennis court without practicing at least ten overheads--no matter what.  It doesn't matter that you're worried that you're going to reach up, smack the ball with the top of the racquet and shank it into the net, or hit it a mile long.  Walk up to the net and put a finger in the air--not your middle finger--the sign that you'd like a few lobs.  Get ten overheads in.  Keep pointing that finger even if your practice partner gets bored.  Just explain:  I've taken a vow.

c Keith Shein