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Your Ready Position is Costing You Points

by The Dink Media Team on

The ready position is a boring topic, but wouldn't you want to use any and all strategies in order to win more points? Being better with your ready position could make a major difference.

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In particular, were talking ready position at the kitchen line. When you have less than a second to react it's a necessity to return to the right ready position every shot.

Most people think they maintain a good ready position, just like most people believe they've never stepped on the kitchen line. Zane Navratil demonstrates a drill for good ready position habits.

The Basics

At the kitchen line your paddle should sit around chest level. Having it below the height of the net does not help protect your body against attacks.

Be careful not to extend the paddle too far out in front or hold it too tight to your chest. You want to find the middle ground where you can still extend forward on a punch but aren't crammed with the paddle against your chest.


One big mistake you might be making is the orientation of the paddle. Zane recommends your paddle be vertical in ready position, as in the head of the paddle pointed up.

If your paddle is parallel to the ground with the head of the paddle facing the net, you're more susceptible to popping the ball up when attacked.

The Drill

Zane devised a simple drill to help make sure you're falling into ready position in between each shot.

  • Simply hold a ball in your off-hand
  • After each shot, tap your paddle and the ball together so you can hear a noise
  • This gives a physical and auditory cue that you have completed the task.

Start off dinking with your partner and getting into ready position after each shot. Try to move through your dink and into your ready position in one fluid motion. That way the habit is repeatable and consistent.

Power vs. Fast Hands: Which is the More Important Pickleball Skill?
Power may be more important than fast hands, at least according to Ben Johns who recently talked about these pickleball skills in a short video.

Starting from and returning to the same ready position helps to make each shot more consistent. Instead of having to recover across your body when switching from forehand to backhand, each shot is separate. Start from ready position, execute the shot, return to ready position, repeat. That should be the goal.

After you're satisfied with dinking you can step up to volleys. This one will take a little time to master so have the bucket of balls ready. Watch Zane demonstrate the drill then watch it again in slow motion.

You may think you're returning to ready position after every shot but until you hear the pop of your paddle it's hard to be sure. Put this drill into practice and build winning habits.

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