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Pickleball Basics for Tennis Players

If you are finding yourself trading in
one of these for one of these, I’ve got a few tips to help you make the transition
it’s just a little bit easier. Stay Tuned. Hey everybody it’s CJ Johnson
I’m sure that you’ve heard by now pickleball is one of the fastest growing
sports in the country. Why not? It’s fun to play. It’s social, we’re having
a great time out here so if you haven’t played already I hope that you’ll join
us. What we’re finding is that there’s a lot of people who are converting from
tennis to pickleball. Pickleball is not mini tennis and today I’m going to cover
a few things that’ll help you make the transition from the tennis court to the
pickleball court. First of all let’s talk about the grip.
The preference for most people in pickleball is a continental grip. It’s a
more neutral grip, it’s easier to use on both the forehand side as well as the
backhand side in pickleball. There’s not as much time to switch grips especially
once you get to the non-volley zone so by using a continental grip you set
yourself up for a little bit more success. What you’re going to notice in
the Continental grip is the V on my forehand is even with this bevel on the
pickleball handle and the knuckle of my forefinger is even with that bevel. It’s
true that some of the better players use an Eastern forehand grip for ground
strokes from the backcourt and then switched to a more neutral grip who once
they’re at the net. If that’s what you’re comfortable with
from tennis go ahead give it a try. Just keep in mind once you get to the net
there’s no time to be switching grips. Number two in pickleball always keep the
paddle out in front of you. In tennis when we take a ground stroke we tend to
move the paddle behind us to generate power as we move forward. In pickleball
we’re going to be a lot better off if we keep the paddle out in front of us and
make a shorter stroke. Number three is the footwork. In
pickleball and tennis the footwork is very similar. I think one of the things
that you’ll find is you’ll be using fewer crossover steps in part you have a
shorter distance to cover. On the forehand you’ll also see that fewer
players use a very closed setup they tend to use a more open more forehand in the
pickleball for hand versus tennis. But those are pretty small differences. The
one big difference is in the volley. In tennis we’re taught to volley by
stepping forward to make contact. In pickleball we have this thing called the
non-volley zone or the kitchen line so if you step forword and take a volley
in the air you’re in violation of the kitchen rule. So what you’ll need to do
here is make sure that you’re up on the balls of the feet, keep the panel in
front of you and volley with a very stationary body. All the movement is
coming from the shoulder and arm. Number four this is not a baseline game
you are going to need to learn to soften the shot. In tennis
especially singles it’s played mainly from the baseline. We use a lot of angles
and power to gain an advantage and to hit a winner. In pickleball you’ll need to learn how to soften the shot, be a little bit more patient
and wait for a ball that comes above the net take advantage of that and
then make the put away. As I said in the opening pickleball is not mini
tennis there’s a lot of things that are going to transition from your tennis
play on to the pickleball court but pickleball is a game all on to its own
with a lot of strategy and several differences that make the two of them
completely unique and different and can be enjoyed by anyone. Tell me what have
you learned in transitioning from tennis to pickleball? Put it down in the
comments below. If you got value from this video if you wouldn’t mind giving it a
little thumbs up or if you would share it with your pickleball playing friends
because Together We Can Train Smart, Live Bold and Age Well

David Frank



  1. James Crane Posted on June 17, 2018 at 12:34 am

    what have I learned ? Don't play tennis. You pick up too many bad habits

  2. Dale Voigt Posted on June 17, 2018 at 12:57 am

    I find that if you hit your volleys with torso rotation you will generate more power than if you only isolate the shoulder and arm.

  3. Paul Mcgee Posted on June 18, 2018 at 11:26 pm

    Tennis volleys are short, flat punches—even when the ball is above the net. In pickleball, volleys are often “rolled” low-to-high to add topspin and a bit more pace. It is easier to make clean contact, so take a little swing.

  4. Paul Mcgee Posted on June 18, 2018 at 11:32 pm

    In pickleball the lob is much less effective, especially as you work up to a higher level of play. Think about it, your opponent is already well back from the net because of the non-volley zone, so getting a lob over your opponents’ heads requires you to drop your lob into a small area or prepare to deal with a smash.

  5. Paul Mcgee Posted on June 18, 2018 at 11:34 pm

    In tennis you hit drop shots for winners. In pickleball, the drop shot keeps your opponent from attacking.

  6. Paul Mcgee Posted on June 18, 2018 at 11:40 pm

    I used to tell transitioning players that their two-hander would not work well. But a slew of top players have proven that incorrect, becoming very successful with their two-handers by reducing their upper-body rotation slightly and using their arms a bit more.

  7. Coach Andy G Posted on June 19, 2018 at 7:00 am

    I still teach people to hit shots from the Baseline using a Cross-Over step from racquetball & tennis.
    That gives them a straight shot down the line or a shot through the middle. You disguise the shot by keeping your head down & stroking through. Now the opponent has to defend 2 shots to his right & left. Then your 3rd shot with your forehand or backhand is at him shoulder high.
    If you can you should work on perfecting your light topspin shot called "Simone Brush Shot".
    Light topspin that comes over the net and starts to descends as its coming over so the opponent can not attack it.
    They can hit it straight into the net or lift it up back to you for a easy put away, killlshot, end the rally.

  8. Wong Lanang Posted on July 8, 2018 at 5:14 am

    Hey CJ, I love watching your videos, it inspired me a lot. I am a tennis player and also love playing pickleball. I play pickleball during the weekdays and playing tennis on weekends. In fact I spend most of my time playing pickleball than tennis. The more I watch your videos I would say that you are like my pickleball coach to me. 😊

  9. hutchholland12 Posted on April 22, 2019 at 11:50 am

    Very nice videos.
    Thank you for explaining the game so well.
    Cheers 🥂

  10. Linda Jackson Posted on June 30, 2019 at 10:35 pm

    Being a tennis player I am having the hardest time serving underhand. Any tips?

  11. Elaine Nilsson Posted on July 6, 2019 at 2:24 am

    Much softer stokes/swings. Not always a follow through.

  12. Chad Bierman Posted on September 13, 2019 at 3:44 am

    Thanks for the great video – God bless!