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Mastering the Backhand in Pickleball

Mastering the Backhand in Pickleball

Pickleball has been growing in popularity in recent years. It's a game that requires a combination of physical agility, quick reflexes, and strategic thinking. One of the key elements of the game is the ability to execute different types of shots.

One of the most important shots in Pickleball is the backhand. Weak backhands are often just a result of not enough practice. Because pickleball players often run around their backhands in order to avoid it and hit a forehand shot (which they feel more comfortable with), they will not have enough opportunities to practice hitting a backhand.

While the backhand can be a challenging shot to master, with some practice and tips, you can become a skilled backhand player in no time. In this blog post, we'll discuss how to master the pickleball backhand. 

Mastering the Backhand in Pickleball

  1. Right Positioning: To execute a backhand shot, a player must first position themselves correctly. The player should stand with their feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent, and their weight evenly distributed. Rotate your body slightly toward the backhand side and point your paddle head toward your backhand side waist. While a one-handed backhand is most common in pickleball, if you are using a two-handed backhand, the non-dominant hand should be placed on the paddle handle, while the dominant hand grips the paddle near the top.

  2. Footwork is key: As with any sport, footwork is key to performing the shot correctly. The proper footwork for the backhand shot is to keep your feet shoulder-width apart and perpendicular to the net. Your non-dominant foot should be slightly in front of your dominant foot, and your weight should be evenly distributed on both feet. This positioning will allow you to move quickly and efficiently to the ball. 

  3. Practice the swing: The next step is to practice the swing. To perform a backhand shot, swing the paddle back behind you, keeping your elbow close to your body. As you swing forward, bring your arm across your body, keeping your wrist firm, and follow through towards your target. Remember to keep your eye on the ball and make contact with the ball at waist height. 
  4. Use your wrist: Using your wrist correctly can make a significant difference in the power and accuracy of your backhand shot. When making contact with the ball, try to use a slight flick of the wrist to create topspin (over the ball) or slice (under the ball), which adds spin. It's important to keep your wrist firm and use it as a tool to create spin and control. 

  5. Master the backhand volley: Once you've become comfortable with the backhand swing, it's time to master the backhand volley. The backhand volley is an essential shot in pickleball that requires quick reflexes and good hand-eye coordination. To perform a backhand volley, move your paddle in front of your body and make contact with the ball as it approaches the net. Use a slight flick of the wrist to add spin and control to the shot.
  6. Practice Drills: Practice drills are an essential component of improving one's skills in pickleball. Backhand, in particular, is an important shot that requires precision and control. Engaging in practice drills focused on backhand can help players develop the necessary skills and improve their overall performance on the court. One of the primary benefits of practice drills for backhand in pickleball is that they help players develop muscle memory. By repeating the same motion over and over again, players can train their muscles to execute the shot accurately and consistently. This muscle memory is essential for performing the backhand shot effectively during an actual game.
  7. Play games and get feedback: Finally, the best way to improve your backhand is to play games and get feedback from your fellow players. Playing games will give you an opportunity to practice the backhand shot in real-game situations and get feedback on what you're doing right and wrong. Take note of what works and what doesn't, and continue to practice until you've mastered the shot. 

What is a Backhand Roll?

The backhand roll is a shot that is executed by hitting the ball with the backhand side of the paddle. It is a soft and low shot that has a lot of spin and can be used to put the ball in a difficult position for your opponent. The backhand roll is an essential shot in pickleball as it allows you to defend against hard-hitting shots from your opponent and also gives you an opportunity to attack the ball with a lot of spin.


Common Mistakes to Avoid with Backhand in Pickleball

The backhand shot is an essential stroke in pickleball that can make a significant difference in your game. Here are some common mistakes to avoid when hitting a backhand shot in pickleball:

  1. Too much backswing: Unlike a tennis backhand, a pickleball backhand doesn’t require a lot of backswing. The ball is much lighter and the response time is much shorter. Taking too much backswing mat mean missing the ball altogether.
  2. Not following through: A common mistake in backhand shots is not following through with the shot. Ensure that you follow through with your shot to give it the necessary power and direction. 
  3. Hitting the ball too late: Hitting the ball too late can cause the ball to go off-target. Ensure that you hit the ball at the peak of its bounce, just before it starts to fall. 
  4. Taking your eye off the ball: Taking your eyes off the ball can cause you to miss it altogether or hit it poorly. Keep your eyes on the ball throughout the shot to ensure that you hit it cleanly. 
  5. Using too much wrist: Using too much wrist in a backhand shot can cause you to lose control of the shot. Use your wrist to add spin to the ball, but ensure that you're not relying on it entirely. 

By avoiding these common mistakes, you can improve your backhand shot in pickleball and take your game to the next level.


In conclusion, mastering the pickleball backhand requires practice, patience, and a willingness to learn. By following these tips and techniques, you'll be well on your way to becoming a skilled backhand player. Remember to focus on the right positioning, footwork, swing, wrist, backhand volley and practice drills to improve your overall game.

Related Articles:
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How To Choose A Pickleball
5 Key Differences Between Pickleball and Tennis

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