I often practice and play around 11am or noon which means the sun is high and overheads can be a problem. First of all, I don’t see many other people practicing overheads by themselves. To practice overheads, hit the ball straight up in the air with your racket and then hit an overhead. Simple. You might look like an idiot for the first three or four times but it’s worth it. To practice backhand overheads, hit the ball up over your left shoulder if you are right handed and over your right shoulder if you are left handed.
How do you hit overheads in the sun without looking like Reggie Jackson, he lost a fly ball in the sun in the World Series, or Jose Canseco, a ball bounced off his head and over the fence for a home run? Tennis players have an advantage: they can let the ball drop. If you can’t see the ball in the sun, you have a better chance locating it if it hits the ground. This does mean, however, that you will have to run backwards to get behind the ball after it comes down.
There are three ways to run backwards in tennis. You can turn around and run towards the baseline but you better have eyes in the back of your head to track the ball. You can pedal furiously backwards while facing the net. This makes it easy to see the ball but it’s pretty awkward and once you get to the ball you have to stop, turn around and get your racket ready to hit it. The most elegant way is to run towards the baseline with side steps, either shuffling your feed or stepping one foot over the other. This way you can see the ball as you run and if you keep your racket cocked as you run backwards, you will be in good position to hit it once you find it.
The problem is that it’s unnatural. I have been working on this for a few years and still, sometimes, as soon as I see an overhead I jump into full panic mode and start backpedaling furiously facing the net hoping that I don’t fall over backwards. To practice running sideways, hit the ball up in the air and behind you. Run backwards with a sidestep, let the ball drop and then hit it. When you get good at this, hit the ball before it drops.
Practice Report: hit with someone for 15 minutes, practiced by myself for an hour and hit serves for a bag and a half of balls.
Solutions Analysis: looking for a solution to inconsistency in service toss when I get tired.
Success Analysis: I made great progress with my serve by focusing only on seeing the ball well enough to watch the racket as it brushed across the ball. I didn’t pay any attention to the result of the serve, I only cared about seeing the ball as I hit it.