Controlling the Direction of Groundstrokes in Pickleball

Controlling the Direction of Groundstrokes in Pickleball


Hi there it’s Mark from Third Shot Sports.
Today we’re going to talk about controlling the direction on groundstrokes. Obviously
that’s important because it’s the difference between hitting a shot that is an unforced
error and goes out or hitting a winning shot. So, there are some myths out there about what
actually controls the direction of groundstrokes. We’re going to do two things today: First,
is to explore some of those myths and explode them and explain why their wrong. And two,
lead you down the right path to understanding what controls the direction. So, the first
myth and the most common one I hear is people say “it’s really important you follow through
towards your target”. “If you follow though towards your target, that’s where the ball
is going to go”. So, let’s take a look at this. You’ll see on the far side I have a basketball
and I have a chair. I’m going to aim for, I’m going to follow through towards the basketball
and let’s see where the ball goes. So again, I followed through towards the basketball
but it doesn’t go there. It goes towards the chair. Follow through toward the basketball
but again it didn’t go there. So that’s three times I’ve followed through toward the basketball
and three times the ball went somewhere else. So what’s gong on here? If you think about
it, this piece of advice doesn’t actually help. The followthrough is what happens after
the ball has already left the paddle. The ball is on its way somewhere: to the basketball,
or chair, or somewhere else. What I do with my paddle after the ball has left, can’t effect
where it’s going. It is already on its way. So what you do with the followthrough doesn’t
actually control where the ball goes because it’s after the fact. The second myth you hear
is that “it’s important to line up your feet and hips and shoulders towards your target
and that’s going to make it go where you want”. Let’s look at that. I’m going to line up towards
the chair. I’m on this angle. Everything is well lined up. I send the ball and it doesn’t
go there. It could go there, but it could also go somewhere else. Again, it’s not your
feet or your hips or your shoulders that are sending the ball. I could be lined up in this
really strange position, backwards, and I can still send it wherever I want. I could
send it to the basketball, I could send it to the chair, because it’s not my hips or
shoulders or feet that send the ball. So those are the two myths. If you hear them from people,
“followthrough toward your target” or “line up your hips”: you now know that they are
on the wrong path. So what’s the right path? What actually controls the direction of your
groundstrokes? Well, the main thing that controls it is the angle ofg the paddle at the moment
you make contact. For example, if I was hitting the ball towards you, if my racquet face is
pointing straight towards you, that’s where the ball is going to go. If the racquet angle
is pointed to the side, away from you when I hit, it’s going to go that way. If it’s
tilted the other way, it goes the other way. So regardless of what position my body is
in, it’s the angle of the paddle at impact that controls the direction. Let’s take a
look. So, I’m going to make sure that when I hit this ball this time, that the paddle
face is pointed straight toward the basketball. And then it goes towards the basketball. If
I do everything exactly the same but this time I tilt it, hitting slightly on the outside
part of the ball, now that the paddle face is pointed towards the chair, it goes towards
the chair. This is the same on the backhand. Again, if it’s tilted towards the chair when
I hit, it goes to the chair, if it’s tiled towards the basketball, it goes towards the
basketball. So, regardless of what position you’re in, it’s going to be the angle of the
paddle at impact that controls where the ball goes. Ok? So next time you’re out playing
some pickleball, and your partner says “Hey, how do I hit a good down the line? How do
I hit a good crosscourt?” you know. It’s not your feet. It’s not your followthrough. It’s
the angle of the paddle at impact.