How to Judge if the Pickleball is Going to Be In or Out


Have you ever found yourself in a pickle, unsure whether the pickleball is going to land in or out of the court? It’s a common dilemma that can leave you second-guessing your shots and potentially giving your opponents an advantage. But fear not!

Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced player, there are ways to improve your judgment and make more accurate calls on the court. In this article, we’ll explore some tips and techniques to help you become a master at determining whether the ball is in or out.

Learn from the Pros

One of the best ways to enhance your judgment skills is to learn from the experts. Senior professional Linda Thompson, known for her expertise in pickleball, shared a valuable drill on the Pickleball Fire podcast. The drill involves standing at the kitchen line while your practice partner hits shots that should land deep in the court.

Without swinging at the ball, you simply observe and verbally state whether you think the ball is in or out. Your practice partner can then provide feedback on the accuracy of your judgments. Over time, this exercise helps you develop a correlation between the speed, height, and trajectory of the ball and its likelihood of landing in or out.

Consider Spin, Contact Point, and Height

While some players may suggest a general rule like “if the ball is shoulder high, let it fly,” it’s important to note that this guideline may not apply to everyone, especially those of shorter stature. Factors such as spin, contact point, and the height of the ball over the net play crucial roles in determining its trajectory.

If your opponent is hitting the ball with top spin, it may dip lower than expected, even if it’s shoulder high. On the other hand, if they contact the ball below the net and drive it without much spin, it’s more likely to go out. Observing the spin and contact point of your opponent’s shots, as well as the height of the ball over the net, can provide valuable clues to help you make accurate judgments.

Study Your Opponent’s Consistency

Another key aspect of judging whether a ball is in or out is assessing your opponent’s consistency. By observing their shots, you can gain insights into their playing style and tendencies. If you notice that your opponent consistently hits shots that land out of bounds, it becomes easier to anticipate their future shots and make informed decisions about whether to play the ball or let it go. Paying attention to your opponent’s patterns and consistency can give you a strategic advantage on the court.

Learn from Experience

Judging whether a ball is in or out is undoubtedly a skill that improves with practice and experience. Don’t be afraid to let a ball go without attempting to hit it. By observing the outcome, you can learn from the situation and adjust your judgment for future shots.

Each time you encounter a close call, take note of the factors at play, such as the speed, height, and spin of the ball, and use that knowledge to refine your judgment skills. Remember, every shot is an opportunity to learn and grow as a player.

In conclusion, accurately judging whether a pickleball is going to be in or out is a skill that can be honed with practice and observation.

By learning from the pros, considering factors like spin, contact point, and height, studying your opponent’s consistency, and gaining experience through trial and error, you can become a master at making accurate calls on the court. So the next time you find yourself in a pickle, trust your judgment and make the right call. Happy pickleballing!

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Written by Billy Pickles

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