Adjust both your technique and your footwork routine to improve this putaway shot. (AP)

If you’re comfortable at the net but struggle to put away overhead smashes, adjust both your technique and your footwork routine.

Let’s look at footwork first. As you prepare to hit an overhead, don’t get into position too early. You may need to make last-second adjustments because of the wind, glare from the sun or lights, or if you simply misread the ball. Most times, it’s best to let the ball bounce,
especially if the shot isn’t traveling deep and the ball is hit very high.

As for technique, it’s always better to start farther back when preparing to hit an overhead smash, and then come forward. It’s a much easier motion than moving backwards if the ball sails over your head. Also, make sure you have a tight swing pattern with your overhead; an abbreviated half motion is what you’re looking for. You should not take a full swing, like you would with a serve, where you have control of the ball. On an overhead smash, you are reacting to the ball.

Last but not least: if your opponent hits a lob that’s barely over your head, hit a swinging volley. You may not be in control of the ball, but you can take control of the point by not letting the ball bounce.