Whether you’re new to the game or an experienced player looking to elevate your skills, mastering the drive is essential. Pro pickleball player and coach Will East shares invaluable advice to transform your drives from standard to outstanding. Let’s dive into Will’s top tips for enhancing power and efficiency in your pickleball drives.
1. Harnessing the Ground: The Foundation of Power
The secret to unleashing more power in your drives might be right beneath your feet—literally. Will emphasizes the critical role of using the ground as leverage.
In pickleball, as in other sports like baseball and tennis, the ground is not just a surface to stand on but a tool to be utilized. Champions like Ben Johns exemplify this principle by staying firmly grounded during play.
- Stay Grounded: Avoid lifting off or unbalancing. Keeping your feet planted allows you to generate force through your legs and transfer it through your body to the paddle, resulting in a more powerful drive.
2. Timing Is Everything: The Importance of Setting Early
The difference between a good shot and a great shot can often be a matter of timing. Setting early—preparing your body and paddle position ahead of the impact—can significantly impact your drive’s power and efficiency. Will advises allowing yourself a second or two before the ball arrives to get into position.
This preparation time ensures you’re not just reacting to the ball but actively controlling the pace and direction of your drive.
- Prepare Early: Aim to set your stance, grip, and paddle position in advance. This early preparation helps you remain stable and deliver a more forceful and accurate drive.
3. The Art of Small Steps: Enhancing Agility and Consistency
Big, clunky steps can hinder your ability to adjust quickly and hit effective drives. Will suggests incorporating smaller, more precise steps into your movement. These micro-adjustments enable you to maintain balance, react swiftly to your opponent’s shots, and adjust your positioning with greater ease.
The result is not just an increase in your success rate but also a noticeable improvement in the consistency of your drives.
- Utilize Micro-Adjustments: Replace large, cumbersome steps with smaller, strategic movements. This approach improves your balance, agility, and the overall quality of your drives.
Learn from the Pro: Watch Will East in Action
To see these principles in action, watch Will East demonstrate the techniques that can add both power and precision to your drives.
Check out more of Will’s pro tips and videos:
- Chip and charge returns
- Mastering defense against overheads
- Plateau control for effective third shot drops
- Kitchen line play: using open and closed stances
To Sum Up
Improving your pickleball drives involves a combination of technique, timing, and movement. By staying grounded, setting early, and adopting small, precise steps, you can significantly enhance the power and consistency of your drives. Remember, mastery comes with practice, so take these pro tips from Will East to the court and start refining your game today.
Whether you’re playing casually with friends or competing in tournaments, these insights can elevate your play and bring a new level of enjoyment to your pickleball experience.
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