The popularity of pickleball is skyrocketing in 2020, despite its existence for decades. As people of all ages take their paddles to the court, tennis, badminton, and ping pong are having their moment. It doesn’t matter if you’re a beginner or a pro, you’re guaranteed to have a blast playing this game.
Pickleball is the fastest growing sport in America in part because of its great outdoors appeal and socially distanced nature, according to Mark Renneson, professional coach and founder of Third Shot Sports and Pickleball Coaching International.
The sport has three key characteristics. First, it takes up very little space. The court is the size of a badminton court, which allows it to be played anywhere, including schools and old parking lots or driveways, he says. In addition to the easy entry, pickleball is for people of all backgrounds. Pickleball is a game for people of all skill levels, so it’s likely you will find people who can match your skill level. Finally, it’s a game that everyone will enjoy.
As well as benefitting your physical health, it also benefits your mental health. There are many health benefits associated with pickleball, including exercise, flexibility, and hand-eye coordination. However, the most significant benefit is linked to mental health,” says Renneson. “I see people’s joy when playing pickleball, along with the sense of community they have around the game. Whether they are dealing with loss, dealing with health issues, entering a new phase of life, or dealing with addiction, I know many people who have been impacted by pickleball.” You can also read our guide on Is Pickleball Good Exercise by clicking here.
Whether you’re just getting started or just want to know how to get better at pickleball, Renneson offers tips and tricks that will help you improve.
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How to Get Better at Pickleball
In order to improve your pickleball performance, Renneson suggests three exercises.
1. Try skipping
It is not hitting the ball that is the main challenge of pickleball, as this is fairly easy to do. When your opponent is trying to hit the ball away from you, receiving the ball is crucial. In order to improve agility and movement skills, he recommends developing some basic skills. “Skipping and moving in different directions as if you were chasing a ball can be great.
2. Against a wall, hit a ball
Pickleball equipment ($24) and a wall are all you need to perform Renneson’s exercise. When playing against hard-hitters, removing speed from an incoming shot is a very useful skill. It’s really fun and challenging to hit a ball against a wall and then catch it with your paddle, rather than your hand, as it develops an absorbing effect.
3. Develop your judgment skills
A good way to up your game is to learn when to let fastballs go out of bounds advises Renneson. Rather than hitting back, let your friend pass by you. But as they go, yell “out” or “in,” anticipating where the ball will land before it lands,” he advises. You can improve your judgment skills by practicing this so you know when to hit back and when to earn a point for hitting back.”
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How to Improve your Pickleball Technique
If you’re just starting out, you’ll also want to concentrate on improving your pickleball technique, along with targeted exercises.
1. You need to work on how you receive the ball
Despite having a great swing, Renneson believes if you can’t hit the ball, you aren’t going to use it. He believes that is why it’s so important to improve your ball receiving skills. Ensure that your impact point is consistently between your body and the net, and that it is at a comfortable distance from you when you receive the ball. You’ll be able to control where it goes easier this way.”
2. You need to Work on your backhand
Renneson recommends working on your backhand in order to improve your pickleball game because most people have weak backhands (when you hit the ball from your non-dominant side). The best players will find a way to attack backhands even if you can avoid them early in your pickleball career. It’s amazing how much better you can get with just a little deliberate practice when you hit against a wall or with a friend using only your backhand.”
3. You need to work on your height
In most cases, Renneson says, a player hits too high or too low during a pickleball point. In his opinion, high balls are usually smacked for point leaders or lands out of play, while the low balls which are too low hit the net,” he continues. It is important to work on a consistent swing path and control your paddle to consistently hit the ball over the net. While you probably won’t want low balls on your serve or return from then on, they are a major benefit after the third shot.