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Pickleball Strategies for Playing a Drop Shot While Retreating

The Art of Pickleball Coach Jerry Jaffe

Jerry Jaffe

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When your opponents are in an advantageous position at the kitchen line as you’re dropping back, you’ll need to carefully consider which shot to play next. One option is to play the pickleball to their centerline. By doing this, you’ll cut down your opponent’s angles, making it harder for them to hurt you with their return shot. Another option is to play the ball cross-court. In this scenario, you’ll have a longer area in which to hit the ball and keep it in the kitchen. A third option is to hit down the line. However, this requires greater control and could give your opponent an opportunity to attack the ball if it comes in high. Thus, your best options are to go middle or cross-court.

As you work on developing these shots, here are a few tips to remember.

1 – Step into the ball with the appropriate foot. When hitting a forehand shot, step with your left foot if you’re a right-handed player. If you’re left-handed, do the opposite: step with your right foot and swing with your left.

When hitting a backhand shot, use the arm and foot on the same side. For righties, this means stepping with your right foot. For lefties, step with your left foot. This allows you to contact the ball in front of your body and lift with the shoulder as you make your shot.

2 – Use your shoulder to lift the ball. It’s important to keep your paddle as quiet and still as possible. Using your shoulder allows you to move your arm in one steady motion, which promotes consistency. If you try to lift the ball using your wrist or elbow, you won’t have as much control.

3 – Don’t worry about hitting the ball too high over the net. It’s common for novice players to hit a good shot into the tape because they didn’t put enough arc on the ball. As you develop your drop shot, be sure your trajectory is high enough to get over the net. Since the pickleball doesn’t bounce very high and your opponent can’t enter the kitchen to hit the ball out of the air, they’ll likely have to hit up on the ball. This will give you time to move forward, hit the high shot, and put it away.

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