When you are striking the ball your feet and head play an important role for a successful flight of the ball. Of course there are other factors when hitting the ball, but I feel that feet and head are two simple and yet difficult things to manage before the other factors.
In Baseball, Golf, Tennis, Ping Pong, Archery, and many more sports, placement of the feet is the basic foundation before anything happens, and what the head does is a package deal.
Still can’t figure where I’m heading?
When you strike the ball your FEET and HEAD are still, still, still! That means you have to run, walk, slide, or jump to get to the place where you can do the CORE stance. Just remember it is easier to hit the ball in your CORE stance than to hit while running for the ball. People are more consistent hitting the ball in their CORE stance than in any other position. In Pickleball being consistent means you should win more points, and therefore, win more games.
What about your head? Like I said, “the head is a package deal.” The only physical thing your head should do is to help your eyes follow the ball to your hitting zone. At impact your eyes are focused on the paddle hitting the ball, and your HEAD does not move until the ball is well on its way. Keeping your head still is difficult to do because you want to see where you are hitting the
ball. To help keep your head still, visualize the spot/area (target) to which you are hitting and do not peek! When you get better and more accurate, the spot/area will become smaller.
To recap: Get to a place where you can hit the ball in your CORE position. Keep on thinking, PLANNED ANTICIPATION. When you or your partner hits the ball to your opponents’ court, where the ball lands will determine your next court position. Keep your HEAD still when making contact with the ball. Roger Federer, pro tennis player, is the epitome of keeping his head still when striking the tennis ball. His ball is over the net before his head lifts to follow the ball.
It is fun to play Pickleball. And, it is even more fun as we improve.