All About The Backhand – New Serve Rule At Masters – Aggressive Mindset

Universal Rackets Weekly Update!

Let’s Talk About Your Pickleball Game

Question: Why is the backhand shot at the kitchen the hardest to master?

Answer: Have you noticed players from all levels have the hardest time with their backhand? It is the most noticeable when you are playing the left side of the court. The backhand dink is one of the most challenging shots in pickleball. It is a shot that is taken with the right hand when it is taken by one hand, or you can use both left and right hands for a two-handed backhand dink like James Ignatowich. (insert photo /link). As a new player it is essential to realize in contrast to the forehand dink, your right arm needs to cross your entire body to be in the proper position to hit a great shot. This means your preparation and timing needs to be proactive. The number 1 reason the backhands are missed on the left side of the court in pickleball is lack of efficiency. Any extra looping of the paddle (comes naturally from tennis players) will cause a delay in contact. To limit this looping, players need to take their paddle directly from ready position towards their lower left leg. This preparation will give the point of contact with the ball the best spacing to hit the ball in the strike zone. If point of contact on any shot in pickleball is too far behind you, too close to the body or too soon the shot will lack accuracy. Now once we have established the best paddle movement in the backhand, the second area of examination for missed shots is footwork. We we are moving at the kitchen poor footwork will make our body out of position and unbalanced to take a great backhand. You want to slide and shuffle while lunging in an athletic stance. Too many players are bouncing and stepping across their body as a new player. Not many sports can prepare you for this type of footwork. Lateral mobility is what you are training for these backhand shots. Then to move back into ready position you need to develop your power and explosive lower body movements to be successful at the kitchen. Identifying these two areas of the backhand form in pickleball is incredibly important when we look at why players miss this shot often. Master these two areas first, then perfect your follow through and you will hardly miss these backhands again.

The Backhand: 3 Common Types

#1 The dink: a shot that is lifted low to high and ideally clears the net as low as possible. The goal of a successful dink is one that also lands into your opponent’s kitchen shallow enough that they are unable to hit the ball out of the air. They will need to step into the kitchen and return your dink with a dink of their own. A dink- volley is a shot that is returned by your opponents out of the air. This is done because the accuracy of your attempted dink was not shallow enough or it cleared the net higher than intended. Opponents are able to take your dink out of the air and volley it back as a return. 

#2 The roll: This is an aggressive shot at the kitchen in pickleball. The backhand roll gives more pace than the traditional dink-volley we previously mentioned. With the roll you use more of your legs and power generated from the ground up and create top-spin by brushing up on the ball with an upward follow through. It can be used to initiate fire fights at the kitchen and immediately put your opponent’s on defense.  

#3 Attack volley: This backhand attack is commonly performed on the left hand side of the court when a ball is given to you at a waist/ shoulder height and instead of the low to high motion you are taking the ball out in front with no backswing and following through with big acceleration to your opposite right shoulder. This type of attack should be targeted at the opponent straight ahead of you since it gives them little time to react, compared to their partner all the way cross court. If you are able to find the middle of the court or an angle opponent’s have left open, take those lanes as well. 

Click here for tips on your backhand!

The perfect Valentine’s day gift: Selkirk core line team backpack in pink

We will be the ones to remind you Valentine’s day is just around the corner. This pink bag is not only the perfect size but there is no better color to gift your significant other this year. The team is the middle-sized backpack that @thepickleyogi loves to use so it doesn’t get too heavy or overfilled with pickleball items, but not too small where all the essentials wouldn’t fit. Surprise your loved one with this bag or treat yourself to the core line this Valentine’s day.

Click here to view and purchase! Make sure to use our code ADV-Universal at checkout for a gift card with your purchase.

The Purpose of Aggressive Mindset at the Kitchen:

Initially we become engrossed by the unique rules of the kitchen and when we are allowed to or not step into the 7-foot space designated in front of us. Then once we become comfortable entering and exiting the kitchen, it is time to begin to recognize the correct times to attack when your team makes their way to the kitchen. Lowering your center of gravity and reaching your paddle above the kitchen and learning proper body positioning at the kitchen will take your game to the next level. See here as Tyson Mcguffin constantly searches for his chance to attack dinks as volleys.

3 zones: red, yellow, and green are determined on your contact zone. A red ball is down at your feet. Yellow is a ball higher than your feet that may be attacked, but also could be a risky shot, since it is not yet in the obvious green attackable zone. Green zone is shoulder height and above. If a ball is falling shallow into the kitchen at your feet, trying to attack will not be successful. The best players know how to identify and attack as much as possible in pickleball. They can see a yellow ball, know their opponents and attack their weakness. The green level balls are 100% put away. Developing an aggressive mindset at the kitchen with proper timing creates a player that is intimidated by many. Dinks are used as a neutralizing shot in the red zone. The roll volley can be used by experienced players in the yellow zone & your attacks and overheads are used in the green zone. Don’t play passive pickleball. Know when to neutralize and learn when to attack at the kitchen.

Click here for a full lesson on dominating the kitchen‼️

New Serving Rules at the Masters?

Pros had a tough time adapting to the new test-run of serving motions. Players needed to release the ball to the paddle with palm facing down. Prior to this rule players were allowed to have the palm facing up. This change takes some power out of the big servers and many looked awkward adapting to the change. Will this stay through 2024? Would it affect your personal serve?

Click here to view our thoughts on this new “test” rule

2024 Indoor Programming February Programs Are Here!

We are look forward to kicking off our 2024 season next week with the start of 30+ indoor Junior & Adult pickleball programs in 7+ locations including our new Center City Philadelphia location. 

Click here to view all February programs!

Lesson of the Week: How To Improve My Dinks

Click here to view this week’s lesson

Thank you for reading and we can’t wait to see you on court!

-Universal Rackets

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