The best pickleball players in the world know something that we don’t when you compare how they play to how the rest of us play there are a lot of differences the good news is we’re going to fix three of them by the end of this video right after you subscribe let’s get into number one which is how the top Pros hit their returns not where they return but.

Literally how they return this is Ben Johns he’s the number one player in the world and he’s currently playing the number two singles player in the world federo Stax I just want you to watch these two clips and see if you pick up on anything in pickle ball you want to get to the kitchen line as fast as you can to take the offensive so the two.

Best players in the world have figured out how to do that in the most efficient way possible for balls hit to their forehand they push off their left foot onto their right foot and then hit the ball as their left foot is coming forward in one fluid motion but Shay I do that too you probably don’t at least not the way they do here’s footage of my.

Friend Connor hitting a return in singles he’s a 40 and a lefty notice how his first two steps are back and then he comes forward after hitting the ball here’s my friend Caleb who plays four five singles he actually keeps his right foot back and kind of does a Hopping motion as he hits the ball and then comes forward here’s me I play 5.0.

Singles it takes me two steps instead of one to get to that ball on my outside and then I run forward clearly there is a difference between us and the top Pros I’ll help you fix that in a bit let’s look at our backhand returns now first here’s Ben and fed Ben takes most of his back and returns with a two-handed backhand he starts by shuffling his left.

Foot to be closer to his right foot then puts his right foot in front and moves forward with his left as he is hitting the ball notice where Ben lines up here to receive this return fed does something slightly different he very rarely returns a ball with his backand instead he’ll use the same technique as he did with his forehand first stepping.

With his right foot to get it outside of the ball and then moving forward with his left as he hits the return on the odd side of the Court he lines up with one foot outside the sideline to make this possible in both cases Ben and fed are moving forward as they hit the ball to make their kitchen approach much easier now let’s have a look at us.

Amateurs first our 4.0 remember he’s a lefty so things are flipped he is lined up almost in the middle of the court and pretty close to the Baseline when I serve this ball to his backand he’s going to have to push off his inside foot and then step across his body to get there in time all this movement means he will be really slow approaching.

The kitchen which allows me to hit a clean winner across the court Caleb does a good job of making contact in front of his body while moving forward but he lacks that explosiveness that we saw from B and fed and me personally I do whatever the heck this is this doesn’t happen all the time but in this example I didn’t move my feet at all which put.

Me in a really poor position to hit this return simply being aware of the technique differences is going to be enough to instantly fix a large portion of the problem but let’s take it a step further I recruited that pickle ball trainer Conor derkson to help me with my fitness journey he’s my personal trainer and gives me pickle ball Focus workouts.

To do every day while planning around my tournament and life schedule to hit these returns we have to be laterally explosive so one of the drills we do requires me to push laterally off of one foot find my balance and then explode upwards very similar to one of these returns the second key difference is the way that we get ready before our.

Opponent hits the ball here’s Ben returning again Watch what he does as he approaches the kitchen before his opponent makes contact with the ball or immediately after contact he takes what is called a split step basically he stops his forward momentum by taking one final step and then moves both of his feet at the same time to get into an.

Athletic stance so he can move in either direction depending on the shot his opponent hits the term split step is used a lot in tennis but it’s quite different in tennis most of the split stepping happens at the Baseline instead of in the court also in tennis when players are at the Baseline hitting ground strokes back and forth there’s.

More time between shots so therefore there is more time to split step in pickle ball you don’t have that same amount of reaction time so the split step needs to happen sooner than you probably think if you watch feder Rico hit returns it’s the exact same thing as B very intentional stopping of momentum and split stepping so they can move in.

Either direction and this occurs almost at the exact same time the ball is hit no matter where they are in the court our 40 Connor doesn’t split step all the time but when he does it looks pretty good he’s got long legs and gets up to the kitchen well but once he gets there he tries to guess which way I’m going to hit the ball ball rather than being.

Ready to go in either direction in the games that I’ve played with Caleb it’s a similar thing lots are trying to anticipate where I’m going to hit the ball instead of split stepping and then being able to move in either direction Caleb has a background in tennis so it makes sense that he’s split stepping later than he should I can usually end.

Up in a split step but sometimes I do it wrong this first split step was good because it happened mostly horizontal rather than forward into the court after I took my last step I split both feet out wide on the this one though I got split stepped but to do so I jumped forward this meant that my momentum was going forward and now it’s more.

Difficult for me to move left and right compare that with this clip from Ben notice how before any shot has hit his way there’s usually a moment where he has both feet on the ground and it’s completely balanced and therefore he can move either direction super fast which makes it seem like he’s able to correctly guess where his opponent is.

Going training this type of movement off the court should focus on strength and balance one of the more effective exercises that we do for this are depth drops just simply stepping off an elevated surface and finding your balance in a split step is very similar to the motion that you’ll be doing on court so now you’re hitting returns with.

Better footwork and you’re split stepped at the right time but you’re not moving to the ball like the best players in the world let’s break it down there are three main movements you need to be aware of shuffling pivoting and reaching I know it seems basic but been in fed do it better than all of us this point showcases everything everything most of.

The lateral movement they do are quick Shuffle steps where they push off the outside foot bring it closer to their inside foot and then move that inside foot out wide again if they have to react really fast sometimes they reach this is when they go from a split step to an even wider split step by pushing one foot further out but keeping the.

Pushing foot in its place the other movement you’ll see is a pivot this happens when they have to cover a lot of ground laterally they’ll push off the outside foot keep the inside foot on the ground but pivot around it so they can move across their body really fast a lot of the time they combine all of these movements to get to a ball but the key.

Difference between them and us is that there is very little wasted movement let’s look at Connor notice how many times during this short point that his feet aren’t moving like what we just saw from B and fed a lot of it comes down to just not being split stepped often which means there are a lot of smaller stutter steps that take away time here’s Caleb.

Moving to his right notice how his right foot goes to his left so he can move move to the right and then he just barely can’t get to that ball here’s footage of me playing in a tournament with terrible footwork any ball hit to my left side I would take this weird step which means I got to the ball late the good news is this movement can be.

Trained Connor’s team has me doing this agility drill which requires me to shuffle One Direction and then plant and pivot the other direction since I’ve been doing these I’ve been a lot more aware of my movement on the court and so now I have footage of me doing it correctly notice the shuffling and then when the ball goes to my left I pivot.

Which gets me there a lot faster the reason I’m doing this level of analysis is because I’m trying to become a pro singles player each week I write a newsletter called Ro to Pro and I give away a free pickle ball paddle to someone who reads it I share one tip one drill and answer one question from the community in each addition you can get.

It at the link in the description or shaund wood.com returning with power split stepping before each shot and moving with Precision takes so much effort from your body to do at a high level I did not realize how much I was lacking in this area until I played a singles tournament and four matches in I felt crazy out of.

Shape shortly after that I reached out to Connor to get some help from his team they work directly with a lot of pro and amateur pickleball players to get them in great shape on the court you’ll get half off your first month using Code Road to Pro if you want to get in the best shape of your life give this man a shout at the link in the description.

Thanks for watching I’ll see you in the next one peace
#Pickleball #PickleballRoadToPro #PickleballSingles
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