Pickleball Backhand

Pickleball Backhand: Tips to Improve Your Game

Many pickleball players find the backhand challenging. It’s often inconsistent and lacks power. This article will guide you on how to master the pickleball backhand with practical tips and exercises.

Pickleball Backhand Basics

Understanding the basics of a pickleball backhand is crucial. It starts with the right grip, stance, and setup. A strong foundation is key to improving shot consistency and power.

AJ Pickleball Backhand

Common Issues with Pickleball Backhand

Many players struggle with their backhand. It’s often weaker than the forehand, leading to avoidance. This weakness is usually due to improper body positioning and lack of practice.

Body Position and Footwork

If your backhand is weak, you might be running around it. This causes improper body positioning. Ensure the ball is neither too close nor too far from your body. A closed stance is preferred, allowing shoulder and core rotation, adding power to the backhand.

Practical Exercise

Practice your body movement without a paddle first. Stand at the non-volley zone. Have a partner feed the ball from the baseline. Focus on correct footwork and arm position. Catch the ball to feel the proper body movement.

  • Key points: Closed stance, rotation through shoulders.

Adding the Paddle

After mastering footwork, add the paddle. Focus on contacting the ball in front of your body. Watch the ball into the paddle.

Importance of a Solid Backhand

Avoiding the backhand can leave the court open and vulnerable. A solid backhand helps cover the entire court effectively.

Difference Between Tennis and Pickleball

In pickleball, the strokes need to be shorter, calm, quick, and compact compared to tennis due to the smaller court size.

Five-Step Process to Hit a Winning Backhand

1st Step: Early Preparation

Turn your body and get the paddle back as soon as the ball approaches. Face the side fence to “wind the spring.”

2nd Step: Use Non-Dominant Hand for Support

Support the paddle with your non-dominant hand for proper shoulder turn and stability. A two-handed backhand is recommended for players needing extra strength.

3rd Step: Step with the Right Foot (for right-handed players)

Step forward with the right foot as you hit the ball.

4th Step: Make Contact Out in Front

Ensure contact with the ball is made in front of your body.

5th Step: Follow Through Properly

Follow through like a Ferris wheel, not a merry-go-round. This ensures the ball lands in the court.

General Tips

Use whatever technique works best for you, whether one-handed or two-handed. Ensure proper support from the non-dominant hand.

How to Have a Good Backhand in Pickleball

Power is generated primarily from standing from low to high, fully extending your arm, and rotating your lower arm at the elbow. The wrist should stay parallel to your lower arm throughout the motion.

How to Hit a Backhand Groundstroke in Pickleball

Straighten your arm and get wrist action at the end. Contact the ball almost straight in front of you. Have the paddle travel in an arc perpendicular to the ground, from low to high.

Common Mistakes in Backhand Technique

Mistake 1: The Slapper

This mistake involves hitting the backhand with mostly the wrist and no body engagement. Correction: Get a good shoulder turn, bringing the hitting shoulder under the chin.

Mistake 2: Separation Between Arm and Body

Various symptoms indicate this issue, such as the elbow pointing forward instead of down. Correction: Keep the bicep tucked against the body, the chin over the shoulder, and the paddle high in the back.

Mistake 3: Not Dropping the Paddle Head Enough

Failing to drop the paddle head sufficiently leads to issues such as unintended side spin. Correction: Start with the paddle tip up, then let it tip down to get under the ball.

Mistake 4: Not Using the Non-Dominant Arm Correctly

The non-dominant arm is underutilized. Correction: Use the non-dominant hand to set the paddle back and then send it back during the swing as a counterbalance.

Mistake 5: Pulling Eyes Off Contact Too Soon

Players often lift their heads too soon to see where the ball is going. Correction: Keep the chin down and eyes on the ball through contact.


What is the best way to hit a pickleball backhand?

Ensure a closed stance, rotate through your shoulders, and make contact in front of your body.

How can I improve my pickleball backhand consistency?

Practice body positioning, use proper footwork, and follow through correctly.

What is a two-handed backhand in pickleball?

A two-handed backhand uses both hands on the paddle for added control and power.

Why is my pickleball backhand weaker than my forehand?

Improper body positioning and lack of practice often cause a weaker backhand.

How can I add power to my pickleball backhand?

Focus on shoulder rotation, maintaining a closed stance, and making contact out in front.

Improving Your Pickleball Backhand for Better Game Performance

Mastering the pickleball backhand requires practice, proper technique, and a strong understanding of the fundamentals. By focusing on early preparation, body positioning, and consistent follow-through, you can improve your backhand’s consistency and power. Incorporate the practical exercises and tips outlined in this guide into your training routine. Remember, the key to a successful backhand is a combination of technique, practice, and confidence. Keep practicing, stay patient, and your pickleball backhand will become a reliable and powerful part of your game.

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