Friday, May 29, 2009

Executing the BackHand Shot

All players in any racquet sport have to work on their backhand more than their forehand. It is very one's weak side and Pickleball is no exception. A good backhand takes practice to execute well. Table tennis and ping pong players seem to have an advantage in this regard.


For beginning players, I recommend that you try to keep as much on your forehand as you can until you are able to develop that backhand. I don't mean ignore it, just try to keep play to your forehand as much as possible.


For example, when receiving serve try to stand so that the majority of the court is to your forehand. "Cheat to the forehand." If your are right handed and in the right hand court, stand more to the centre line. If in the left court, cheat to the left side line and trust that you can react to get a serve to the centre line.


I tell partners to communicate to each other that shots down the middle should always be taken by the partner on his or her forehand. In fact the person, on his/her forehand should cover up to a foot over the centre line.

"Running around the ball" is another strategy that works on a high bouncing ball but don't rely on this too much.

That said. You should practice your backhand to get stronger for more advanced play.


The Back Hand

When receiving serve or any shot you should always be in the ready position as describe in the Forehand earlier. Paddle out in front so you can move to either side quickly. Knees slightly bent forward and free hand keeping the paddle face straight. Try to practice picking up the ball off the opponent's paddle as soon as possible.

As soon as your pick up the ball coming to your back hand, pull your left hand back, if right handed, an
d bring your paddle hand straight back as indicated in the photo on the left. Shift the weight to the back foot. As in all sports, the weight shift is a key to getting more power into your shot. The left hand is helping pull your body back and in keeping your balance.

Your right shoulder should be pointing at the target and your eyes should be on the ball. Make a whistle to yourself as you follow the ball to the paddle. Notice the player is getting down to the ball. In this picture the player's weight is shifting to the front foot as he is ready to "pull the trigger" on the paddle.



The next photo shows the correct follow through. The left hand is extended back as far as possible. The weight has shifted to the front foot on the follow through. The player's weight is totally on his front foot with only his back toe touching. His paddle is just above his shoulder and his arm is sraight to the target.

He has stayed low to the ball through the whole shot.

The paddle face is slightly open to make sure the ball clears the net but not way up in the air hitting the ball high and out.

Notice the eyes are still down to where the ball made contact with the paddle rather than looking at where you are going to hit the ball. Only look up after contact.

As soon as the shot is completed the player goes back to the ready position for the next shot.


To develop your backhand, find a partner to practise with and have them hit shot after shot to your backhand. Try taking more shots on your backhand as you gain confidence. Play a fun game where you take all shots possible on your backhand.

To review and receive a few more pointers watch Coach Mo at www.pickleballcoach.com.




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