Pickleball Must: Proper Paddle Position

One of the biggest problems pickleball players have is getting too hunched over at the NVZ line.  Today we are going to talk about how posture promotes proper paddle position.
 anticipate a pickleball opponents shots
Bending from Our Waist

The tendency of most players is to bend at their waist.  This leads to a ton of problems. Because of some injuries I have had, the most important thing for me is the health of my back. I had a fusion on my lower back years ago and got into a bad car accident a couple of years ago that has caused a ton of neck issues. As a result, I am very aware of how easy it is for people to hurt their necks and backs with improper positioning.

When I ask students to demonstrate their “ready position”, I often see them bending their backs.  When we do this the following things occur:

  • We disengage the use of our core.  Our hips and shoulders can’t rotate the way we want;
  • Our weight goes into our heels instead of the balls of our feet;
  • Most importantly, this position can cause damage to our back or neck.
Proper Paddle Position
Proper posture promotes proper paddle position.  And we all know that having our paddle in the correct position to react is critical to our success on the pickleball court.  To promote proper paddle position, I tell my students to image a bullseye on the center of their sternum.  What you want is for your paddle to line up with that bulls eyes as often as possible.
If the ball is cross court, instead of looking with your head, rotate your chest and hips so that your bullseye is pointing at the ball.  When we keep our paddle in front of our bullseye, we are certain to maintain proper paddle position.
Keep Your Head UP
The other thing I often notice is people bending over so that their bullseyes is actually pointing at the ground.  This is proper paddle positionnot a great position, and in fact, if you see your opponent in this position it is an excellent time to attack.  If their paddle is below their bullseye it is an excellent time to aim for their bullseye.
Since we have been in Austin I have been playing with a lot of their locals. Some have started to joke that their goal is for me to hit them in the chest LESS THAN 5 times per day. Finally. one player asked, “Was my paddle really that far down?”
Of course, I am not driving the ball as hard as I could at them.  I am just hitting it a little faster at their chest. If they are able to get their paddle on the ball, it will likely pop up! This allows us to end the point with the next shot.
Proper Posture Promotes Proper Paddle Position
We want our bodies to line up as a unit.  I want my hips, shoulders, and paddle all lined up working as one. Posture is not easy on the court, but if you practice it, it will not only assure proper paddle position but will result in less injury and pain.