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Mastering Paddle Return Position (PRP) in Pickleball

In the ever-evolving world of pickleball, becoming a less predictable player can significantly elevate your game. It’s not just about mastering a variety of shots but also about the nuances that can make a substantial difference. One such nuance is the Paddle Return Position (PRP), a technique that enhances court efficiency by preparing you for the next shot with optimal positioning.

Pro pickleball player and coach Will East shares invaluable insights and tips, alongside an instructional video, to help you effectively incorporate PRP into your game strategy.

What is Paddle Return Position (PRP)?

PRP refers to the consistent stance and paddle placement a player adopts after executing any shot, whether it’s a dink, drive, or volley. This strategic positioning is crucial for maintaining readiness and disguising your next move from opponents.

Will East emphasizes the importance of returning your paddle to a neutral, ready position, which he personally prefers on the back and side, hovering over the kitchen line. This method not only prepares you for a variety of shots but also helps in quick and unpredictable response plays.

Implementing PRP in Your Game

Adopting PRP can significantly enhance your playing efficiency by ensuring you’re always in the best position to respond to an incoming ball. Here are a few steps to integrate PRP into your playing style:

Consistent Stance

  • Practice returning to your preferred PRP stance after every shot: Whether it’s on your backhand side, forehand, or a neutral position, consistency is key.
  • Maintain a balanced posture: Ensure your weight is evenly distributed to react quickly to any shot.

Disguise Your Shots

  • Utilize PRP to obscure your shot intentions: A consistent return position makes it difficult for opponents to read your next move, allowing you to surprise them with unexpected shots.
  • Mix up your shots: From the same PRP, execute a variety of shots to keep your opponents guessing.

Drill Practice

  • Incorporate PRP drills into your training routine: Focus on transitioning between shots from your PRP, enhancing muscle memory and reaction time.
  • Simulate match scenarios: Practice PRP in different game situations to build familiarity and confidence.

Video Analysis

  • Watch videos of players like Dekel Bar: Observe and learn how they implement PRP in matches. Analyzing their techniques can provide valuable insights into improving your own game.
  • Record your practice sessions: Review your own footage to identify areas for improvement.

Coaching Feedback

  • Work with a coach: If possible, get feedback on your PRP technique and suggestions for adjustments to optimize your performance.
  • Participate in clinics: Attend pickleball clinics that focus on advanced techniques, including PRP.

Why PRP Matters: Insights from Dekel Bar

Highlighting the effectiveness of PRP, Will East points to the playing style of Dekel Bar, a fellow pro player known for his exceptional court efficiency. Bar’s mastery over PRP allows him to seamlessly transition between shots, making it challenging for opponents to predict his next move.

The key to his success lies in the uniformity of his shot preparation, where each movement begins from the same poised stance, rendering his rolls, dinks, and drives nearly indistinguishable until executed.

To Sum It Up

Mastering the Paddle Return Position (PRP) can significantly enhance your pickleball game. It’s one of those subtle strategies that might seem minor but packs a substantial punch on the court.

By observing pros like Will East and Dekel Bar, and incorporating their techniques into your own game, you can become a more unpredictable and efficient player. PRP is all about staying one step ahead, keeping your opponents guessing, and becoming a smoother, more savvy player.


Q. What is the Paddle Return Position (PRP) in pickleball?

PRP refers to the consistent stance and paddle placement a player adopts after executing any shot, ensuring readiness for the next play and making it difficult for opponents to predict your moves.

Q. Why is PRP important in pickleball?

PRP enhances court efficiency by preparing you for the next shot with optimal positioning, improving your reaction time and disguising your shot intentions from opponents.

Q. How can I practice PRP effectively?

Incorporate PRP drills into your training routine, maintain a consistent stance, and practice transitioning between shots from your PRP. Video analysis and coaching feedback can also help refine your technique.

Q. Can PRP help in doubles play?

Yes, PRP is beneficial in doubles play as it ensures both players are in optimal positions to respond to shots, enhancing team coordination and effectiveness on the court.

What do you think?

Written by Billy Pickles

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