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How To Master the Pickleball Backhand

Callie reaching for a pickleball
(Picture Kerry Pittenger)

A common complaint among pickleball players is a struggle with successfully hitting a backhand shot during gameplay. This causes many players to avoid the backhand and stick with the easier forehand shot. However, this strategy limits your skill level and keeps you from moving up in the pickleball ranks. Why not face your weakness and take the necessary steps to master the pickleball backhand instead?

Find the Right Paddle

Your first step in tackling the backhand is to make sure you are playing with a pickleball paddle that is comfortable and easy to use. There are several types to choose from, so it’s a good idea to do research to find the best paddle for your game.

Learn How To Master the Pickleball Backhand

Now you are ready to work on the fundamentals of improving your backhand by learning the correct footwork and the basic mechanics of completing a great shot. Here are the steps to follow.

1. Get Into Your Ready Position

After you hit the pickleball, always go back to your ready position with your knees bent and your paddle in front of you and up. Place your feet in a parallel position about shoulder-width apart, with your toes facing towards the net.

2. Prepare for the Shot

Prepare for the backhand stroke by slightly rotating your body towards the non-paddle side and simultaneously pulling your paddle back to your waist on that side. Move your non-paddle side foot backward so you’re now perpendicular to the net.

3. Connect the Paddle and Ball

Your goal with the pickleball backhand is to use the momentum of your entire body instead of just your arm to connect your paddle with the ball. To do this, generate power from your core and legs towards the goal of connecting with the ball in front of the non-paddle side of your body.

4. Hit the Ball Forward

After contact is made, push off from your front leg and complete one smooth motion to hit the pickleball forward with a complete swing. Strike it with a slight lift so your shot remains low instead of going high over the net. Keep your wrist steady. If you flick your wrist as you connect your paddle with the ball, the pickleball will likely fly off the court in that same direction. If you feel off-balance during the shot, check that your feet are in the proper position and that you’re pushing off your front foot as you hit the ball.

5. Do Practice Drills

Scheduling time during the week to complete backhand drills helps improve your skill at the shot. Be patient until you feel comfortable with the stroke and you no longer avoid it during games. You may discover the backhand becomes your favorite stroke!

Practice with these backhand techniques to help you master this shot. Then try increasing your skills even higher by tackling the two-handed backhand next.

Find Resources To Help Improve Your Pickleball Backhand

We have all the resources you need to help improve your pickleball backhand and overall game. Visit our guides that include tips for pro athletes and coaches.

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About Dan Langston

With experience in the ecotourism industry and time well spent as a fly fishing guide in the remote absaroka mountain range for 6 years, Dan brings a unique perspective on customer service to the digital world. As the operator, Dan is now committed to revitalizing Pickleball Portal and plans to build a support system for content creators and provide helpful information for the pickleball community. dan@pickleballportal.com

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