How to Perfect Your Pickleball Overhead Smash: Tips and Techniques

Overheads are one of the most exhilarating shots in pickleball. It's hard not to feel empowered when you send a ball soaring past your opponent for a winner. However, a botched overhead can be just as frustrating. Here are some tips and techniques to help you perfect your pickleball overhead smash and avoid common mistakes.

#1 Turn sideways When preparing for an overhead smash, turn sideways to the net. This allows for shoulder rotation and hip turn, which can give you more power and accuracy. Turning sideways also helps prevent backpedaling, which can lead to falls.

#2 Use footwork to adjust to the ball Depending on where the ball is hit, you may need to adjust your position. If the ball is hit deep, slide back. For shorter balls, slide forward. For even deeper shots, execute a drop step and run back to defend the lob. This technique ensures that you can get your hips behind the ball, allowing for a better hit.

#3 Hold your paddle at the “scratch your back position” Holding your paddle at the “scratch your back position” enables you to shorten your attack and get on top of the ball. This will give you more control over the shot and increase the likelihood of it being a winner.

#4 Reach for the sky When the ball is coming down to you, point your off hand up to the sky to reach for the lob. Focusing on the holes in the ball will force you to reach up and hit the top of the ball. It will also help you pull your off-arm down to create shoulder rotation. Follow through across your body to the opposite side and get ready for your opponent's return.

#5 Hit the ball deep Hitting the ball straight down will cause it to bounce up, making it easier for your opponent to return. Instead, aim for deep angles or deep middle shots. Even better, hit a hard angle that takes your opponent off to the side and off the court.

It takes practice to develop muscle memory, good balance, and footwork for a successful overhead smash. Make sure to drill and repeat the technique until it becomes second nature. And most importantly, don't backpedal! We don't want you to get injured.

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