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The Overhead

Kerry Mitchell

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Usually we associate great overheads with attacking players.

Whether you're a great net player, a strict baseliner, or somewhere in between, a good overhead should be an essential part of your game. If you think of the great players of our game both past and present who also had great overheads, many of you would list aggressive players like Pete Sampras, John McEnroe, or even Rod Laver.

Many of you might not put Andre Agassi in that group, reasoning that he is a baseliner and doesn't need a great overhead. But John McEnroe himself has said many times that Andre's overhead is one of the best, if not the best in the history of the sport. If you think about the top players today, both the men and the women, you won't find one who doesn't have a great overhead, no matter their game style.

If it is crucial to them in their game why isn't crucial to improve yours? If you get a chance to hit an overhead the point should be over in most cases. It's true for the pros and it should be true for you too. The overhead is a put away shot. If yours isn't then, then you are giving away what should be free points.

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Kerry Mitchell has been a leading Bay Area teaching pro for the last 15 years. He has developed numerous ranked junior players, and coached a series of championship high school teams. He has also been highly ranked both sectionally and nationally in men's 30 and 35 singles.

After 12 years as the Head Teaching Pro at the John Yandell Tennis School in San Francisco, California Kerry and his partner have retired to their vacation homes in Merida, Mexico and Toronto, Canada, where Kerry will continue to coach and write articles for Tennisplayer from his unique perspective.

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