What Is a Spike in Pickleball

What Is a Spike in Pickleball?

Pickleball is a game of strategy. One element of this strategy is applying pressure on your opponents. To do this, you have to learn to play aggressively. This doesn’t mean you should drive or speed up and bang every shot, but there is one extremely powerful shot you can make on pickleball courts.

The spike in Pickleball (also known as a slam or smash) is technically called an overhead. Like a dunk in basketball or a spike in volleyball, the overhead is performed through a forceful hit. The ball is thrown as high as the player can reach, directed at a sharp downward angle, and back into the opponent’s court.

You see, a spike in Pickleball involves some specific moves that not every player knows about. So, if you want to master the sport and play like a pro, then take note of our guide to everything you want to know about spike hits in pickleball.

What Are the Three Types of Hits You Can Use in Pickleball?

There are three kinds of shots you can make in pickleball. They are forehand, backhand as well as overhead shots. Each one is distinct from the others and requires different placement and timing.

The forehand groundstroke is the most frequently used shot in the game of pickleball. It is usually the shot that is used in return for the serve. If you are preparing to perform a forehand strike, you must turn your body and make sure your foot on your body’s non-paddle side is facing your opponent. Your body should be parallel to the ball’s trajectory.

The motions of a backhand groundstroke are similar to the forehand stroke. The only difference is that you change the direction your body is facing. The forehand requires your paddle shoulder and your foot towards the back. The backhand requires your paddle shoulder and foot forward. Developing a strong and dependable backhand will give you a powerful tool most pickleball players don’t have.

When your opponent appears to have a perfect shot for you to hit back, when you have ample time to plan your shot, and the ball is in the air and is coming towards you from above, you can attempt an overhead hit. The aim is to strike the ball hard and force it to fall downwards, making it impossible to return. The most important thing here is precision; hitting the ball directly to the opponent’s feet is even more effective.

Can You Spike in Pickleball?

Yes, a spike is allowed in Pickleball. But unlike volleyball, ping pong, tennis, and other net sports where you can spike from anywhere, that is not the case in Pickleball.

Due to the nature of pickleball, it would not be fun to allow spiking right in front of the net. There’s not a lot of space to play in, and the ball won’t be hit very hard or high compared to other sports therefore, a player could be seated at the net and earn every point by throwing the ball directly down. Not fun.

To overcome this problem, pickleball utilizes an area in the front of the net called the kitchen. This is technically known as the non-volley zone, is seven feet deep, and is located right in front of the net.

When any part of your body is in this box or your toe is on the kitchen line, you are not allowed to hit the ball out of the air. This includes spiking. But outside of this box, a spike in pickleball is legal anywhere else on the court.

If you’re in a position where any of your body parts is within the confines of this box or your foot is on your kitchen line, you aren’t allowed to hit the ball from the air. It’s the same for spikes. But, outside of this area, the spike can be used anywhere else in the court.

How Do You Spike in Pickleball?

Spikes are deceptively tricky shots. Everyone gets so excited at the opportunity that all control and technique fly out the window. But you aren’t going to do that. You’re reading this article and will be ready.

The first thing you want to do is get your feet set. The right way to do this is to turn both your feet so that you can extend a line connecting your feet and point where you want the ball to go.

Many people try to spike the ball in a ready position facing the other court, but you lose control of your shot doing this. Turn your body to the side as you set up for a spike.

Also, contrary to what you might believe, you don’t have to hit the ball as hard as possible. Sometimes taking a little off it will help your aim and ball placement. Slamming the ball with all their might is how pickleball players end up smashing balls into the net and sending them out of bounds.

Finally, use your none paddle hand to balance, increase body control, and give your paddle a target.

Can You Spike in the Kitchen in Pickleball?

Pickleball is a fast-paced game in which strategy and placement are incredibly important. Just because you have hit a shot before does not mean it will happen again. Instead, you need to think about the potential outcome of your motion and create new strategies for each scenario. By thinking about and analyzing what happens during each part of the game, you’ll get better at spike shots and neutralizing your opponent’s spikes.

The kitchen, or non-volley zone, is the area of the pickleball court that is seven feet from sideline to sideline on both sides of the net. In the kitchen, you can’t hit the ball out of the air. You have to let it bounce. Once it bounces, you can hit it, no matter where you are standing.

If a ball is served and you find yourself standing in the kitchen, track the ball in the air while backing up and reestablishing yourself outside the kitchen with both feet. Now that you are fully outside the non-volley zone again, a spike is back in play.

The most important thing to remember when performing a spike shot is that it takes practice. You can play with a friend or join an informal pickleball league. If you’re starting out, it’s important to play against people who are roughly the same skill level as you so that you don’t feel like a fish out of water during games. You can’t just decide one day that you want to be good at spike shots and expect instant results. Instead, you need to work on your form, build strength in the right areas, and practice as much as possible.

Final Thoughts

Overhead hits are a great way to keep your opponent on their toes. In pickleball, overhead hits can be used as a defensive move to keep your opponent from getting too close to your side of the court or to force them into an awkward position.

When practicing your overhead hits in pickleball, ensure that you’re keeping your body parts moving properly so that you don’t injure yourself or anyone else on the court.

Overall, an overhead smash is a powerful attack in pickleball. But it should be executed properly to ensure that the opponent has an extremely low probability that they will return it.

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