When you speed up the pickleball during a rally in an effort to catch your opponents off guard, typically it is not your speed-up itself that wins the point. Rather, it is your speed-up shot that sets up the winning shot, which may happen one, two, or a few shots later.
So, how can you maximize your ability to win the rally after you speed up the pickleball? Try these 5 tips to capitalize on your speed-ups:
1. Move Forward: After speeding up the pickleball, move forward—either by moving forward in the pickleball court (i.e., toward the Kitchen line) or at least by shifting your weight from your back leg forward. This shift puts you in an offensive position and takes away time from your opponents to react. It also allows you to continue to put pressure on your opponents and be ready for the next shot.
2. Stay Patient & Anticipate the Return: Again, the speed-up shot is not typically an outright winner. Rather, your opponents will likely be able to keep the pickleball in play. So, after your speed-up shot, immediately prepare for and anticipate the next shot.
3. Understand Patterns & Pinch the Middle: Patterns—and anticipating patterns—are key to success in the sport of pickleball. One such pattern happens when you speed up the pickleball straight ahead. To note, oftentimes, pickleball players will speed up the pickleball straight ahead (as opposed to crosscourt), as opponents will have less time to react. When you speed-up straight ahead, your opponents will have a tendency to react and hit middle, as it is the natural direction of their paddle swing. So, when you speed up or your partner speeds up the pickleball straight ahead, be sure to pinch the middle. In other words, position yourself strategically, so you are ready to intercept and attack your opponents’ next shot. Quick reflexes and anticipating your opponents’ patterns are crucial.
4. Communicate with Your Partner: Whenever you are playing doubles pickleball, it is essential that you communicate with your partner. One-word exchanges, like “You!” or “Me!”, can help avoid any missed shot coverages. Work together to cover the pickleball court effectively.
5. Keep the Pressure On: If your hands and your partner’s hands are faster than your opponents, then stay in the hands battle and keep applying pressure on your opponents. In other words, keep speeding up the pickleball until you eventually win the point. However, if your hands and your partner’s hands are slower than your opponents, consider resetting the pickleball to win the point using another strategy or until you have a clearer opportunity to put the pickleball away.
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