What is Pickleball?
Back in 1965, three dads invented Pickleball on Bainbridge Island. Pickleball is growing in the USA at a rapid pace, and it’s becoming one of the popular sports there. It’s a combination of three sports: Ping Pong, Badminton, and Tennis.
The court size of Pickleball is the same as the court size of Badminton, and the Net used in Pickleball is about 2-inches shorter than a net used in Tennis. You can use a paddle (a little bigger paddle from the one you use in Ping Pong) and a durable Wiffle ball to play Pickleball Split Step.
Just like Tennis or Badminton, you can play Singles or Doubles. The Singles represent the one-on-one match, and the Doubles represent the two teams (two-on-two) match up. The reason behind the fast growth of Pickleball is, it’s a lot easy on the body and it’s a lot easy to learn as well.
For other sports, you have to do a lot of training before starting a proper game but with Pickleball you just need 5-10 minutes of the lesson and you are ready.
It’s a fast-paced game that requires your quick reflexes and hand movement, but at the same time, it’s tactical too, just as if you’re playing a chess match on a court. Pickleball is a great exercise for your entire body, and it doesn’t matter whether you’ve played tennis or held a racket before or not. Unlike tennis, you are close to your opponent in Pickleball.
And they call it a social game because you are closer to your opponent and your team member as well. So, you’ve socialized on and off the game. Because of its popularity in the USA, the different tournaments are held every year all across the nation.
How to Play Pickleball?
You’ll play Pickleball on a 44ft. x 20ft rectangular court. For Pickleball, we divide the court into two sides with the help of a low net. There are two sidelines, two baselines, a centerline on each side, and two non-volley lines which create two non-volley zones known as the kitchen. The kitchen is 7ft. away from the net.
There are two service courts, the left service court, and the right service court which take place by the division made by the centerline. Just like in Badminton or Tennis, every point begins with a serve. Now the most tricky part is
How to Serve in Pickleball?
The serve of Pickleball must be underhand and it should clear the net and not land in the kitchen. You need to keep the pedal below the wrist and the waist. The serve must hit into the service court of the opponent’s team.
An important rule in pickleball is the double bounce rule, which says the ball must bounce once on each side before either team may volley the ball in the air. You must serve the ball, it will bounce to the returner, and then it must come back and bounce again before you can take the net.
You still can’t volley in the Kitchen but at this point, you can take the net and volley like you would in tennis. Until one of the teams either hits the ball in the net, out of bounds, or lets the ball bounce on their side twice the rally will continue.
There are many techniques or strategies to master Pickleball. But I am going to share some of the strategies nay techniques that you can apply to improve your game:
- Play it Safe
- Get to the Kitchen
- Watch the Ball
- Fluid and Compa
- Split Step
I’ll explain all of these some other day, but Today I am going to dig deep in Split Step and I’ll try my best to keep it as simple as I can.
What is a Split Step?
If you’re a beginner or an advanced player, then you’re probably aware that having the proper kind of footwork in pickleball is a big key to success. And a specific section of footwork is split stepping.
In most racket sports like tennis, badminton, or pickleball when an opponent is about to hit a shot towards you there’s a way to get ready for that shot. As you can imagine the worst way that you can get ready for a shot is by standing straight up and having your arms crossed.
However, the proper way of doing it is the Split Step. Once you’ve mastered it, It’s a very simple technique. When you spread your feet out a bit wider than shoulder-width apart and you bend your knees a little bit as every tennis or Pickleball player does and then you get ready. That’s when you’ve achieved Split Step.
Importance of Split Step:
I’ll explain the importance of the Split Step by giving you 2 scenarios:
- Split Stepping allows you to get ready for the ball to ensure or increase the chances that you’ll be able to successfully get the ball back over. Without Split Step, one of the most brutal shots you can get in pickleball is a shot directly at your feet and if you’re standing straight up it can be really difficult to return those shots so split stepping helps you to return all these kinds of shots that can land at your feet. As you become more advanced in pickleball, that’s going to become more common because people like to play these cheap shots that land sort on your side. However, if you split steps, you’re going to be ready for these kinds of shots.
- Another situation where Split Step will be very important and useful is when you’re doing a third shot drop. Because when doing the third shot drop, you want to get to the kitchen line as quickly as possible. However, if you hit it too high, that ball will come back at you. So, to prevent this kind of situation what you can do is walk into the kitchen (area) you slowly creep your way forward, and then when your opponent (s) is about to hit that shot, you split that to get ready for it.
When To Apply A Split Step?
The tricky part is knowing the situation where you can apply the Split Step and stop it or get out of the state of Split Step. However, the good news is you don’t always need a partner to master the Split Step technique. So, what’s the best time to Apply the Split Step?
According to many experts, the ideal time for Split Step is when the paddle of your opponent is about to hit the ball. Now you can perform Split Step exactly like that 👇🏻:
- Always Start behind the baseline, and then move forward, do a split step and stop, then take two more steps, again do a split step, and stop. Now, if you’ve observed it, you’ll know that it’s a very light bounce, so you can move from side to side.
- From the baseline, take at least two split steps before you get to the non-volley zone. Once you’ve done that twice, split the step and practice moving in either direction.
- If you are with a partner, make him stand in the non-volley zone. Similarly, just like the previous step, you work your way around the non-volley zone and observe the paddle of your opponent and the ball. Now start the split step when your opponent’s paddle contacts the ball.
Read More: Pickleball Rules
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, if you need some more guidelines on improving footwork, I suggest you watch a lot of tutorials related to footwork on YouTube.