Avoiding the ball going high in pickleball can be a challenge for players, especially beginners. The pop ups can be sometimes difficult for one to overcome while training for the game.
In other words, they can be the bane of pickleball’s players’ existence. So, it’s important to follow basic rules and avoid unnecessary errors while playing. This article is exactly something that’s gonna help you achieve that.
Get your gear because we will be noting down basic techniques for you to help you keep the ball low in pickleball and avoid the dreadful pop ups that can give your opponent an opportunity for a kill shot.
Keeping the ball low in pickleball can benefit the game in countless ways. Look at these techniques before gearing up in the court.
1. Reduce The Swing
One thing that is important is to make your move smaller, avoid back swing, which means you have to stop the movement of your paddle soon enough.
It’s because it can put pressure on the move resulting in the ball going higher than intended. That can be done by not swinging your paddles, past your legs, and keeping the movement shorter.
Don’t bring the paddle back as shown in picture 1 instead you can short the backswing motion which is the right way to reduce backswing.
When you bring the paddle back, what happens is you accelerate the paddle up to the point of contact with the ball resulting in a pop up.
2. Have Soft Hands
Another important technique that helps keeping the ball low is putting lighter pressure on the paddle. Because too much pressure can cause the move to go high and in the end cause pop ups.
So, a player should always keep their grip lighter (aka use soft hands) because the lesser the pressure on the paddle the fewer the risk of pop ups.
Furthermore, keep in mind to avoid tension in your body and don’t hold the paddle too tight as it can be another way of causing more pressure and therefore, more higher shots.
3. Dink Cross-Court
Another way to avoid the ball popping up is to dink cross-court, which means throwing the ball diagonally towards your opponent rather than straight across.
This is because throwing head-on will give you very little room to dink the ball.
It can even make the game stressful on your side while dinking cross-court on the other hand will be giving you more space with fewer chances of pop ups.
4. Play Your Shot Early
Another trick that comes in handy while playing pickleball is hitting the ball early, almost as early as you can.
Everyone knows that waiting longer to hit the ball can prevent keeping the ball low and therefore cause pop up.
Imagine it like this; you don’t have any time to waste and even waiting a little bit to hit the ball can cause great damage on the field.
5. Keep Your Paddle Low
It is essential for a pickleball player to keep the paddle in the right position to make the correct move.
The right way to do that is to put your paddle in a lower angle and also avoid adding additional angles while dinking to complete the movement without any faults.
6. Avoid Overreaching on Volleys
One of the common pickleball mistakes made by players is that they come close towards their non-volley zone line. Try to stay a little away from the line so that the ball doesn’t go high for the shot to be considered a pop up.
In short, just remember the closer you are to the finish line the higher chances of your opponent throwing their next kill shot.
7. Don’t Be Afraid To Hit The Net
Now we know that hitting the net is a fault in pickleball, however if you only hit towards the net in order to get the ball across the line, you will more likely be able to avoid higher shots.
This might need a little more practice but nothing a lot of game days ago in the court can’t solve.
8. Don’t Get Caught Off Guard With Direct Shots
When playing with experienced players, it is common that they often throw direct shots towards their opponents. If you’re not being careful then you might risk giving high balls and therefore losing your chances of winning the game.
It’s easier to focus your mind on the game rather than anywhere else.
9. Maintain A Distance Between Your Body And The Ball
It is difficult to make decisions in the heat of the moment. That’s why players should always keep a distance from the very beginning instead of messing up your game.
And therefore, losing opportunities to hit the ball while also maintaining your position in the court.
10. Practice More & More
Practice as much as you can with your friends and family. It will only improve your performance and help you learn more and more every day.
Watch pickleball games on your TV and try to repeat the actions done by the players, and learn their tactics.
11. Keep Your Mind Relaxed
This might be the last tip here but it is very important, keeping your mind relaxed will only benefit you on the court. Chill your head, grab some water and play the game we’re sure you’re gonna nail it!
Research shows when you are in relax and fun mood you will perform better.
Now that we’re done with the tips, let’s talk about why it is so necessary to keep the ball lower instead of making a higher shot in pickleball.
One big reason is that keeping the ball lower in pickleball can prevent aggressive shots by your opponent, as they’re harder to hit back and can give you a stressful time while also trying to maintain your pace.
Now you know what avoiding higher shots mean in the game and how they’re so important as they help you immensely in avoiding deadly shots by your opponent.
Final Thoughts On How To Keep The Ball Low In Pickleball
All in all, learning how to keep the ball low in Pickleball is one of the most (if not, the most) important steps of pickleball. It can be achieved by above simple tips and techniques.
Just keep using soft hands and don’t make your move too big. Keep your paddle’s angle right. But the most important tip to follow will be keeping your mind relaxed. Keep it chill, have fun and you will definitely smash your next game!
I am Michael Wanner, an experienced and educated expert in the field of pickleball. I hold a degree in Sports Science from Cleveland State University, Ohio, USA. My expertise lies in the technical aspects of pickleball and how to play it effectively. I have spent many years playing and coaching pickleball and have a wealth of knowledge to share with my readers. I am a valuable resource for anyone looking to improve their pickleball skills and strategies.