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Deciding When to Hit a Drive Shot vs. a Drop Shot in Pickleball

The Art of Pickleball coach Jennifer Dawson

Jennifer Dawson

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When should you hit a drive shot versus a drop shot? If the pickleball is coming at you on a plane above the net, hitting a hard drive to the backcourt can put pressure on your opponent. This can be especially effective if your opponent has difficulty handling shots hit with more pace. If the ball is below the net, you’ll want to lower your paddle and swing up on the ball to hit a drop shot. In either case, it’s important to get your body behind the ball in a ready stance, so you’ll be in an ideal position to return the ball.

To practice drive shots and drop shots — and learn the best time to hit them — grab a partner and try this drill. Hit a deep ground stroke to your partner on the other side of the court, followed by a shorter shot into No Man’s Land (also known as the Transition Area). With each play, your partner must decide whether to hit a drive shot or a drop shot. After a few rounds, switch so you also get a chance to practice these shots and develop your decision-making skills.

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