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How to Drive the Ball in Pickleball

Young man playing pickleball in court.

Pickleball is a fast-paced sport that resembles the elements of badminton, tennis, and ping pong. It’s extremely popular because it’s super easy to learn and play, and it doesn’t require a lot of equipment to play. All players need is a pickleball court, paddles, and a pickleball.

Whether you’re playing singles or doubles, learning how to drive the pickleball ball is important as is having a strategy when playing the entire game. To win the pickleball game, you need a strategy because the game is not just physical and you don’t just need to run around and toss the ball; it’s a mental game too. Most people develop a strategy in their minds the minute they pick up a pickleball paddle, and this is important as it helps maintain a unique playing style and improves playing techniques.

As you learn to play the pickleball game more and more, you master the rules and then the next step is to learn a few strategies and techniques to help you enjoy the game and win too.

Why are proper Pickleball hitting techniques important?

Adult men playing pickleball in court.

The rules of playing pickleball become second nature once you spend time playing the game. The best thing to do when you reach this stage is to focus on hitting techniques and strategies that will help you win the game. Many individuals still enjoy the game even without developing proper techniques and strategies, however, this limits the chances of improvement and becoming a superstar in the game.

As a result, you might find it hard to challenge more advanced players who have spent time developing strategies and techniques on how to play the game effectively and actually win. Learning the right techniques and strategies to play the game is a must especially if you want to be a pro and enjoy the game in the process. And as you learn more techniques, you become excellent and more skilled and you will also be able to challenge more experienced opponents in the game.

Yes, pickleball is fun and friendly, but you definitely do not want to be on the losing side all the time. When playing pickleball, you need to be able to position your body and select the right short for that position and speed of the ball. You need to strategically place the ball in areas of the court where it will be difficult for your opponent to return the shot.

Overall, playing the pickleball game with the strategy in mind increases your chances of winning. Now we will take a look at some pickleball playing tips that will help you figure out how to drive the pickleball ball, or hit it.

So, what is the best way to hit a pickleball ball?

Hitting the pickleball ball effectively will depend on which shot you are attempting, and this is best demonstrated when you have complete control. The one short you have complete control over is the serve. With it, you can control your standing position, your swinging strategy, your toss, contact point, the ball speed, direction, etc.

How to effectively hit a pickleball ball serve correctly?

Pickleball paddle and ball held by player.

To hit the ball effectively, you need to do it with your entire body. Yes, use your entire body to make the serve. Use your arms, wrist, and all the muscles in your body to make the serve.

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The contraction of your muscles in a chain reaction from your feet, up through your legs, into the twisting of your core muscles in your torso, and on into the shoulders, arms, and wrist, is what the power in your serve is generated by. To toss the ball effectively, you need to make a small step forward with your left leg so that you can transfer your body weight into the shorts. This will give you the perfect swing and you’ll be able to get the best results from it.

Make sure you keep your eyes on the ball when making the serve, as this helps you make good contact with the ball for that perfect swing. When you have the serve as your control, you need to strategically be able toss or swing the ball to a position where it will be advantageous to you. And you can only do this if you have a few playing techniques up your sleeves.

Playing the pickleball game without any techniques will only have you enjoy the game but winning will be hard for you. Losing isn’t an option for some of us, no matter how friendly or social the game is, winning feels good.

Tips on how to swing a pickleball paddle effectively

You need to consider your initial position when hitting a pickleball, and you also need to prepare for the shot and know how to hit the ball effectively, and to do this, you need to have a strategy. Here are a few tips on how to develop one:

1. Your ready position

Senior men playing pickleball in court.

When playing the pickleball game, you need to be in the ready position so that you are ready for a proper shot. If you are not in the proper ready position, your shot is bound to fail before you even make it. The right position allows you to move in any direction fast and effectively.

You may need to move forward, to either side, or backward, depending on your position on the pickleball court, where the ball is struck, and where you particularly stand. As you analyze the area where your opponent is about to hit the ball and keep your eyes on the ball, maintaining your balance is crucial.  You need to be in a position whereby when it’s time to spring into action, it will be easy and avoid any subsentences of falling and missing the ball.

2. Your Swing

The paddle is swung in two ways, which are the pendulum swing and the lateral swing. With the pendulum swing, the paddle hangs down and its tip is pointed to the ground when you swing. On the hand, with the lateral position, the paddle tip is pointed in a range from directly towards the side at the point of contact.

If you’re just a beginner to the pickleball game, using the pendulum wing is the easiest and best thing you can do. But as you get better and gain more experience, the lateral position is recommended. The reason behind this is that the pendulum swing limits your power and is not usable for higher contact points.

The lateral position is ideal for those who want to be experts in the game or already are.

3. Your hitting techniques

Close-up shot of woman playing pickleball.

Like any other sport, pickleball is a ground war. You want to have more access to your opponent’s court than they have to yours. When there, you can hit sharper angles, and you can also cut off their shots to the baseline by taking them out in the air.

The pickleball game is all about having more control and taking the lead, and to do that, you need to have the right techniques. Now, let’s take a look at a few techniques you can use to increase your chances of winning.

Pickleball techniques and strategies to help you stay above your opponent

4. Hit groundstrokes smoothly

Young man playing pickleball in court.

You only have the opportunity to hit groundstrokes when the pickleball ball bounces after clearing the net. You must do this frequently when driving the ball from the mid-court and when an offensive opportunity presents itself to you. To make sure that you have an accurate shot, you need to prepare yourself and move to the ball quickly once you know where it’s headed.

Also, make sure to give yourself enough space to step forward and initiate your swing because your weight needs to move forward when you make contact with the ball. Hitting the pickleball should be smooth and this can only happen if you make a relaxed swing with a light grip. This also allows you to hit deep shots with so much ease and comfort.

5. Forehands for the win

For most players, the forehand side is the most powerful and stable and that’s because making a hit while leading with the palm of your hand is easier than leading with the knuckles. The forehand drive swing which can also be used on groundstroke is the most powerful shot when playing pickleball but is hit far more frequently than the overhead which is what makes it the most dangerous shot in the pickleball sport.

6. Hitting backhands with the right grip

Adult man playing pickleball in court.

As mentioned before, most players prefer their forehand for many reasons. As a result, they hit their backhand using a grip that is ideal for the forehands because they are not well trained for the backhand. However, with the right training, backhands are super easy to hit and with the correct grip, you can definitely take the lead.