Rafa Nadal quickly takes control in this rally against Andy Murray, recovering his backhand longline. In the end he wins the point via the overhead (Madrid Open).
We take a closer look at the top players. Tomas Berdych has ended his ATP career, but for us he is technically one of the absolute showcase players. Here we take a look at the overhead, specifically the smash in reverse with a scissor jump (jump on the right and land on the left).
He recognises the lob and takes the racquet a short way straight up (pictures 1 and 2). He shifts his weight fully onto the back leg, the left arm extends for the build-up of the shoulder tilt and body tension (picture 3). He pushes off with the right leg (picture 4) and comes into full body extension. The edge of the club still points forward in this phase (picture 5). The forearm has turned to the side of the thumb (pronation), the ball has left the racquet again (picture 6), the body is now stretched to the maximum. According to the force of the movement, he moves even further back after the contact point. He shortens the outswing over his forearm and wrist (picture 7) and catches the swing on his left leg. A small crossover step brings him back into balance.
The regular overhead in reverse belongs to the standard in basic training for net play. The decisive factor here is the early body rotation with the backswing movement, taking an early hitting position under the incoming ball and a few technical characteristics that we know from the Serve. However, the pendulum movement is omitted and the racquet is moved directly behind the head. After the stroke, the player should move fluidly towards the net again.
When forced back to hit a deep lob, the scissor-kick overhead is the best tool. The scissor-kick overhead allows players to hit an aggressive overhead moving backwards. The players jump up using their back leg at the same time as they swing. The jump allows them to generate power and at helps them to stop the backward momentum.
The overhead is basically, technically the same as a serve. The motion is identical. The difference, obviously, is I need to get under the ball.
I need to make sure that I move my feet to be basically in the power position like i am tossing the ball at the Serve. That’s where I want to be before I swing to the ball. So the key to the overhead is really getting under the ball. And that is why this arm is going to serve you as a guide.
So the first thing that you do is you’re in ready position. As soon as I see the ball coming, you get sideways, both arms up. Your non hitting arm is going to be the guide to get under it. You’re going to visualize that you’re catching the ball. Okay. So if I can catch the ball in a comfortable position, I’m going to be able to hit it.
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A defensive doubles team starts at the baseline, an offensive one at the service-line. Both teams have to sprint forward on a signal of the coach (as a preload). The Baseliners sprint to the service-line and touch the line, the net players tap the edge of the net. Then the coach feeds an offensive lob. The point is played with this overhead.
Our players hold 3 balls in their hands and move forward in side steps. They throw the ball up in quick succession and hit it as hard as possible to the other side – preferably with less spin.
The coach or the sparring partner mixes lobs in all directions and up and back. The player has to adjust and hit overheads. The goal of the drill is to practice getting under the ball and adjusting to every sort of lab.
One player is at the net and the other at the baseline. Players will play points on half the court including alleys. The player at the net starts the point. The baseline player can only hit slice lobs. The game ends when one of the player wins 11 points. No backhand overheads are allowed.
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