Hitting a pickleball involves a combination of proper technique, body positioning, and timing. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you hit a pickleball effectively, whether you’re a beginner or an experienced player:
Grip: Start by holding the paddle using the “Eastern” or “Continental” grip. This grip involves placing the base knuckle of your index finger on the third bevel of the paddle handle (for right-handed players) or the first bevel (for left-handed players). The “V” shape formed by your thumb and index finger should be aligned with the middle of the paddle’s edge, ensuring a comfortable and secure grip.
Ready position: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent, and your weight on the balls of your feet. Hold the paddle in both hands, with your dominant hand on the handle and your non-dominant hand supporting the paddle’s throat. Keep your arms relaxed, with the paddle facing forward and slightly upward, and your eyes focused on the ball.
Split step: As your opponent hits the ball, take a small “split step” by hopping slightly and landing on the balls of your feet. This will help you quickly react and move in any direction when the ball comes your way.
Footwork: Move towards the ball using small, quick steps, making sure to maintain balance and control. Adjust your positioning to ensure you can hit the ball at a comfortable distance from your body.
Backswing: As you approach the ball, rotate your hips and shoulders, pulling the paddle back into the backswing position. Your non-dominant hand should still be supporting the paddle, helping you maintain control and balance.
Point of contact: Position yourself to hit the ball at the optimal point of contact, which is usually waist-high and slightly in front of your body. Your knees should be bent, and your weight should be transferring from your back foot to your front foot.
Swing: Swing the paddle forward, making contact with the ball using the center of the paddle face. Your non-dominant hand should release from the paddle and extend in the opposite direction, helping you maintain balance. Keep your eyes on the ball as you make contact.
Follow-through: After making contact with the ball, continue your swing and follow through with your paddle, extending your arm towards your target. Your hips and shoulders should rotate towards the target as well.
Recovery: Once you’ve completed your shot, quickly return to the ready position and prepare for the next ball. Good footwork and anticipation are crucial for getting back into position and being ready for the next shot.
Remember, practice is key to improving your skills in hitting a pickleball. Work on your technique, footwork, and timing, and you’ll see progress in your overall performance on the court.