With more and more skilled pickleball players hitting the courts, we are seeing more and more incredible shots, like ATPs. In fact, there are so many ATPs that it is becoming a commonplace shot, particularly at the higher-skilled levels.
For those that may not know what an ATP is—which stands for an around the post shot—an ATP is a specialty shot in pickleball where you hit the pickleball under the top of the net and around the net post. An ATP typically happens when a player hits “too good” of a shot, meaning that a player hits a shot with a sharp angle that causes the pickleball to travel across and off of the pickleball court. However, when this happens a receiving player can chase down the pickleball and be so far off the court that the receiving player has a clear, unobstructed view of the other side of the court and the ability to hit the pickleball around the net post and into the other side of the pickleball court.
An ATP is a difficult shot to execute. However, it can also be a difficult shot to defend against given the typical low trajectory and angle of the pickleball.
If you find yourself on the pickleball court setting up your opponents for an ATP, it is time to go on the defensive. To defend against an ATP like a pickleball pro, try the following:
- If your opponents are successfully and consistently hitting the ATP, the best way to defend against the ATP is to first and foremost avoid hitting shots with sharp angles that give your opponents an easy opportunity to hit an ATP.
- If you still find your opponents with an ATP opportunity, then take a step or two back off of the Kitchen line along the sideline closest to your opponent hitting the ATP. Plant your feet, get low in a defensive posture, and get your paddle out in front of your body (and usually in a backhand position, as a backhand position will usually give you more coverage with the least amount of reaction time). Keep your paddle and your body relatively low to the ground, as your opponents will most likely be targeting your feet. Be sure to angle your paddle back into the middle of the court, rather than back at your opponent hitting the ATP, who will certainly be out of bounds upon contact. Simply find the pickleball with your paddle and get the pickleball over the net and into the middle of the court.
- Lastly, avoid the urge to hit every ATP. Remember the ATP is a specialty shot that is difficult to master. So, most ATP shots will be into the net or out of bounds, whether wide off the court or beyond the baseline. Be disciplined and be sure to only hit the good ATP shots.
Now, get out on the pickleball courts and defend against the ATP like a pro (just like the pros in the video below)!
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