On the pickleball court, little things can make a big difference. The slightest of movements can drastically impact the effectiveness of your shots. This is particularly true when you look at the body part that is directly holding your pickleball paddle—your paddle-side hand and wrist.
We have two pickleball tips for you to improve your game from the wrist down. These two tips apply to beginners, intermediate players, and pros. However, the first will be a powerful tip for beginners, and the second will particularly help pickleball players looking to advance and improve their game.
Tip #1 – The Importance of a Loose, Relaxed Grip Pressure on Your Pickleball Paddle
Many pickleball players grip their pickleball paddles way too tightly and in the palm of their hand – think a 10 out of 10 grip pressure, where the pickleball player is “white knuckling” the paddle. Too much grip pressure, and too much palm on the paddle, are negatives on the pickleball courts because both will result in loss of control of the pickleball and loss of feel of the pickleball off of the paddle. In other words, too much grip pressure on the paddle, and/or too much palm on the paddle, will likely cause the pickleball to ricochet and rebound off of the paddle too aggressively and too high (and, high balls generally mean easy put away shots for your opponents).
As a result, it is important to have a loose, relaxed grip on the pickleball court – think a 4 out of 10 grip pressure. It is also important to hold the pickleball paddle more in your fingers and less in the palm of your hand. If you loosen your grip pressure and use more of your fingers to hold the paddle, you will have a softer touch, and vice versa. A loose, relaxed grip will help you reset fastballs on the pickleball court, as well as give you more control of your shots (such as your dinks and drop shots). This loose grip will also allow you to have faster hands.
Lastly, consider having a small gap between your index finger and the other fingers that are holding the paddle. By having some spacing in your fingers (rather than have all four fingers tight together), you will be able to better maneuver the pickleball paddle—including quicker movement for speed and more movement to manipulate spin.
Tip #2 – Improve Your Grip, Wrist, and Forearm Strength and Flexibility
Now that you have perfected your loose, relaxed grip, you may be looking to improve your pickleball game and take it to the next level. One way to do this is to exert more control over your wrist movements.
When starting out on the pickleball court, it is important to keep your wrist relatively stable to learn to control your shots and gain consistency. In fact, most shots will come from your shoulder (as opposed to your wrist). However, as you work to improve your game (and maybe even reach the pro pickleball level), you may start to engage more of your wrist and forearm on certain shots. Exerting control over your wrist and engaging your wrist and forearm may:
- Allow you to absorb more force with your paddle, which will improve your defensive pickleball skills (e.g., resets) and control on the court;
- Manipulate your wrist to add more spin on your shots, which will allow you to create more top spin and hit more aggressive shots on the pickleball court;
- Mean more power, as you can use your wrist to whip or snap certain shots (e.g., an overhead);
- Help you disguise your shots, as you can generate more power from a standing-still position (think a flick or speed-up shot); and
- Reduce injuries, as a stronger wrist (in other words, stronger forearm muscles) can reduce strain on other body parts, like your elbow.
To exert control over your wrist effectively, it is important to work on your grip, wrist, and forearm strength and flexibility. For instance, weighted wrist curls, wrist rollers, gyro wrist exercises, ball squeezes, as well as stretches like wrist extension or prayer stretches. And, if you like a two-handed backhand, it is important to work on your strength and flexibility and both sides!
Put some work in off the pickleball court—by improving your strength and flexibility of your grip, wrist, and forearm—and see the benefits to your game on the court.
WANT MORE PICKLEBALL TIPS AND STRATEGIES?
Struggling against aggressive players on the pickleball court? For instance, those pickleball bangers? Learn 7 strategies on how to defeat the banger now.
Plus, if you want more pickleball tips and strategies on every aspect of your pickleball game, check out Pickler’s online video lesson collection called My Pro Pickleball Coach. My Pro Pickleball Coach is a fraction of the price of one clinic or even one lesson, and features over 140 video lessons (over 7 hours of instruction!), as well as a corresponding e-book. These online video lessons are available on demand 24/7 and breakdown every aspect of the sport of pickleball, including pickleball drills, strategy, and advanced concepts, so you will play your best pickleball.