Last week we talked about practicing just one thing at a time. Today let me suggest a pickleball key every player needs to practice…keeping the ball in front of you.
Body vs Arms
When I am giving a clinic, I talk a lot about paddle position and body position. I talk about moving your body effectively and efficiently. Often it may seem like a lot to remember. However, the key is to
keep the ball in front of you.
Of course, we want our paddle there too, but at a minimum, we need to keep the ball in front of our bodies. This allows us to remain balanced and direct the ball more efficiently. What I see many players do is move their elbows to try to get their paddle on the ball. So let me be clear, I want you to move your body…not just your arms.
There are many examples of using our arms rather than our bodies:
- Scooping the ball up when it bounces at your heels;
- Reaching behind and over your head to retrieve a lob;
- Stretching to recover a ball rather than moving so that it is in our comfortable, happy neutral zone.
Move Into Position
Think about keeping your paddle in front and moving your body so the paddle connects with the ball in front of your body. You can only control the flight of the ball when it is front of your body. We need to recognize when we are getting caught and look for the ball in front of us, rather than waiting. The trick is to look for what you want. Look to keep the ball in front and to connect with the ball in front.
Of course, we might not always get the ball where and how we want. But it is important to start to recognize when we are caught in a bad position. You can’t fix a problem until you identify the problem. Perhaps your focus should be this simple pickleball key…keep the ball in front of your body.