When I first started playing pickleball, like many, I was your classic “banger”.
I had no idea what I was doing.
I’d just wind up and rip it straight up the middle of the court.
That worked for quite a while until I ran into some 4.0 and higher players.
I was abruptly introduced to the “soft game”.
They toyed with us. It was a humbling experience.
I learned a lot that day about dinks, drops and resets.
It was certainly eye opening and I became aware of a whole new set of skills. It became clear to me that these skills are at the core of winning pickleball.
I also understood why “soft game” skills are more advanced and can be a hurdle for many to overcome.
You see, it is FAR easier to hit a ball back at the same pace or faster than that at which it came in…
…than it is to absorb pace from the ball, slow it down, and still manage to place it where you want.
Luckily for me, once I knew to do, I was able to do it reasonably well thanks to my tennis background.
In the video at the top of this post we’re going to cover the #1 Skill you need to Beat Bangers.
As mentioned above, that skill is soft hands and the ability to slow the game down by taking pace off the ball.
You need to develop the ability to drop the ball in the kitchen when receiving a hard drive. This is easier said than done which is why it’s something you need to drill over time to master.
You will also need to keep drilling this skill in order to keep it sharp.
Reasonably well isn’t good enough though if you want to play with the big dogs and this drill is one of the main drills I did for weeks on end to work on my soft game.
Give it a try and watch your “soft game” skills improve!
Here’s what Jordan has to say about a great drill to develop your soft hands and beat bangers…
We’re going to go over a reset drill. This is a really good one for you players who are trying to soften up your hands at the net.
In pickleball you’re going to be up at the non-volley zone line and sometimes people are going to want to speed that ball up.
It’s not the best idea to always hit the ball and speed it up faster than it came.
Sometimes you want to just reset it and get the ball and drop the ball back into the kitchen so that it won’t be an attackable shot.
This is a really good drill that you can do with your partner.
I have Aaron with me today. We’re going to stay across from each other across the net and we’re going to dink.
I’m going to speed up a ball and then he is going to try to block it back into the kitchen and then we’re going to alternate on taking turns.
This is a good drill to practice when your opponent is going to try to drive it at you and you’re just trying to reset it and soften up the shot so that they can’t drive it at you again.
If you’re running into people that really like to drive the ball or bang the ball this is a good shot to practice.
I’m usually going to block it on my on my backhand side because typically when they drive the ball it’s going to be straight to your body so this is an easier block.
I’m making sure I’m blocking it out in front of my body. I’m keeping a pretty firm wrist while I block it and try to reset it.
Get out there and start practicing!
The balls in the game will be a lot easier to handle when you get out there and drill.
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