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Elevate Your Pickleball Skills: 4 Crucial Tips for Beginners
Hello, I'm Matt from the Pickleball Clinic. Today, I'll divulge my top four strategies that every beginner should master to level up to an intermediate player. These techniques are common among 3.0 to 4.0 players, even up to pros. Mastering these skills is a must if you want to rise above the beginner level.
Maintain Your Ready Position
Firstly, always remember to maintain the ready position between every shot. For those unfamiliar, the ready position involves holding the paddle in the center of your body. This position allows you to quickly respond to both forehand and backhand shots without favoring any side. It prepares you for any incoming volley, dink, overhead, forehand, or backhand shot. Unfortunately, beginners often let their paddles drop after each shot, making them vulnerable. Therefore, always return to your ready position. If your paddle is down and your opponent decides to attack, you'll be unprepared. However, if you're in your ready position, you only need to turn the paddle and block the shot. This strategy applies to every part of the court and all shots.
Minimize Back Swing on Dinks and Volleys
The second tip for beginners is to minimize your backswing on dinks and volleys. The backswing is when you retract your paddle before hitting the shot. At the kitchen line, you're only 14ft away from your opponent, which leaves you with little reaction time. Therefore, refrain from pulling the paddle back behind you when going for a dink or volley. Maintain your paddle out in front of you, even when you're hitting from the ready position. Keep your backswing minimal and always aim to be prepared for the next shot.
Stay on Your Toes
Thirdly, always ensure that you keep your feet moving and stay on your toes instead of hitting from your heels. Being on your toes prepares you for any direction the ball may go, allowing you to move swiftly toward it. If you're more advanced, you can incorporate a split step into your movements. Alongside staying on your toes, remember to shuffle side-to-side instead of turning and running. You want to stay square to the kitchen, and shuffling allows you to do that while being more efficient.
Hold Your ground at the Kitchen Line
Finally, it's crucial that you maintain your position at the kitchen line and resist the urge to back off. Beginners often step back from the kitchen line during rallies and fail to return. When the ball comes deep, instead of backing up, aim to hit it out of the air. This tactic puts you in an offensive position and makes it harder for your opponent to aim at your feet, which is an awkward spot to hit from. Always strive to hit the ball away from your feet, especially if it's going past the kitchen line or bouncing near it.
Incorporate these tips the next time you step on the pickleball court, and you'll see an immediate improvement in your game. These four simple strategies will drastically elevate your performance. Once you master them, you'll soon be competing with 3.0 and 3.5-level players.