High Ball & Retreat
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High Ball? Bye Ball
Get to the net! It’s some of the most important pieces of pickleball strategy. The main reason to get to the net is to become a threat when they send a high ball. By being close to the net you get the ultimate advantage. The advantage is not hitting hard but hitting down. Hitting down makes it difficult for your opponents to get their paddle on the ball or control it if they do. Look for anything above net level to hit on this downward trajectory. Exploit even the smallest mistakes that your opponents make.
Key Technical Skills
Focus on smaller joints - The wrist and forearm are smaller and easier to move. It’s often a split second shot. Small joints are more effective than big ones at a quick flick.
Avoid powering up - Don’t look to rotate the body or swing your arm back. If the high ball is slow, then the big joints can get in on the action.
When you see a high ball, hit it down. This is often your best chance for winning the rally.
What happens when you send a high ball? Retreat!
Everyone loves to be on offense, but good pickleball also requires a good defense. You need to have the skills and mindset to get yourself out of a jam. When the opponent is on the offense, you need more time to react and keep the ball in play. Backing up will buy you precious time when you need it most.
One critical defensive skill is knowing when to back up and when to stay put. If the opponent is about to hit it hard or hit it down and you won’t have enough time to get a good shot, retreat! More distance = more time. Backing up doesn’t mean that you will have a good shot, but it does give you a better chance of one.
Key Technical Skills:
Stay square to the hitter - You can increase your chances of a good return by keeping pointing your body at the hitter.
Keep ready while retreating - Use compact hops and crossover steps to stay square while backing up. It’s important to have the balance and agility to do this well.
Not every shot is an offensive opportunity. When in trouble, considering backing up to buy some time to react and stay in the game.