The fourth shot is one of the reasons people love pickleball. It’s your chance to be a superstar.
The serving team has to hit a shot that lets them advance in the court. You get to sit at the kitchen line and play defense.
After smacking down a few high thirds you’ll start planning your pro career.
Since the returning team’s advantage is most notable on the fourth shot, it’s important to make the most of the opportunity.
John Cincola has 4 tips to optimize your fourth shot.
1) Set yourself up for success
- Hit a quality return deep into the court
- Get all the way to the kitchen line
- If the returner can’t make it to the line, their partner can step in and take more court
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2) Find your most aggressive fourth
- Look to take the ball out of the air when possible
- If you’re forced to let it bounce, allow the ball to reach it’s highest point off the bounce
- Play an aggressive shot with topspin
3) Target the deeper player
- Hit your fourth to the player that is deeper in the court to keep them back
- Keep the shot low
- Avoid a poach from the player that is closer to the net
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4) Force the volley
- If the other team is in the transition zone, hit the ball just beyond their feet
- Force them to take the ball out of the air because it is more difficult to reset the ball out of the air than it is off of the bounce
Remember when returning the serve your team has the advantage. Use it. Keep them away from the kitchen as long as possible.
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It's all about playing the odds. The more shots they have to take from behind the baseline and in the transition zone the better your odds are to win the point.
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