Pickleball is a great sport for people of all ages. It’s quite easy to learn, so anyone can join in and have fun. However, if you want to become a pro at pickleball, you want to learn some important shots that can be used to score points. One of these shots is known as a smash.
A smash (or a slam) in pickleball refers to a shot when the player hits the ball with a lot of power to send the ball across at high speed. Because of the great speed, the opponent usually cannot return it.
A smash is often used to finish rallies and is usually hit with an overhead swing. That is why it is an overhead smash and can only be hit with balls high in the air.
While it may seem simple and straightforward, it’s not easy to hit a smash every time, and you must wait for the right moment for this type of shot. Usually, when the opponent hits a lob, a high return, or a high bounce, it’s possible for the serving player to hit a smash.
With practice and repetition, you can become a master at smashing. You can also improve your overhead smash by following a few expert tips. Let’s learn more about this type of shot and how it can be used in pickleball to gain an advantage in the game.
What is an Overhead Smash?
The overhead smash is one of the offensive shots played in pickleball to force the other team to make a defensive play. Since it is an overhead shot, it must be executed high in the air. The player must reach as high as his paddle allows and then hit the ball downwards at a sharp angle.
A player can take advantage of his opponent’s high lofted ball hit to return with a smash. However, when you hit the ball, ensure the top of your paddle is angled down so your shot doesn’t travel too high and go out of bounds. It is also important not to close the face too much as it will make the ball end up in the net.
To hit a smash successfully, the player must stand as close to the non-volley zone line as possible. This will help execute a sharper downward angle and a shot that is almost impossible to return.
How to Execute a Smash?
If you want your smash to be well-executed, you need to remember a few key points. First off, you should be standing in a position that is behind the ball. While keeping your eyes on the flight of the ball, adjust your position such that your non-dominant hand faces the ball. You may need to turn sideways to make this happen.
Now, bring the paddle up and behind your head as if you’re answering the phone. At this point, the ball must have arrived at the highest point you are able to reach with your paddle. Swing your arm up and forward to meet the ball high in the air.
When you’re about to hit the ball for a smash, shift your body weight to the front foot to generate as much power as possible. When the ball contacts with the paddle, follow through with your arm continuing in a downward arc all the way to the ground.
As already pointed out, you should ensure you’re close to the kitchen line when hitting a smash. This will allow the ball to travel downward at a great speed toward the opponent’s court resulting in a point.
Read about the kitchen-line here: What is the Kitchen in Pickleball?
Objective of Smashing
An overhead smash shot is played with a lot of power to hit the ball hard and fast so that it lands in the opponent’s court and cannot be returned. If you know how to smash, you can use it as the most powerful weapon to score points and win.
When playing a smash, players usually aim for the corners of their opponent’s court. This gives them a better chance at scoring points because the opponent does not make it to the corner in time and misses the shot.
Remember, to perform an overhead smash, the ball needs to be high in the air so that you can hit it with your paddle above your head. It’s possible to execute an overhead smash from a bounce or volley, and even with lobs that fall short.
How to Know If You Can Smash?
Knowing how to return a shot is an essential part of pickleball and other racquet sports. In order to score points, you need to be able to return the shot using the right technique. This will allow you to control the pace of the game and also give you an edge over your opponents.
To be able to hit a successful smash, you have to study the direction of the ball as well as the type of shot coming from the other side of the net. When the game starts, both players know that a particular sequence of shots is going to be exchanged between them. It is important to remember that pickleball rallies are won from the net rather than from the baseline or midcourt.
That is why the serving player must try to get close to the net after the third shot. At this point, a drop shot or a lob can put the opponent in a difficult position, and when they return a lob, the serving player can try and hit a smash.
You might want to read this aticle: Is it Better to Serve First in Pickleball?
Depending on the type of the third shot, the opponent can also try their hand at a smash. It can either be a drop shot, groundstroke, or a lob. If it’s a drop shot, the opponent can move closer to the non-volley zone line and return with a dink. Groundstrokes are more likely to be returned with a volley.