Mastering Defense Against Overheads in Pickleball

In the dynamic and fast-paced world of pickleball, one of the key skills to master is defending against powerful overhead shots. Pro pickleball player and coach Will East offers a valuable technique for this, known as the “Dig It Out” method.

Understanding the “Dig It Out” Method

When you find yourself in a challenging position on the court, particularly in the dreaded ‘no man’s land’ – that area between the baseline and the non-volley zone (NVZ) or ‘kitchen’ – the “Dig It Out” method becomes crucial. This technique is specifically useful when your opponent launches a heavy hit ball from the NVZ.

Key Steps to Implement the Technique

1. Positioning Your Paddle:

  • Lower Your Paddle: As soon as you anticipate a powerful overhead shot, your primary move should be to lower your paddle. Position it close to the ground, ready to ‘dig out’ the ball.

2. Reacting to the Shot:

  • Quick Reaction: If the ball is aimed towards your feet, it’s essential to quickly get your paddle to the ball. The objective is to use the pace of the incoming shot to your advantage, redirecting it effectively.

3. Adjusting Your Stance:

  • Adopt a Low Stance: When the ball is high, adopt a low stance. This allows you to rise into the shot, swinging over and driving the ball downwards, countering the overhead with precision.

Key Points to Keep in Mind

Paddle Movement:

  • Anticipation: Notice how East’s paddle moves in response to the opponent’s actions. As the opponent prepares to hit, East lowers his paddle in anticipation.

Contact Point Variation:

  • Effective Defense: Pay attention to where East makes contact with the ball. By varying this point, he can effectively defend against a variety of powerful shots.

Additional Learning Resources

Check out more of Will’s videos on various techniques to up your pickleball game:

  • 3 Pro Tips for Mastering the Backhand Slice in Pickleball
  • Understanding the New Beta PPA Serving Rules in Pickleball

What do you think?

Written by Pickle Pete

Pete is a semi-professional pickleball player known for his powerful serves and strategic play. Growing up in Austin, Texas, Pete was introduced to the sport at a young age and quickly developed a passion for the game. His athleticism and dedication to training have made him a formidable opponent on the court.

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