Whether you are just a beginner in pickleball game or have already become an experienced player, making mistakes is common among us.
How good your blocking skills are to defend power shots efficiently? We indeed have limited opportunity to return a well-hit power shot.
However, if you know some techniques to tackle your opponents, it becomes easy to block the power shots successfully. It will determine your winning success too.
In this write-up, we will outline some match-winning tips on how to block power shots in pickleball. Don’t miss them if you want to win your match.
How to Block Power Shots in Pickleball
The Pickleball game is easy to play. But it is not so effortless to master. The same goes for blocking power shots.
Read more “Best pickleball paddle for power“
Be Able To Forecast A Shot In Advance
Let’s start with a simple yet effective one. If you can determine where your opponent will play the next shot, it appears easier to defend hard-hitting shots.
Most players play hard-hitting shots in their common pattern. Knowing their play style can help you on how you should react on the next ball to dominate on the current match.
It is not effortless to utilize this technique if you play with the player for the first time. But most power hitters start playing power shots from the beginning of the game. So, you just need to pick their playstyle quickly.
But how will you find out hitting playstyle if they play in different ways? Well, you can still read out their hitting techniques. You maybe need some time to ascertain them.
But, never be too late. Learning their playing style in the middle of the match may not help you as you might be already on the losing side. So, it is always best to fetch the playing pattern within the first few shots of the game.
Continue Returning at the Current Pace and Avoid Smashing It
How do you react when a power shot comes towards you? We generally try to return it as hard as we can.
But we have more probability of making mistakes to return a hard shot. You may lack accuracy since the ball may directly touch the net or go out of the court.
When you are playing with a pro player, he/she may utilize this technique to trap you. And, you should not get yourself into this trick.
So, how you should you play? Instead of smashing a powerfully hit-hard shot, try to return the shot with the same pace. Just make sure you paddle contacts the ball on the right spot.
Since the ball is at a high pace, your main focus should be hitting the ball in the right area of the opposite side so that the opponent struggles to return the ball. This can be a winner shot.
Even if you don’t win the point, you have at least been successful in returning the ball and keeping the match competitive. So, a pickleball game is not showing your powerful shots but winning the game through techniques.
Be Prepared in the Right Position
What is the use of predicting your opponent’s shot style if you can’t handle the shot? Thus, after anticipating the shot accurately, you should focus on the best way to control it.
Keeping yourself in the correct position is one of the most demanding and fruitful approaches you can use. It will help you block power shots easily.
Correct position means “ready position.” Most pickleball players are familiar with this term, but not everyone follows it.
Under this position, you need to bend your knees, and the space between your feet should be the width of the shoulders.
The benefit of this position is that it will help you return the ball more precisely and powerfully. Apart from physically, it will mentally support you to play the next shot efficiently.
Moreover, playing with the “ready position” means keeping your pickleball paddle at the right position. Instead of keeping the paddle on the side, you keep it on the front side.
Thus, you don’t need to waste time to bring the racquet to the right position. You will have increased time to block the shot at the correct area. So, never overlook your pickleball position. It can save your time and effort.
Don’t Ignore Your Paddle Position
Sometimes, you end up returning the power shot to the net even though you are standing in a perfect way. This generally happens due to keeping your paddle in the wrong position.
Read more about “Pickleball Paddle Position“
Apart from keeping yourself in the right position, your pickleball paddle should also be in the correct position.
Make sure you keep your racquet in a little upward direction while blocking power shots. It will prevent hitting them directly on the net. Also, this allows you to block the powerful stroke with slight backspin.
By following this approach, you keep yourself at the current pace, and your opponent will fail to hit back the ball with more power.
After establishing your paddle position, you shouldn’t mind moving it slightly on the right or left angle as per your opponent’s position in the court.
This gives you a better advantage to return the power shot with wicked backspin. As a result, the rival player will fail to return the ball efficiently.
However, applying this technique is not a piece of cake. You have to practice a lot. Only then will you have the correct angle. But after learning it, it will surely reward you for your gameplay.
Get Control Back With the Reset Shot
Will you give your opponent to play the same power shots repeatedly? Of course, Not! After all, the more you allow your rival player to play consecutive power shots, the less chance you have to win the point.
You need to apply a ‘reset’ technique, which will force the opponent to hit the ball with a non-dominated shot.
One of the most effective ways is returning the hard-hitting shot on your opponent’s feet. This gives you scope to stand in an optimal position in the court.
This approach is a common thing among professional players. However, it takes a lot of time and practice to force your opponent to reset his power shot.
Have a Plan to Return Power Shots
Everything must have a plan, and so does return the power shots of pickleball. No doubt, it is not a piece of cake blocking power shots in a pickleball game. So, having a plan is necessary on how you will react to the next power shot.
Your blocking style should be specific, not generic. But picking the wrong block fashion may end up losing the point. After all, your winning probability depends on playing the correct shot at the right time.
While planning to return the hard-hitting shot, you should be more specific on where your next shot will be landed on the opponent’s side.
For example, when you are standing in the kitchen area, you might be planning to hit the over the net, and the ball goes into the no-volley zone.
This will limit your opponent from hitting the ball with the current pace. Hence, you will have more control of the continuous play.
Be Conscious About Correct Grip
A highly skilled pickleball paddle will always perfectly hold his/her paddle. After all, grip matters. Holding the racquet in the proper way allows you to implement your planned shot accurately.
It is a good rule of thumb to keep your grip a little bit loose while hitting or returning power shots. It gives you a solid feel. More importantly, this allows the paddle to absorb the shock of the power shot more efficiently.
Practice Playing Blocking Drills
Pickleball players have many options to learn the skills of blocking power shots. You can implement some blocking drills if you plan to use these blocking shots regularly in matches.
One of the convenient approaches is having a supportive partner. He/she will stand to the far opposite side of the net while you will stand a little away from the kitchen area.
You will tell your partner to hit mid or highly power shots while continuously blocking them. But when you are at a beginner level, your partner should only hit low or medium power shots.
Over time, you will develop more skills in blocking power shots. Then you can easily block extra power shots with confidence.
Avoid Swinging At It
A huge number of pickleball players make this mistake though it is essential to avoid it. Though it is a natural reaction, you have to train your body and mind to avoid swinging to the power shots.
Swinging to a power shot will merely give you any benefit. It is pretty hard to dominate on a hard-hitting shot since you can’t swing your paddle as fast as you desire to win the point.
So, why does swinging your paddle to a power shot doesn’t give you any advantages? It is all about the reaction time. Since pickleball court is small compared to tennis or other racquet sports, you have to react quickly.
The more you swing your paddle, the more chance you have of missing the ball. That’s why always keep your paddle in front of you so that you can reduce the reaction time.
What Is The Ideal Way Of Blocking Power Shots?
Blocking power shots is hard and tricky. When you see a power shot is coming towards you, you raise your paddle position and swing it to hit the ball as fast and hard you can.
When the rival player hits an extreme power shot, you are more prone to swing the paddle highly. You want to generate more power so the ball can be hit at a more rapid pace. But this increases the challenge of returning the next ball accurately.
The best approach is moving your paddle slightly to block a hard-hitting shot precisely. Your primary focus should be absorbing the power of the ball into your racquet and hitting the ball over the net in a tricky way so that the rival player finds it hard to control the kitchen area.
One theory applies to all sports: practice, practice, and practice! Learning about how to block power shots in pickleball but failing to implement them on the court doesn’t make any sense unless you are a pickleball coach.
You can figure out your weaker side through practice and work on improving it. As a pickleball player, it is important to learn the correct way of blocking power shots.
Hopefully, our above discussion has helped you learn various techniques to refrain your opponent from playing power shots continuously. Apply them and win the game!