Use a forehand grip and reach up for a high contact point.
Hit overhead, not sidearm
Reach upwards for a high contact point. Ideally you will be contacting the shuttle above the racket shoulder.
You should be hitting at full relaxed reach. Do reach up high; but don’t lock out your joints and hit with a completely straight arm.
Use a forehand grip
To hit effectively overhead, you need a suitable grip. I recommend a forehand grip.
A panhandle grip grip is not suitable.This is what most beginners use. With this grip, the player has a low contact point and will not be able to generate as much power.
Unfortunately this can be hard to learn
There’s a reason beginners use a panhandle grip: it’s much easier! With a panhandle style of hitting, the racket is always facing forwards and it’s easy to time your shot.
With a forehand grip, the hitting action is more complicated, as the racket is turning during the stroke (which creates power). It’s more difficult to get the timing right. But there’s no shortcut around this: if you want to hit better, you must fix the technique.
You can change it gradually
Some players will be able to correct their grip immediately, changing straight from a panhandle grip to a forehand grip. But for other players, this is difficult and frustrating.
Instead, you can change the grip gradually. Start by making your grip slightly less panhandle, while also working towards a slightly higher contact point. Keep making these small changes, and eventually you will have a forehand grip.
Don’t let your brain trick you
I’ve often taught players who think they are using a forehand grip, but are actually changing the grip to a panhandle grip:
- Some players change grip as they bring the racket back in preparation
- Some players change grip as they start the hitting action
In either case, the player is usually not aware of this grip change. It’s surprisingly easy for your brain to trick you like this.
The best way to see this is with video. Record yourself hitting some clears. You may not be able to see the grip itself, but you will be able to see the elbow position, which is diagnostic:
- A low elbow means a lower contact point; this indicates a panhandle technique
- A high elbow means a high contact point; this indicates a better technique