A common piece of advice in pickleball is to slice your return, pushing the ball deep into the court and keeping the bounce low.
What you don't hear is what to do if you're the team receiving that ball. For that, let's consult the Queen of Pickleball, Simone Jardim. Her new video advises players on how to return a slice in pickleball.
When a ball with slice hits the ground, it is going to skip, kind of like a stone on a lake. The ball will stay lower to the ground than a regular ball will. It will also move laterally.
The direction of the ball's bounce will change depending on whether it was hit with a forehand or backhand.
Jardim recomemeds that you do the following to counter a slice:
- Start by identifying their shot. Pay attention to the spin they add, noting if it's from the forehand or backhand
- Stay light on your feet. You will need to adjust to the ball after it bounces. Beginners will move with the ball in the air, but won't be prepared to react as the ball bounces.
- Create the proper amount of space. Depending on the scenario, the ball could skip toward your body or jump further away from you. You may need to respond by backing up so you don't get jammed, or by moving closer to the ball so it doesn't escape your reach.
Let's consider an example. A forehand slice is coming your way. It is set to bounce on your right side, perfectly lined up for your forehand in this case.
That ball is going skip from right to left. It is going to jam you and make your shot more difficult....that is, if you don't react.
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To combat this, leave extra room for the ball to bounce. Then adjust after the bounce to account for how effective their slice was.
Being more proactive on the court will help you level up. If you are still getting sliced to pieces out there, give this technique from Simone a try.
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