Pickleball is a fun and engaging sport that has been rapidly growing in popularity over the years. It’s a sport that can be enjoyed by players of all ages and skill levels. However, one of the most common issues that pickleball players face is difficulty with their backhand shot. Many players tend to avoid using their backhand and instead rely heavily on their forehand shot. However, mastering the backhand is essential if you want to improve your overall game and climb up the ranks. In this guide, we’ll provide you with tips and tricks to help you master the pickleball backhand!
Find the Right Paddle
Before you can start working on your backhand, it’s important to have the right equipment. Pickleball paddles come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and materials, so finding the right one for your game is crucial. The paddle you choose should feel comfortable in your hand, and it should also have the right weight and balance to suit your playing style. A heavier paddle will give you more power, while a lighter paddle will provide you with greater control. There are several types to choose from, so it’s a good idea to do research to find the best paddle for your game.
Mastering the Pickleball Backhand
Once you have the right paddle, you can start focusing on mastering your backhand shot. Here are the steps you can follow to improve your technique:
1. Get Into The Right Stance
The first step is to get into the proper stance for your backhand shot. If you’re a right-handed player, position your feet so that your left foot is slightly ahead of your right foot. Your feet should be shoulder-width apart, and your weight should be evenly distributed between both feet. After you hit the pickleball, always return to your ready position with your knees bent and your paddle in front of you.
2. Prepare for the Shot
Prepare for the backhand stroke by rotating your body slightly towards the non-paddle side and pulling your paddle back to your waist on that side. Move your non-paddle side foot backward so you’re now perpendicular to the net.
3. Connect the Paddle with the Pickleball Ball
When you’re ready to swing, start with the paddle behind your body and then bring it up and across your body to make contact with the ball. Keep your wrists firm and your elbows close to your body. As you swing, your paddle should brush the back of the ball, giving it topspin. To generate power, use the momentum of your entire body instead of just your arm. Focus on connecting your paddle with the ball in front of the non-paddle side of your body.
4. Follow Through and Hit the Ball Forward
After making contact with the ball, push off from your front leg and complete one smooth motion to hit the pickleball forward with a complete swing. Strike it with a slight lift so your shot remains low instead of going high over the net. Keep your wrist steady. If you flick your wrist as you connect your paddle with the ball, the pickleball will likely fly off the court in that same direction. If you feel off-balance during the shot, check that your feet are in the proper position and that you’re pushing off your front foot as you hit the ball.
5. Do Practice Drills
Practice makes perfect. Start by practicing your backhand swing without a ball. Get comfortable with the motion and perfect your technique. When you’re ready, start hitting balls against a wall. This will help you get a feel for the power and spin you need to put on the ball. Once you’re comfortable hitting against a wall, it’s time to start playing with a partner. Practice your backhand shots in game-like situations so you can get used to the pressure. By practicing these backhand techniques
Be patient until you feel comfortable with the stroke and you no longer avoid it during games. You may discover the backhand becomes your favorite stroke!
6. Focus on Footwork
Footwork is a critical component of the pickleball backhand. Proper footwork will allow you to get into the right position to execute the shot. You should practice moving your feet quickly and efficiently to get into position for the backhand. This involves stepping into the shot and keeping your weight balanced between your feet. As you hit the ball, transfer your weight to your front foot to generate more power.
7. Use Your Non-Dominant Hand
One common mistake players make when hitting the backhand is neglecting their non-dominant hand. Your non-dominant hand is crucial in helping you maintain balance and control during the shot. You should keep your non-dominant hand on the paddle at all times, even as you swing. This will help you maintain control and prevent your paddle from flying out of your hand.
8. Improve Your Grip
Your grip is another important aspect of the pickleball backhand. The most common grip for the backhand is the continental grip, where you hold the paddle with the V-shaped gap between your thumb and index finger. This grip allows for easy switching between forehand and backhand shots. You should practice using this grip and experiment with different grips to find what works best for you.
9. Analyze Your Opponent’s Shots
To improve your backhand, you need to understand your opponent’s shots. Take note of where your opponent is hitting the ball and the spin they are putting on it. This will help you anticipate where the ball will go and get into position for the backhand. You should also pay attention to your opponent’s footwork and positioning to gain an advantage.
10. Practice, Practice, Practice
The key to mastering the pickleball backhand is practice. You should dedicate time to practicing your backhand every time you play. Start by focusing on the fundamentals and gradually build up to more advanced techniques. Practice with a partner or against a wall to get a feel for the shot in different situations. You should also try to incorporate the backhand into your game as much as possible, even if it means sacrificing a few points in the short term. With enough practice, the backhand will become second nature and you’ll be able to execute it with ease.
Find Resources To Help Improve Your Pickleball Backhand
Mastering the pickleball backhand takes time and dedication, but it’s an essential skill for any serious pickleball player. By following these tips and dedicating yourself to practice, you can improve your backhand and take your game to the next level. Don’t be afraid to face your weakness and take on the challenge of mastering the pickleball backhand. With hard work and determination, you can become a skilled and confident backhand player. We have all the resources you need to help improve your pickleball backhand and overall game. Visit Pickleball Insiders today to learn more about this growing sport.