Aim For The Feet
As I was moving up from beginning to intermediate pickleball, I was told many times that with an offensive shot I should “aim for the shoes,” or “aim for the feet.” It’s good advice, but it took me a while to realize just how good it is.
When you can develop the habit of noticing where your opponent is standing, and try to put the ball right at your opponent’s feet, they can seldom return it well. Consider your opponent’s shoes a target. If you can smash the ball to their feet, it is an almost guaranteed win. But even dinks and backcourt shots that land at their feet are hard to return offensively.
The difference between an ordinary shot and what I’m talking about is that you consider how far the opponent is from the net, and place the ball to hit the floor right there, at that very distance. Ideally, you’ll also have the direction right since the opponent may be more able to scoop up a ball with a forehand or backhand if it is to the opponent’s left or right, instead of dead center.
Occasionally, you’ll get this shot so perfect the the ball will actually bounce off their shoes.
Aiming for the feet is easiest if you’re hitting a ball that is considerably higher than the top of the net. You can also use a forehand with topspin for a lower ball.
Problem solver: If when you aim for the feet, the ball is often too high or too low, consider switching to the Thumb Guide Grip.