What is Backspin in Pickleball?

This page may contain affiliate links. If you click one, I may earn a commission at no cost to you. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Pickleball is a fun sport that is becoming more and more popular. One important skill in pickleball is being able to use backspin. Backspin is when you hit the ball so it spins backwards. This allows you to make the ball curve and move in tricky ways. Using backspin well will help you win more games!

What is Backspin?

Backspin is a technique used in pickleball. When you use backspin, you hit the ball so it spins backwards as it moves forward. This is the opposite of how the ball normally spins. When you hit the ball straight forward, it spins forward as it travels. With backspin, the ball spins the opposite way.

Why Does the Ball Spin Backwards with Backspin?

When you hit the ball for backspin, you are turning your paddle sideways or chopping down on the ball. This makes the ball start spinning backwards. The friction from your paddle makes the top of the ball turn away from the direction it is traveling. This gives it reverse spin or backspin.

What Does Backspin Do to the Ball?

Backspin changes how the ball moves in the air and bounces off the court. The backwards spin makes the ball curve and bounce in tricky ways. Here are some effects of backspin:

  • It can make the ball curve left or right in the air.
  • It can make the ball bounce lower than normal off the court.
  • It can cause the ball to skid and shoot forward when it bounces.
  • It can make the ball bounce off your opponent’s paddle at a weird angle.

So backspin gives you a lot more control over how the ball moves!

Why Use Backspin in Pickleball?

Using backspin well is an important skill in pickleball. Here are some key reasons to use backspin:

In Serves

Backspin is very useful on serves in pickleball. When you serve with backspin:

  • The ball can curve left or right, making it harder to return.
  • The ball stays lower, making it trickier to hit.
  • The ball can shoot forward off the bounce. This surprises your opponent.

So backspin on serves makes them tougher to return. It gives you an advantage to win the point.

On Returns

Backspin is also helpful when returning serves. You can use it to:

  • Curve the ball out of your opponent’s reach.
  • Create a low return that dips close to the net.
  • Hit underspin returns that skid low after the bounce.

Backspin gives you more control and variety on returns. This lets you be more aggressive and creative.

On Groundstrokes

During a rally, backspin groundstrokes can throw off your opponent:

  • Hitting underspin drops can make the ball die in awkward places.
  • Slicing crosscourt can curve the ball way out wide.
  • Backspin lobs can bounce backwards to mess up overheads.

So combining backspin with placement creates unpredictable shots to win you more points!

How to Hit Backspin Shots

To be able to use backspin effectively, you need to learn proper technique. Here are tips for hitting backspin shots:

Grip and Stance

  • Use a continental or hammer grip to allow wrist flexion.
  • Stand sideways to the net so you can swing across your body.

Forward Motion

  • Keep swinging forward towards the target. Don’t stop your swing.
  • Let the head of the paddle drag downward after contact.

Paddle Angle

  • Tilt your paddle to about 45 degrees. This creates friction and spin.
  • Keep the paddle face square to the ball. Don’t let it twist open.

Contact Point

  • Make contact just below the equator of the ball to get under it.
  • Visualize brushing upward while swinging forward.

Practice Makes Perfect!

It takes repetition to get the backspin motion down. But once you’ve mastered it, backspin can be a huge help in your pickleball game!

Backspin vs Topspin

Along with backspin, topspin is the other main type of spin in pickleball. Topspin is the opposite – it makes the ball spin forward. Here is how backspin and topspin compare:


With topspin, you brush up behind the ball to make it rotate forward. Key traits:

  • Created by upward paddle motion on the back of the ball.
  • Ball sinks faster than no spin.
  • Ball shoots forward on the bounce.
  • Causes ball to dip down into court.


With backspin, you chop down to make the ball spin backwards. Key traits:

  • Created by downward paddle motion under the ball.
  • Ball floats more than no spin.
  • Ball can skid or bounce backwards off court.
  • Causes ball to curve sideways.

So while topspin creates heavy shots, backspin makes slices and curves. Learning both spins gives you more skills and variety!


Backspin is an important technique in pickleball. By hitting underspin shots, you can make the ball curve, dip low, skid, and bounce unpredictably. Backspin is especially useful on serves and returns to create trickier shots. To generate spin, tilt your paddle back, hit under the ball with brushing upward motion, and let your paddle head drag downwards after contact. Along with topspin, having command of backspin will make you a much better pickleball player!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top