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                      The Backhand – Tipbit #12

One of the things I often observe on the Greenwood pickleball courts is the length that many members will go to in order to avoid their backhands. It’s no secret at this point that most RFPBA members prefer their forehand to their backhand. They’ll do almost everything possible in order to avoid hitting their backhand. They’ll even put themselves and therefore their partner waaaaaay out of position just so that they can take it with their forehand.

On many levels I totally get it, because I favor my backhand.  Members want to play the ball with their strength because:

     1. You’re less likely to miss it.
    
2. You’re also more likely to hit a stronger and well-placed effective shot.

Maybe we think this way because a pickleball court, as opposed to a tennis court, is so small that you’ll never really need your backhand and that having a strong forehand is good enough. Plus, it can actually work for a while, especially if you’re quick, but you’ll eventually face a higher level of player that is able to access your backhand. When I play a good RFPBA member, who has built a “members’ pickleball playbook”, they already know I favor my backhand and I usually end up in trouble. Or, they’ll at least know how to take advantage of the fact that I’m way out of position trying to always hit with my backhand.

You can’t be a one trick pony if you want to be really good in anything and that goes for pickleball as well. Most people think that if they have one way to handle a shot then that’s all they need. “My backhand's not good, so I’ll just use a forehand on everything”.

On the surface, that seems like it works because you have one viable option available to you. The problem with that is you’ve become predictable. And that’s pretty much the worst thing you can be in a sport.  It’s not as bad as being inconsistent, but it’s next on the pickleball naught list.

If your opponents know your weakness, then they can likely easily strategize or target a way to beat it and then you’re pretty much cooked.

And, if you know your backhand is weak, yet you win most of the time, well, you need to find some tougher competition. Take a deep and honest look at your game.  What are you “getting away with” for now?  What needs work in order to get you to that next level?

If your backhand could use work, then recheck my Tipbit #5 or watch the YouTube video by Jordan Briones from Primetime Pickleball by clicking the below link.

Backhand

By learning to hit an effective backhand on your return of serve, it gives you an easy extra 2 ½’ jump on getting to the NVZ. This is because you contact the ball well out in front of your body, whereas your forehand is taken directly in front of your right hip (right hander’s) - - - - - - a 2 ½’ difference. Please note how Jordan keeps the front edge of his paddle leading throughout the stroke and follow through. Too many members allow the lower edge of their paddle to lead, preventing them from getting the desired topspin. A note of caution; Jordan is a pro and as you watch his swing he starts his take back high, at shoulder level. By doing that he gets more pace (every 1’ of drop increases the ball speed 6 mph) on the ball, but this takes considerable skill, tons of practice and tremendous timing. I encourage beginners to simply take your paddle back low, below the level of the incoming ball and then follow through high the way Jordan illustrates in my below four still frames.

 

 

 

 

 

 

So to summarize, once you’ve learn The Backhand, you will no longer have a weak wing and you can use it on your return of serve and be at that kitchen line that much quicker.

 

                           C' ya on the Greenwood courts. President Lueck

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