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What Is the “Tweener” in Pickleball & When to Use It

News Stacie Townsend 09-18-2023

In pickleball, a “tweener” is a slang term used to describe a shot that is hit between your legs (also known as a “between-the-legs” shot). It is a creative and often flashy shot that is typically used when a pickleball player is caught off balance or out of position and needs to make a quick and unconventional return to keep the pickleball in play.

Here are some key points about the tweener shot in pickleball, including some tips on when to try this show on the pickleball court:

  • Unconventional Shot: The tweener is not a standard or recommended shot in pickleball, but it can be effective in certain situations when other shot options are limited. Plus, it can be distracting to your opponents, as the pickleball is hard for them to track and, being an uncommon shot in pickleball, it is a “different look.”
  • Last-Resort Shot: Pickleball players often resort to the tweener when they are unable to get to the ball in a more conventional manner, such as when the pickleball is hit behind them using a lob (in particular, a lob to their backhand side, which can be more difficult to track down and get back to the other side of the court, since backhands are the weaker side for most pickleball players). If a pickleball player has other options (such as chasing down a lob and hitting a more traditional shot—particularly when it is on the forehand side), it is usually better to choose a more conventional shot.
  • Risky and Advanced: The tweener is considered an advanced pickleball shot because it requires good timing, coordination, and the ability to quickly adjust to the pickleball’s trajectory. It can be a high-risk, high-reward shot.
  • Spectacular, but Not Always Practical: While the tweener can be a spectacular and crowd-pleasing shot when executed well, it is not a shot that should be attempted regularly. It is more commonly seen in informal, professional, or exhibition matches. 

What Is the “Tweener” in Pickleball & When to Use It

Pickleball Channel

  • Precision and Practice: If you decide to use a tweener in a pickleball game, it is important to practice it to increase your chances of success. Timing and accuracy are crucial.
  • Use Caution: Because of its unconventional nature and the potential for errors, pickleball players should use caution when attempting a tweener shot in a competitive match. It is usually better to opt for a more conventional shot whenever possible. So, you may want to consider saving this one for fun, recreational play, until you are confident in your abilities to execute it well.

In summary, the tweener is a high-risk, high-reward shot. While it can be spectacular when it works, it also comes with a greater chance of error compared to standard shots. Use it judiciously and primarily as a last resort in situations where other shot options are limited—such as chasing down a lob. Or, you can get risky with the fun tweener shot. Though this shot is hard to master and tough to pull off, when done correctly it can be very rewarding and give a lot of swag to your game. 

To learn how to hit the tweener, read How to Hit a “Tweener” in Pickleball. 

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