How to Add the Pickleball Tweener to Your Shot Arsenal

how to add the pickleball tweener to your shot arsenal


In the world of sports, pickleball is quickly becoming a favorite among players of all ages. It’s a game that combines elements of tennis, badminton, and ping-pong, offering endless fun and competitive play. For those looking to elevate their game, adding new shots to your arsenal is key. That’s where the “tweener” shot comes in—a clever technique that can really catch your opponents off guard.

Whether you’re playing casually with friends or competing in a tournament, mastering the tweener shot can give you an exciting edge. Let’s dive into how you can incorporate this advanced move into your pickleball strategy, making your gameplay more versatile and unpredictable.

Understanding the Tweener Shot

Understanding the Tweener Shot

What is a Tweener in Pickleball?

Have you ever seen a pickleball shot that goes between the legs and thought, “Wow, how did they do that?” That, my friend, is what we call the “tweener” shot. It’s a show-stopper that’s not just about looking cool (though it certainly does that, too); it’s a practical move under the right circumstances. In pickleball, executing a tweener involves hitting the ball between your legs from behind, catching your opponent off guard. It’s a bit like the trick shots in tennis where players add flair to their game while still aiming for victory.

Importance of the Tweener Shot in Your Arsenal

Now, you might be wondering, “Why should I add the tweener to my shot arsenal?” Well, it’s all about strategy and unpredictability. Mastering the tweener shot gives you a surprising element that can make a big difference in tight situations. It’s especially useful when you’re pushed far back in the court and running towards the ball, with your back facing the net. Instead of turning around, a well-timed tweener can save the point and dazzle spectators.

But it’s not just for show. The tweener can be a strategic masterstroke in your gameplay, creating opportunities where your opponent least expects them. Imagine being cornered, the ball is flying low and fast towards the baseline, and you pull off a tweener shot. Your opponent, thinking they’ve won the point, might be caught off balance, giving you a precious moment to take the lead.

The Strategic Edge

Incorporating the tweener into your gameplay can give you a psychological edge, too. When opponents see that you’re capable of such advanced shots, they’ll have to prepare for unpredictability, which can make them cautious and potentially lead to mistakes. Plus, in moments where a game could go either way, pulling off a successful tweener can boost your confidence and demoralize your rival.

However, it’s crucial to use the tweener wisely. It’s a high-risk, high-reward move that should be employed at the right moment. The best situations for a tweener are when you’re already in motion towards the back of the court, and flipping the script with an unexpected shot could swing the momentum in your favor.

When to Use the Tweener?

Deciding when to use the tweener in pickleball is like picking the perfect moment to surprise someone with a gift; it’s all about timing and context. We recommend using the tweener when you’re caught off-guard by a lob that sends you sprinting towards the baseline. It’s that thrilling moment when the ball is just out of reach for a traditional shot, and you’re too far to turn around. That’s your cue! The tweener shines as a strategic play to keep the ball in play and catch your opponent by surprise. Remember, it’s not about using it at every opportunity but choosing the right moment when it can be most effective and unexpected.

Are There Safety Concerns With the Pickleball Tweener?

Safety first, right? Absolutely. While the tweener is an exciting addition to your game, it’s crucial to approach it with care. The maneuver requires a bit of agility and flexibility, so it’s important to ensure you’re warmed up and physically ready to avoid any twists or strains. Especially for us who might not be as limber as we once thought, practicing the tweener in a controlled environment before showcasing it in a competitive game can help prevent any unwelcome surprises. And, always keep an eye on your surroundings to avoid collisions with partners or obstacles on the court.

  • Injury Risk: Strains can occur if not positioned right. Strengthening exercises can mitigate risks. Avoid these common pickleball injuries.
  • Ball Contact: Not seeing the ball increases the chances of self-hit.
  • Balance Issues: The move can cause instability.
  • Fatigue: Overuse can tire out the core and legs.
  • Court Conditions: Ensure the court is dry to prevent slips.

Are There Rules Around the Pickleball Tweener?

Here’s the good news: there are no specific rules in pickleball that forbid the use of the tweener. It’s completely legal and within the spirit of the game to dazzle your play with this shot. However, the usual rules of pickleball still apply. This means the ball must still land within the bounds of the court, and you must adhere to the two-bounce rule (letting the ball bounce once on each side of the net before volleys are allowed) when applicable. Essentially, as long as you play within the standard rules, feel free to sprinkle in the tweener to your heart’s content.

Preparing to Execute the Tweener

Before diving into the mechanics of the tweener, let’s set the groundwork right. Executing a tweener isn’t just about the wow factor; it requires a blend of agility, timing, and spatial awareness. These skills are your bread and butter, ensuring you can pull off this shot with confidence and safety.

Essential Skills and Conditions

  • Agility: Quick, graceful movements are crucial. You need to move swiftly to the right position to hit a successful tweener.
  • Timing: This is all about hitting the ball at the perfect moment. Too early or too late, and the shot might not go as planned.
  • Spatial Awareness: Understanding your position on the court and the trajectory of the ball is key. You need to judge if the tweener is the best option based on where the ball is heading.

Ideal conditions for a tweener usually involve a high lob from your opponent, giving you enough time to position yourself. It’s also a fantastic choice when you’re pushed far back in the court, and a conventional return would be too slow or predictable.

Equipment and Gear

Choosing the right equipment can make learning and executing the tweener more accessible and more effective.

  • Paddles: Lightweight paddles with a good grip are ideal for swift movements and precise control needed for advanced shots like the tweener.
  • Balls: Standard, durable pickleball balls are what you need. No special requirements here, just ensure they’re in good condition for accurate play.
  • Gear: Proper athletic shoes are non-negotiable. Look for shoes with good lateral support to help with quick turns and sprints. Comfortable, breathable clothing that allows for unrestricted movement is also essential, so you can focus on your game without any distractions.

Step-by-Step Guide to Performing the Tweener

Mastering the tweener in pickleball can make your gameplay more dynamic and unpredictable. Let’s break down how you can execute this eye-catching shot, focusing on positioning, timing, and the specific execution techniques required.

Positioning and Timing

  1. Positioning: First up, positioning is everything. As the ball sails over your head, your instinct might be to turn and chase. Instead, keep your eye on the ball and position yourself so it’s coming down right in front of you. Your body should be facing the net, with the ball approaching from behind.
  2. Timing: This is crucial. You want to hit the ball just before it hits the ground, giving it enough lift to go over the net but not so high that it goes out of bounds. It’s a delicate balance that comes with practice. Aim to hit the ball at the peak of its bounce for the best control and direction.

Execution Techniques

  1. The Motion: As you prepare to hit the ball, bend your knees slightly and get ready to swing your paddle between your legs. Yes, it feels a bit odd at first, but with practice, it’ll become a smooth part of your movement. Ensure your grip on the paddle is firm but flexible, allowing for a fluid motion.
  2. Leg and Paddle Positioning: Spread your legs just enough to allow the paddle to pass through comfortably. The paddle should swing in a low-to-high arc, brushing the ball upwards and forwards. Your leading leg (the one closer to the net) should be slightly bent to give you stability and leverage.
  3. Maintaining Balance: Balance is key to not only executing the tweener but also being ready for the next play. After hitting the shot, use your trailing leg to push yourself back into an upright position and ready stance. This way, you’re prepared for whatever comes next in the rally.
  4. Precision: Focus on hitting the center of the paddle’s sweet spot for maximum control. Visualize the trajectory you want the ball to take, aiming for a spot on the court that will be challenging for your opponent to reach.

Common Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Adding the tweener to your pickleball shots can be a game-changer, but it’s not without its pitfalls. Let’s talk about some common errors players encounter and how you can sidestep these to make your tweener attempts successful.

Poor Timing

The Mistake: Hitting the ball too early or too late is a frequent issue. If you swing too early, you might miss the ball entirely or send it flying in an unintended direction. Too late, and you might not get enough lift to clear the net.

The Solution: Practice, practice, practice. Work on your timing by having a partner throw or hit balls to you in a controlled setting. Focus on the ball’s trajectory and your movement, aiming to hit the ball at the peak of its bounce. Over time, you’ll develop a sense of when to swing for that perfect tweener.

Incorrect Positioning

The Mistake: Another common error is not being in the right position relative to the ball. This can lead to awkward shots or missing the ball entirely.

The Solution: Always keep your eye on the ball and practice moving backward with quick, small steps while keeping your body somewhat facing the net. This will help you adjust your position more accurately as the ball comes down. Drills that emphasize backward movement can improve your spatial awareness and positioning.

Lack of Confidence

The Mistake: Hesitation or lack of confidence can sabotage your tweener before you even hit the ball. This might lead to a half-hearted attempt that neither clears the net nor challenges your opponent.

The Solution: Confidence comes with familiarity. Include the tweener in your practice sessions regularly, even if you start by just attempting it in non-competitive play. The more you practice, the more natural it will feel, boosting your confidence to use it in a game.


The Mistake: Overusing the tweener because it’s fun or you’re eager to show off your new skill can actually work against you. Using it in inappropriate situations can lead to easy points for your opponent.

The Solution: Use the tweener strategically. It’s a surprise move, not your go-to shot. Evaluate the situation carefully before deciding to go for a tweener. Ensure it’s the best choice for the play at hand, and remember, the element of surprise is what makes it so effective.

Training Drills to Master the Tweener

Perfecting the tweener in pickleball isn’t just about understanding how to do it; it’s about putting in the practice to make it a natural part of your game. Whether you’re practicing alone or with a partner, there are drills that can help you improve the essential skills for this impressive shot. Let’s dive into some effective drills tailored to mastering the tweener.

Solo Drills

  1. Shadow Tweener Practice: Start without the ball. Focus on the footwork and swing needed for the tweener. Mimic the motion of running backward, then swinging your paddle between your legs. This drill helps you get comfortable with the movements without the pressure of hitting a ball.
  2. Ball Toss and Hit: Toss a ball into the air and let it bounce. As it comes down, practice your tweener shot. This drill allows you to work on your timing and the swing path of your paddle. Adjust the height and direction of your toss to practice different scenarios.
  3. Wall Rally: If you have access to a wall or a backboard, use it to practice your tweener. Hit the ball against the wall, and as it returns, set yourself up for a tweener shot. This not only helps with your swing but also improves your reaction time and spatial awareness.

Partner Drills

  1. Lob and Tweener Exchange: Have your partner lob the ball to you with varying degrees of intensity and from different angles. Your goal is to run back and execute a tweener shot. This drill is great for working on your movement, positioning, and shot execution under more dynamic conditions.
  2. Randomized Shot Calls: During a rally with your partner, have them randomly call out “tweener” at certain points. When the call is made, your next shot must be a tweener, regardless of the ball’s position. This drill enhances your ability to quickly decide and execute the tweener shot, simulating the unpredictability of a real game.
  3. Point Play with a Twist: Play points as usual, but with a rule that each player must attempt a tweener at least once during the point. This adds an element of fun and challenge, encouraging you to find creative opportunities to incorporate the tweener into your gameplay.

Tips for Effective Practice

  • Start Slow: Focus on getting the technique right before trying to hit the ball with power.
  • Vary Your Drills: Mix up your practice routine to work on different aspects of the tweener shot.
  • Be Patient: Mastery takes time. Celebrate small improvements and stay consistent with your practice.

Advanced Strategies and When to Use the Tweener

ntegrating the tweener into your pickleball game isn’t just about the mechanics of the shot; it’s about knowing when its use can be strategically advantageous. Let’s explore how to make this shot a tactical tool in your gameplay, enhancing your ability to read opponents and seize the moment for maximum impact.

Tactical Considerations for the Tweener

The tweener isn’t just a shot; it’s a statement. It tells your opponent you’re willing to take risks and have the skills to back it up. However, its effectiveness lies not in its frequency but in its timing and the element of surprise.

  1. On the Defensive: When you’re pushed far back in the court by a deep lob, a tweener can be a surprising way to keep the ball in play. It’s especially useful when your opponent expects you to be out of position, giving you a chance to reset the point.
  2. For the Element of Surprise: The best time to pull off a tweener is when your opponent least expects it. If they’re moving forward to capitalize on what they perceive as a winning shot, a well-placed tweener can turn the tables, potentially winning you the point outright or at least keeping the rally going.

Reading Your Opponent

A critical aspect of using the tweener effectively is the ability to read your opponent’s movements and anticipate their strategy. Here are some insights into making those split-second decisions:

  1. Opponent’s Positioning: Keep an eye on your opponent’s position. If they’re moving up to the net, anticipating an easy return, it might be the perfect time for a tweener, catching them off guard and forcing them to retreat.
  2. Opponent’s Expectations: Players who anticipate traditional shots may not be prepared for the unconventional. If you notice your opponent settling into a rhythm, breaking out a tweener can disrupt their flow and create openings for you.
  3. Your Position on the Court: Be aware of your own positioning. The tweener is most effective when used as a defensive shot from the baseline or when you’re on the run, making it difficult for your opponent to predict your next move.

The Art of Surprise and Execution

Remember, the tweener is as much about psychology as it is about physical skill. It challenges your opponent mentally, testing their ability to adapt and respond. However, its power diminishes if overused or predicted, so choose your moments wisely.

Incorporating the tweener into your strategy requires practice, not just in executing the shot but in understanding the flow of the game. Pay attention to the patterns of play, anticipate your opponent’s moves, and when the moment feels right, surprise them with a tweener. It’s a bold move that, when used judiciously, can elevate your game and keep your opponents guessing.

By understanding the nuances of match play and mastering the art of timing, you can transform the tweener from a flashy trick into a strategic asset, making your pickleball play more dynamic and unpredictable.


Adding the tweener to your pickleball shot arsenal brings a unique blend of surprise, strategy, and skill to your game. It’s not just about dazzling your opponents or the spectators; it’s about expanding your range of shots, keeping your game unpredictable, and turning challenging situations into opportunities.

Remember, mastering the tweener—like any advanced technique—requires patience, practice, and a willingness to experiment. Each attempt teaches you something new about your abilities and helps you understand when and how to use this shot most effectively.

We’ve explored the importance of proper timing, positioning, and the strategic elements that make the tweener such a valuable asset on the court. But the journey doesn’t stop here. Continuous practice, both alone and with partners, will refine your skills and boost your confidence in using the tweener during match play.

So, keep pushing your limits, experimenting with new strategies, and integrating the tweener into your gameplay. With each game, you’ll not only enhance your skill set but also enjoy the game even more, bringing a fresh level of excitement and competition to the court.

Let the tweener be a symbol of your evolving pickleball journey—embrace the learning process, and have fun along the way. After all, that’s what pickleball is all about!


Q: How do you hit a tweener in pickleball?

A: To hit a tweener in pickleball, position yourself between the ball and the net, then swing the paddle between your legs to make contact with the ball behind you.

Q: How do you hit a low pickleball shot?

A: To hit a low pickleball shot, bend your knees and keep your paddle low to the ground, making contact with the ball just above the surface to create a low trajectory.

Q: What is banging in pickleball?

A: Banging in pickleball refers to hitting the ball forcefully and aggressively, usually with a lot of power and pace, aiming to overpower your opponent's defensive capabilities.

Q: How do you hit the sweet spot in pickleball?

A: To hit the sweet spot in pickleball, focus on making clean contact with the center of the paddle, which maximizes power and control. Practice proper technique and timing to consistently hit the sweet spot.

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