What is a Pickleball Forehand Drive?
Before moving toward the deeper concepts, let’s understand the basics of a forehand drive.
This type of drive is a groundstroke that is shot once the ball bounces off the ground. This stroke is considered very powerful and can win you some points.
A forehand drive is also known as an attacking shot as it lands near the sideline or baseline of your opponent. This way, your opponent will hurry to strike the ball and you might win a point if they don’t make it.
Mostly it is shot from the area that’s present between the mid-court and baseline. Since this drive is forehand, the palm of your hand must face the net.
Types of Pickleball Forehand Drive
There are three main types of forehand drives. Let’s look at them one by one;
- Near-Net Forehand Drive: When the ball bounces high and you shoot an attacking stroke, it will be a near-net forehand drive.
- Mid-Court Forehand Drive: This stroke is made when the opponent returns the ball to your mid-court area. Once the ball bounces higher, a player will strike an attacking shot.
- Back-Court Forehand Drive: When the ball bounces in the back-court area or near the baseline, strike it towards the opponent with a back-court drive.
There is another version of this groundstroke that can generate a topspin. A topspin forehand drive will rotate the ball and trick your opponent.
If you hit a stroke correctly, your opponent will get the ball on their feet. Resultantly, you’ll win a point or a serve.
However, generating a topspin drive is difficult as you have to rotate the paddle at certain angles. You also have to be mindful of the positioning of your shoulder and hips.
Which Grip is Best for Hitting a Forehand Drive?
It is recommended to use an eastern or western grip for forehand drive. An eastern grip can generate a basic forehand drive, while the western grip can give you a topspin forehand drive.
An eastern grip involves gripping the paddle in a handshake grip such that the position of your knuckle is aligned with the flat side of the paddle.
This position gives a strong and controlled forehand stroke. The western grip can also be used for this groundstroke.
In a western grip, you have to hold the paddle like a frying pan such that your palm is facing the net of the court. Because of this position, most players find the western grip to be more helpful in making the forehand stroke.
However, the continental grip is similar to a hammer that’s hitting a nail. In this position, the angle of your wrist and hand are adjusted according to the backhand movement.
Therefore, a continental grip is good for the pickleball backhand drive but can be difficult to use for a forehand one.
How to Hit a Pickleball Topspin Forehand Drive?
Now that you have learned about the basics of this groundstroke, let’s get to the main section. Generating a forehand drive is very easy, but when you decide to add topspin, things can get tricky. Practicing the topspin movement will help a lot.
While generating a topspin, your paddle, shoulder, hips, arms, and legs must be positioned at a certain angle.
Although you have to hit the ball hard in a forehand drive, it must be avoided if you want to generate a spin. Instead, brush the ball with a medium power to generate both a topspin and a drive.
Here is a step-by-step on generating a perfect topspin on a forehand drive.
- To start, you must hold the paddle in a comfortable grip. We recommend you use a western grip for generating a topspin.
- Be focused on the movement of the ball while it’s coming toward you.
- Once you decide to generate a topspin with this drive, adjust the position of your body.
- Move your body sideways such that your non-paddle shoulder and foot are facing the ball. At this point, shift your weight on the back foot.
- Start to shift your body weight from your back foot to the front leg slowly.
- Your wrist must be slightly firm, your palm should be facing the net, and the paddle head must also be angled towards the net.
- Once the ball bounces, lightly brush the ball with your paddle to generate topspin. For generating a forehand drive, you must give medium power to the ball.
When Should You Hit a Drive?
Pickleball is a game that consists of various shots, these pickleball shots can’t be hit at the same time. So you must know about each groundstroke and when to hit it.
But while playing a match, you might get confused about when to use this groundstroke. Therefore we have provided three scenarios where you can attack your opponent.
When the Game is Slow
We all can agree that pickleball is an easy game. It can be boring if not spiced up
To help the game move faster and add more twists, you can hit a forehand shot on a bounced ball. If you are someone who likes challenges, then adding a topspin would be a great idea.
When Your Opponent is Experienced
Sometimes both players are trying to play according to each other’s caliber, which is judged after playing a few shots with them. But most of the time, both players are highly professional who are just trying to be more ethical.
If this happens to you, hit a topspin drive with a forehand shot to check the experience of your opponent. If they take it with ease, then continue the challenging game.
But sometimes they can’t play these shots. In this case, it is better to avoid hard shots to play an equal and fair game.
Your Points are Low
Let’s all agree that we play games to get the adrenaline rush of winning them. But if you are constantly losing points by playing soft shots, it’s the right time to try new tricks.
At this critical time, you can strike a drive to attack the opponent. If the points are too low, consider adding topspin to increase the chances of winning a point.
Where Should You Aim a Topspin Forehand Drive?
The pickleball court is a large area. But there are some areas in the court where players are afraid to hit new shots.
Here are some areas where you must shoot a topspin forehand drive for winning the point
- If opponents are standing far from each other, then hit the shot in the empty middle space. This will cause a disruption and no player will be able to hit the ball.
- Hit the ball in the transition zone or no man’s land as most players can’t hit a shot from this area. This area is situated a few feet from the non-volley zone and the baseline.
- Try to generate a topspin in a way that it hits the feet of the opponent player.
Common Mistakes to Avoid for Hitting a Topspin Forehand Drive
There are some mistakes you might be making while hitting a forehand drive. Here are some of the mistakes you must avoid at cost:
- Not standing in the right position, and your shoulders or hips not being in the correct position.
- The stroke you make might be hard and rigid. A hard stroke will make it difficult to generate topspin.
- Your stroke is too soft. Remember that a forehand drive should never be hit with a hard stroke. Therefore keep a medium stroke for generating a topspin.
- You might be trying to play the shot when the ball is very close to your feet.
How Do I Improve my Topspin Forehand Drive?
There is only one way to improve the forehand drive; Practice. Firstly, try to master forehand drive.
You can improve your groundstrokes by practicing with a friend. But if your friends can’t join, use a pickleball machine which is available on many courts.
After mastering this groundstroke, move towards the topspin. Generating a topspin is quite tricky but practicing it will help you in future games.
All in all, hitting a forehand drive can be difficult for beginners. If you want to add topspin, it will become even trickier. However, it’s not impossible!
Only a few practice sessions and determination will be enough to help you master this groundstroke. Once you learn this shot, it would be much easier for you to win points.
We hope that you learned new tips from this article. Use these tips, practice, and become a master at the game!