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How to reset a pickleball to regain control at the kitchen line — Strategic insights from Dominic Catalano on SelkirkTV

By Dominic Catalano

on Dec 14, 2023

Dominic Catalano teaches the best strategy for kitchen resets

Pickleball is a game largely won at the kitchen line. To succeed as a beginner, you need to train your fast hands for attacks at the kitchen. 

However, there are some hands battles that you just can’t win. To go from a beginner to an advanced player, you need to be able to remain calm while under fire so that you can reset the ball and look for another opportunity to score a point. 

In his latest high-level pickleball lesson, Dominic Catalano highlights how to reset the pickleball at the kitchen line and when you should. 

The best ready position for resets

Every player’s ready position looks different, but every ready position should at least start with your arms out in front of your body at waist level. 

To be able to effectively reset the ball, it is often best to keep a more open paddle face, meaning that your paddle is pointed diagonally toward your backhand side. 

This is because it is much easier to defend a fast-hand shot with your backhand. After all, it has a wider range of motion. 

If you attempt to defend a fast hand shot with your forehand, you can typically only reach the balls on the dominant side of your body. When you try to bring your forehand in front of your body, you will likely get jammed up and miss the ball. 

How to hit a reset 

Once you have the proper ready position, you need to know how to hit a reset. A reset is when you take a speed-up or volley out of the air and drop it back into the kitchen. This can be especially useful when your opponent has more firepower or catches you in an awkward position. 

To hit a reset, you should keep your paddle out in front of your body, similar to when hitting a volley. Rather than swinging your paddle as you would to counter a speed up, you should instead just let the ball hit your paddle. 

Loosen your grip on the paddle. On a scale of 1 to 10, your grip pressure should be at about a 3. The tenser you are, the more likely the ball will bounce further. 

This is because when you squeeze the paddle, it acts as a hard surface, such as concrete. When you loosen your grip, it becomes softer, like a mattress. The ball will bounce less coming off a mattress than concrete. 

Adjusting your mindset at the kitchen line

One of the most important factors at the kitchen line is not your physical skill, it’s you’re mindset. 

Let’s think about baseball players. When hitting, baseball players are always expecting a fastball and they adjust to whatever pitch comes their way. 

It’s the same concept on a pickleball court. When your opponent is about to hit the ball at the kitchen line, your first thought should always be that your opponent is going to speed up the ball. That way, if they do, you are ready for it. 

If they instead dink the ball, you can easily adjust for the dink. It is much easier to be prepared for the fastest shot and adjust, than to be set up for a dink and try to return a speed up. 

A drill to build your mindset

To practice the proper mindset, grab a dinking partner or two and head to the kitchen line. One of the partners should act as the initiator while the others practice their mindset. 
Begin dinking the ball. At some point, the initiator should speed up the ball, but in the meantime, the other partner should be ready for a speedup on every shot by ensuring they start with a good ready position and are anticipating a speedup. 

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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