To survive in a competitive pickleball, you must learn how to return a spin serve in pickleball successfully, and here is everything that you need to know.
Returning a spin serve in a perfect way is one of the hardest pickleball skills to learn. A spin in the ball makes it harder to return because the ball acts differently when it lands on the court. Learning different types of spins, and how the ball behaves due to a particular kind of spin is crucial to surviving in the game.
In this guide, I’ll be talking about different kinds of spin and some pro tips to help you return a spin serve successfully.
Types Of Spin Serve in Pickleball
Top spin is when the top of the ball is rolling itself in the forward direction. Take a closer look at the server’s finger to determine the directions of the spin. If the server’s fingers are pointing up, you are most likely to face a topspin serve.
In the case of the topspin, the ball will pop off the court and move further in the same direction. Sometimes when the topspin is high, it feels like the ball is jumping and heading toward you quickly.
Backspin is also known as slice-spin or under-spin. The backspin is when the ball rolls in the backward directions and it is one of the hardest spins to playback. If the server’s fingers are pointing downward, an underspin is expected. A ball with underspin breaks and pops back in an upward direction.
Side spin is when the ball rotates around the vertical axis from the top to the bottom of the ball. When the server drags the paddle from right to left and points the finger on the side of the handle, it can be a side spin.
How To Return A Spin Serve In PickleBall?
Hate or love it spin serve is inevitable in pickleball. If you want to survive in a competitive pickleball game, you must learn ways to return spin serve successfully, and here is everything that you need to know.
Related: Serving Rules in Pickleball
Good anticipation is crucial for successful spin-serve returns. You must be able to read what kind of spin the ball has and where the ball is going to land on your side of the court. Watch the server’s paddle and fingers closely so that you can have an idea of what kind of spin you are likely to face. Grab the right position and get your paddle in a position early so that you can have more time to react to the ball.
You Athletic Stance
Your athletic stance plays a key role in your ability to return a spin serve. A good stance allows you to be ready for anything that comes your way. Position yourself away from the kitchen zone with your legs apart and knees slightly bent. Your body weight should be forward on the balls of your feet. After getting a perfect stance perform 2 to 3 splits and you are ready to go.
Stay Away From The Kitchen Zone
The kitchen zone or no volley zone is 7 feet on both sides from the center. In this zone, you are forbidden to stand in while volleying the ball. Staying away from this zone gives you enough time to read the spin direction and react to it accordingly.
Return The Ball With Good Clearance- Forehand Vs Backhand
You can push your opponent at the back foot by returning a spin serve with good clearance. Here you will have to decide between a forehand stroke or a backhand stroke. A forehand stroke is my all-time favorite while returning a spin serve. Forehand stroke allows you to place a low shot that can put the opponent in real trouble.
The backhand stroke can be effective against the side spin and when the ball is spinning clockwise. A backhand shot with a good clearance can help you make the ball land in the desired part of the opponent’s zone.
Related: Pickleball skill Ratings
Returning With The Spin Of Your Own
Though it’s hard, you can surprise your opponent by striking them back with the spin. It is a good idea when your opponent is giving you a spin along with some space. Just brush the ball with a low-to-high swing. A top spin will make the ball die down fast and the player on the other side must come forward to take it on the paddle.
Effective Vs. Choppy Spin
Effective spin or true spin causes the ball to land lower and deeper. It means the server is skilled enough to generate the desired amount of spin. A choppy spin is when the server fails to generate the spin. Some experienced players use hopping to introduce spin, which leads to a random chopping motion, and the ball bounces very high.
Choppy spin is like a treat and you have a lot of time and options to return it. However, you must learn how to deal with an effective spin that is going to land deep and low. Put all your weight forward on the toes and stand with your legs apart and knees slightly bent. Keep your paddle just in front of you with an open face.
It can be a little tiring but you can play the best forehand and backhand strokes if your paddle is right in front of you turned at a 45-degree angle. In case of choppy spin, the ball bounces very high and you will have enough time to decide what to do with it. Let the ball bounce and then react in the best possible way.
I’m hopeful that these tips will help you learn how to deal with spin serve. To upskill your game you must practice all these things 3 to 4 times a week. Without hard practice, you can’t expect to get better at any game.
Meet Daniel, a highly experienced writer who is passionate about pickleball. Widely recognized as a trusted source in the pickleball community, Daniel has extensively tested and reviewed countless pickleball products, ranging from paddles to shoes and beyond. Their writing showcases a keen understanding of the sport and its various intricacies.