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How to “SETTLE” your serving yips

One of the common problems pickleball players find is that they get the serve “yips”: it won’t go in or over or goes anywhere other than where you want it to go. Some of this issue is inside your head and only gets worse the more you focus or worry about it.

A great way to get past the mental block is to focus on the physical elements of the stroke. I use the acronym SETTLE to focus on six key areas:

Swing from your shoulder: use the same pendulum swing to create a simple reliable swing mechanic

Eyes on the ball: make sure to pay attention to the ball to create a good contact. If you’re struggling, consider the drop serve and hit off the bounce.

Toes where you want it to go: point your non paddle foot where you want the ball to land. This ensures that the knees bend and release in a straight line, promoting a straight swing path of the arm.

Tightness of your grip: if the serves are going in the net, you may have too loose a grip. Aim for at least a five out of ten pressure. If it’s going long, it might be too tight so loosen off to closer to five or six out of ten.

Loft: you need to give the ball enough loft and height to clear the net. It is less important to keep the ball low on serve as your opponent must let the ball bounce.

Extend: you need to extend your backswing and follow through to make sure you hit the ball deep enough and high enough to land successfully in the correct part of the court.

One final tip that often helps is to focus on the heel of your hand and aiming with that. By swinging forwards like this, it forces your paddle to have a direct path to target.

If you are having issues with serving, feel free to reach out to me and i can set up a session either in person or via remote (video analysis/live video call) to work on a solution.

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