Low Ball vs High Ball: Mastering Different Shot Techniques in Pickleball


In the fast-paced game of pickleball, understanding the nuances of different shot techniques is crucial for success on the court. Two common shots that players encounter are low balls and high balls. Each requires a different approach and skill set. Let’s explore the strategies and techniques involved in striking these two types of shots.

Low Balls: The Art of Dinking

When both players are at the kitchen line, the go-to shot is the dink, which involves hitting the ball low, close to the net, and short at the opponent’s feet. Mastering the ability to consistently execute low ball shots is essential in pickleball. Professionals excel in their dinking skills, leaving no room for error. Making split-second decisions and executing precise shots require extensive practice.

It is crucial to avoid hitting the ball too high during a dink. A high dink gives your opponent the opportunity to attack the ball aggressively, potentially leading to a lost point. Any errors in your dinking technique provide openings for your opponent to score. Therefore, precision and control are paramount in this aspect of the game.

High Balls: Seizing the Opportunity

When you find yourself at the kitchen line and receive a slightly higher ball, typically above the net, it’s time to switch gears and adopt an attacking approach. The objective is to hit the ball in the air and aim for your opponent’s feet, usually targeting the middle of the two opponents in doubles or the weaker side of a single opponent. Alternatively, if your opponent is backing off towards the backside of the court, you can opt for a deeper shot to their feet.

Deciding whether to take the ball in the air or wait for it to bounce and execute a dink is a judgment call that depends on the specific situation. Both options have their advantages and require quick decision-making skills. Taking the ball in the air allows for a more aggressive shot, while waiting for the bounce provides an opportunity to reset the point with a controlled dink.

Mastering the Dink: Techniques and Strategies

In pickleball, there are generally three ways to execute a dink: underspin, topspin, and no pace. Some players prefer a no-pace dink, which involves softly returning the ball to your opponent without any spin. While this is a safe approach, it may not be effective in competitive tournaments. Dinking with more aggressive underspin or topspin adds complexity to your shots, forcing your opponent to adjust their footwork and racket positioning, making it more challenging for them to control their returns.

Most professional players incorporate spin into their dinking game. Therefore, it is crucial to develop the ability to judge the correct hitting point and become comfortable returning underspin and topspin shots through consistent practice. Aggressive dinking, specifically targeting your shots to land on your opponent’s feet, can be highly effective. This forces them to move and readjust before returning the ball, increasing the likelihood of errors or high returns that you can capitalize on to secure the point.

Mixing up your dinks and varying your shot selection is a key strategy to set yourself up for opportunities to attack higher balls and finish points with stronger shots. Split-second decision-making and the ability to adapt your dinking technique to the situation at hand are essential skills possessed by successful professional players.

By mastering the art of low ball dinking and understanding when to transition to a more aggressive high ball attack, you can elevate your pickleball game to new heights. Practice diligently, hone your judgment, and develop a versatile range of shots to become a formidable player on the court.

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Written by Billy Pickles

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