We all try to avoid the dreaded “pop up” on the pickleball court, particularly when we are at the Kitchen line. However, as much as we try, “pop ups” of the pickleball happen to the best of us. If you or your partner find yourself accidentally popping up the pickleball, your opponents are certainly going to go on the offensive and hit an aggressive shot. This will immediately put you and your partner on the defensive.
To play your best defense, and get back in the point, try the following 5 pickleball tips:
- Take a step back off of the Non-Volley Zone line to buy yourself a fraction more reaction time. This extra bit of space may be the difference between you or your partner being able to react to the pickleball and getting beat. So, try to take a step back off of the Kitchen line. However, be sure not to be moving while hitting, which usually results in more unforced errors. Only take a step back off the Kitchen line if you quickly recognize the pop up and have time to retreat.
- Drop into a low athletic stance, as the pickleball will mostly likely be hit hard down at your feet or socks. When it comes to playing defense, the lower, the better. So, bend your knees and get low to put you in the most likely spot of where the pickleball will be going.
- Prepare your pickleball paddle out in front of your body. You will want to make contact with the pickleball out in front of your body, so get your paddle out there immediately. Further, as the team on defense, your goal is to reset the pickleball—in other words, your goal is to neutralize your opponents with a soft shot that lands in the Kitchen. By getting your paddle out in front of your body, you will give yourself the best chance to control and neutralize the offensive shot from your opponents.
- Use a loose grip. 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, which will give you more touch and control to better enable you to reset your opponents’ offensive shot.
- Keep it simple. Do not do too much with your shot against your opponents’ aggressive shot. Rather, think reset and neutralize. So, no backswing and minimal follow through on your defensive shot. Simply find the pickleball with your paddle out in front of your body, and keep the pickleball in play—in other words, over the net and in the court.
Next time you or your partner pop up the pickleball, try these 5 defensive tips and see whether you are able to get back into the point on the pickleball court!
WANT MORE PICKLEBALL TIPS AND STRATEGIES?
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