Finish Your Stroke

Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Finish Your Stroke

Have you ever noticed how fast-paced rallies at the NVZ very often end with the third exchange? There's a good reason (and a fix) for this.

The first time you hit the ball (say a speed-up), your stroke and follow-through will generally leave you slightly out of position. Then you need to react from a weaker position to reach and return the second shot. This takes you even further out of position, and when the time comes for your third shot, it has no choice but to hit the net or fly off the court.

So what is really happening here? I suggest that most people waste way too much motion and energy in reacting to and/or taking a shot. This is most apparent at the NVZ, where you can easily see unnecessary foot movement, jumping, and jerking of the arm. By the time the stroke follow-through occurs, the body is way out of position.

Luckily enough, the fix is rather simple. Most of your NVZ shots won't have much of a back-stroke, so your follow-through should NOT be up around your ears. With a bit of focus and practice, your follow-through can take you right back to a ready position, where you should be in position to deal with the next shot.

So, you need to:

Minimize your foot movement at the NVZ; only move when necessary. Walking around a shot to turn a backhand into a forehand is NOT one of those "necessary" times.

Stopping jumping when someone drives a ball at you. Jumping raises your arm and paddle and helps you pop up the ball. Not necessary. Stay in your ready position and move your arm and paddle as needed.

Practice this with a simple dinking drill, where you basically hit the ball back and forth with a cross-court partner and then FINISH YOUR STROKE so that you immediately return to the ready position after every shot.

You will find that rallies last longer, you are in full control of more rallies, you win more points, and you win more games.

You're welcome.

See you on the courts.

Michael Gauthier
‚ÄčNDY (Not Done Yet)

Michael Gauthier

Michael Gauthier

Owner, Pickleball Strokes

These pickleball tips and insights have all been previously published on Facebook, but not everyone gets to see all of those. So this is the official and complete home for all of my pickleball writings.  

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