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Can You Switch Hands in Pickleball?

Athlete demonstrates the pickleball ready position for the paddle.

Whether you’ve watched professional pickleball players on the courts in your area or on television, you’ve probably seen them bust out the old switcheroo at some point. If a highly skilled pickleball player switches hands for certain shots, you might be tempted to follow their example and do the same for various reasons. When you want to look as cool on the courts as your favorite player, you could try to pull this move.

But be careful–professionals can switch hands without missing a beat (or a ball) because they are, well, pros. For regular, average pickleball players and amateurs, this kind of move could win the admiration of your friends if you pull it off or lose the game if you don’t manage it well. So the question is, can you switch hands in pickleball?

And, more importantly, should you switch hands in pickleball? We’ll answer these questions in the article below.

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Can you switch hands in pickleball?

In pickleball, you can absolutely switch hands. You might want to do this for a variety of reasons. Some people have a weak backhand and prefer to switch hands to keep a forehand hit going.

Others might have a weakness or injury in their dominant hand, which makes it beneficial to ease the impact on that hand by switching to their non-dominant hand. Others might be ambidextrous and make use of both hands to make their best shots. The point of switching hands in pickleball is to make a hit you wouldn’t be able to make with your dominant hand because of the reach or the power required.

While there aren’t any rules against switching hands in pickleball, it’s not always the best move for every player or even every circumstance for players who are skilled and enjoy this technique.

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As shares in an interview with professional pickleball player Rick Witsken, “Rick gave a couple of examples of when he used this technique during the U.S. Open. He said…’…I remember playing Tyson McGuffin in singles in the quarter finals two years ago at the U.S. Open. And, I remember switching to my left hand so many times, because obviously he hits the ball on a dime and if I’m not using my left hand extension, I’m getting passed.

So against him, I used it a lot.’ While sometimes Rick doesn’t switch hands at all during a match, it’s something he can do if needed. In fact, Rick also teaches some of his students to use this technique if they lack mobility or have ambidextrous tendencies.

Many players without a racket sport background also prefer to switch hands since hitting a forehand is more comfortable for them.” Coming from a professional player, you can trust that switching hands is allowed and even encouraged in pickleball at times. Still, as you can see, Rick Witsken knows what he’s doing and when to pull out this strategy.

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He doesn’t switch hands for show or to impress fans. There are certain situations where you can switch hands with your pickleball paddle but should not do so outside of an injury or some other issue. As shares, “While most pickleball players prefer to keep the paddle in one hand while hitting shots, there are others who prefer switching things up during a game, which is fine as well.

Although there are times when switching hands is not recommended. For instance, experienced pickleball players know all too well that attempting to switch hands during a game during a fast kitchen volley exchange is far more difficult than a normal switch.”

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Beyond causing you to struggle and lose confidence, switching at the wrong time or when your skills aren’t sharp enough for it, you can lose a point for your team. If you don’t pick up the pace to match the speed of the game when you switch, the other team will be able to spot you stalling and go in for the point. If you’re a first-time player or inexperienced, you can avoid creating a window of opportunity for the other team to score a point when you are slow to switch hands.

Simply wait for the ball to bounce and switch hands. If you’re going to do this, check to see if your paddle is in your dominant hand when you hit a backhand volley. This way, it’ll have enough power to get over the net and stay in play.