Many beginning players have difficulty with their backhand, but very often they manage to develop a fairly reliable backhand groundstroke. That is the good news.
The bad news is that there is more than one type of backhand shot and to be a top player, you may need to develop several different techniques for the backhand volley. The video below shows backhand options for players in a position to hit a volley.
The two volley techniques demonstrated are:
The backspin soft shot that can be effective in putting the opponents in a vulnerable position.
The topspin shot which keeps the ball low and difficult to return.
Jennifer Lucore, a top ranked US Pickleballer has put together this entertaining video of “highlights” from the Canadian Easter Nationals EXHIBITION. I think you will find this brief, four minute, video very entertaining as the players on both sides are very good dinkers and have great reflexes at the NVZ. Some of this is great Pickleball!
The video below has some longish rallies/volleys and I think we can learn a lot about Pickleball strategy when watching some of them.
I believe Matt Staub and Kyle Yates are in the left-hand court as you watch the video. As far as I can tell, Kyle is in the white T-shirt. Both Matt and Kyle have an interesting technique which involves stepping slightly off of the court to hit a ball in the air that appears to be headed for the kitchen. By stepping off of the court to strike a ball that is near the sideline, but in the playing area, they can assume a position close to the net that would be a fault if they were inside the playing boundaries. This happens a few times during the match. You can watch for it at the 2:34-2:37 mark of the video as Kyle slams a ball back at his opponents from the “near net, off court” position.
Also note how much each side relies on the dink shot. The soft game is used extensively in this match and is something I need to focus on more than I do!
In an interview here, Kyle Yates had this to say when asked for any tips or advice:
“People like to complicate the game with all these different techniques and styles, but we tend to forget that the object of the game is to hit the ball IN the court. Pickleball is a game of errors, not winners. All you have to try to do is keep the ball in play longer than your opponents. Strategy is involved only after you understand that concept. Strategy is involved only to make your opponent’s job of keeping the ball in play more difficult. There is a very fine line of demarcation between going for a win, and forcing your opponent to make an error.”
When watching the video, you can see this theory in action. Most of the time, Kyle’s team just tries to keep the ball in play until an opportune moment or the other team makes an error.