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Pickleball Tips: Transition Area & Resets
“No Man’s Land”—also called the transition area—is the area of the pickleball court in between the Non-Volley Zone and the baseline. It is generally the space that is a foot or two behind the Kitchen, to a foot or two in front of the baseline.
This area is aptly named “No Man’s Land” because it is a place that pickleball players try to avoid, as it is difficult to win points by playing in this area of the pickleball court. It is one of the most difficult places to be on the pickleball court because your opponents are able to hit the pickleball down at your feet.
This area is also aptly called the transition area, as it is the space where you transition from the baseline for the start of a rally, to the preferred space of the Kitchen—remember, most pickleball rallies and points are won when playing at the Kitchen line.
Although “No Man’s Land” is a place to avoid, oftentimes, the player or team that is better in transition will be the deciding factor between a win and a loss. To improve your pickleball game in “No Man’s Land,” try the following tips:
1. Stay Under Control – Since most points are won at the Non-Volley Zone line, it is imperative that you work your way to there as soon as possible! However, make sure you are moving in to the Kitchen line under control, which may mean that you could be forced to split step in the transition area. This is okay! Pickleball players generally make errors in “No Man’s Land” because they are trying to move in too much or too quickly. Reduce these errors by moving in under control and remaining calm in the transition area.
2. Stay Linked with Your Partner in Doubles Pickleball – When you are in the transition area, be sure to stay linked with your partner. When you become unlinked with your partner (in other words, you and your partner are at different depths of the pickleball court), then more gaps open up on the pickleball court for your opponents to hit winning shots in. Stay linked with your partner and move together.
3. Get LOW! – When in “No Man’s Land,” it is important to bend your knees and get low. This is especially true when your or your partner’s shot is high. When the ball goes high, get low! Your defense and reset skills will improve when getting low and bending your knees.
Also, consider having a slightly wider stance with your feet and legs. A wider stance will help you get lower and feel more stable, with more power.
4. Practice Good Paddle Control – Your paddle should be out in front of your body, as you will likely not have much time react to your opponents’ shot when in “No Man’s Land.” You should also take short backswings and have a loose paddle grip, which will help you have better control over the pickleball.
5. Once You’re Comfortable, Take Advantage of “No Man’s Land!” – Imagine that you or your partner popped the pickleball up so that your opponents are able to hit an offensive shot. It may be a good idea to take a step back off of the Non-Volley Zone line in order to buy yourself a fraction more reaction time. If you choose to step back into the transition area, be sure that you are not moving when your opponents are hitting the pickleball. Remember, moving while hitting will likely result in more unforced errors. So, only take advantage of this step back when you have time.
And, if you choose to step back into “No Man’s Land,” be sure to immediately step back up to the Kitchen line, as your chances of winning the rally increase when you are hugging the Kitchen line!
Try these pickleball tips to improve your skills in “No Man’s Land” on the pickleball court. Master the transition area and you will certainly win more pickleball games!
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