Pickleball 101 – do not rush and run through your shot to get to the kitchen (non-volley) line, you should Stop, Hit and Move. This is a pickleball basic and one of the first lessons that should be taught in a good pickleball clinic or class.
The overall goal when playing is ALWAYS to get yourself to the kitchen line. It may take you one shot or four to actually get yourself there, and that is okay, but you must Stop, Hit and Move on each shot as you move forward to the line.
The ball is heading your way. You Stop– get yourself set up and positioned to strike the ball. About half a second to get yourself balanced. You concentrate only on hitting the ball. You Hit the ball. Strike the ball a bit in front or to your side–never behind you. Then you Move forward.
Top players (5.0 skill level) do this automatically; subconsciously they Stop, Hit and Move. It is part of their built in skill set and when watching them play the process looks seamless and effortless. Watch these players from the sidelines or a video and focus on their feet and forward movement.
The phrase Stop, Hit and Move actually comes from my dad, Bob Youngren. In his classes he does a whimsical demonstration showing this process. He adds in a bit of a shuffle and hip moving–which will make you laugh, yet will give you the visual reminder of what to do.
If you need a visual example, the below video clip starts at a point that show you how I Stop, Hit and Move in just a few seconds. Get the idea?
So when you are out on that pickleball court, ready to play the game, and possibly eager to get to the line for that—BOOM—put away volley. Remember, as you make your way to the kitchen line you need to Stop, Hit and then Move. You can do it!