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                   SKY HOOK - Tipbit #10

What should you do when your opponents hit a well-placed lob up the middle and pretty much out of reach of both players? Normally, you have a couple of options; try to hit a conventional overhead (forehand or backhand) or scramble back and do your best to re-lob, drive and drop the ball. But, what if the lob is just high enough to be out of reach of your overhead, but moving too fast for you to chase it down?


Consider the Sky Hook. Yes the famous shot popularized by pro tennis legend Jimmy Connors years ago or by our very own member Scott DeGross. Its namesake, the hook shot from basketball, describes the "look" of the shot. Its single biggest benefit is that of being able to hit a ball that has already passed over your head and out of reach of a normal overhead, but still reachable with your outstretched straight-arm and paddle.


Actually, the Sky Hook is much easier to execute and more controllable than the conventional overhead as it has far fewer moving parts. For this very reason, it could be considered for use under many more circumstances. If your goal is to get the ball back into play without giving up much ground, then consider the Sky Hook. Of course, if your only objective, when you get an overhead opportunity, is to crush the ball like Jared or Rohit the Sky Hook is probably not for you. At least until you have no other choice. Isn't that reason enough to add it to your pickleball "quiver"?


To execute the Sky Hook, you'll need to start with a pivot to the right (if you're right-handed) and a step back with your right foot. If you need to step further back, shuffle as needed. You'll keep the same grip you use for all your other shots, stretch your arm and paddle straight back and pointed to the back of the court. Keeping your whole arm straight and firm, begin the stroke by bringing your whole arm upward and forward in a smooth and steady motion until contact. Only a limited follow through is necessary. Should it be necessary to redirect the ball with a little more power, consider adding a last second wrist snap or flick!

The Sky Hook will not only keep you in the point, it will offer you another opportunity to win the point. Why not give it a try? What have you got to lose?


If you’re in a session at Greenwood when Scott is present, ask him to demo it for you or click on the link below for a very short video demonstration. 


Note: The video is only 24 seconds long and the Sky Hook doesn't take place until the last two or three seconds.

Link: Sky Hook Video


Also Note: There are a couple of conventional overheads also hit in the above video; please note, especially all you beginners and intermediates, how these pros immediately turn their shoulder to the net, point at the ball and then uncoil  their body on impact. Too many of  members keep their belly to the net and only use your arm for power. Plus, in my many years of conducting clinics, beginners who shuffle back with their belly to the net, and then trip, are much more likely to end up with a head concussion then those who correctly turn their shoulder to the net as they retreat.


                                 C' ya on the Greenwood courts. President Lueck

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