Footwork and Mobility in Pickleball

There are many ways to improve your Pickleball game: you can drill and practice specific shots, you can lift weights and work on your strength, you can perform high intensity interval training to improve your stamina, and you can focus on your nutrition to maximize your overall health.

The more I teach Pickleball and watch players of all levels, the more it is apparent that their movement on the court is a hindrance to their success. When I say movement, I don’t mean their ability to retrieve a drop shot from the baseline, which mostly involve speed. An older player is clearly at a disadvantage since they may not be as fast anymore. What I mean by movement is a player’s ability to be in control of their body on the court at all times by demonstrating proper footwork, body position and balance in order to hit the ball in a stable position.

When comparing pro level players to lower level players, there is a clear difference in the amount of movement control demonstrated by the players. While the higher-level players may be younger, faster, quicker, and more powerful, they take fewer steps than lower level players per game. This is because pro level players understand the importance of hitting the ball while being stable, resulting in efficient movement around the court.

What can you do to decrease your movement on the court? Here are a couple of tips:

  1. Relax! Too often, players get antsy, impatient, or tense which is reflected in their body movement and leads them to moving their feet way too much. Keep breathing, slow yourself down, and you will find that the rest of your body will do the same, leading to better control with every shot.
  2. Do your best to take balls out of the air when you are at the kitchen line. If you can be at the kitchen line in a stable position, looking to take dinks out of the air, you will decrease your movement, increase your stability with each shot, and take time away from your opponent. Watch Marcin Rozpedski play, and you will understand how effective this can be. When needed, you absolutely should move to hit the ball in a good position!
  3. Take lessons from a certified coach. To improve your footwork and mobility, having someone teach you the proper way will accelerate your progress and elevate your game within one lesson.
Noe Sariban is a Doctor of Physical Therapy, Certified Pickleball Teaching Professional through the IPTPA, and a member of Team Engage Pickleball. Please visit for more information on injury prevention and rehabilitation tips. Noe started his website to provide Pickleball players around the world with a reliable and free source of information. Please like his Facebook page for updates and new information

If you have any questions, you can contact the Pickleball doctor at:

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