Land of the Sky Tournament information can be found by clicking on the button above.

Newcomers to the site should note the pickleball book "chapters" in the left column and the repository of expert articles and videos in the right column.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

What about Spin?

My mind is spinning in circles...

I managed a skills and drills class for beginners last week in which we drilled on serves and returns of serve. I have done several of these classes recently and a common theme has emerged - some beginners think extreme spin creates an advantage. The fact that a high percentage of their shots went out of bounds didn't seem to matter as long there was an occasional shot that spun away from their opponent.

My recommendation for beginners is that their time is always better spent working on basic shots. These will be more important to developing their game more quickly. In addition, as they develop and play better opponents, spin becomes less effective.

But that doesn't mean that spin should never be used as players advance. Topspin and backspin are particularly useful. We'll explore some of the views on spin in this post.

Sarah Ansboury and the RV Picklers had an article earlier this year in which she gives her view of spin. The article was called Pickleball Spin…Too Much of a Good Thing? and is excerpted below.

Pickleball Spin:  The Basics

As I had a strong foundation in tennis and many years of practice, I tend to use spin quite a lot. When my paddle moves from low to high, it creates topspin. This can be helpful when you are hitting a lob, that you want to land deep, just barely inside the baseline. It can also help you when serving, causing the ball to bounce hard toward the player.

I also utilize backspin, or slice, quite a bit. Using a continental grip, which is the most common grip in pickleball, you move your paddle from high to low. Your paddle face is open and your contact creates the majority of your spin.

Both of types of spin should be a natural transition in your shots. Often I see people trying to create spin with a heavy chopping motion. This exaggerated movement most often results in the ball going to the bottom of the net  or creating a high ball that the opponent can put away.

Pickleball Spin:  Side Spin

I sometimes run into pickleball players who were ex-racquetball players. These players often try to impart side spin on the ball. They utilize a lot of wrist action and can create some crazy bounces that are difficult to respond to. However, this is not always effective.

A few weeks ago I played an ex-racquetball player. He had this crazy serve that could spin away from you when it bounced. Unfortunately, of the 8 times, he attempted this serve only one went into the service box. Missing 7 or 8 serves is not a reasonable trade-off.

He also went for a lot of sidelines, attempting crazy angles throughout the game. But again, only about 10% of these shots were in. The pickleball is very light. It is harder to control. So attempting a difficult shot and aiming for the lines just isn’t high percentage pickleball.

When hitting any shots we want to make sure we aren’t forcing something to happen. I do think learning how to control spin is an important part of growth. but it is not something to be worried about before you develop a good foundation. Many people find when they work on their fundamentals and learn how to hit a solid shot and control the ball, they will naturally create spin. Work on making solid contact with proper fundamentals and you will create spin without even realizing it.

Prem Carnot also has a short video in which he discusses the appropriate times to use spin. The video is called To spin or not to spin - a pickleball question.

No comments:

Post a Comment