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How to Put Spin on a Shot in Pickleball

A tournament pickleball players hits a shot.

We are now learning to play pickleball, and our competitive inner self has one question. What can we do to improve our game and win the match? One answer is to learn how to put a spin on our pickleball shots.

When we know how to put a spin on the pickleball, it adds another dimension to our game. The pickleball spin can give us an edge over our competitors, leading to improved game scores. Please continue this article and learn how we can put a spin on the shot.

Once you have learned the spin shot, become a more competitive pickleball player.

How to Put Spin on a Shot in Pickleball

Most paddle or racquet games involve serving a ball over a net. These games include table tennis, lawn tennis, or racquetball. When I serve or return a shot, I always apply as much spin as possible on the ball.

Topspin, sidespin, or backspin adds rotation to the pickleball. This rotation makes the opponent’s return much more challenging and gives us an edge. Let’s discuss putting a spin on a pickleball shot and how to apply it.

What is Pickleball Spin?

Over the shoulder shot of man hitting a pickleball with a paddle.

Unlike tennis, we do not get a second chance at serving in pickleball. So, being successful in the first service is very important. And, if we add more rotational spin on the ball, the opponent will have a more challenging return service.

But why is that? Applying a forceful spin to a pickleball can make the ball behave erratically. This erratic spin makes it more difficult for your opponent to have an effective return.

The various spins and ball behavior are explained in the following way:

  • Topspin or sidespin – This spin creates a sudden drop downward in the ball with more forward rotation. The result makes it more challenging for the opponent to return.
  • Backspin – The backspin puts backward rotation on the ball to cause the ball to bounce higher. The competitor may have been expecting a more powerful baseline shot. The backspin bounce may create confusion, resulting in a bad return shot.

If we learn how to add spin to our pickleball, we can elevate our game and become more competitive.

How to Add Topspin or Sidespin to Your Pickleball Game

The topspin or sidespin shot has a forward spin to create the sudden dropping of the ball with a higher bounce. Also, the forward ball’s rotation can lead to an unexpected bounce in the ball on the playing surface. The topspin may lead to the ball skittering across the pickleball court.

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This ball action places more pressure on the opponent to return a good shot. Practice topspin or sidespin pickleball shots before attempting to hit it in a serve. Once the shot is mastered, this is a very effective service method that can produce good results.

But there is a caution. Until we put in practice time learning the shot, it is easy to miss hitting the serve into the net. It is advisable not to use topspin in a serve until we are confident in the topspin shot.

Instead, practice hitting return spin shots until we are confident of our stroke. Then begin introducing them to our services once the stroke feels comfortable. These are steps for adding topspin or sidespin to our pickleball shots.

How to create a topspin or sidespin shot

Female pickleball player hits the volley with topspin.

  1. Visualize the intended shot, hitting the ball to add rotation to the ball while in a forward flight. This forward or topspin motion will cause the ball to drop unexpectedly. When returned in a volley, the sudden drop may confuse the opponent. The result causes the ball to bounce higher and land short on the receiving side. This confusion creates a more challenging return shot. If you can visualize what the shot should be, it helps in the execution.
  2. When we start to understand what the desired ball flight should be, we can then work on the mechanics of the shot. The first setup for a topspin shot is the proper paddle grip. To hit a topspin shot, hold the paddle head below your wrist while keeping the wrist in a laid-back position.
  3. Next, speed up the paddle upwards to the point of contact with the ball. This action will achieve the proper paddle contact to create a topspin shot. The goal is to hit the return ball during a volley into a high arc, then quickly drop. The topspin shot can create confusion for the opponent and a more difficult return shot.
  4. The mechanics of hitting a sidespin shot are like the mechanics of hitting a topspin shot. The ball movement is sideways depending on the direction of brushing or hitting the ball. Depending on the ball’s swipe direction, it will either have a left or right sideways rotation. This rotation determines if the ball bounces right or left. The erratic bouncing on the court makes a return shot much more difficult.

How to create a backspin shot

Pickleball player bends low for a volley of the wiffle ball duri.

  1. Hitting a backspin shot uses reverse mechanics to hit a topspin shot. The goal of this shot is to have the ball rotate backwards during flight. The backspin paddleball shot is often used for returning volleys rather than serving. For a backspin serve to be successful requires bouncing the ball on the court before hitting.
  2. To create a backspin shot, the paddle has to generate a high-to-low strike. This will effectively lift the ball with a backward rotation. This motion will create a higher bounce to the ball and may confuse the opponent.

The opponent may expect a more powerful hit to the baseline. Also, the ball, depending on the force and motion of the swipe direction of the paddle, can die quickly. Or take a sharp left or right bounce and confuse a competitor’s return shot.

Best Paddles to Hit Pickleball Spin Shots

A competitor concentrates during a pickleball tournament match.

Creating spin on pickleball shots requires practicing our shot-making techniques. But there is another weapon we can use to make it a little easier: paddle selection. Specific paddles have a little more grit to the paddle face, adding grip on the ball to induce spin rotation.

These are some of the best paddles for creating pickleball spin shots.

1. Electrum Pro Graphite

Electrum Pickleball Electrum Pro Paddle USAPA Approved | Carbon Fiber Surface | Polypropylene Honeycomb Core | Best Paddle for Spin and Power | Lightweight

A professional pickleball paddle suitable for advanced players. The Electrum Pro Graphite paddle is constructed of carbon fiber. The carbon fiber paddle has excellent balance and stability for creating spin shots.

Also, the strong carbon fiber face has a sweat-resistant carbon handle. This combination gives an advantage to the pickleball player making controlled spin shots.

2. Bantum TS-5 Pro Composite

Amicoson Pickleball Paddles - Pickleball Set of Paddles, Indoor & Outdoor Pickleball Balls, Pickleball Paddle Set of Wood Pickleball Racket Ergonomic Cushion Grip (Black)

A great paddle to choose for creating spin shots. The Bantum TS-5 Pro Composite comes in many attractive colors. Also, it has an expanded paddle face for optimal shot-making.

The dual-layered cushioned handle is sweat resistant and has a comfortable grip. The honeycomb core of the Bantum TS-5 Composite paddle uses smart response technology. This unique technology assists in creating accurate, controlled return hits.

3. Champion Graphite X

Pickleball, Inc. Champion Graphite X Pickleball Paddle | X Widebody Traditional Forgiving Shape | Standard Grip | Polymer Honeycomb Core and Graphite Face | Grey

An affordable and high-performance pickleball paddle. The Champion Graphite X brings a lot of performance to the game. Packaged with a carrying case and a unique responsive polypropylene honeycomb core.

Also, the lightweight design features a textured, sweat-resistant grip. The grip is important for the necessary control to create good pickleball spin shots.

4. Prolite Crush Powerspin 2.0

PROLITE Crush PowerSpin 2.0 Pickleball Paddle - Reactive Fiberglass with UV Protection Graphics and a 14 mm PolyCore - Made in The USA Since 1984 - Color Design: HIGH Tide

A dependable, best-selling pickleball paddle. The Prolite Crush Powerspin 2.0 paddle is perfect for players desiring control of hitting a spin shot. This paddle has a five-inch handle for superior comfort and control for all players.

The polymer honeycomb core allows the ball to sit on the paddle surface longer. Sitting on the paddle longer creates more tension, resulting in better spin shots. Whether making a spin or power shot, the Prolite Crush Powerspin 2.0 is a pickleball paddle a player can depend on.

5. Amped Invikta X5 FiberFlex

Selkirk Amped Pickleball Paddle | Fiberglass Pickleball Paddle with a Polypropylene X5 Core | Pickleball Rackets Made in The USA | 2021 Invikta Midweight Sapphire Blue |

Made by Selkirk with an extra thick X5 polymer honeycomb core. The Amped Invikta X5 FiberFlex has excellent control for all types of shots. The Invikta has an extended handle that creates a very comfortable grip.

This pickleball paddle is a little on the heavier side. But the X5 paddle’s construction has a comfortable feel for making great spin shots.