What Is A Drop Shot In Pickleball?

When it comes to pickleball, there are many important shots and techniques, however, none of them are as important as the drop shot. When playing advanced pickleball, this shot can be a tough one to master.

What Is A Drop Shot In Pickleball

However, from a strategic standpoint, it is vital. 

Therefore, you may be wondering what a drop shot is and why it is a vital move in the game. Well, you’ve come to the right place to find out. 

The volley zone of your opponent is packed with gentle and precise drop shots. Here, not only are you advancing your team toward the net, but you’re also equalizing the opponent’s position to your advantage, too. 

Moreover, when it comes to drop shots, one of the most advanced techniques (Also check out What Is A Lob In Pickleball?) is the third shot drop. 

With this in mind, this article aims to explore everything you need to know about drop shots, including what they are and how to properly execute them, too. 

Let’s get straight into it! 

What Is a Drop Shot In Pickleball?

A drop shot is typically performed from deep in the court. Unlike some other shots, it is much softer and is performed off the bounce where it can land in your opponent’s non-volley zone (NVZ) or kitchen. 

If you’re a beginner to the sport, these shots can be challenging to undertake. To achieve the placement and accuracy to make a winning shot, you need a lot of skills. 

Although, once you have mastered the elusive third shot drop, you’ll be able to follow the shot right into the net and gain some precious points.

Not only does this put more pressure on your opponent, but you’re positioning yourself into a stronger stance, too, to defend any shots given by the other player. 

Here, this advanced shot is typically known as the 3rd shot drop, since the drop shot is generally employed after a player’s return (otherwise known as 2nd shot). The 1st shot is the serve. 

Moreover, a drop can also be advantageous if you’re performing a 5th or 7th shot, too – whereby the 3rd shot drop wasn’t as good as you anticipated. 

Once the game moves forward, it can take several different drops for you and your team to completely make your way to the net. 

3rd Shot Drops

That said, the important third shot is a difficult shot to get the hang of. Here, you require hours and hours of practice to perfect this shot where you have reached the level where you can consistently hit all areas of the kitchen and backcourt. 

In addition to this, you’ll want to be able to successfully execute the shot drop using both your forehand and backhand, too. 

When it comes to performing a successful shot, you’ll want to turn your shoulders slightly so that they are facing the side with which you’re hitting the ball (for instance, forehand or backhand). 

Ensure your paddle is at a height where it is near the same size as your thigh, allowing you to produce minimal backswing. Then, once the ball is ahead of your body, connect the paddle with the ball – here, you should offer the ball a chance to bounce, too. 

Here, the aim is to provide the pickleball a chance to reach the highest point of trajectory before being able to successfully cross the net. 

In the ideal situation, under this circumstance, the ball will descend at a downward angle – allowing it to cross the net.

Thus, in the non-volley zone, the ball will land at or close to your opponent’s feet.

This type of trajectory makes your opponent position themselves into a low contact – allowing you and your team member the chance to advance higher into the non-volley zone line. 

Once all of the players have reached the NVZ line, you can then take the advantage of the opposing team – ensuring that they are the only team inside the non-volley zone line. 

When To Perform A Drop Shot?

These types of shots are more effective when your pickleball partner is near the baseline – allowing you to move closer toward the net. 

What Is A Drop Shot In Pickleball (1)

Generally, they are performed after you have served, as well as the return of serve during the third shot, too. Hence, this is where the term ‘third shot drop’ comes from. 

Moreover, here the serving team uses drop shots more commonly as a result. When it comes to the serving team, they may need to wait for the 5th or 7th rally shot in order to perform a drop shot successfully into the kitchen.

This is only achievable if the opposing team is kept away from the baseline, using deep return shots. 

Generally, drop shots are used by the serving teams as a way to compensate for the positional disadvantage they receive during the third shots of the rally. 

Thus, since they are receiving a faster reach to the net, the return team here is more of an advantage as opposed to the tennis team. 

Moreover, this type of shot is most effective when your opponent has already reached their non-volley zone line. Having a drop shot that bounces twice is ideal for catching your opponent off guard once they’re positioned behind the baseline. 

When it comes to pickleball, the net is the whole game; thus, you want to control it. 

That said, this doesn’t mean that drop shots are always the most optimal shots, either. Even though they are advanced. Thus, due to the amount of precision required to make this shot, it can gain high rewards, but at high risk, too. 

Final Thoughts

The most important shot in the whole of pickleball is the drop shot – this can either make or break a particular game. 

Hopefully, this guide has informed you on everything you need to know about the drop shot and how it can be detrimental to your success.

Damien Dansel
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