There are skills that anyone can master in pickleball regardless of your ranking, age, or athleticism. One of those skills is letting out-balls fly.
Today I’m going to share 6 strategies for detecting and avoiding out-balls, and an exercise that can help you simulate out-balls. After watching this, it’s my hope that you will improve your pickleball IQ and you’ll win more points.
Watch the official video on avoiding out balls here.
6 Practical Tips for Detecting Out Balls and Winning Free Points in Pickleball
- 1 What is an out ball in pickleball?
- 2 1. Pay Attention
- 3 2. If It’s Shoulder High, Let It Fly
- 4 3. Play Net Positive
- 5 4. Watch Your Opponent
- 6 5. Know Your Court Position
- 7 6. Communicate
- 8 Pickleball Drill Idea for Detecting Out Balls
- 9 How to Improve Your Reaction Time in Pickleball
- 10 Conclusion: Detecting Out Balls in Pickleball
- 11 Related Articles
- 12 5 Surprising Facts from PPA Pickleball with Jim Ramsey | Ben Johns, Anna Leigh Waters, and More
- 13 How to Prepare for a Pickleball Tournament: An Ultimate Guide with Checklist
- 14 5 Important Pickleball Strategies for Outlasting Your Opponent
What is an out ball in pickleball?
When balls are hit hard, they have a trajectory and depending on where they are hit on the court, there’s a chance they will go out. If you play smart, these can be free points for you and these free points can make the difference between a win or a loss.
1. Pay Attention
You may think that calling an out ball is a fast reflex, but it is actually a conscious decision. When you see it, your brain and body work together, and this is the difference between a reflex and a reaction. The goal is to be actively engaged in the game physically and mentally. This means you’re paying attention, watching the ball, and anticipating shots. By paying attention, you can improve your reaction time.
Also, take notice of your surroundings and the external elements that affect the ball. For example, is the wind blowing? Is there a flag or a visual aid you can use to judge the wind? Gathering this type of information will make you a smarter player and set you up for success.
2. If It’s Shoulder High, Let It Fly
This rule of thumb is helpful because if the ball is hit hard enough at your shoulder level, there’s a chance it will go out. Your side of the court is 15 feet excluding the kitchen. A ball hit with pace at your shoulder will likely go out.
3. Play Net Positive
In order for you to let balls go and to win free points, you must be ok with being wrong sometimes. You may think it’s better to be safer than sorry and to keep every ball in play, but if you do the math, you leave free points on the table with that strategy. As long as you’re net positive at the end of the game, it’s smarter to let them go. For example, if you let 3 balls go out and 1 stays in. You’re still net positive 2. Those two points could make the difference in the outcome of the game. Not only will you be glad but your partner will thank you for it.
4. Watch Your Opponent
When you’re at the kitchen, pay attention to your opponent’s paddle angle, backswing and contact point. To remember this, just think ABC. If you’re at the kitchen and your opponent has an upward angle, a big backswing, and a contact point below the net, the ball will likely go out.
5. Know Your Court Position
Be aware of your court position in relation to the ball at all times. For example, are you standing on the baseline? Don’t hit a ball that is at your shins.
The ball’s trajectory is better judged from the side. Tell your partner if you see a ball going out. Yell “No” or “Bounce.” Your partner will thank you for this.
Pickleball Drill Idea for Detecting Out Balls
If you’d like to improve your reaction time and judgment of out balls, you can simulate different shots with an easy drill. To do this, have one person stand at the baseline and you stand at the kitchen. Have your partner drive balls at you from the baseline with various speeds. Some will be in and some will be out. If it’s in, hit it back at their feet. If it’s out, let it go.
How to Improve Your Reaction Time in Pickleball
There are also a few other things you can do to improve your reaction time to give yourself an edge on the pickleball court.
- Stay calm – remember to breathe – when your brain is calm and focused, you can react quicker
- Stay hydrated – your brain shrinks when you’re dehydrated and this can have an effect on your reaction time – many studies have established a link between poor cognitive performance and dehydration
- Stay rested – many studies have linked rest with reaction. If you know you’ll need your reaction time, be sure to get plenty of rest the night before.
Conclusion: Detecting Out Balls in Pickleball
So that’s it, those are 6 strategies for calling out balls and winning free points. What strategy works best for you? Let me know in the comments.
Have you watched a ppa pickleball match on the PPA tour in the last few months and heard the announcers discuss some stats from the game or display some stats? If so, there’s a good chance those stats were collected by a man named Jim Ramsey.
Jim is the first broadcast statistician for the PPA and he has spent the last 35 years in broadcast.
I got a chance to talk with Jim and discuss stats that are important to the pro world, themes that he’s seeing, and the 5 most surprising stats he’s collected over the last few months.
Pickleball is one of the fastest growing sports in the world because it’s easy to play, it’s a great way to make new friends, and you can be as competitive or recreational as you want. But when you move from pick up games to pickleball tournaments, it raises the stakes, the level of competition, and the intimidation factor can go up.
Today we’re going to look at how to prepare for tournaments from tip to tail by breaking it down into stages, so you can easily take it step by step.
It’s my hope that with this video you’ll learn what to expect from tournaments, how to enjoy them and how to compete at a higher level with confidence.
Pickleball is an incredibly fun sport because it’s easy to start but difficult to master. In fact, skill and physical ability are only half the battle. When your opponents are equal to your skill level, the game becomes more strategic and mental.
Today we’re going to unpack some smart pickleball strategies that could give you an edge and help you improve the next time you’re on the court.