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How to Improve Reaction Time for Pickleball

Female pickleball player hits a strong two handed backhand during tournament.

Fast reaction time is important, at every skill level, when you play pickleball. The thought of reaction time likely seems easy, right? Do you believe that getting to the ball and hitting it over the net is all that there is to improving your reaction time?

Some people play pickleball for years, yet never seem to improve a great deal on their reaction time. Then, along comes a newer player, and their reaction time is better than players who have more experience, compared to the new player. Is it a more expensive paddle?

Does the superior reaction time have something to do with who can run faster? Maybe it has something to do with whether people play pickleball in singles games or doubles pickleball games. How about considering that a person who has a faster reaction time knows the tips, tricks, and strategies to improve their reaction time?

Knowing how to improve your reaction time helps you to win points and to win pickleball games.

Why is Pickleball Reaction Time Important?

Male pickelball player reaches for the ball during a tournament.

The Pickler explains that Pickleball “is all about fast reactions.” The faster your reaction, the more likely you are to win on the pickleball court. What is the reaction time for pickleball?

Pickleball Fire describes it as, “how long it takes for you to respond to a stimulus.” What is the stimulus in your pickleball game or tournament? It may be your opponent.

It can also be your opponent’s pickleball paddle, or the pickle ball. You have less than one second to respond in pickleball, based on an analysis. Does your reaction time meet this analysis?

Most players likely feel that they need improvement in their reaction time, as a part of the strategy to win points and to win pickleball games. Pickleball is not just a physical game. It is also a mental game.

You have to actively engage both your physical skills and mental skills during each game. Start with the idea of playing smarter, not harder. Calm down and demonstrate patience during your pickleball game or tournament.

Tips and Tricks and Strategies to Improve Your Reaction Time for Pickleball

Pickleball leave it all on the court t-shirt design.

Pickleball Master Course by Steve Dawson ($199)

Do you want to improve your reaction time? Take some tips and strategies from people who have the knowledge and experience to help others who want to learn how to win points and to win more pickleball games.

Get in the Ready Position

Do you think that you have the perfect ready position that will help you with your reaction time? Are you “pickleball ready?” The pickleball ready position is the ready position that you or another player is in when starting to transition up the pickleball court and enter into the No-Man’s Land, No Lady’s Land or the transition area.

It also includes the No-Volley Zone Line. Pickleball ready includes making sure that your feet are a shoulder’s width apart, keeping your knees bent, and compressing your body with your weight on the balls of your feet. Make sure that you have the paddle facing forward, and the paddle facing up.

Paddles Up

One common mistake when a person plays pickleball is believing that faster is always better when swinging at a pickleball. Although it is important to work on how to increase the actual speed of your paddle, it is likely more important to focus on improving on the time that it takes for you to swing the paddle. Remember the angle information that The Pickler provides, related to the angle of your paddle.

An angle closed to the sky will result in the ball having less height. A pickleball paddle that is open to the sky gives the pickleball more height.

Hit the Pickleball Out Front

Hitting the pickleball out in front of your body cuts down on your reaction time. Do you want to look cute and professional by hitting the pickleball behind your body? Forget it if you want to improve your reaction time.

You swing faster and you swing more freely when you hit the ball in front of your body, compared to behind your body.

Keep a Good Grip

Maintain a loose grip on the paddle to have faster hands. Keeping a good grip helps you to have quicker movement for speed. You also have more movement, which allows you to manipulate spin if you keep a good grip.

Importance of Eye Hand Coordination

A tournament pickleball players hits a shot.

One of the most important aspects of improving your reaction time for pickleball is eye-hand coordination. Your eyes take in information and in return, that information helps to guide your hands when you hit the ball. It takes training to improve eye hand coordination when you want to reduce your reaction time.

Consider exercises or tips to improve your eye hand coordination, which, in turn, improves reaction time. Look at the ball all the way until the point of contact with your paddle. The visual cues that you give yourself help with the speed of your reactions.

Drill and Drill Some More

Drills to improve on reaction time are not strictly for beginners, even if they are designed for beginning pickleball players. Pickleball Adventure explains that having quick reflexes is “one of the key skills” that you need when you play pickleball. The Pickleball Adventure drills include the reflex training drill.

Stand at the non-volley zone with your partner. Dink back and forth with controlled shots. Surprise your pickleball drill partner with a hard drive.

The partner should block the pickleball with their own paddle.

Stay Hydrated

Young man playing pickleball in court.

Are you wondering why a tip to “stay hydrated” made this list of ways to improve your reaction time? Your brain shrinks when you experience dehydration. Dehydration may have an effect on your reaction time when you play pickleball.

Several studies concluded that there is a link between dehydration and poor cognitive performance.