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Why Would a Pickleballer Do This?

If you’ve never tried it, you may find bouncing a ball off the edge of your paddle is easier than you thought. It’s not like that for everyone. Some people have to practice quite a bit. For all of us, whether natural at it or not, this can be quite valuable.

The reason is that it teaches several skills that are at the heart of our favorite sport.

1. It teaches you to follow the ball right to the paddle. Many people strike blindly at the ball, while looking at the opposing court, the net, or something distant. If one’s shots too often go wild, then following the ball all the way to impact with the paddle is a good habit to learn.

On the other hand, it is also important with some shots more than others, to see to the best of your ability where your opponents are, and hit to their feet, slightly to their left side, and so on. I, personally, tend to hit a lot of shots blind, meaning I don’t watch the ball all the way to impact, but instead, look to where I’m putting the ball. To complicate things further, misdirection with the eyes and body can be a valuable tactic. Glance where you want the ball to go, but then pretend to look somewhere else to throw your opponents off balance.

2. Many players have random shots because their paddle isn’t at the right angle in their hand. I have talked about this elsewhere in One cure is the Thumb Guide Grip. Another is to become absolutely familiar with the angle of the paddle in your hand. This edge bouncing exercise does that nicely.

3. It builds your reaction time. When you get in a popcorn war, you’ll want to react as fast as possible, as fast as you’ll learn to react when you’re bouncing the ball off the edge of your paddle, it goes sideways, and you manage to correct it on the next bounce.

4. It makes new opponents worry that you are better than you really are, or that you are so confident that they don’t have a chance. This last point is a bit of a stretch, but in any case, you’ll enjoy filling your idle time with activities like edge bouncing while players are rounding up balls between rallies or when waiting for everyone to show up on the court to start a game.

Please feel free to experiment with higher bounces, lower bounces, switching from hand to hand, rolling the ball over the edge, under the leg or behind the back bouncing – just anything you can think of.

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