Pickleball is a relatively new sport, which originated in 1965.
The story goes that Joel Pritchard, Bill Bell and Barney McCallum invented the sport by using a badminton court, without having any rackets, or the proper equipment, so paddles and a wiffle ball were used and the modern day Pickleball was born.
Pickleball is fast becoming one of the more popular sports in America, with over 2.8 million players worldwide. With elements of badminton, ping pong, and tennis, this game is a whole lot of fun for people of all ages.
If you want to up your Pickleball game, then there are a few tricks and shots that you need to perfect.
From the groundstroke to the dink and the volly, there are many to master. Today, we’re going to tell you all you need to know about the smash shot.
With that in mind, what is a smash shot, and how can you perfect it?
What Is A Smash Shot In Pickleball?
A smash shot, or the overhead smash is one of the most powerful shots you can deliver to your opponents in a game of Pickleball.
Whether you’re a novice to the game, or a seasoned, experienced player, you’ll need to know how to perform a smash shot if you want to improve your game.
A smash shot is everything it says on the label.
It’s when your opponent hits the ball, it comes up high above your head, and you have to position yourself to deliver a powerful smash that your opponent will struggle to defend themselves against.
The official definition of a smash shot according to USA Pickleball is a hard, overhand shot directed in a downward position into the opponent’s court.
This shot is typically used as a return of a high bounce, lob, or as a high return.
In short, a smash shot is completed when the hit is forceful, as high as you can reach, and directed in a downward angle towards the opponent’s side of the court.
The Overhead Smash – What You Need To Know
When it comes to the overhead smash, it’s not just about smashing the ball, your footwork is also the key.
For example, if the ball is heading your way, and your toes are pointing forwards towards the net in a normal stance, then you’re making it very difficult for you to truly smash the shot, as you’ll need to get into the proper position, and turn your body sideways.
Of course, your wrist movement is very important, as you’ll need to bend it at the right angle, or you’re going to end up straight smashing the shot into the net, which of course, you don’t want to do.
So, how can you properly position yourself to execute the perfect smash shot?
Well, you’re going to want to focus on your feet first. To really nail the smash, you’re going to want to start in a neutral, normal position, where you are just facing your opponent.
When the ball goes up into the air, and is higher than your head, pivot your body, and have one foot forward, and one foot stepped back.
If you are right handed, then your left foot needs to pivot forwards, and your right foot needs to be held back.
If you are left handed, then keep your right foot forward, and left foot back. To position yourself correctly, you need to have your body positioned in a sideways angle towards the side fence.
The shoulder that you do not hold the paddle in should be pointed towards your opponent, and then you will need to use your hand that doesn’t hold the paddle to track the ball, to help you with your balance.
As you go to swing the paddle to make contact with the ball, your arm must be fully extended, and use your shoulder, elbow and wrist to fully smash the shot.
Swing your arm as if you have thrown a ball to give you the proper amount of power. Smash the ball as hard as you can, and be sure to aim at a downward angle to throw off your opponent.
While hitting it hard and deep is often the method of choice, if you mix it up with a sharp, downward angle, it’s likely your opponent will not see it coming, and you’ll throw them off their game, meaning you can win the point.
How To Do A Smash Shot
As mentioned above, a smash shot is typically utilized as a response to an opponent’s lob, high bounce, or high return.
In order to perform a smash shot, you will need to hold the paddle extended over your head at the maximum height you can, by keeping your arm extended and elbow straight.
Then, you will want to aim for the clearest, open spot on your opponent’s side of the court, or at your opponent’s feet. Do not aim for the body!
You will also not want to back up in order to position yourself for an overhead smash shot. Instead, you want to move sideways, or turn around and get into your position. You should never try and backpedal to take this shot.
When the time comes, you’re going to want to make contact with the ball as high as possible when it is in front of you, and move your weight onto your back foot. Then, flex the wrist backwards, and smash that shot.
To summarize, a smash shot is also known as an overhead smash.
This type of Pickleball technique is when you hit the pickleball forcefully, with your arm fully extended above your head, and direct the ball at a sharp downward angle.
This type of shot is essential for any Pickleball enthusiast’s arsenal, and is one that you really should practice and try to master.
With this guide, you can make the smash shot easier, and take your Pickleball game to the next level.