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The Number One Rule on Pickleball Defense

If you've been pushed back or set out of position in pickleball, that means you're on defense. What does that mean about your next move? What should your biggest takeaway be?

Both teams actively moving through all three states. You can see the decisions, good and bad, that they make along the way.

  • number 1 rule when on defense: make the next ball bounce.

  • You can see multiple times in the point how this rule gets a team from defense back to neutral.

Another takeaway is the importance of patience. Most points are won by a series of good shots, not one great shot.

While trying to piece together three offensive shots, Andrei Daescu gets stymied and has to start the process again. His patience pays off, and he ends the point with a ferocious overhead.

Other quick tips for defensive play in pickleball:

  • Anticipation: Watch your opponents closely and try to anticipate where they might hit the ball. Pay attention to their body movements, paddle angle, and positioning to get a clue about their shot choices.

  • Think fast, react slow: Wait, what? Surely we shouldn't tell you to slow your reaction speed in pickleball? What we mean is: don't rush. Take that extra moment to get into position before coming into contact with the ball.

  • React to your opponents: No matter who is on the offensive or defensive, after a few points of playing against your opponents, you should have at least a general idea of their proclivities. Do they hit lobs? Do they seem to favor one type of shot over the other? Are they often out of position? Paying attention to these things will inevitably help with the "Anticipation" point above.

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