When we talked about the fundamentals of the overhead, we said that the very first thing you needed to do when you realized you were going to hit an overhead was to turn sideways. We didn’t get into the specifics of how to do that though because there are a couple variations you can use, and which you will employ depends on a couple of different factors.
In the video above, I shadow two different footwork variations you can use to get sideways when hitting an overhead. In the first, I hit my split step and then take a drop step with my outside foot and then cross step (or carioca step) to move back to the tennis ball. In the other variation I hit my split step and then my inside foot steps forward so that I can push off it and then step across in a carioca step.
So when do you use each of these two variations? The first, where you simply take a drop step with your outside foot and begin to move back, is good to use when you have already established yourself at net. You are already positioned close to the net and may have hit a volley or two. The second variation, with the forward step, typically happens when you are moving up and closing on the net. Your weight is already moving forward, and you hit your split step and take one step forward to stop your momentum, and then drop back into a cross step.
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