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How to unlock a winning groundstroke — Tips from pro Catherine Parenteau on Selkirk TV


By Catherine Parenteau

on Sep 08, 2023

Catherine Parenteau shares tips for hitting a proper groundstroke

In a new 7-part series on Selkirk TV,  Catherine Parenteau is breaking down the elements of a successful singles game. In the second episode, Catherine discusses how to use groundstrokes to beat your competition. 

What is a groundstroke in pickleball? 

A groundstroke is a shot you make after the ball has bounced. The shot can be hit forehand or backhand and is typically the most powerful and accurate shot you can make, particularly from the baseline. 

How to hit a forehand groundstroke

When hitting a groundstroke, the first thing to do is get your body set in the right position. You want to turn your body sideways so that your hips and shoulders are facing the sidelines of the court, loading most of your weight on your back leg. Then, bring your paddle back, ensuring the cap on the bottom of your paddle handle is facing forward. 

Now, line your non-dominant hand over your front foot and use it to track the ball. Imagine you are going to catch the ball with your non-dominate hand. Instead of catching the ball, bring your paddle around to make contact right where your non-dominante hand is. This will ensure you see the ball all the way to your paddle so that you can hit it properly.

As you swing the paddle, make sure you are moving from low to high, transferring your weight from your back leg forward. Follow through your swing all the way to your opposite shoulder. When you finish the motion, your dominant elbow should be right in front of your chin and your body should be facing toward the net. 

To see this motion in action, watch as Catherine guides you through. 

How to hit a backhand groundstroke

The motion to hit a two-handed backhand groundstroke is very similar to that of a forehand groundstroke, just in reverse. 

Turn your hips and shoulders to the sideline, load your weight on your back leg, and bring your paddle back with the cap facing forward. When hitting a backhand groundstroke, ensure your non-dominant hand is placed above your dominant hand on the paddle handle.

As there is no free hand to track the ball, envision hitting the ball as it bounces in line with your front foot. Swing low to high, transferring your weight from your back leg to the front. Follow through your swing and finish with your non-dominant elbow in front of your chin and your hips facing the net. 

If you use a one-handed backhand, line up with your hips facing the sidelines and the weight in your back leg. Use your non-dominant hand as a counterweight so that you are balanced throughout your entire swing. 

Make contact with the ball as it bounces in line with your front foot. Swing from low to high, shifting your weight forward. Make sure to keep your wrist firm throughout the motion and follow through your swing to finish with your hand lifted as if you’re holding a torch. You should look like the Statue of Liberty when you’re finished with the motion. 

How to improve your groundstroke

The best way to improve any shot is through repetition. Grab your drilling partner and begin hitting groundstrokes back and forth from the baseline in the center of the court. 

Make sure you’re using proper form the entire time. If you feel something is off, take time to run through the motion without the ball several times before hitting with the ball. 

After you feel comfortable in the center of the court, set up on opposite corners of the court from your partner. Hit cross-court groundstrokes, focusing on your forehand. Then exchange corners of the court and work on your backhand. 

Keep up with previous episodes 

Follow the 7-video installment to learn everything you need to know to dominate the singles game. Check out the previous episodes below: 

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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