This may seem like an obvious suggestion…but we really need to watch the ball when we play pickleball. I think we don’t always do this because there are so many distractions when we play. There may be people playing on an adjoining court…people watching near the sidelines, or even our partner just a few feet away.
Watch the Balls: See the Holes
To ensure you are really watching the ball, I want you to focus on the holes. As we have discussed before, the smaller your focus the more likely you will be able to achieve the desired outcome. When you try to see the holes, you will see the ball more clearly.
To learn how to do this, begin by focusing on the holes in the ball when dinking. I bet you will be surprised at how much more consistent you become. You will also likely improve your balance and coordination.
If you are having difficulty returning a fast serve…again, focus on watching the ball. All the way from the server’s paddle to your service area. Watch the ball carefully, and it will appear to actually slow down.
Watch the Ball with Your Peripheral Vision
To improve your ability to watch the ball, use your peripheral vision. Too often we move our heads up and down or side to side, and loose sight of the ball. Try to keep your head up and forward. Track the ball with our peripheral vision. We don’t want to become a bobblehead on the pickleball court.
Again, using our paddle to track the ball will also help us watch the ball without too much excess movement. Let your body shift with the paddle pointing towards the ball. As we discussed before, this gives your paddle a job and encourages us to keep the paddle up in front of us.
Think about looking with your eyes and your paddle, not your head. Watch the ball…it may seem simple, but often times the simplest things have the biggest impact on improving our games.