When my partner raced back to return a lob, I couldn’t believe what I saw next. In an act that seemed like it came straight from Ringling Bros., he turned his back to the net and made a perfect return from between his legs: it was a pickleball tweener.
But he wasn’t showing off. Well, maybe a little. What he was doing was putting the “tweener,” one of the best known pickleball trick shots, on full display.
What Is a Tweener Shot in Pickleball?
The tweener, an unexpected shot in pickleball, involves hitting the ball between your legs. It’s a clever way to keep the ball in play when caught off-guard, especially during unexpected deep lobs. Yet, it’s not a standard move.
When to Use the Tweener?
Reserve the tweener for situations with no other options. It can help make contact even in poor positioning but demands impeccable timing and coordination. Without solid skills, it’s preferable to chase the lob traditionally. For me, the tweener is a last-ditch effort.
Origins of the Term “Tweener”
The term “tweener,” rooted in the word “between,” suggests an in-between shot, either between the legs or court zones. It’s an unpredictable shot in racket/paddle sports.
Are There Safety Concerns With the Pickleball Tweener?
Yes. The tweener comes with potential hazards:
- 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.
Proper preparation and technique are essential for safe execution.
What Are a Few Tweener Technique Tips?
- Use a continental grip for flexibility.
- Adopt an open stance and twist the upper body.
- Step forward with the leading foot for better reach.
- Contact should be at full arm extension.
- Ensure the paddle faces the ball’s path.
- Recover position quickly post-shot.
Focusing on paddle angles, contact points, and balance is crucial for success.
Are There Rules Around the Pickleball Tweener?
While no rules specifically address tweeners:
- Avoid excessive use to prevent being a hindrance.
- Body contacts result in a fault.
- Stay honest with line calls.
Prioritize safety and fair play when attempting this shot.
What Are the Best Pickleball Paddles for Tweeners?
Here are some top pickleball paddle recommendations for successfully executing tweener shots:
Selkirk Amped Epic – The large sweet spot and balance between control and power make this a great tweener paddle choice. Good touch and stability.
Onix Graphite Z5 – Lightweight at 7.6-7.8 oz and offers a wider hitting surface for between the legs control. Narrower grip fits between legs.
Gamma Atomic – Good tweener choice with a graphite face and PolyCore paddle construction for pop and touch.
Paddletek Tempest Wave Pro – Slightly elongated shape with large sweet spot assists tweener accuracy. Weighs 7.2-7.8 oz.
The ideal pickleball paddle for tweeners has a large sweet spot, lightweight maneuverability, a composite surface for control, and a grip/shape that fits between your legs. Practice helps determine your best match for executing the exciting tweener!
Do Any Pro Pickleball Players Rely on the Tweener?
Some of the top professional pickleball players known for successfully incorporating the tweener shot:
- Ben Johns – The current world #1 men’s singles player can sometimes flash the tweener. His athleticism allows him to pull it off effectively on occasion.
- Tyson McGuffin – A top 5 pro, McGuffin will unleash a tweener here and there, often catching opponents by surprise with his willingness to attempt it.
- Simone Jardim – On the women’s side, Jardim is one of the best at the tweener. Her flexibility and court coverage means she can go for it and execute it consistently.
- Catherine Parenteau – Another top female pro who has good mastery of the tweener in her repertoire. She chooses her moments wisely for it.
Pickleball Tweener Wrap-Up
A well-executed tweener can be show-stopping. However, its high-risk nature means many shots might go awry. While entertaining, it’s only ideal for serious play if perfected. I mostly save tweeners for informal matches.