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Unlocking the pickleball fourth shot


By Athena Trouillot

on Feb 06, 2024

Athena Trouillot shares tips for unlocking the pickleball fourth shot.

In the early days of pickleball, many players were solely using the third shot to get them to the kitchen line, not as a chance to be aggressive. 

But as the game evolved, the third shot has become an opportunity for many players to be aggressive. As such, there is a new emphasis placed on the fourth shot. 

When your opponent hits an aggressive third shot drive or drop and you don’t know how to respond on the fourth shot, you can find yourself in a lot of trouble for the rest of the point. 

In the latest episode of her “Impactful Efficiency in Pickleball” course on Selkirk TV, professional pickleball manager and coach Athena Trouillot breaks down fourth shot scenarios and how to best respond. 

How to know which fourth shot you should hit

There are a variety of factors that determine which fourth shot you should hit, but it’s most important to react to your opponent’s third shot. If you go into the fourth shot with a predetermined shot, you may end up creating an error that will be hard to recover from. 

When your opponent hits a low, hard drive

When your opponent drives the third shot and it remains low over the net, your fourth shot goal should be to volley the ball low back over the net. Make sure you keep your body weight forward and your paddle out in front of you. 

You can hit your fourth shot into the transition zone or kitchen, so long as you keep it low over the net. Try to aim for your opponent’s feet, as this ensures they will not have an easy put-away on their next shot. 

When your opponent hits a third shot drop

If your opponent hits a good third shot drop that is low over the net and lands shallow in the kitchen, you should look to dink your fourth shot. The odds of you hitting a good drive off the bounce are low. 

It is more likely that you will pop the ball up, allowing your opponent an easy put-away. Instead, dink the ball straight or crosscourt with some pace. This will keep your opponent moving and allow you to begin constructing the point. 

You likely can’t keep your opponent back on this shot, but you can prevent them from hitting an even more aggressive shot on their next attempt. 

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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