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Pickleball Blocking: 5 Keys to Defending a Hard Hitter (or beating the banger!)

November 11, 2019

You can’t stop a banger from
hitting the pickleball hard, but the best way to beat
them is with a good block. Hey everybody it’s CJ Johnson. Just because someone hits the ball
hard doesn’t mean they’re a banger. In order to play good pickleball, you need to learn when to hit the ball
hard and when to hit the ball softly. By the way, if you’re new to this
channel, welcome and if you’re not new, welcome back. Every week I bring you a new video
with a special focus on the over 50 pickleball player, whether it’s gear,
fitness or the latest in instruction. If you don’t want to miss that video, make sure you hit the subscribe
button and then the bell notification. It doesn’t matter if you’re playing with
bangers or with people who have a more multidimensional game. You need to know how to
effectively block a hard hit shot. One of the most effective ways to beat
somebody who’s hitting the ball hard is to become a good blocker. In this shot. All I’m trying to do is absorb the
energy that’s coming to me. Now. Ideally I’d like to
drop it relatively low, maybe somewhere into the kitchen I just
don’t want to hit that into the net. A couple of basics. First
of all, when I’m here, I want to be up and on the balls of my
feet and I want to be relatively low and centered. I want to have the paddle.
If this is 12 right in front of me, I want to tilt the paddle
slightly towards 11 o’clock. It allows me the ability
to move from side to side. The next thing I want to do is make sure
that the paddle is away from my body. The closer I get to my body, the more difficult it is to absorb the
energy of the shot that’s coming toward me. When the ball hits my paddle, it’s a feeling like the energy is coming
back and just being absorbed into the paddle. When I do that, I want to have a relatively
light grip pressure. Now I know that sounds counter intuitive. It’s really not a one or a two but it’s
more like a four or five on the grip pressure scale. If you’re
not familiar with that, if that’s the first time you’ve
heard that, I just put the video, it’s called a the best grip in pickleball. Click on that link and it’ll explain all
about how to calculate the right grip pressure for you. We want to have about a four or
a five when we hit this shot. So we’re going to start by getting ready
at the line and then we’ll have our partner hit drives towards us.
One of the other keys to this, is making sure to watch the ball
all the way to the paddle. Normally I’d shoot this so
that you could see my eyes, but whenever you have, actually
whenever you’re playing pickleball, we should be wearing some
kind of eye protection. So I’m not going to sit here and let
Jeannie hit at me without having something over my eyes. You never know when that ball could hit
the net or bounce off the side of the paddle. Something really
strange and hurt your eyes. So always make sure that
you’re wearing eye protection. Once you’re feeling comfortable
with the basic block, you could try to deflect
the ball just a little bit. And what I mean by that is by
moving the paddle high too low, just about an inch, you’re going to
put a little back spin on the ball. So when that ball hits the
ground on the other side, it’s going to stay pretty low and it’s
going to be relatively difficult for your opponents to return. So
let’s go ahead and try that. One last thing. Whenever you’re doing
this drill, I see a lot of people, myself included, who will chase out
balls. If you think a ball is out, let it go. Don’t get in
the habit of chasing it. Solid blocking is the best way
to defend any hard hit shot. If you got value from this
video, you know what to do. Give it a thumbs up and share with your
pickleball friends because together we can Train Smart, Live Bold and Age Well.


  • Reply CJ Johnson November 9, 2019 at 4:41 pm

    What's your biggest challenge with blocking a hard-hit shot?

  • Reply James Crane November 10, 2019 at 1:46 am

    good points especially watch ball to the paddle. Thanks

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