Pickleball Magazine 2-3 - Page 45

T H E B L O C K S H OT FREEZE QUICK TIPS When you make contact with the ball (i.e., block), freeze your paddle for one second at the end of the block (this ensures your paddle face remains/ends up pointing toward your intended target (there is NO swinging in the block shot; simply “freeze” your paddle so there’s no backswing or follow-through). • As you block, keep your center of gravity on the balls of your feet (you should never be standing straight up or leaning backward). Improving Your Ready Position (to have a stronger stance): • Get in your ready position. To test the strength of your stance, have a friend face you and push slightly on your shoulder. You should be able to stay on the balls of your feet. Body Movement: • Practice moving without hitting the ball. Get in ready position. Practice stepping sideways ensuring your shoulders stay mostly square with the net. If one shoulder is in front of the other or your back is facing the net, you know you have turned too much. The Block: • At home, practice blocking (to create muscle memorization and to dramatically improve your game), in front of a mirror. Place paddle in front of your body. Ensure that the paddle is facing imaginary ball/target. Now move as outlined above, keeping your paddle frozen in front of your body. Freeze at the end of moving/stepping to your imaginary point of contact for one second (this ensures the paddle face is facing your imaginary target). Repeat until you master this.  • Hint: When blocking, if you have to lunge (i.e., the ball is hit too far to one side to move in front of it), squeeze your grip tighter. This stiffens your wrist, helping absorb the energy (making your arm stronger and less likely to move backward from the force of the hard hit). Hold your paddle firm (freezing your paddle movement) to simply block the ball back (do not swing/punch). Less is more. Simply move, block, freeze. MAY/JUNE 2017 | MAGAZINE 43