Have you ever felt off balance when you’re moving to hit a shot? Has someone told you that you’re running through the shot and you’re hitting the ball out? And if you are here to find out why is this problem happening to you only, then I am going to answer you in simpler terms “You need to work on your Footwork”.
Today I am going to talk about footwork in Pickleball.
Either it is the importance of footwork or how can you get it right, we’ll cover everything related to footwork in pickleball and lastly, I’ll give you a bonus tip about movement in Pickleball, so be sure to stay here.
But first, if you are new here and you don’t know what is Pickleball, I’ve explained (what is Pickleball, how to hit the ball in pickleball, and) everything very briefly in my other article which you can check out here.
Definition of Pickleball
Pickleball is one of the fastest-growing sports in the USA which is a combination of Ping Pong, Badminton, and Tennis. You play Pickleball on a court (of the same size) just like Badminton and Tennis but the net use for Pickleball is 2-inches shorter than a net used in Tennis.
Importance of Footwork
Whether you are playing Cricket, or Tennis, Baseball or Basketball, Badminton or Football, the basis of any sport is footwork.
Footwork is the difference between a proper player and a beginner because a champion/proper/experienced player knows how to use his/her body.
Even if you take classes from a world-class coach or a mediocre coach, he/she will heavily focus on your footwork because it’s the base.
In short, the Proper use of Footwork is the difference between a brilliant and a below-par serve.
Footwork in Pickleball and How you can Improve It?
In pickleball, Footwork is not just about getting to the ball; it’s about the right/fair movements required to get to the ball to play the shot (upcoming shot) with a balanced base to give you the best chance to win the point. And here’s what you can do to improve your footwork in Pickleball:
1. Focus on your Feet
Not denying the importance of Paddle and Ball in Pickleball but Controlling the Footwork is another major thing in Pickleball. Because all of your speed and power come with proper use of the body. How you push off and accelerate in a Pickleball game depends on your foot’s connection with the court/ground.
If you lead from the upper body in Pickleball, you’ll be totally off balance and be moving too much. Just remember one thing, you have to get to the ball efficiently and rapidly, always be ready for the next ball, and engage your lower body as you transfer your weight into your swing.
2. Balance Improvement
Pickleball is a lot like tennis, so players who come out from the tennis courts and step on the pickleball court often find it difficult in balancing in Pickleball. And if you’ll lose your balance in a game, it can be a disaster for you.
However, to overcome this difficulty, you should keep your hips facing forward and let the outside leg leads so if you’ll go on your forehand, let the outside leg and outside of the ball and on your back end, back left leg leads to hit the back end.
3. Practice with Your Partner
You should practice with your partner because what you will do will affect your partner’s game as well. So, do a lot of practice. You can check out the way of practicing in court with your partner down below 👇🏻.
Practice Footwork in Court of Pickleball
You can start practice on improving the footwork in pickleball, by placing two cones about three feet inside the baseline and two feet from the centerline. As you’ll move you want to focus on three things; Balls of the Feet in which you’ll stay on the balls of your feet, Balance in which you’ll stay balanced, and Stop and Swing where you’ll stop your feet before you hit the ball.
Once you’re good at these 3 things and are comfortable then you can start practicing with a friend. Your friend will stand at the non-volley zone and he/she will toss you the balls as you move side to side. But make sure that you are on the balls of your feet, you’re balanced and you’re stopping your motion before you hit the ball.
Once you’re successful doing the above-mentioned thing, start working on your forward motion, backward motion, and sideways motion. Start without a paddle and get used to the movement. Move to the forehand stop, set, and hit. Then you’ll shuffle around the cone to the backhand side and again stop, set, and swing.
Every time you’re moving you should be focused on staying on the balls of your feet as you move and then stopping before hitting.
As a player, you should focus on your footwork because even if you’ll train from a world-class coach, he/she will still give more attention to getting your footwork right. It all comes with the practice so be sure to perform the steps described above 👆🏻.
Consistency in sport starts at the bottom and Pickleball is no different. And one of the important things in being consistent with your footwork in Pickleball is Split Step. Checkout, my other article in which I have briefly explained what is Pickleball Split Step? When to use it? And how you can get it right?
1). How can I improve my skills in Pickleball?
If you want to be better at Pickleball, you have to improve your footwork. But footwork is not only important in Pickleball, but it’s also a necessity in every game, either it’s cricket or tennis. You will find it boring while working on footwork but trust me it’s worth your effort. However, Pickleball requires a lot of practice but you can follow the following things:
- Play it Safe
- Get to the Kitchen
- Watch the Ball
2). How can I improve the footwork at home?
Well, you can perform the first two techniques focusing on your feet and balance improvement all by yourself at home. However, the last technique will require you a partner.