The smash is one of the few shots that is played above the head. As a rule, you react with this shot to a lob of your opponent.
The great advantage of the smash is that you can hit the ball into the opponent’s court at high speed. Rarely does a player actually reach the ball. Therefore, the smash is an effective shot to finish the rally and thus win the point.
At first glance, the smash may seem relatively simple, but in reality it is a technical challenge. With the right technique you will hit fewer balls into the net or out of bounds. These are the points you should look for the next time you hit an overhead shot.
Basically, you can play the smash from any position on the court. Most of the time, however, your opponent will only hit a lob when you are in front of the net. For this reason, you will hit the majority of the smashes from the front of the court.
In general, the closer you are to the net, the easier it is to hit the ball, as the angle of the shot is relatively steep. As you move further back, the angle of the stroke becomes flatter and the shot becomes more difficult.
In principle, you can hit the smash with the forehand as well as with the backhand, but the latter stroke is much more difficult to play. This is because with the backhand smash you stand with your back to the net and cannot see where the ball is going. Therefore try to always hit this shot with the forehand. This is the much easier way.
If you don’t have enough time for the backswing, you can let the ball bounce once. However, there is a risk that the ball bounces away uncontrollably due to its own rotation. It is therefore better to play the ball without letting it bounce off the ground.
Basically, the execution of the smash has some similarities to the serve. Just like the serve, you stand to the side of the ball. In addition, you hold the racket in the well-known “Continental grip”.
One difference between the two shots is that you often have to hit the ball in a backward motion. Furthermore, you do not know in advance where your opponent will place the ball.
As soon as you see in which direction the ball comes, you turn to the side and run backwards in small sideways steps. It is important that you position yourself behind the ball.
While you are still running backwards, you start with the backswing. Now move your right arm with the racket upwards until the racket face is at your head height. Keep your right arm angled. In addition, the tip of the racket should face the ball.
At the same time, extend your left arm upwards and align it with the ball. Just imagine that you want to catch the ball with your left hand. Make sure that you have your eyes on the ball at all times. Once you have reached the right place, your feet are shoulder-width apart. This stance gives you the necessary stability for the follow through.
In contrast to the serve, you have less time for the swing movement with the smash, because you have to react directly to the approaching ball. Instead of pulling the racket back like a loop, you just let it fall into your back. Immediately afterwards, you move your right arm back up and swing the racket forward to hit the ball.
Since the ideal contact point is well above your head, your arm should be fully extended at this point. On contact with the ball, let your wrist snap and swing the racket to your left hip. At the same time, turn your upper body to the left to return to the ready position.
The last part of our training series is about a very special stroke, the drop shot. Surprise your opponent with this shot and win more points.