Mastering the Art of Keeping Your Eye on the Pickleball


In the fast-paced world of pickleball, it’s not uncommon for players to lose sight of the ball during crucial moments. Just like a professional football player dropping a wide-open pass because they looked up to assess the defense, pickleball players can miss shots due to distractions or lack of focus. So, why does this happen, and more importantly, what can you do to keep your eye on the pickleball?

I must admit, I’ve been guilty of playing pickleball without giving the ball my full attention. The game moves at such a rapid pace that it’s challenging to track the ball’s contact with the paddle. However, it’s crucial to train ourselves to closely watch the ball. Personally, I tend to hit the ball without looking at it when I’m at the non-volley zone line. Instead, I find myself scanning the court, analyzing my opponents’ positions, and searching for openings to exploit.

But as I learned from my conversation with John Sperling on the Pickleball Fire podcast, this habit can lead to errors. John emphasized, “By lifting up your head and breaking your kinetic chain, you’re going to actually start to make more errors.” So, how can we improve our focus on the ball?

Use a Target for Precision

One effective technique is to place a target on the court, whether it’s at the kitchen line or deep in the court. Have a practice partner feed balls to you, and your objective is to aim for the target without looking directly at it.

This exercise forces you to keep your head down and maintain visual contact with the ball. Your practice partner can provide feedback on the accuracy of your shots in relation to the target, helping you refine your aim and concentration.

Harness the Power of a Hat

Wearing a baseball cap during pickleball is not only a practical choice to keep hair out of your eyes but can also serve as a helpful tool to remind you to keep your head down.

Pulling the hat low over your eyes during practice sessions creates a visual barrier, limiting your field of vision and discouraging the temptation to sneak a peek at the ball’s destination on the other side of the court. This tunnel vision approach helps maintain focus and reinforces the importance of keeping your eye on the ball.

Focus on the Holes

When the ball is on your side of the net, train your attention on the holes or markings on the ball itself. By doing so, you prevent the tendency to lift your head prematurely and allow distractions to divert your focus.

This technique not only improves your level of play but also enhances your mental engagement in the game. When you can clearly read the logo on the ball as it approaches, you can be confident that your eye is firmly fixed on the ball.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Why is it important to keep your eye on the pickleball?

Keeping your eye on the pickleball is crucial because it allows you to make accurate contact, maintain control, and react effectively to your opponent’s shots. It is the foundation of good technique and consistent performance in pickleball.

Q: How can I improve my focus on the ball during pickleball games?

There are several techniques you can employ to enhance your focus on the ball. These include using a target for precision, wearing a hat to limit your field of vision, and consciously focusing on the holes or markings on the ball itself.

Q: What is the benefit of using a target during practice sessions?

Using a target helps you develop precision and concentration. By aiming for the target without directly looking at it, you train yourself to keep your head down and maintain visual contact with the ball, leading to improved accuracy in your shots.

Q: How does wearing a hat help in keeping my eye on the pickleball?

Wearing a hat serves as a visual reminder to keep your head down and maintain focus on the ball. By pulling the hat low over your eyes, you create a tunnel vision effect, reducing distractions and reinforcing the importance of visual contact with the ball.

Q5: Why should I focus on the holes in the pickleball?

Focusing on the holes or markings on the pickleball helps you maintain concentration and prevent premature lifting of your head. By directing your attention to the ball itself, you minimize distractions and improve your ability to react to the shot effectively.

In conclusion, keeping your eye on the pickleball is essential for success in the game of pickleball. By implementing techniques such as using a target, wearing a hat, and focusing on the holes, you can enhance your concentration, improve your shot accuracy, and elevate your overall performance on the court.

Remember, the key to mastering this skill lies in consistent practice and a mindful approach to each shot. So, embrace the challenge, stay focused, and watch your pickleball game reach new heights!

What do you think?

Written by Billy Pickles

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  1. Some great points, just tracking the ball off my opponents paddle also helps me to be in a better position or reinforces me not being in a better position when not. Reading and reacting to spin one has to see the holes rotating.

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