Whether you are playing singles pickleball or doubles pickleball, one of the best skills that you can have on the pickleball court is the ability to let the out balls go. This is because letting the out balls go leads to easy points and easy wins for you and your partner on the pickleball court. With that said, detecting out balls and letting them go is one of the hardest skills in pickleball.
To improve your detection of those out balls to win more points on the pickleball court, try the following:
- Communicate with Your Partner – Two heads are better than one, so work with your partner to detect out balls on the pickleball court. If you see an out ball, scream and yell at your partner—“NO!” or “LET IT GO!” or “BOUNCE!”
- Let the Shoulder Height Drives Go – If your opponents drive a pickleball at you with pace (and particularly, a drive with no top spin) that is generally about shoulder height (depending on your height, of course), let it go. Your opponents’ drive is probably out. This is especially true if your opponents drive the pickleball from the Non-Volley Zone line.
- Pay Attention to the Height at Contact – If your opponents speed up a pickleball that sits below the net, consider letting it go. This is because your opponents will have to hit up on a low-sitting pickleball to hit it over the net. By hitting up on the pickleball, your opponents will send the pickleball on a trajectory that is probably going out of bounds.
- Patterns of Play – As you play a few points with your opponents, try to analyze their patterns of play. Do your opponents consistently drive the pickleball on every shot? Once your opponents get to a certain place on the court, are these drives too high and going out of bounds? Do your opponents put any top spin on the pickleball, which will help to keep the pickleball in play? Try to pick up on any patterns to help you anticipate and detect out balls. Oftentimes, players that like to drive the pickleball will have a tendency to hit out balls, so pay attention to any tendencies to help identify which drives may land in the court and which drives may land out of bounds.
- Body Language – In addition to patterns of play, pay attention to your opponents’ body language and paddle face. For instance, a big backswing and flat or closed paddle face will indicate a drive is coming your way. Use these clues to help you anticipate shots, including out balls.
- Wind – If you are playing pickleball outdoors, pay attention to the elements, like the wind. The wind can make the pickleball do crazy things. For instance, if your opponents are hitting the pickleball into the wind, then shots that typically look like they will land out of bounds, may now land in the court. And, if your opponents are hitting the pickleball with the wind, then shots that typically look like they will land in the court, may now land out of bounds. Wind can also push the pickleball side-to-side on the pickleball. So, pay attention to the wind when playing pickleball outside.
Remember to the let the out balls fly out of bounds on the pickleball court. Out balls are easy points for you and your partner. Hitting an out ball keeps your opponents in the point, which is something that you obviously want to avoid. So, let those out balls go and win more points on the pickleball court!
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