Quick Tip: Extension on the Overhead

By Alice Tym


In pickleball, in order to achieve more power and additional angles, you need full extension of your body on your overhead. This extension also reduces potential for errors as a result of bending at the waist and/or shoulders. Power comes from your back foot up through the legs, hips, shoulders, arm and, ultimately, a pronated wrist. If any of these areas are compressed or bent, you’re likely to lessen your accuracy and consistency.

So how do you know what full extension should feel like? I won’t tell you who taught me this trick, but he won Wimbledon—and he had a powerful serve and overhead. As a youngster, he suspended a ball with a string from a tree limb so he could just reach it with the sweet spot of his racket.

 A pickleball is easy to suspend. Practice extending your entire body to hit the ball so you know how it feels to maximize your reach—and you’ll feel the power emanating from your weight transfer up into the ball. Explode upward beginning with the power off of your back foot.

 If you’re teaching children, you can put a broomstick across the corner of a tennis fence and suspend the ball from the stick. Remember to have them power up into the ball to maximize their reach and to get 100 percent of their bodies into the ball. The visual image will help them understand the concept of extension.

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