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Photo Lesson: How to Hit the Overhead Smash

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Introduction and Grip
overhead smash ready with Eastern grip
(C)2007 Jeff Cooper licensed to About.com, Inc.
This photo shows the standard net ready position, with the racquet held in an Eastern forehand grip. While the Continental grip is clearly better for serves, where at the advanced level, spin is essential, most overheads are easiest to hit flat, and an Eastern grip is well suited to hitting flat. With an Eastern grip, the palm and the string bed are naturally aligned, so it's easy to feel the direction the strings are facing, and many players find that they hit the ball more solidly Eastern. As long as you meet the ball in front of yourself, you don't need spin on an overhead. If the ball does get behind you, where you'll naturally hit up more on it, a Continental grip will help you generate some topspin to help bring the ball down into the court. Continental might also be easier for you if you use it for all of your volleys, although you would always have time to switch to an Eastern grip if you wanted to, because overheads hit lobs, and lobs are slow.

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