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You’ve probably been told during your pickleball training to keep your paddle up. The paddle-up or ready position can be extremely beneficial and, when implemented, can dramatically improve your game. The executive producer of Pickleball Channel, Rusty Howes, was very fortunate to visit the Pickleball Guru, Prem Carnot, in Grass Valley, California, for the popular Pickleball Channel show “Pickleball 411.” In this episode, Prem talks about the paddle-up position—explaining what it is, and giving three benefits of the position as well as three mistakes people make when doing it. Be sure to watch the entire video online, and don’t forget that you can subscribe for free and receive a weekly video all about this amazing game of pickleball!

Prem: What is the paddle-up position? There are a lot of variations out there, but this is what I would recommend: I would suggest that you keep your paddle nice and high, about chest high, and a foot away from your body. Some people like to have their paddle up in a perpendicular position or favoring their backhand. But the most important thing is to keep that paddle up.

There are three key benefits to the paddle-up position.

BENEFIT #1: Faster Reaction Time
Because your paddle is already up, you are able to react more quickly to forehand or backhand shots. If your paddle is down, then you actually lose a lot of time getting your paddle up and into a position where you can start reacting.

BENEFIT #2: Minimizes Pop-Ups
If your paddle is down, in order to hit the ball, you have to bring your paddle up from a low position to a high position. When you do that, most likely you’re going to pop the ball up. You want to avoid pop-ups because they give your opponent an opportunity to smash the ball downward toward you.

There are three common mistakes I often see people make when utilizing the paddle-up position. First of all, they will keep their paddle way too low, close to the knees. Again, the paddle should be chest high. Secondly, people will make the mistake of keeping their paddle too close to their body. This restricts their movement. A good paddle-up position should be about a foot away from your body. And the third mistake is that people will often start with the paddle-up position, but then they drop their paddle as they play and never bring it back up again. The most important thing is to always reset and get your paddle up after every stroke.

Special Thanks to: Prem Carnot

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