4 Tips for Hitting Overheads

4 Tips For Hitting Overheads

As a newcomer to Pickleball, one of the biggest things I struggled with was defending the lob and hitting overheads. At first, I thought these types of shots would be very easy to hit and return to the opposing team, but that was not the case at all. I would often send the pickleball soaring 10 feet past the baseline or pulling them way past the sideline. Embarrassingly, I have to admit that I even whiffed on a couple. 

I soon started to avoid the overhead shots completely when playing doubles. I’d back out of the way and let my partner smash some plastic. This not only felt embarrassing, but it also made me feel like I wasn’t pulling my weight. So I started to look at some pros and evaluate how they handle overheads.

Pro Pickleballer Tyson McGuffin demonstrates how to properly hit an overhead

These are my 4 takeaways: 

  • Paddle Up
    • This is a good tip for all situations and at all times on the pickleball court, but especially for overheads. With your paddle up and in front of you are able to pivot into just about any hitting position.
Paddle is up and in front as he gets ready to return
  • Turn Sideways & Scratch Your Back
    • Overhead opportunities are the best time to smash some plastic. Shift your paddle-hand foot to the back and turn your feet to the sideline. As you are moving your feet, raise your paddle and pull it behind your head as if you are “scratching your back.”
McGuffin’s paddle hand foot is back and his paddle is reaching behind his head
  • Contact Point at the Peak of Your Reach
    • Everyone has a different reach depending on your height and arm length. Always try to make contact at the peak of your reach. Doing this enables you to hit the ball down on an appropriate angle of your follow-through to put it in play, which leads to my next tip. 
McGuffin extends his arm fully and makes contact at the peak
  • Follow-Through on Opposite Side Hip
    • In conjunction with your contact point, your follow-through is crucial to putting the ball in play. You want to bring your paddle across your body and finish on the opposite hip of your paddle hand. 
He follows through and his paddle finishes on the opposite hip

Focus on these tips next time you are drilling or playing and let me know if it helps you.


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