5 Common Pickleball Backhand Mistakes That Players Make

Pickleball is a great sport to engage in precisely because of the range of unique rules and conventions that must be adhered to while playing.

The unique rules help to impose certain limitations on players that not only help to make the game fairer to every player, but also help to encourage players to be more strategic with how they play the game!

5 Common Pickleball Backhand Mistakes That Players Make

There are numerous things that can’t be done in a game of pickleball, such as stepping into the dreaded ‘Kitchen’ after hitting the ball or even allowing a serve to make contact with the kitchen. 

Many of the rules of pickleball are intended to keep the game at a manageable pace, which helps to make it a more accessible sport for people of all ages. 

As such, backhands are often discouraged because of the power they can require, but they are still legal. But what are the most common backhand mistakes that pickleball players make?

Let’s take a look to find out so that you can become a master of the backhand serve!

1. Slapping The Ball

Put simply, ‘Slapping’ within the context of pickleball refers to hitting the ball with the paddle with very little thinking or positioning involved.

Think of it as just wildly flailing to hit the ball backhand when you see it coming toward you. Such a hit would take away a lot of control you could otherwise have over the ball.

Slapping the ball in a backhand position could cause it to simply fly off in any direction.

The ball could head off of the court leading to a foul on your side, or could even end up giving the other team an advantage by moving the ball into a beneficial position that you cannot defend!

Slapping also causes great strain on your arm because it does not involve your whole body in the swing!

In order to not slap the ball, make sure that the ball is positioned in front of you, and that you pivot into your swing on the ball instead of simply craning your wrist and your forearm! 

2. Bad Grip

Of course, having a poor grip on your pickleball racket can very quickly lead to trouble within the game as it will lead to a loss of a sense of control over the game, or could even lead to you simply letting go of the racket at the wrong moment, sending it flying! 

Most of the time, pickleball players assume that the racket can comfortably be held in the same way in their hands regardless of whether a backhand or forehand shot needs to be taken!

Within the sport of tennis, the most popular forehand grip is the Eastern grip which allows the palm to face the net, but also means that it is at a strange angle when held in the same way for a backhand shot.

Because of this, tennis players will switch up their grip from shot to shot.

Make sure that, when swapping between forehand and backhand, you adjust your grip appropriately so that your hand is comfortable, and you have the best sense of control over the racket and the ball!

5 Common Pickleball Backhand Mistakes That Players Make

3. Separating The Arm From The Body

While this may sound strange and totally impossible, it is a mistake that is actually surprisingly common, and sees many backhand shots go totally awry!

When the arm separates from the body, within the context of pickleball, it refers to a situation in which the leading elbow on the swinging arm points ahead of the body and points forward, leaving plenty of space between the body and the elbow.

Ordinarily, you will want the elbow to be tucked in quite tight to the body as you swing.

The reason for this is that keeping the elbow coiled in until the right moment helps you to deliver a more powerful backhand because you can swing out at just the right time.

Making a backhand swing without your elbow coiled could also lead to a strain on the elbow. 

To ensure this doesn’t happen, simply focus on getting into the right position. Whenever the ball is in front of you, you should be able to feel your bicep pressing against your upper body.

When you uncoil and hit the ball you will notice you have much greater control over the ball!

4. Weak Power On The Paddle Head

Continuing on from what we have mentioned above, the arm and the wrist are not the only parts of the body that help to drive the ball forward.

One thing that many people neglect when making a swing in pickleball is to get their whole body involved in the motion!

In order to make sure that your paddle is angled just right, you will want to make sure that your posture is just right.

You will want to be able to smoothly swing the paddle around in a circular motion until you hit the ball.

When you do hit the ball, you want to ensure that the paddle starts from a low position so that it can hit the ball up, rather than simply forward! 

It can be worth practicing a few drills so that you can get the timing right. Have a friend on the other side of the court throw a few practice volleys in your direction.

Practice swinging your arm down to be in the right position as soon as the ball is in the right spot! You’ll know when you are getting it because the ball will travel correctly.

5. Not Using The Non-Dominant Arm

Many pickleball players, of course, focus on their dominant arms to power swings, but this often means that their non-dominant arm is left to simply hang during play.

If you use the non-dominant arm just right, you can easily add a little bit of extra power to your swing!

When swinging a backhand shot, you will want your non-dominant hand to also swing, just in the opposite direction.

This helps you to keep your balance, and thus helps you to hit the ball with much more power! 

If you have noticed that your non-dominant arm has a tendency to just stick stiffly to your side as you perform a backhand swing, practice implementing it into your motion to give you greater stability and power!

To Wrap Up

These are just a few of the common mistakes that some pickleball (see also: 10 Most Common Injuries In Pickleball)players make when they attempt to perform a backhand swing.

Backhand swings can be a perfect trump card to pull out at the right moment, but you need to make sure you have accurate control to get it just right!

Frequently Asked Questions

What Should You Not Do In Pickleball?

Arguably the most important thing to not do in pickleball is to step into the kitchen (see also: What Is The Kitchen In Pickleball?)after hitting the ball!

What Is The Most Important Shot In Pickleball?

The third shot drop is easily one of the most important shots in pickleball(see also: What Is A Drop Shot In Pickleball?) because it can change the course of a game!

What Is The Easiest Shot In Pickleball?

One of the easiest shots in pickleball is the volley, (see also: What Is A Volley In Pickleball?)and this is largely due to the fact that it is an essential shot to make!

Michael Walter
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