How To Hit A Beginner Overhead Stroke

Today we show you how to hit an overhead. This video is for players with a PlayYourCourt tennis rating of 40 and below.

Hey guys, Scott and Nate from, and today we’re going to show you how to hit a beginner tennis overhead.

Talk to me, what, what is an overhead here? I’m a beginner, I don’t understand really what this stroke is all about. Tell me about the overhead.

Unless you guys are going to run right back to the baseline, because you hate being at net, but this is the single most important stroke to really embrace the net. Of all strokes, the one thing that we all want is this overhead, all right, and this is really where the ball is lofted up, it’s got some space, and you’re going to get under it, and you’re going to spike it!

You’re going to crush that thing.

Crush it, yeah, just like you would a volleyball.

And as a beginner, I think a lot of us are maybe nervous to get this shot, but as we practice this and get better at it, this is really an opportunity to win the point, and to be aggressive, and to do some good things. So we’re going to break here and show you exactly what this stroke looks like. All right, so the first thing we want to talk about when this ball goes up over our head, is what happens immediately, and there’s a couple things happening simultaneously here that I want you to think about.

  1. First, both hands, both my pointer hand, and my racket hand are going to go up in the air, and I’m simultaneously going to get turned sideways. So I might be in a ready position like this, I see that ball’s coming up, my entire body is going to turn 90 degrees to the right, and both arms are going to go up. You see my knees are just slightly bent, I’m not looking to get a ton of power here from my legs, but this just gives me the stance that I need to deliver the most power. So, step one, ball comes up, everything turns, hands go up, the number one mistake we’re going to see as coaches, is hands go up, and nothing turns, all right. So as you’re thinking about these overheads, remember to turn your hips and your shoulders 90 degrees, as those hands go up.
  2. The second most common mistake that I see is not understanding what this pointer hand is actually doing, which is pointing, so when you’re thinking about tracking the ball, I want you to use, I’m right handed, so my left hand, your non-dominant hand, I want you to use this non-dominant hand to find the ball. And the mistake that I’ve seen when I coach, is a lot of players pointing with five fingers. You wouldn’t take a gun with five sights on it, that be very confusing, same concept, you’re not going to take aim at the ball with five fingers loosely pointing in the general direction. I want you to either put your fingers together, where you’re pointing like an arrow, or to point with one finger, to make sure that arm is helping you find the ball.
  3. So now that we’ve figured out what we’re doing with our upper body, we’re getting our arms up, we’re turning everything sideways, we’re looking over our shoulder with our chin, it’s time to talk about our feet. And I see a lot of mistakes here, the most common of which is that our upper body is changing as we move to the left, so what I want you to think about here is when you get into this trophy stance, everything is frozen, right? So from my hips up, my shoulders, my arms, nothing about my waist is going to change, so if the ball moves this way, that means my feet are going to get me there. I’m not going to open up and follow the ball this way, and hit with an open shoulder base, I’m going to stay squared up where I’m turned, I’m going to use my feet to get me in the position I need to be in, remember I’m using this arm to focus, and to find the ball.
Tennis overhead swing

Overhead Tennis Drill

So what we’re going to do before we even swing or talk about how to make contact with the ball, is I want you to try this drill to figure out how to track the ball correctly, is just we’re not doing a good job of taking this arm and tracking the ball correctly, we’re opening up too soon.

So there’s actually a drill I want to show you, where you’re going to let the ball bounce, and track it, and freeze in trophy stance, and see, did you actually catch the ball here, or did you make the mistake and open up? So we’re going to show you that drill now. So I would start as if I was expecting a volley, and then that overhead would come in, and the ball goes up, I immediately turn sideways, and I start tracking the ball with my left hand, you’ll notice my chin is still over my shoulder.

Let’s show you what this would look like if you did it the wrong way. The wrong way, you wouldn’t actually use that tracking mechanism or keep the ball on the right side of your body, you would just follow the ball with open shoulders. This is the mistake that we see, that we don’t want to happen, so again let’s show you what correct looks like, I’m in ready position, the ball goes up, I track with my left hand, I’m pointing to find it, you’ll notice my chin’s still over my right shoulder, my body’s completely turned, both arms are up. That’s what we’re looking for.

Now we’re going to dive in and talk about how to make contact with the ball. All right, so now that we’ve talked about how to track the ball, we’ve got to actually figure out, and talk about how to hit this thing. So the first thing I want to quickly address, and this is not a lesson on grips, but we want you holding the continental grip, if you don’t know what that means, check out our video on all the different tennis grips. But the continental grip, the same grip you should have on your volleys, as well as on your serve, is the grip that you need in this position to generate the snap that’s going to give you the power you want to hit a great overhead.

So now that we know, just to recap, we’ve got our ready position, we’ve turned sideways, our arms have gone up, we’re tracking that ball, with my left hand, or our non-dominant hand. What we need to talk about now is how do we move up to the ball, to actually make contact, and this is going to be somewhat similar to a serve, much less complicated, there’s no racket drop, there’s no big motion, it’s just a simple movement up, but then I want you to think just as if you’re hitting a serve, I want you to swing up, and make contact as high as you can, snap that wrist and come back around and give yourself sort of a bear hug here, at the end of the stroke.


Very welcome, sir. Guys, here at PlayYourCourt, we really want to see you improve your game, unfortunately we just don’t know a lot about your game, specifically.

It’s true, we don’t know you, so do us a favor, click the button below, answer some questions for us about your specific skill level, and I myself, and I guess Nate also, will send you some custom video coaching, based on your specific skill level. Just click the button, or the link below, and we’ll do the rest.

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