Pop-Up-Free Pickleball: How to Control Your Shots like a Pro
In today's guide, we're covering 12 common causes of the dreaded pop-ups and, more importantly, how to fix them.
Picture this – confidently hitting unattackable shots, leaving your opponents scrambling, and dominating the court like a seasoned pro.
Sounds pretty sweet, right?
From perfecting your grip and refining your wrist action to reacting faster and countering spin, we've got all the tools you need to say goodbye to the pop-ups for good.
Let's get into it.
12. Loosen That Grip, Ace!
The first secret to curbing pop-ups lies in your grip strength. A white-knuckle death grip on your paddle is a one-way ticket to pop-up city…
Instead, aim for a lighter grip pressure, keeping your hands soft and relaxed. (On a scale of 1-10, shoot for about a 4.) Cradling your paddle with this looser grasp provides more cushioned control, meaning the ball won't ricochet off your rigid paddle's surface and launch skyward. Trust us; the results will speak for themselves!
11. Spin Control for the Win
Spin can be a sneaky culprit when it comes to pop-ups. Keep an eye on your opponent's spins, especially topspin, which can cause the ball to take unexpected bounces.
Counteract it by using softer hands and adjusting your shot when needed. With proper spin control, pop-ups won’t stand a chance.
10. Compact Backswings, Like a Pro
Don't let those wild backswings wreak havoc on your game. Remember, pickleball is all about control, not swinging for the fences.
Keep your backswings short and sweet, maintaining that compact motion to avoid unintentional pop-ups. You'll be the picture of finesse in no time.
9. Court Your Paddle's Sweet Spot
You've heard it before, but it's worth repeating— hitting your paddle’s sweet spot is nothing short of magical for avoiding pop-ups.
Get acquainted with your paddle's sweet spot and it’ll always help you guide the ball with grace. When you aim your shots precisely and the ball connects with it just right, you'll be pop-up free!
Speaking of sweet spots, have you experienced the Vice Pro™ Carbon Fiber Paddle by Paddleballers? It's engineered with an expansive sweet spot, designed to enhance your control and consistency on the court.
With this exceptional paddle in your hands, you'll effortlessly deliver those low shots, leaving pop-ups in the past:
8. Master the Heights of the Net
Don’t forget! The pickleball net isn't level throughout, and dinking down the line can spell disaster.
To avoid pop-ups, consider hitting most dinks crosscourt or towards the middle of the court. If you decide to go down the line, be conscious of the higher net and limited space. Adjust your shot accordingly and keep those pop-ups in check.
7. Get Comfy with Your Point of Contact
Finding the perfect body positioning for your point of contact is crucial for keeping pickleball pop-ups at bay. Avoid hitting too close to your body, lunging excessively for the ball, or overextending in front of you.
Instead, strive to hit the ball comfortably out in front of your body, without letting the ball encroach on your space so you’re rushed or in an awkward position. You can always take a step back and let the ball bounce if need be! Try to visualize a two-foot circle around your feet and keep that pickleball outside of it so you can line up a smooth shot.
6. Be an Underhand Wonder
Here's a little secret about the Underhand Serve —it's not just for beginners! This slow, easy approach also happens to be a powerful secret weapon against pop-ups.
With a smooth underhand motion, you maintain control over the ball's trajectory and prevent it from flying off the handle.
5. Stand Still, But Ready to Pounce
Stay grounded and maintain your balance while hitting the pickleball. Popping up often happens when you're moving and lose your shot's accuracy!
To prevent this, perform a split step before striking the ball. This little move will keep you ready and in control of the game.
4. Don't Be a Pop-Up Victim - Stabilize That Wrist
When it comes to popping up, your wrist can be your best friend or worst enemy. You want a smooth follow-through, so flicking your wrist or bending at your elbow can lead to inconsistent shots and—you guessed it—pop-ups.
Keep your wrist and elbow stable and avoid jerky motions during your swing. With a solid wrist and lifted shoulder, you’ll maintain more precision and controlled shots.
3. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Pickleball Champion
Pickleball moves fast, and you need to be ready for anything. Stay in a ready-to-pounce athletic stance with your knees bent and paddle in position, so you're prepared to react to every shot!
The lower your stance, the more control you'll have, and the fewer pop-ups you'll encounter. Get low, and the game will be yours to conquer - just don’t forget to stretch first!
2. The Low Paddle Paradox
Picture this—bend those knees, lower that paddle, and stay level with the ball. It's the low paddle paradox, and it works wonders.
A low paddle position ensures a controlled shot and prevents the ball from taking flight like a mischievous balloon.
1. Choose Your Battles
Last but not least, know when to attack and when to play it safe. When you're caught off guard or under pressure, resist the urge to attack, as it often leads to pop-ups.
Instead, opt for a strategic block or reset using soft hands. Counterattack only when you're ready and see the opportunity coming!