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Where Should I Hit the Ball?

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Where Should I Hit the Ball?

This is usually meant as part of a strategy with a team, meaning should you target a certain person, a weaker player or a specific side because the opponents are unknown or perhaps the weather is a factor.  

Have you ever thought about the fact that where you make contact with the ball has a direct effect on the placement of the ball you hit to your opponents? Think about it, if you make contact with the pickleball too close to your body, where does your shot go? Think about a 3rd or even 5th shot. If you short hop the shot, are you able to consistently control the speed, pace and height easily? Probably not.

 

What about when you completely stretch out for a ball? Maybe the pickleball barely trickles over the net and all you can do is get a paddle on it with your body almost in a straight line. Can you control your shot? Again, probably not. 

 

Sometimes your contact point is out of your control—just like a net cord—however, most of the time you’re in more control than you think. Focus on making contact with the ball in front of you, your paddle hand slightly bent at the elbow hinging from the shoulder. Notice that you will have a lot more control of your shot, control of the depth, the pace, and, of course, the placement. 

 

Now that we’re in the midst of social distancing to stop the spread of COVID-19, and the majority of the places to play pickleball are closed, here’s a drill you can do by yourself. (As a precaution, disinfect balls and paddle, and wash hands thoroughly afterward.)

 

Here’s an easy drill to use by yourself—without a paddle.

 

• Stand 7 ft. away from a wall, backboard, garage door, or other hard, flat surface.

 

• Put a piece of painter’s tape to mark a spot (either a rectangle or even a straight line) to represent the net—approximately 40 inches from the ground. Adjust height to make easier or more difficult.

 

• With your paddle hand, toss a pickleball to the target. Each time make sure your release point is in front of your body—maintain a relaxed body—no sharp angles or straight lines in arms or legs. 

 

• When the ball rebounds, catch ball in front of your body with same paddle hand. 

 

• Start out slowly, being intentional about release and catch point in front of the body. 

 

• Add a paddle and vary the distance from the wall in order to work on different shots—return of serve, 3rd shot, 5th shot, even serve. 

 

Remember, keeping your contact point in front of you will not only give you control of your shot, but will also you allow you to have more shot selection options. And that gives you control of where the ball goes. 

 

Have fun and stay well!

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