Continuing our study of Pickleball Fundamentals: Master the basics and compete with confidence by Mary Littlewood, “Your entire demeanor at the net should be confident and strong. Let your attitude convey that you want the ball to come right at you because you’re willing and able to return it! Face the net with flexed knees. Be light on your feet. Hold the paddle up in front of you and focus fully on the ball.”
Experience tells me this is one of the most important mental aspects of the game. Be confident. Convey that you want the ball to be hit in your direction. This is shown with knees bent, feet apart, and paddle out in front of you. One of the best tips I love to share with players is to use your paddle to point at the ball as the point is being played. This will ensure your paddle is ready when the ball comes your way.
Mary continues, “If you have time to direct your volley, send it down the middle of the opponents’ court or to an open space. Volleying the ball right back at your opponent’s feet, especially if the opponent is moving from deep in the court to the net, is often a good shot. There will also be times when your volley is a defensive move—you just want to keep the ball in play. A defensive volley will occur when you’re at the net and the ball is hit so far to the side of you that you’re unable to move your body behind it. Therefore, you have to take a lunging step with the leg toward the oncoming ball and reach for it, hoping that the ball will rebound off your paddle. If the ball is coming with force over the net and you’re able to place your paddle in line with it, the ball will likely rebound off the paddle and go over the net. At least you’ve kept the ball in play!”
Remember, volleying includes the swing, follow-through, and your continued momentum. You can’t touch the non-volley zone following through even after the point is over. This is a fault, and the rally is lost.
Want to know more about the sport, the rules, equipment, or have some pickilicious news you would like to share with our pickleball community? Email David Zapatka at [email protected].