Struggling with short returns in pickleball? Want a technique that not only sends the ball deep but also positions you at the kitchen line swiftly?
The answer lies in mastering the “chip and charge” return, a dynamic move that can revolutionize your game.
What is the Chip and Charge?
The chip and charge is a strategic approach in pickleball, differing significantly from the traditional method of planting your feet and hitting through the shot.
This technique involves adding backspin to the ball while simultaneously moving forward, allowing you to take control of the kitchen area rapidly.
The Mechanics of the Chip and Charge
- Cutting the Ball for Backspin: The first step is to effectively cut the ball to impart backspin. This backspin is crucial as it keeps the ball low after the bounce, making it challenging for your opponent to return aggressively.
- Running Through the Return: Instead of a stationary position, the chip and charge involves moving forward as you hit the return. By the time the ball bounces, you’re already at or near the kitchen line, exerting pressure on your opponent.
- Maintaining a Low Ball Trajectory: A key aspect of this technique is ensuring the ball stays low after bouncing. This not only makes your approach aggressive but also increases the safety margin of your return, making it a more reliable strategy.
4 Practical Tips for Effective Chip and Charge Returns
- Practice the Backspin: Work on cutting the ball to achieve the desired backspin.
- Coordinate Movement with Stroke: Timing your forward movement with your stroke is essential for this technique to work effectively.
- Focus on Ball Trajectory: Ensure the ball stays low to challenge your opponent and maintain control.
- Anticipate Fast Serves: Use this technique particularly against fast servers to neutralize their pace and gain an advantage.
Learning from the Pros: Will East’s Demonstration
To grasp the chip and charge technique better, watch pro player and coach Will East demonstrate it. Notice his footwork, the way he cuts the ball, and his movement towards the kitchen line.
Check out more of Will’s pro tips and videos:
- How to hit topspin dinks
- Mastering the backhand slice
- Plateau control for effective third shot drops
Enhancing Your Pickleball Returns
The chip and charge is more than just a technique; it’s a strategic approach that can significantly elevate your game. It combines skill, timing, and aggression, making your returns not just safe but also strategically advantageous.
As always, practice is key. So, try incorporating the chip and charge into your game and watch your returns transform!
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