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Pickleball transition zone: 7 tips to fight your way to the net

Pickleball transition zone: 7 tips to fight your way to the net


By Danea Bass & Barrett Bass

On: 02/22/2024

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Myths, strategies, and techniques for becoming an expert in the transition zone on the pickleball court.
Myths, strategies, and techniques for becoming an expert in the transition zone on the pickleball court.

If you’re struggling with making your way to the kitchen line after your serve or serve return, here are some myths, strategies, and techniques for becoming an expert in the transition zone on the pickleball court.

What is the transition zone?

The transition zone on a pickleball court is the area between the baseline and kitchen line. Players are told to go straight to the kitchen line, so when they get stuck there, they can get confused with the area and don’t understand what to do.

Pickleball transition zone myths & mistakes

Mistake #1: No Man's Land

The first mistake players make in the transition zone is calling it “no man’s land.” This signifies that you should never be in the zone — which is not true. If you are moving from the baseline to the kitchen, you will have to play in that area.

Use the transition zone to get a good advantage on the court, but don’t stay there. Hit your shot from the transition zone and then move on to the kitchen line when you can.

Mistake #2: Losing control of your footwork

Another mistake players often make in the transition zone is, after hitting a drive or drop, they take off on a spring to the kitchen line. This could cause you to be out of control with your footwork. You will want to make sure that as you come forward, you utilize your split step to allow you to hit the ball and stay in control on your way to the kitchen line.

Mistake #3: Being too perfect with your shot

Another mistake players make in the transition zone is trying to be too perfect with their shots. For instance, they’re trying to hit their drop or their reset with minimal margin — like skimming the top of the net with the ball. But this could mess you up, because you are more likely to hit the net in this situation. It’s important when you are working your way through the transition zone that you give some loft to the ball to get your ball over the net. This will help give you and your partner a chance to defend the point.

Pickleball transition zone tips

Tip #1: Split step

The first tip for the transition zone is to utilize your split step. Instead of running forward to hit the ball, you will want a nice wide base, bend your knees, and get low to the ground.

Tip #2: Contact the ball in front of your body

Another tip for the transition zone is to contact the ball in front of your body. Don’t let the ball get to the side of you or behind you. You will also want an open paddle face, meaning the paddle face is facing toward the sky.

Pickleball transition zone drills

There are quite a few drills you can do to help you in the pickleball transition zone. Watch the above video (or you can watch the video here) to improve your pickleball play.

Pickleball transition zone

The pickleball transition zone is an area that is often overlooked because many players think they shouldn’t ever be there. But instead of avoiding the zone, you should be learning how to use it to your advantage.

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