Windy day on the courts? Don’t worry. We’ve got the tips you need to bend the wind to your will. Because keeping an eye on the breeze can be the difference in coming out on top in your match or scraping yourself up off the court after getting pickled.
When the Wind is at Your Back
When the wind is blowing with you in the direction of your shots, there are several things to keep in mind. First, the velocity of your shots can greatly increase adding some immediate pop to your power shots. This can be a great advantage on normal volleys and returns. But be careful. That extra velocity can carry your shots long.
In addition, you can gain an advantage on shots hit into the wind from your opponent. Soft pop ups and dinks can hang in the air a little longer making them easier to get to and easier to return. Whether the wind is at your back or blowing into your face, it’s a good idea to try and hit your shots low and hard to minimize the wind’s influence.
Playing into the Wind
When you are tasked with playing into the wind, it’s important to make critical adjustments to your game. Be careful lobbing the ball into the wind as it can cause the ball to float in the air setting your opponent up for an easy smash.
If you are good at managing and manipulating the spin on your shots, a steady wind in your face can accentuate different spins causing more elaborate bends and arcs. This in turn, makes for a more difficult return. However, if you’re not careful, a heavily spun shot hit directly into the wind can more easily get carried out of bounds. So watch out. It’s a bit of a double-edged sword.
Cross Court Wind and Gusts
Playing with a cross court wind can challenge even the best picklers. It’s important to pay attention to the wind’s strength and angle so that you can use it to help guide your shots where you’d like them to go. Hitting shots with the wind via a slice or a top spin draw is a great way to add speed and action to your shots.
Be sure to compensate for the wind’s trajectory and velocity, too. For instance, if the wind is coming from the left across the court, play your shots a little further left or into the wind to allow it to blow your shot back in the direction of where you want it to land.
If it’s extra gusty, that makes for some of the most challenging pickleball conditions you can face. The best plan for sporadic wind speeds is to keep your shots low and firm. This will lessen the wind’s influence on your shots.
Practice. Practice. Practice.
Last note. Determining just how much impact the wind will have on your shot can only be learned through experience. We recommend choosing a windy day to go out on the courts to get in some reps. Over time, you’ll be able to react quickly to changing wind conditions when you play.
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