Pickleball Magazine 2-3 - Page 44

PICKLEBALL INSTRUCTION Move, Block, Freeze. THE BLOCK SHOT How to defend against the hard hitters. BY ROBERT ELLIOTT, ENGAGEPICKLEBALL B locking hard shots correctly is a very important facet of the game. Most people add too much movement to their “block shot.” Remember, less is more. The simpler you keep it, the stronger and better your blocks will be. BODY STANCE (THE “READY POSITION”) Similar to most sports, you want to have your center of gravity on the balls of your feet. • Bend your knees (with your feet approximately shoulders-width apart). • Lean slightly forward (so your body weight and balance shifts to the balls of your feet). • Paddle out front of you (with your elbows slightly bent). • Shoulders square with the net (your chest should be facing the net). • Paddle face/head should be above your wrist (this ensures the ball trajectory is upward). This body position will keep you nimble, quick and in balance. 42 MOVE Body movement (how to get to the ball so you can block correctly): You must move your feet (you never want to hit a block shot while lunging). Remember, the ball will rarely be hit to you where you don’t have to move. • To maintain proper body positioning (square to the net), step with your foot that’s on the same side of your body as the side you are hitting the ball. Note: If you turn your shoulders so you are perpendicular with the net (or your back is facing the net), it will be very easy for your opponent to hit the next ball behind you. BLOCK As noted above, always remember: “Less is more.” A “block” is exactly that—a block, not a swing, punch forward or a cut (downward swing). • Your paddle should always be in front of your body (never take a back swing, which means bringing your paddle back so it is in line or behind your body). • Paddle face toward the target (point the face of the paddle toward your target). • Paddle head should be above your wrist (if the ball is low, bend your knees more to ensure paddle face remains above wrist). TO SUBSCRIBE CALL 888.308.3720 OR GO TO THEPICKLEBALLMAG.COM