In the spirit of Fourth of July, this week’s tip is about taking some of the stress out of the game. Specifically, it’s a tip for your return of serve.
How many times have you made your return of serve, only to be out of position when your opponents make their third shots? Often times this happens for two reasons, either you’re relaxing a little too much on the court, or, more than likely, your return of serve did not give you the opportunity to float all the way into the kitchen line.
Remember, the two bounce rule was designed to give the service receiving team the advantage in the point, so let’s not waste it. So here’s the tip in a nutshell:
“Hit it high, hit it deep, and your return of serve will be hard to beat.”
For proof, watch part of the US Open gold medal match below. Notice how most of the return of serves are deep, and soft enough to give the returner plenty of time to set up at the kitchen line.
Benefits of the high, deep return of serve:
- Hitting your return high gives you more time to make your approach to the kitchen line and have time to get set.
- Hitting your return deep keeps your opponents back, remember one of the main goals of winning pickleball is maintaining your position at the kitchen line while keeping your opponents back.
- Once you find you and your teammate setup at the kitchen line, you’ll be able to attack your opponents’ third shot instead of reacting to it.
Tips for handling a difficult serve:
- Clear your mind and focus your eyes on the ball all the way to your paddle.
- Stay low and bend your knees.
- Shorten your backswing.
Let me know your thoughts and questions in the comment section below. Additionally, let me know if there is a topic you’d like covered in an upcoming Tip of the Week.