Selkirk Sport - We Are Pickleball


How proper footwork can improve your drop shots

By Jarrett Chirico

on Apr 24, 2024

Pickleball clinician Jarrett Chirico stands at the baseline of a pickleball court. He demonstrates the improper way to hit a drop shot, with your paddle behind your body.

One of the most talked about shots in pickleball is the drop shot, and it’s no secret why. Hitting a successful drop can set you and your partner up for success on the court. 

Still, many people hit drops incorrectly. Of course, there are many points in which a drop shot can break down, but one of the most common breakdown points is actually your feet.

In this Selkirk TV original, former tennis player and current pickleball clinician, Jarrett Chirico shares proper foot positioning for hitting successful drop shots every time. 

What is a drop shot? 

A drop shot, most commonly talked about as the third shot drop, is a low, soft shot that lands just over the net in your opponent’s kitchen. 

The idea is to land the ball just over the net so that your opponents cannot volley the ball. This allows you to move toward the kitchen so that you can begin to initiate offense. 

Why are my feet important with a drop shot? 

In most sports, your feet play a crucial role in shot success because they create the firm base for the rest of the motion. 

So, when hitting a drop shot, it’s important to move your feet to the optimal position to hit a drop shot. You should not be lunging to hit running through the ball as you make your shot. 

Instead, your feet should be set firmly on the ground and pointed in the proper position to accurately hit the ball. 

The best position to hit a drop shot

When you are playing at the kitchen, your hips and feet should be square to the net so that you are protecting as much of the court as possible. However, when you are at the baseline, you are able to move your feet more freely. 

When you know you’re going to hit a drop shot, the first thing you should do is set your paddle. If you are going to hit a forehand, you should set your paddle out in front of your body with the tip of the paddle in front of your wrist. 

Next, position your feet. Rather than squaring your hips toward the net, a drop shot is better executed when your feet are facing the sideline at a 45-degree angle. 

Now that you are set, you are ready to make contact with the ball. As you do, keep your wrist firm, and push through your feet to stand. 

Make sure you use a small range of motion for your swing. You should not be taking a large backswing to hit a drop — the odds are, you will overhit the ball. 

Your swing path should start at about your hip and finish out in front of your chest. Your paddle face should be open — or pointed toward the sky — at the end of your swing. 

Finally, aim to make contact with the top part of your paddle. This will ensure you absorb the pace off the ball as you swing. 

A few tips and tricks for drops

As you get a better handle on drop shots, there are a few tips and tricks you can begin to employ to improve them. 

Step with your dominant foot

In some instances, you will not be able to get your feet fully set to hit a drop shot. For example, let’s say your opponent has hit a soft volley over the net but you are at the baseline. You will likely need to lunge forward one or two steps to get to the ball in time. 

The instinct for most players is to step with their non-dominant foot while swinging with their dominant hand. It make sense — most sports teach you to do this. 

However, when you do this while hitting a drop shot, you are forced to hit the ball with your paddle behind your body, which will likely result in an error. 

Instead, aim to step toward the ball with your dominant foot. This will not only give you extra reach, but it also ensures that you will make contact with the ball in front of your body. 

Roll your drop shots

As returns have become deeper and have more spin, rolling a drop is a good tactic to employ because it creates spin on your drop. 

To roll your drop, make contact with the ball slightly late and brush your paddle straight up the ball. Your swing path remains largely the same, but rather than finishing with your paddle face open to the sky, it should point toward the opposite sideline at a 45-degree angle. 

Download the Selkirk TV app HERE to watch the complete episode and many other Selkirk TV original shows, podcasts, lesson series from the pros, and much more.

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