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The Grand Finale: Learning the 7 Point-Winning Moves Used by 3.5+ Pickleball Players

Pickleball isn’t merely a sport—it’s an exhilarating dance of tactics, finesse, and electrifying speed. And nothing wraps up a rally quite like landing that final, jaw-dropping shot with a touch of flair. So, what elevates a solid finisher into a crowd-pleasing spectacle?

It’s all about timing, explosive power, and that unexpected twist that leaves everyone buzzing.

1. The Trickster: Spin and Flick Shots

Spin and flick shots are all about trickery. Picture this: you flick the ball, adding just enough spin to slip it past your opponent’s reach.

“If I can set up an Erne and nail it, that pretty much makes my night. Plus, I’ve got this slick little flick/roll I do when I get a dink that wasn’t expected to bounce high enough,” says a player, highlighting how a well-placed spin can flip a defensive moment into an offensive triumph.

Be sure to catch one of our coaches demonstrating the forehand flick volley.

2. The Inside-Out Drive

Mastering the inside-out drive means sending the ball in an unexpected direction with a swift pivot of your body and swing of your paddle. This shot is all about misdirection—making it look like you’re aiming one way, then driving the ball down the opposite sideline.

“My favorite is when I fake towards the middle but then drive it up the sideline to their backhand side,” a player explains, showcasing how this move can exploit gaps in the opponent’s defense, especially when they least expect it.

3. The Cross-Court Crusher

There’s something irresistibly fun about catching your opponents off-guard with a swift, diagonal shot that skims just past them. When you’re on one side and they’re clustered on the other, a sharp, cross-court hit can leave them tangled up and watching helplessly as the ball lands out of reach.

“There’s a real thrill when I catch my opponents leaning too far one way and I snap it back across them,” a player shares, emphasizing the thrill of perfectly timing this deceptive play.

4. The Sideline Surprise: Swift and Stealthy

Sometimes, the best shots are the ones your opponents never see coming. “I really get a kick out of it when someone’s leaning towards the middle, thinking I’ll go one way, and then I slam it down the sideline behind them,” a player laughs.

This sneaky shot is all about playing mind games—making your opponent think you’re going one way, then hitting it where they aren’t.

5. The Slam Dunk: Overhead Smash

Who doesn’t love the sheer power of an overhead smash? It’s satisfying to send the ball crashing down so hard that your opponents barely have a chance to blink, let alone return it.

“While there’s a definite thrill to unleashing a powerful overhead smash, it doesn’t really demand as much skill,” one player admits, highlighting that sometimes, the simplest moves are the most effective.

Check out our friend and pickleball coach, Will East, as he demonstrates how to master defense against overheads.

6. The Sneak Attack: The Erne

Pulling off an Erne—a move where you jump the corner of the non-volley zone to hit the ball out of the air—is thrilling. One player shares, “If I manage to pull off an Erne, that pretty much makes my night!”

This move isn’t just about athleticism; it’s about catching your opponent off-guard and seizing the moment.

7. The Backhand Whip: Sudden and Sharp

Utilizing a mix of surprise and skill, the backhand whip can be a game-changer. “Sometimes I whip out a one-handed backhand, and it really throws people off. Being tall helps me get right over the net easily. I’ve only just started doing this, but man, it’s been super effective,” a player comments.

This move is about mixing up your shots to keep the opponents guessing, delivering a swift and sharp return that’s hard to counter.

The Secret Sauce to Pickleball Prowess

You know, these flashy moves aren’t just about racking up points; they’re a real showcase of who you are on the court. Think of each game as a chance to put your unique spin on things. I heard a fellow player say once, “I absolutely love outdinking my opponents until they just throw in the towel. There’s nothing more satisfying than being the last one standing after a tough dink battle!”

Whether it’s powering through with a smash, tricking with a spin, or outsmarting with a lob, getting good at these moves really changes the game.

Here’s a little tip for next time you hit the court: Mix it up! Sure, go for those slams, spins, and lobs, but throw in something unexpected. Each point you score could be as exhilarating as your first. Keep practicing, keep experimenting, and watch not just your skills grow but the fun explode. It’s a game changer.

What do you think?

Written by Billy Pickles

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