In today’s blog we’re going to talk about the five most common return mistakes.
Mistake #1 – Standing Too close To The Baseline
The first most common mistake in the return game is standing too close to the baseline, such as an inch or two away, or standing right on it.
The problem with this is the better you get and the better players that you play against they are going to serve deeper and deeper and if you are right up at the line and they are serving deep it’s going to be really hard for you to hit that ball as opposed to if you were further back.
So, you don’t ever want to return right up at the line.
You really want to give yourself some room especially against the better players.
Mistake #2 – No Forward Momentum Through The Return
The second most common mistake we see when people are returning is that they are not hitting through the ball with their momentum moving forward.
This is really important because as a returner our goal is to meet our partner at the net.
So, regardless of how fast and deep that serve is, every time we hit that return we always want to be moving forward because our end goal is to be up at the non-volley zone.
You want to make sure that you’re not just hitting it stagnant and you definitely don’t want to be hitting it moving back.
This is why we like to stay anywhere from three to four feet behind the baseline so we can move forward into our return.
Mistake #3 – Not Having A Target In Mind For Your Return
The third most common mistake is not picking a target, a returned target, before you hit the return.
A lot of players will just see the serve and then they’ll hit it wherever they go hit it at that point in time.
Now, as you’re a beginner, and as you start off playing pickleball, it’s okay, you just want to get that ball in play. But, as you become an intermediate player, and also in higher levels, you really want to make that decision where you want to hit that return before you strike that ball.
This is going to put a lot of pressure on your opponents and also it’s going to be really strategic for you when you decide beforehand where to locate your target on your return.
Mistake #4 – Excessively Running Around Your Backhand
The fourth most common mistake when returning is running around your backhand way too far.
You should not be moving around your back hand to try to avoid it. By doing this you will really open up the court. It’s going to leave a big gap between you and your partner.
Also, if you’re moving far over to avoid your backhand you’re moving sideways. It’s going to be very hard for you to move sideways to hit that serve and then to later come all the way up to the net.
It’s going to be nearly impossible to get your momentum going sideways and then forward by the time your opponent’s hit the third shot.
So, instead of moving around that backhand, work on that backhand side so that you can be comfortable returning on both your forehand and your backhand.
Mistake #5 – Not Hitting In the Optimal Contact Point Zone
The fifth most common mistake when returning is having different contact points on your return.
The serve is going to be hit either to your forehand or to your backhand or to the middle of your body. You’re going to have to gauge where that ball is going and then you’re going to have to move to that ball.
The optimal contact point, which we’ve talked about in previous videos, should not be too far from your body and not too close. If it’s too close you’ll jam yourself up.
The optimal contact zone is in front of you. You need to make sure you move your body and move your feet so you could have a consistent contact so your returns are more accurate.
Move to that ball and make sure you try to contact that ball in front of you every single time.
Those are the five most common mistakes when returning. Go out there and work on them and it’s definitely going to develop and make your game better.