How to Hit the Smash in Tennis
Although being consistent is a very important part of tennis, the player that can hit the ball more aggressively but still keep it in the lines will win more matches oftentimes. This is because playing aggressively, meaning hitting the ball harder, closer to the lines and progressing up to the net, rushes your opponent and puts them under pressure.
Picture the scene. You have been rallying with your opponent from the baseline and manage to get a weak, short reply from them. You step into the court, take the ball on and hit an aggressive approach shot.
They try to pass you but you hit a solid volley right into the corner of the court, forcing your opponent to throw up a high lob. After all this hard work to get to this advantageous position, you then miss your smash way long and lose the point. Talk about a frustrating feeling!
Learning how to hit a smash in tennis may seem like an unimportant use of time on the face of it. After all, how often do you actually hit smashes in a match? Whilst this point may have some legs, the facts are that having a reliable smash will actually encourage you to get into the net more often.
So, if you are a player that is looking to play more aggressively and want more confidence when you come into the net, then keep on reading!
Why is it Important to Learn How to Hit a Smash?
The smash may not seem like that much of an important shot in tennis considering you may not hit it anywhere near as often as a serve, forehand or backhand. However, there is a quiet confidence that grows from knowing that all areas of your game are reliable and technically sound. This sense of calm that you can step out onto the court with will give you that slight edge over your opponent.
As many players know, tennis is a game of confidence. And there aren’t many things more likely to knock your confidence than missing an easy overhead smash. That’s why at least learning the fundamentals of positioning, technique and timing will go a long way to developing both your presence at the net, and your conviction when moving into the net.
If you are interested in a free, in depth article that will help improve your overhead, check this out:
How to Hit a Smash in Tennis
Here is a step by step guide to hitting a smash in tennis! Follow these simple steps to become more dominant on the net!
Step 1: Look at our Pro Coach, Dave’s, Courses
Of course, there is no replacement for getting out there and practising your smashes on the court. This is the cornerstone of improving your game as practice makes it permanent!
However, it is important to understand the fundamental techniques, footwork, court positioning and tactical options you have up at the net. We have plenty of free, useful content at thetennisbros.com to help you improve your game. However, if you really want to fast track your development and learn how to smash more consistently, our online courses are the perfect tool.
Our resident coach Dave has decades of high quality coaching experience. He formerly played on the ATP Tour so certainly knows a thing or two about winning tennis matches! His experience from being top ranked junior all the way to playing the Grand Slams means he has the breadth of experience to cater for all player’s needs!
Our Art of Volleying Course is a real standout product in our arsenal. Don’t forget, Dave grew up in the serve and volley era, so his net skills and court awareness are second to none! He’ll teach you how to hold the racket correctly, key preparation tips, how to hit low volleys more effectively and importantly how to use your legs in the most efficient way.
This course is a great way to gain more confidence on the net in general. Improving your volleys will actually give you easier smashes to put away, since you’ll be putting your opponent under a lot more pressure! However, if you are still looking for more and want to improve your movement around the court we’ve got you covered.
Our On Your Toes Footwork Guide is perfect for nailing those footwork fundamentals, as well as improving your ability to take on more aggressive shots and feel confident in all areas of the court.
You’ll learn how to move backwards, how to stay on balance and how to recognize short balls more quickly, all of which are essential for improving your smash in tennis. Dave also covers movement patterns specifically related to the smash, so you’ll be well on your way to all court control!
Step 2: Recognise the Smash
Once you have a grasp of the footwork, technique and court awareness required to hit the smash in tennis well, the next thing to do is recognize when to actually hit it.
This may sound obvious, but it is very often the case that a recreational player will attempt to hit a smash on a ball that is either too low or coming too quickly for them to take a big swing at. This will result in you blasting the ball into the back fence, and no one wants that!
In order to anticipate a smash more effectively, look first of all at what your opponent’s racket face is doing. Are they on the stretch? Is their racket face open and pointing straight up in the air? Is the ball likely to go up and over your head? If the answer is yes to any of these questions then you should prepare for a smash!
Depending on how good your approach shot or volley is, you may want to move closer in or take a few steps back when preparing to hit your smash. Think about it.
If you have hit an extremely good approach shot or first volley, your opponent will have no other option but to send the ball high up in the air and it will likely be headed for the baseline. It is therefore a good idea to take a few steps back to stop the ball from going over your head, putting you in a defensive position.
However, if you have hit a less than ideal volley or approach shot, your opponent may have a bit more time to hit their passing shot or lob more aggressively. In this case, it would be a good idea to move closer in, close the net down and cut off any angles your opponent might have.
Step 3: Turn and Prepare the Racket
Once you have decided that hitting a smash is the right option, the next thing to do is to turn and prepare your racket early. This will give you plenty of time to get into position with your feet and guide your swing path with your non hitting hand. Both of these steps are key to making great contact with the ball and timing your swing perfectly.
Another great tip is to get your racket into that famous trophy pose straight away. This will reduce the distance you have to swing the racket and improve your consistency.
Step 4: Pick Your Target and Swing
The final step to hitting a great smash in tennis is to decide on your target and make your swing! Remember, the smash is a shot that’s aim is to finish the point, so you want to be aggressive and aim for the corners of the court. That said, aiming for the lines themselves may bear unnecessary risk, but at least deciding to go into the open court or back behind your opponent will give you the conviction to really go for your shot!
Once you have mastered the steps above, it really is a case of ready, aim, fire!
Once You’ve Mastered the Smash It’s Time to Improve Your Serve
The next step in your tennis development once you have mastered your smash is to improve your serve. The smash and the serve go hand in hand as the overhead strength required to hit both shots can be improved simultaneously.
Our Secrets of the Serve Course will teach you everything you could need to know about mastering the most important shot in tennis! You’ll learn how to increase your power, add consistency and all of the different serve pose variations.
Overall, the smash is a very underrated shot in tennis. Whilst it may not seem overly important, it is actually a fundamental shot of the game that needs to be mastered. You will be surprised at how much your confidence of approaching the net improves once you feel more comfortable smashing the ball away to finish off the point!
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