Shot Making Tips: Strategies of the Smash

One of the best and most effective shots you can hit in pickleball is the overhead smash. When executed properly, it’s extremely difficult to return and can either win the point, or set you up for an easy put away after an awkward return.

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Here are a few things to keep in mind when you are considering a smash during a game.

  1. Make sure the ball is high enough to warrant an overhead shot. If the ball is too low or too far in front of you, trying a smash will likely result in a shot into the net.
     
  2. If the ball is high enough, position yourself behind the ball and be sure to execute an overhead swing with the paddle angled downward. Through practice, you’ll be able to quickly determine the right angle for your shot. If you don’t have enough of a downward angle, the ball will likely sail long. If it’s angled downward too sharply, the ball will go into the net.
     
     
  3. Recognize where you are on the court when you consider a smash. If you are close to or at the kitchen line, the probability for a successful smash is high.
     
  4. The further away from the net you are, the harder it can be to execute a winning smash. Again, being aware of where you are on the court will allow you to determine if it’s worth taking a chance to hit an overhead smash. 
     
  5. Placement of a smash is very important to its effectiveness. A shot right at your opponent’s feet, executed with great velocity, will be difficult to return. In addition, a smash aimed right at an opponent’s midsection can also be very difficult to handle if the velocity is high enough.

Here’s a tip for how to force your opponent into providing you with an easy smash opportunity.

  1. If you find yourself in a battle of dinks, or a basic back and forth volley, look for a chance to place a shot at your opponent’s feet. Shots that are placed low often result in your opponent popping up their return in an effort to get the ball back over the net. This can result in the perfect opportunity for you to execute a smash and put them away.
     
     
  2. Executing a high velocity passing shot can also set you up for a smash put away. A passing shot is a quick shot, often with top spin, that’s sent wide to an opponent’s left or right side. If the opponent is caught off balance and has to extend to reach the shot, this can result in a pop up… which means it’s smash time for you.

Keep these tips in mind and watch your pickleball smash game grow. 

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