Professional pickleball player Parris Todd, with her background in tennis, shares valuable insights into developing a stronger and strategic pickleball serve. Here are six tips for enhancing your pickleball serve:
### 1. Aim for the Back of the Court
– **Strategy:** Think ahead and aim to hit the ball deep to keep opponents away from the kitchen line.
– **Rationale:** Slower opponent advancement allows for more effective shots, such as drop shots, as they approach the net.
### 2. Line Up Your Body for Precision
– **Body Position:** Align your shoulders with your intended target to ensure accurate serve placement.
– **Impact:** Proper body alignment enhances aim, increasing the likelihood of hitting the desired spot.
### 3. Maintain a “Goldilocks” Grip
– **Paddle Control:** Treat the paddle as an extension of your arm, maintaining a balanced grip (around a “five” on a scale of one to ten).
– **Flexibility:** Keep some wrist movement for control while swinging through the ball.
### 4. Follow Through with Body and Mind
– **Focus:** Keep your eyes on the ball to ensure good contact.
– **Mechanics:** Follow through by swinging your arm up and over your shoulder, contributing to both accuracy and power.
### 5. Prioritize Consistency Over Speed
– **Approach:** Build consistency before attempting to increase serving speed.
– **Importance:** Consistency in aim and placement takes precedence to avoid sacrificing accuracy for speed.
### 6. Practice During Warmups
– **Importance of Drills:** Dedicate time to drills and practice to actively improve your skills.
– **Specific Drills:** Set up cones on the court and practice serving to them, focusing on hitting specific spots consistently.
– **Repetition:** Regular practice, even in brief warmup sessions, contributes significantly to skill development.
### Final Advice: Balance Fun and Improvement
While pickleball is a recreational sport, Todd emphasizes the value of balancing enjoyment with improvement. Actively practicing specific shots and serving techniques during warmups can lead to significant skill enhancement over time.
Incorporating these tips into your pickleball routine can contribute to a more powerful, accurate, and strategic serve, setting the stage for a competitive and enjoyable game on the court.