Athletes of all sports typically play their best when the game feels like it is happening in slow motion. When the game feels slow, athletes feel like they have all the time in the world to react and make their best move. Plus, the ball usually looks bigger and, as a result, easier to play. When the game feels fast, athletes feel like they are rushed and they can’t catch up. So, the game usually ends quickly, and not in their favor.
These same feelings can also arise on the pickleball court. When you feel like the game is slow, the pickleball is easier to track and react to. When you feel like the game is fast, you will feel like your opponents are rallying off point after point for an easy victory. This often happens when playing against pickleball players that like to play fast—think “bangers” who like to consistently speed up the pickleball.
If you find a pickleball game to be happening fast, try to slow the game down using these 5 pickleball tips:
- Take your time and execute your shots. First and foremost, no matter how fast you feel the game is going, you have more time than you think. So, take your time, set your feet, and execute your shot.
- Use shots that give you time. If you feel that the game is moving fast, then use shots that give you more time to react and prepare from shot to shot. In other words, find a way to gain time. To do this, try the following shots:
- Hit deep serves and deep returns of serve. By keeping your opponents back in the pickleball court, they will have to hit the pickleball a farther distance, which takes more time. So, hit quality serves and returns of serve that are deep in the court.
- Avoid speeding up the pickleball. If you are trying to slow down the game, then, it may go without saying, but avoid speeding it up. Stay in the “low and slow” game. In other words, hit quality dinks that mix spin, placement, depth, and pace around the Non-Volley Zone. And, if your opponents speed up the pickleball, consider resetting and neutralizing the speed-up shot, unless you have a clear put away or counterattacking winner.
- Consider using a well-timed lob. Lobs can be both offensive and defensive. However, in either case, the extra height on the pickleball can give you extra time to re-adjust and reset.
- Give your opponents shots that are difficult to speed up. If you are trying to slow the game down, then make it difficult on your opponents to speed up the pickleball. To do this, keep your shots low and down toward your opponents’ feet (which can be easier said than done). Try to keep your shots below the top of the pickleball net, so your opponents have to hit up on the pickleball (which can make for a more difficult speed-up shot, as the trajectory may be up and out of bounds). In other words, try to make your shots bounce in the Kitchen (but not bounce too high that the apex of the bounce is above the net).
- Use your time-outs and/or take time between points. If you are in a competitive pickleball match, then you will have two time-outs per pickleball game. These are “use them or lose them,” so be sure to use your time-outs to regroup and break momentum on the pickleball court. And, regardless of whether you are in a competitive or recreational pickleball match, consider taking your time between points. Play at your pace, rather than at your opponents’ pace. This extra time between points can help you regroup and slow the game down.
- Breathe and stay focused on your strategy. Oftentimes, a pickleball game can happen quickly and you can forget what even took place. Or, you can quickly get away from your strategy and fall into your opponents’ strategy. Don’t fall into this trap. Be sure to breathe, compose yourself for every point, and stay committed and focused on your strategy to slow the game down when it is feeling fast and overwhelming.
If the pickleball game is happening too fast, slow it down using these 5 pickleball tips.
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