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What is an Overhead Serve?

Published: 27 May 2005 - 08:58 by rippa rit

Updated: 21 May 2008 - 00:03

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Rippa Rita`s championship squash tip

Just as it sounds, a serve hit overhead. I guess we have heard various terms to describe this serve, eg power serve, hard serve, overarm serve, tennis serve.

Contrary to what some players think it is possible to hit a soft overhead serve (lob) also, provided the "ball toss" is high, the front wall target is high, as per a lob serve.  So what is the fuss about?

  • The serve can be just as tactical as any other shot. In what way?
    • The pace can vary.
    • The angle can be altered (depending on the position the opponent stands to return the service).
    • The service swing can have subtle changes, eg come under the ball, over the ball, side spin across the ball.
  • If the ball toss is consistent all of the above serves can be attempted with similar actions, but with different rebounds off the front wall, which can cause a quick adjustment having to be made by the opponent to the racket and footwork, often resulting in a weak return or error.
  • What time in the game would the above tactics be likely to work?  When:-
    • the score seems to be stuck at, say, 6-all.
    • the Receiver is enjoying the normal serve.
    • the favourite serve is not working

Note: Practice these serves from both the forehand and backhand sides. To side spin the serve, be sure the ball strikes the side wall before the opponent can return it. It may be necessary to adjust the front wall target to get a better angle.


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From rippa rit - 24 Jul 2005 - 01:49

Slavi - I was just looking over these replies. The word should have been "jab" not "jag" by the way when returning the hard volley...sorry,just a typo.

Also, a "foot fault" is hand-out - stop play immediately - go onto the next point. Your opponent has to stay with one foot in the box until he hits the ball (serve). When returning the serve, stand in such a position as to clearly watch your opponent serve (so you can pick up as many cues as possible as early as possible), and move into position as you anticipate/follow the speed and angle of the shot.

Just an idea, when playing tennis players, boasts are good as the excessive swing gets caught in the corners, and they hit the floor while trying to get under the ball; be careful when playing the lobs though. Also, if you have the control, a drop shot into the front corner (from the back) is a good reply to the overhit serve that bounces into the middle of the court - use your body to position yourself well. Maybe practice some drops from behind the service box to see if you can get the angle into the front corner.

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From rippa rit - 21 Jul 2005 - 07:42

Yeah Slavi - I know exactly what you are on about and the frustration of not being able to change the way the opponent plays. Of course if you have no style, the first natural thing to do seems to be to try to put up a fight, go at it "head first", hit harder, and become agressive, and throw the body around. Hey, you should see me swimming, and that would be the typical feeling of drowning!! It is the fight and flight bit.

About the rules, and I do not know anything about your club, but if one rule each week was put on the Noticeboard it may help to slowly educate the members/players - graphics are best, and easier understood.

Anyway, also, about the knee, better than the teeth or nose!

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From drop-shot - 21 Jul 2005 - 01:11

Ha ha ha ... When I did read your post till the end i started to laugh, Rita... about this fly ... So, coming back to the TENNIS SQUASH player, he was bad then, as I could really easily return each of his overhead overhited serves. And I am sorry to say it, squash is more than powerful service without any control.

About my knee - yes, it was fault foot and I stood at left box as he was pretty far I thought. But suddenly i felt the grenade on my knee... he simply lost control on his racket...Generally the whole game was like warzone because his swing took like 3,5 square meter. Dangerous war zone, I tell you. I am truly sorry for all my sarcasm towards TENNIS players in the court, I am over reacting, I know. I simply want to play squash with squash rules. Did you ever play Basketball with the baseball ball? NO, as these are different disciplines using similar tools. So, for the god sake why do you play tennis on the squash court? Thanks god you use squash racket and the ball, but...

PS. If he occured my injury I should be the winner, nope? This was just a friendly tournament so I DID NOT make any big fuss about it...

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From rippa rit - 20 Jul 2005 - 20:41

Hi Slavi - Unfortunately a big percentage of players are taught tennis first (maybe at school), as parents are hopeful their child will one day be in a sport that pays big dollars; so, they then go to squash and play tennis on the squash court. It is not a simple matter for them to change, and it takes some drastic changes to the grip and swing to play squash strokes. When a player hits hard he does all the work so you must control your wrist/grip on the volley, and place the ball close to the corners and side walls.

Since we have not communicated for a while I did not want to disagree with you for good reasons, hum! Anyway, if the player is any good you will need to hit the hard serve return on the volley, and stand forward in the service court, hold your grip/wrist firm, aim close to the front corner, like a quick jag really. If it is a hard serve with no control and purpose and bounces high on the wall, yes, you can wait for it; but that serve is dangerous and crazy, so I see why you would let it bounce off the back wall.

Generally tennis players serve overarm, with a bent elbow, just like in serving at tennis; the problem being when this serve hits the side wall, the ball then ends up in the middle of the court. However, if they serve an underarm hard serve (like a drive action), it will be travelling upwards all the way and certainly will bounce into the middle. and also have a wild excessive swing.

I was thinking about your hit on the knee. To serve and hit you on the knee with his racket while standing in the service box sounds wild - so he must have foot-faulted too? Or, were you standing in his half of the court so as to have plenty of room to recover the ball from the back wall?

If I am to be a fly on the wall Slavi, I want to now perch on the ceiling!!!

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From drop-shot - 20 Jul 2005 - 00:19

Hello, everybody here ... Actually I did play agains the ex-tennis player who used to serve ONLY with overhead serve, he had waaaaaaaaaayyyyyyy too extensive swing and it was really dangerous game till the time when he hit my knee with his Pr***ce racket and I had to leave the court with the wound bleeding... So, maybe you are in favour of ex-tennis players on the court, but I am not. Regarding the Overhead serve and the receiving technique. It's really easy to hit back. The trick is to NOT hit volley, as the ball is really fast and hard and you should wait until it hits the glass and comes back. Then you can choose from straight or crosscourt. When you hit the volley anyway, be prepared for the big shock in your elbow :-) ... So, in my opinion, squash is not about the power and 2,5 meter swing... Tennis players should learn squash swing and technique. I am simply upset as I have 5 stitches on the side of my right knee...

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