We’ve all been there. You get too much height on a return volley and it sets up your opponent for a smash or a high-velocity forehand. Fear not. In those moments, you still have a chance to counteract as long as you relax and keep your head.
Step 1: Prepare yourself.
It’s time to steel yourself for the onslaught. This means putting your feet wider than shoulder-width apart and squatting a bit so that your knees are bent. Next, put your weight on the balls of your feet so that you can move wherever you need to move to return the forthcoming smash. Now, for the most important part. Get your paddle out in front of your body and ready to extend it in the direction of the shot. If you’re too relaxed and leave your paddle out to the side of your body, it’s a recipe for disaster. With the paddle out in front of you, you’ll be able to better anticipate the shot’s trajectory so that you can meet it with a volley.
Step 2: Stay calm and don’t flail.
No matter what comes at you, make sure to tell yourself not to swing. Seriously. The best defense against a high-velocity power shot is to simply get your paddle on the ball and use the velocity of the opponent’s shot to deflect it back over the net. This takes practice and experience to fight the urge to flail or swing. But trust us. With your paddle positioned in front of you, you’ll be ready to move it, not swing it, to meet the ball wherever it goes.
Step 3: Implementing The Block Volley
So now that you are prepared and ready for the blast that’s coming your way, you’re ready to execute the Block Volley. As soon as your opponent makes contact and sends the shot your way, be ready to quickly pivot your paddle left or right to simply get it into the line of the shot. Now, make sure your paddle is angled slightly upward. This will help ensure that if you make contact with your paddle, the pickleball won’t just deflect straight out from you into the net. A little upward angle will give you the best chance to send the ball back over the net. The upward angle will also give your Block Volley a little backspin. This means it will land soft and make it harder for your opponent to deliver another high-velocity shot.
That’s it. It takes time and in-game practice to execute the perfect Block Volley. So get out there and practice. In the meantime, learn more shots to add to your game right here at Pickleball University.