Updated: Feb 7
The tennis smash is one of my favorite shots because of the exhilaration you feel, when your favorite tennis player executes it with power and grace. A smoothly-executed smash is also a sure way for the tennis player to bag points quickly.
All professional players have mastered the tennis smash and there are even players who are famous for executing the smash in their own unique style. Take Pete Sampras for example. He was well-known and renowned for his “jump smash shot”, in which he jumped to hit the smash mid-air. Then there is Jimmy Connors who invented the “skyhook.” This is a Connor’s version of the overhead smash that uses an Eastern grip to hit the approaching ball more behind the body than a normal overhead smash.
If you haven’t seen a smash in action then you definitely must be wondering why I am fussing about it. A tennis smash is a shot that exploits almost the same motion as a serve because one hits above the head. It is usually a response against lobs that the opponent did not manage to hit high or deep enough. Many beginners find the smash easy to do until they try it and then they start finding it daunting. It is not if you follow these five tips:
1. Continental grip is best for smash
Continental grip is best for shots where you are swinging the racquet overhead. The grip is also the most comfortable, as you won’t strain your wrist by aiming overhead to any area of the court.
2. Work on your footwork!
The most efficient and safe way of handling an overhead is to turn sideways and then side step backward and forward according to the depth of the lob. Being sideways and adjust your positioning by side stepping, back pedaling or crossing over will allow you to change directions easily if you miscalculate the lob. However, when aiming the lob or the incoming ball, don’t ever move backward with your chest facing the net. This will never work for you!
In the end, practice quick footwork so that you don’t lose your balance and hit the ball smoothly.
3. Use your non hitting arm to track the high ball
When the ball is approaching you and it is in its highest point then you need to get your hands and racquet into position. It is always a good idea to feel or imagine both hands going up together.
Your non-hitting arm should extend up towards the ball so that you can it use as an aid to track the incoming ball while your hitting arm should position your racquet behind you.
4. Always strike the ball with a fully extended arm
When the ball is almost near your head, strike it with your arm fully extended. Also, one of the things that work for me is keeping my head still while keeping my eyes on the ball till my racquet makes connection with the ball.
5. Be confident
You might have the skills for the shot, but if you are not confident about it then you will make a blunder. Believe in yourself while keeping these tips in mind and you will execute an awesome tennis smash!