Dekel Bar has one of the biggest serves in pickleball. He earns free points on the serve in almost every match he plays. So who better to get advice from on combating an overpowering serve?
Last week, Dekel provided PicklePod listeners with the steps to deal with a big serve.
Back off the baseline
Stand a few feet behind the baseline. They’re going to aim deep in the court. Provide enough space so the ball can bounce and rise back up to a playable height.
This raises a severely common issue observed in amateur pickleball: the tendency to stand on the baseline, or sometimes even inside of it, in an effort to reduce the distance to the net.
Players often have to retreat to field a deep serve, which causes bodyweight to shift backward upon contact. The result? A return into the net or a weak, shallow return that gives the serving team the advantage.
While advancing to the net as quickly as possible is crucial, it should not take priority over hitting a sound return. Don’t cheat in. Stand behind the baseline and give yourself room to hit the optimal shot.
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Get in a good athletic stance
Don’t get caught standing straight up or leaning in one direction. Have your knees bent and be ready to react.
Start moving forward
A strong strategy to counteract their power is to get your momentum moving forward. Move into the ball after it bounces. Push it deep into their court and keep moving forward toward the kitchen.
After Dekel explains how to deal with the big serve, Zane covers his three T's for good returns: target, technique, and timing.
Dekel cuts off Zane before he can give anyway too many secrets on the pod. You can find more from Zane about return strategies in the video above.