What Is A Drop Shot In Pickleball? What Pickleball Players Should Know

November 12, 2021
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Pickleball, like every other sport, requires unique skills. And drop shot is just among the few techniques in the sport. 

It doesn’t matter whether you’re playing pickleball for fun or you have chosen it as a career. Knowing the various techniques on how to trick opponents to earn points will elevate your game. 

Players feel happy when they end up victorious in games. So, before facing your next opponent, learn how to play a drop shot. We’ll also discuss in detail things you need to know about drop shots. So, keep reading.

What Is A Drop Shot In Pickleball?

The drop shot is considered a soft shot played from deep within the court to get the ball to land at the opponent’s NVZ (Non-volley zone or kitchen).  

This short is a crucial technique that can earn points. But you have to get used to how to play a drop shot to ensure success. 

The intention behind hitting a drop shot is simple. It gives players time to move closer to the net. Diverse varieties of drop shots also exist. But the most important thing is to know the right wrist movements to make when hitting the shot.  

3 Types Of Drop Shots You Should Know And How To Hit Them

Different drop shots exist. And players must familiarize themselves with the different drop shots to appear professional. You don’t want to be playing a flat drop shot and call it a topspin drop shot. 

#1: The Flat drop shot: 

A flat drop shot is by far the easiest among the three drop shots. Why? You can hit this shot with your paddle’s least motion. And consequently, there’s little room for mistakes when hitting a flat shot. 

Now, how do you play the flat drop shot? Let’s discuss this in detail.

  • Get your front foot ready. You have to position it to have a clear shot. 
  • Position your knees. You have to bend it forward. Why? It would make pushing up your legs to generate a high arc of the shot a breeze.  
  • Move weight from back to the front foot. Push up and forward using your hips and legs to achieve this. 
  • Placing grip pressure on a scale of 1 to 10, use a light grip pressure (1 to 3). The aim is to touch the pickleball softly. 
  • Strike the ball but ensure your arm is wide open. Extend your arm fully. 
  • Mind your swing path motion. Ensure its motion is slightly up and forward. Please, avoid sideways or rotation motion. Why? It is improper to add spin to the ball when hitting flat shots. You do not want such to occur. 
  • Make contact with the ball. This time, your paddle face should be facing the sky but have it pulled forward slightly. Use the open paddle face to make contact with the pickleball. 
  • You need to strike the pickleball, but let it happen just at the front of your body.  
  • Let the ball land in your opponent’s kitchen (NVZ). Just make sure you aim right.  Finally, ensure you strike the ball so that it would have a considerable amount of arc. You want the ball to reach the highest point on your side of the net in the air and drop before crossing the net. 

So, this explains how to hit a flat drop shot. It might appear long, but don’t fret. It is a simple drop shot, which even a beginner can hit successfully. You have to practice more often to perfect your skills. 

#2: The Slice Drop Shot:

A slice drop shot is more challenging to execute than a flat drop shot. But that doesn’t mean beginners can’t hit such shots with colossal success. They can, but constant practice is crucial to reduce the possibility of making mistakes.  

Firstly, a slice drop shot requires a lesser arc. Why? It does boast a considerable amount of backspins. 

The slice drop shot’s backspin is what creates problems for opponents. How? When the ball lands on the opponent’s half, it skips off immediately. 

When you hit slice drop shots, you’ll discover that the ball doesn’t bounce as high as flat drop shots. It does happen because of the backspin the ball has.   

So, how do you hit a slice drop shot? Let’s discuss this too. 

Your first step should be to follow the steps mentioned for the flat drop shot. Both drop shots are the same thing. You only need to make a couple of modifications, which we’ll discuss below. 

  • Deploy your triceps. Using the triceps, push quickly, as though you’re chopping a block of wood. You have to do this before making contact with the ball. 
  • Alter your swing path. It has to be slightly forward and less upward. As you can see, it’s a bit different from when firing drop shots. 

#3: The Topspin Drop Shot:

This technique is not very common. It is difficult to execute and has colossal risk. That is, there’s a high chance that you might not get the shot right and lose valuable points or place yourself in a difficult position for an opponent to launch an attack. 

When executed successfully, the topspin drop shots can render opponents helpless and earn you valuable points. It is the most challenging drop shot technique amongst the three options mentioned here.

However, to hit a topspin drop shot, you need to follow the same process as the flat drop shot. But don’t get confused. Even if you’re still following the flat drop shot, you still have to make some modifications. Let’s discuss how to hit a topspin shot. 

  • Ensure your swing path is majorly upward, with your paddle experiencing zero or little forward movement.  
  • You have to bend both knees more in this technique. And using your legs, create a super-strong upward thrust movement.  
  • Now is the time to deploy your biceps. Have your arm quickly and forcefully curled upward while lifting with your legs to form a fast vertical swing using your paddle.
  • At this stage, you have to use a closed or almost closed paddle face. The paddle should be pointing to the net or might be slightly above it. 
  • Be careful about your swings’ follow throw. Ensure it ends around your head or shoulder height.  

A Handy Tip: Unless you’re able to set your two feet firmly, or have practiced and mastered it, don’t try hitting a topspin drop shot on the run. The technique is a difficult one. And you can hurt yourself while trying to execute it. 

It is also advisable to practice this technique often. Improve your skills and ability to execute any of the various drop shots successfully. 

Things You Should Consider When Hitting A Drop Shot

It is one thing to play a drop shot and another to execute it successfully. Most people may have even given up on drop shots after several unsuccessful attempts. What’s the reason this can happen? You’re missing key details. Read to learn about things to consider when playing drop shots.      

Tip#1: Good footwork matters a great deal

In pickleball, footwork means a lot. So, before you think of improving your drop shot techniques, ensure your footwork isn’t an issue. 

Tip#2: Aim for an arch

You can hit a drop shot in several ways, but firing a drop shot that boasts a large arch on it and then peaks on your side of the net ( on the kitchen line) before descending on the opponent’s portion of the net, is a much simpler way to hit a drop shot. You stand a better chance with this process. 

Tip#3: It is best to scope the pickleball, not swing and hit

Bear in mind that reducing a shot’s swinging motion lowers its variability and makes it even more consistent.   

Conclusion

What is a drop shot in pickleball? You should know what this shot is at this stage of the post. And it won’t be such a big surprise if you start trying to hit the flat drop shot or slice drop shot the next time you visit the court to practice.

The topspin shot is an excellent technique. But you have to be sure before executing it during a match. One mistake, and your opponent will take advantage of you. You can read this post for more tips and understanding on drop shots. Learn about the various drop shots and how to hit them.

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