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Friday, January 20, 2017

Adding to the Block Volley Against Bangers

Throw the first punch for a win...

A Deb Harrison video described the basic block volley in yesterday's post. She noted that 80% of banger's shots will be at torso height requiring a flat paddle face, meaning that the paddle must be parallel to the net. But what about the other 20% of shots - those below the waist or above the shoulder? Those volleys require some adjustments to the basic technique. Deb Harrison has a video that describes these shots, Pickleball Punch Block: Deb Harrison, Defending Against Bangers Part 2. This video also adds a new volley - the punch volley - as a weapon.

One part of the block volley technique never changes regardless of where it is hit - there is no paddle movement forward. The shot is a simple deflection back at the opponents. This means that the angle of the paddle face must change as the height of the shot being defended changes. A high shot requires the deflection to go downward, meaning the paddle face must be tilted down. If the high ball is blocked with a flat paddle face, the opponents will have an opportunity for a winning smash.

In contrast, a low ball requires an open paddle face, meaning the paddle is tilted up, in order to deflect the ball up and over the net.

The block volley works against bangers because they hit the ball hard and provide enough energy that a simple deflection gets the ball back over the net to reset the point. Sometimes, though, slightly more pace can be added with effect. Those times call for a punch volley which uses the exact same positioning and paddle positions. The only difference is that the paddle has a short quick forward movement of 3"-4". 

The block and punch volley techniques are explained in the following video.

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