Third Shot Drop

Drops and Drives: Not so Different After All

February 23 2023

Most pickleball players and coaches tend to think of third shot drops and third shot drives as very different techniques — almost opposites — from one another.

In some ways these two shots being remarkably similar.

The goal of a good drive is to challenge your opponents by taking away their time to react — you want to hit this ball hard. And because you’re hitting it hard, you better also keep it low, or it will fly out of bounds.

We like to imagine a window above the net (about 1.5 paddles high) and aim our drive through here. And because we are hitting the ball hard, the ball should stay in this window as it gets to the opponent.

What if we take the same target for our drop but don’t hit the ball so fast? Instead, we play a slow drive through the same window.

The ball starts low, and since it is hit slowly, gravity can do its thing. This will cause the ball to drop below the top of the net, forcing your opponent to hit upward. Ta Da — you’ve hit a successful drop!

The beautiful thing about this approach is that you are effectively hitting the same shot — just at two different speeds.

This means you only have one technique to master and you increase the chance that you can disguise your shot. Give it a try and practice, practice, practice.

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