Explore the basic techniques to use the third shot drop in pickleball and see various types of third shots we can use in pickleball.
The third shot drop, or the third shot, has gained immense popularity in pickleball because of its strategic importance, and it dictates the pace of the match. It is a shot that you hit when the ball returns from serve. The third shot drop is the most significant part of the game that can help you win if you master it.
Basically, a 3rd shot drop is not only a hit but also a point of the game that can change the fate of the match. If your opponent returns the ball swinging, you cannot handle it until you know the basics of the third drop shot. Come with me to learn what the third shot drop is and how it works in pickleball.
Third Shot Drop
The third shot is a technical hit to return the ball strategically so the opponent cannot face it, and you get a score. It occurs in the early stage of the game when you serve and the ball returns from your opponent. If you want to master pickleball, you should learn how to tackle the 3rd drop shot.
There are multiple ways to return the ball in the third term; basic drop, slice drop, or block drop. Usually, beginners use the basic drop by returning the ball at a maximum height, and the opponent needs to bend fully to hit the ball. While slice drop is also similar to basic drop. In a slice drop shot, the ball falls near the net in the kitchen area of the opponent side.
How To Tackle Third Drop Shot?
Keep Paddle In Front
In this technique, you will learn the most basic way to block the return without missing the hit. Keep the paddle out and position it in front of your body. To avoid backswing, pull the paddle back in the direction of your feet and restrict the movement of the paddle to nearly 6 inches in front of your toes.
The majority of players pull the paddle back between their legs, which is not recommended. If you pull the paddle back more than required, you cannot hit the ball with suitable force and the chances are high that the ball does not go forward on the opponent’s side. Reduce the unnecessary movement and hit the ball on the front right side; it will help you take the ball on the other side of the net.
Bend The Knee
The majority of people bend their backs to hit the ball if the ball’s height is low, but it may cause you difficulty playing the next 4rth shot. Therefore, I always advise my students to bend their knees rather than using their backs. First, it helps you move quickly, and second, it keeps you ready to play the next shot.
Bend your knee slightly facing the ball, keep the paddle in front of your feet, facing the direction of the toe, and pull the paddle back 6 inches. Hit the ball in the up direction and land it close to the net in the opponent’s area. When it is recommended to bend the knees, you should not sit on the court but slightly bend your knees, maintaining the posture, and do not bow down the back to hit the ball.
The majority of beginners spin the balls to trick their opponents, but they do not know that they are emerging themselves. Basically, when you spin the ball, it moves too hard, and the ball pops up in your kitchen area. Almost 90% of the professional players do not spin the ball in order to land it close to the net in the kitchen area of the opponent.
Hit Too High
When it comes to returning the third shot, beginners try to keep hitting the ball at a minimum height. It is a very good defending technique, but it is also a way to invite the opponent to hit the ball effortlessly. On the other hand, when you hit the ball too high, it can trick the opponent into finalizing the landing spot of the ball, which takes more time than usual.
The opponent requires time to hit the ball and it helps serving players to go back into the right position and settle themselves. The Basic drop shot is too high to take the opponent at the end of the court and settle oneself. So, hit the ball in the right direction taking it to the end of the court area of your opponent, and prepare yourself quickly.
All Types Of Third Shot Drop
Basic Drop: It is the most used shot in pickleball to return the ball. Hold the paddle tight and touch the ball softly in the up direction to take the ball next to the net. It is the best way to slow down the game quickly and to disturb the opponent.
Short Drop: Basic drop and Slice drop are both similar, but in Slice drop, the ball lands close to the net, in the kitchen area of the opponent, rather than going forward. Grip the paddle tight and hit the ball with a backswing. Angle the paddle downward and lightly brush the surface of the paddle on the ball, adding a slicing effect.
Cross Court Drop: It is one of the most technical shots in which you take the ball in the opposite direction of your opponent’s position with a force that he cannot reach. Aim the landing area, grip the paddle tightly, and control the ball’s backswing. Set an angle of your paddle in the diagonal direction of the court, and hit the ball smoothly to land it exactly where you want.
Frequently Asked Question
Where Should The Third Shot Drop Land?
The third drop shot should land in the kitchen area of the opponent. The 3rd drop shot is low, so it is challenging for the opponent to reach and hit it.
What Does Third Shot Mean In Pickleball?
The third drop shot means the shot you play after the return of your serve in pickleball.
Is The Third Shot Drop Important?
Yes, it is an important shot, allowing you and your partner to reach the kitchen area before the opponent hits the ball.
Do You Have To Let The 3rd Shot Bounce In Pickleball?
The team can volley after the third drop shot.
Where Is The Target Of The Drop Shot?
You should aim for the deep non-volley zone, right past the net in the opponent’s area.
How To Practice Third Shot Drop By Yourself?
Practicing your third shot drop can be quite easy, and it’s even more efficient with a practice partner. Position yourself at the baseline while your partner stands at the kitchen line. When your partner sends the ball, respond with your third shot drop. Your partner can give you feedback on the landing spot and height of your shot. Repeat this cycle to refine your 3rd shot drop.
Pickleball is one of the fastest-growing games in the United States, the reason is people have enormous fun playing pickleball compared to other sports. It has both characteristics, simple to play and complicated if you use the right technique at the right time. There are various types of shots in the game, you can hit the ball higher up in the air and hit it with suitable force to land the ball in the opponent’s kitchen area.
The third drop shot in pickleball is the hit you play after the return to your serve return. Bouncing the ball two times on the court is a rule of the game. Anyhow, I have explained the techniques to play the third shot drop and mentioned the shots used in pickleball.
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