Scissor-Kick Overhead

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The scissor-kick overhead is a type of overhead that you will typically hit when your opponent hits a particularly good lob, and you need to move back quickly to get to the tennis ball. The mechanics of how you actually hit this type of overhead are more or less the same in terms of how your upper body works, but it is the footwork that truly defines the scissor kick overhead.

In the video above at 0:35, I shadow the motion for the scissor-kick overhead. Notice that I drop back by taking what is called a cross step or carioca step. This means that my front foot steps across my back foot as I move backwards, and then I step back with my back foot. This footwork sequence can be performed several times in a row depending on how far back you need to move.

When you get ready to actually hit the tennis ball, step back with your back foot and plant it so that you can push off and jump into the air. You want to pivot your back foot out slightly as you land on it to push off into your overhead. Jumping off your back foot will allow you to scissor your legs in midair and rotate around completely. Notice at 1:40 in the video that I jump off the back foot and then land on that what was my front foot.

Let’s now talk about the upper body portion of the scissor-kick overhead, because we mentioned before that it is largely the same for the scissor as for any other overhead or serve. As you move back in your carioca step to the tennis ball, your arms come up into a position similar to the trophy pose, with your non-hitting hand pointed up at the ball, and your hitting arm and racket in the “L position” behind you. As you push off your back foot, the racket then begins to drop down behind your head on its way to the “scratch back position,” and your non-hitting arm drops naturally down to your body. As your feet cross beneath you, your racket drops into the racket drop position and then swings up on edge towards the tennis ball. Pronate just before contact, and then continue pronating through contact and into your follow through.

Now let’s see it in action at 3:15 in the video above. I start out by taking that cross (or carioca step) as I move back to the tennis ball, and notice that my non-hitting arm is pointed in the direction of the oncoming ball. My hitting arm and racket are in an L shape behind me. I then step back with my left (back) foot, pivot that foot slightly as I land on it to push off into my overhead. I then jump off my back foot and cross my legs in the air as the racket drops down behind me and my non-hitting hand falls down to my body. As I am in midair, I get to the racket drop position, and then I swing up on edge to the tennis ball and pronate just before contact. I am still in midair as I make contact with the tennis ball. I follow through around to the other side of my body as I land on my right (was my front) foot. That completes my scissor kick overhead motion. I now want to recover back toward the net to hit another volley or put away another overhead.

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