Hitting a “tweener” shot in pickleball can be an exciting and effective way to surprise your opponents, but it requires proper technique and timing. (For more background on the pickleball “tweener,” read What Is the “Tweener” in Pickleball & When to Use It . Here are the basic steps to execute a tweener shot successfully on the pickleball court:
- Positioning and Tracking: Positioning and tracking are the most important basics for your pickleball tweener. As the pickleball travels behind you (in which it is most likely to travel over your head), track its trajectory carefully. Position yourself so that you can let the pickleball bounce and then immediately do your best to get in front of it (in other words, the pickleball should be slightly behind you, between the net and your back). This will likely require you to take another step forward, in order to get in front of the pickleball.
- Grip and Swing: Use a continental grip on your pickleball paddle (which generally means your hand is placed on the handle as if you are shaking hands with it). Start your paddle swing downwards by moving the edge of your paddle near your pinky finger down and away from your chest.
- Square the Paddle Face: As you approach the pickleball with your paddle, rotate your paddle so that the face is square to the net when you make contact. Be sure to have a slightly open paddle face, so that you can send the pickleball up and over the net.
- Positioning for Contact: Timing is crucial for a tweener shot, and this timing comes into play at the point of contact. When you make contact with the pickleball on your tweener, the pickleball should be located between your legs, either directly below you or a slightly behind you (between the net and your back). If the pickleball is out in front of you (in other words, you are between the net and the pickleball), you will swing down and likely hit the pickleball straight into the ground. Then, right before the second bounce of the pickleball, with the pickleball just above the ground (about 6-10 inches), make contact and execute the tweener. Generally speaking, the lower the pickleball is, the easier the shot will be to execute, as you will have more space to hit the pickleball between your legs.
Remember that hitting a tweener shot requires practice and good judgment of the pickleball’s trajectory and timing. It is a high-risk, high-reward shot, so make sure you are comfortable with the technique before attempting it in a game. Additionally, use tweener shots sparingly and when the situation calls for it, as they can be difficult to execute perfectly.