Those pesky tennis players with such beautiful ball control, smooth strokes, good footwork and tricky spin… Do you ask yourself, “How ever do I play against them?” When you diagnose the problem, it’s quite simple actually, once you know these two secrets.
Secret #1: Wait until the ball is past the top of the arch and almost to the second bounce.
This is similar to the strategy I talk about in my article, The 4 Secrets to Getting Your Dropshot to Go Where You Want (And Not Where You Don’t) in regard to how to hit a good drop shot.
In fact, I’m even going to use the same rough diagram.
If you hit the ball in the course of it’s arch between the blue & the red arrows, it will still have a strong spin on it, and it is likely to fly wildly out of your control. But as the ball reaches the apex of the bounce, the spin has drastically diminished and you’ll have a MUCH better chance of hitting a decent shot back. Also, the longer you wait (the closer you take it to the yellow arrow) the more control you will have over your shot.
Watch the Pickleball Guru on YouTube
Secret #2: Expect the Ball to Bounce Higher or Lower Based on How They Hit It
You don’t need to know a lot about HOW they hit their topspin shot or their slice shot, but you should know what to expect from the ball based on how they hit it.
If your tennis player opponent has not read my article The Top 3 Reasons You MUST Play at The No-Volley Line + 2 Lies You Tell Yourself When You’re There then chances are they are back in no-person’s land or at the back of the court, rather than playing up at the line.
Watch the motion of their paddle.
If they hit a top-spin shot, where their paddle moves from low to high over the ball, then you can expect the ball to bounce higher than normal.
Here’s a slow motion video example of a tennis player hitting a top-spin shot. Look for the low-to-high motion.
If they move their paddle from high to low and hit the ball at a downward & cross-the-body angle, then they are hitting a slice shot, and the ball is likely to bounce lower than normal.
Here’s a video example of how a tennis player is taught to hit a slice shot.
Don’t pay attention to the fact that he finished with his racket back up by his other ear, but pay attention to the high-to-low motion of the racket as he hits the ball.
Just having that extra half-second head’s up to know whether to expect the ball to bounce lower or higher than normal, and then to wait that extra half second until the ball reaches (at least) the top of the arch will improve 80% of the shots you hit against someone who spins the ball.
So give it a try & let me know how it goes.
Hit “Like” and then Post your comments at the bottom of this page.
Great lesson on watching the paddle to decide the type of shot being hit. How about expanding on the best paddle position to return these shots. In a recent tournament I played against a person that had a great backspin or undercut to my services and it was very difficult to return the shot because it stayed so low to the ground.
Prem Carnot says
The best paddle position would be to get under the ball no matter what spin comes to you
I agree. I found the best way to return a spin is, with eyes focused, to get under the ball on its way down with your paddle perpendicular or 90 degrees to the floor or pavement.