Generally speaking, the goal on the pickleball court is force your opponents to hit the pickleball on an upward trajectory to allow you (or your partner) to hit the pickleball on a downward trajectory (i.e., hit the pickleball down toward your opponents’ feet). This is possible when the pickleball sits above the top of the pickleball net (and, the higher the pickleball sits, the easier it is to hit on a downward trajectory).
However, at times, you may want to be offensive with your shots in other ways. For instance, you may want to hit an offensive shot even when the pickleball sits below the top of the pickleball net. These can be difficult shots to execute, though, as you need to generally hit the pickleball on some upward trajectory to get the pickleball up and over the net. This puts you at risk of allowing your opponents to hit down on the pickleball. But, there are shots that you can use to apply pressure, while minimizing this risk.
If you need to create offense in one of these circumstances, try one of the following three shots:
- Top Spin Volleys – One way to create offense below the pickleball net is to use top spin. Top spin – which is spin that travels from 6 o’clock to 12 o’clock toward your opponents – will help the ball get up and over the pickleball net and then bite down toward the court surface. In other words, it is spin that helps keep the pickleball low and in the court.
- High Speed-Up – There is one situation where you can be offensive without worrying about controlling your pace on your shot. This would be a high-power, high-pace shot that is right at your opponents—typically in the shoulder area (particularly, the “Chicken Wing,” which is the paddle-side shoulder area)—where either (i) your opponents will not be able to move out of the way, or (ii) you will be able to induce them to pop-up the pickleball. This 100% power can be a good strategy, but it is an all-or-nothing shot.
- Have a wide stance (so they are slow to move their feet);
- Hugging the Kitchen line (so they have less reaction time);
- Less mobile;
- More likely to reset the pickleball; and/or
- More likely to hit out balls.
- Offensive Lob – Lastly, an offensive lob—particularly, on a dink volley out of the air in order to surprise your opponents and cut down on their reaction time—is another offensive shot that you can execute on a ball that sits below the top of the net.
Be aggressive out on the pickleball courts and create offense where possible—even if the pickleball is below the top of the net. But, use caution! Do not overuse these shots, as you will become predictable and your opponents will be able to counterattack.
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