The Most Difficult Shot

Is this how you feel when the ball is hit a “little too high?”

I use to think the most difficult shot in pickleball was the drop shot. Now, I think it’s the second most difficult shot. What’s my new number one?

The reset.

The reset shot is primarily a defensive shot. You need to hit a “low and slow” reset whenever opposing players drive, volley, or smash a “hard and fast” shot in your direction. Trying to outhit the other team is usually a formula for disaster. Have you ever noticed that when you hit a hard shot in response to their hard shot that the ball comes back even harder?

Improving your defensive skills and slowing the tempo of a point, game, or match is critical to your development and advancement as a player. Mastering the reset shot will keep you in the point longer, allow you to neutralize the offensive attack of your opponents, and perhaps elicit an unforced error by the other side.

So, how do you hit more effective reset shots?

First, you have to practice hitting reset shots! And I mean lots of them. It’s not something that’s going to happen in just a few minutes of drilling before your regular gameplay session. If you have one or more drilling partners who want to improve, ask them to watch the Defend Like a Pro video in The Coach Mark Workout©.

In the Defend Like a Pro video, note how I absorb the pace of the ball coming at me from my drilling partner, Barbara Goebel. I’m bending my knees, staying low and trying to keep the height of my reset shots as low as possible. Also notice how my paddle is out in front of me. I’m “setting up” and “recovering” for the next shot that I know is coming from my relentless partner! I also have a compact swing, which means I take the paddle back ever so slightly as well as ensure a short follow-through.

Of course, I don’t want to stay too long in the mid-court transition area (or “land of opportunity” as pros Brian Ashworth and Peter Hudachko call it). I would be aiming to take a couple of steps, move forward, do my half-split, and maybe hunker down for the next incoming shot. And, I would continue doing this until I arrive at the non-volley line.

Here’s another demonstration of How to Hit a Reset Shot with Daniel Moore (on the Primetime Pickleball Youtube Channel). Note the second drill that Daniel and Jordan Briones introduce and demonstrate. You could call this drill “Progressive Resets.”

Reset shots are also hit at the NVL (non-volley line). Here, you’re seeking to block a hard volley back into the NVZ (non-volley zone) or perhaps even “dink volley” an offensive dink that’s coming at your shoelaces with pace and/or spin.

Whether at mid-court or at the NVL, resets are very challenging shots that you must master if you’re going to advance to the next skill level.

So, just because reset shots are difficult doesn’t mean you can’t master them.

Get out there and practice, practice, practice!

Pretty soon, you’ll have the control, consistency, and confidence to hit this most difficult of pickleball shots.

Published by Coach Mark

Coach Mark is a Certified Pickleball Coach, Teaching Professional, Rating Specialist, and Director of an IPTPA Training and Testing Center. Learn more at