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Amrik Donkena’s Lessons: Elevating Your Pickleball Game

Amrik Donkena’s Lessons: After years on the pickleball court, if your overhead shots are still weak, don’t worry, Amrik Donkena, a pickleball pro with a reputation for flawless counters and deadly overheads is here to teach you. In a lesson with Donkena, he will analyze your technique to pinpoint any flaws. Donkena’s methodical approach analyzes the mechanics of the overhead into four crucial components: the positioning of your hips, the drop of your shoulder, the movement of your arm, and the motion of your wrist.

The Hips: The Powerhouse

Donkena points out that the hips are crucial for generating power.

“Seventy to eighty percent of your overhead power comes from your hips”-donkena

Despite not being the most built guy, Donkena explained that he uses every ounce of his body to channel power into his overhead shots.

He demonstrated that many non-tennis players, like myself, tend to use their wrists and forearms rather than using the shoulder and hips. The proper technique involves turning the hips quickly, which propels the arm forward with greater force. This movement is similar to the way quarterbacks like Dak Prescott warm up, rotating their hips rapidly to improves  their throws.

Shoulder Drop and Pronation

The second part,is the shoulder drop, where the shoulder needs to rotate back, enabling the arm to generate more power. Pronation, the third component, involves rotating the forearm so that the palm faces outward at the end of the motion. Donkena explained, “In a proper pronation, the inside of your wrist should face behind you at the start and then rotate outwards as you complete the motion.

Donkena suggested a simple drill: toss a ball and practice the wrist rotation without worrying about the paddle. This isolated the motion, making it easier to focus on the proper technique. He stressed the importance of fully extending the elbow during pronation to maximize power.

The Guiding Hand

The final component is the use of the non-dominant hand. This hand acts as a guide, helping track the ball and ensuring consistent contact. Donkena noted that many players drop their guiding hand too early, leading to poorly timed shots. Keeping this hand up longer helps in aligning the shot accurately.

Breaking It Down

Donkena’s method is methodical. He recommends breaking down the overhead shot into smaller segments to practice each part separately. For instance, starting with the paddle head below the back and then focusing only on the pronation. Another effective drill involved tossing a ball and tracking it with both arms up, moving laterally and backward, which helps in getting the guiding hand to follow the ball more naturally.

Practice Makes Perfect

Practice these components in isolation before attempting the full motion to see the results. Even without perfecting all the steps, you can feel the increased power and control in your shots. The hips are the primary source of power, by turning the hips quickly, the arm follows naturally, creating a more powerful and accurate shot.

Pickleball, like any sport, is falsely complex at higher levels. The overhead shot, seemingly simple, requires a precise combination of movements to execute effectively. Donkena’s lesson was an eye-opener, breaking down the mechanics into compass parts and highlighting the importance of each component.

For anyone struggling with their overhead shots, Donkena’s advice is invaluable. Focus on the hips for power, ensure proper shoulder drop and pronation, and use the non-dominant hand as a guide. Practice these elements in isolation before putting them all together, and soon enough, the overhead shot will transform from a weakness into a formidable weapon on the court.

News in Brief: Amrik Donkena’s Lessons

Amrik Donkena, a pickleball pro known for his powerful overhead shots, offers a orderly approach to improving this crucial skill. His technique focuses on four key components: hip positioning, shoulder drop, arm pronation, and guiding hand use. Donkena points out that 70-80% of overhead power comes from the hips, akin to a quarterback’s throw. The shoulder drop and arm pronation enhance power and accuracy, while the non-dominant hand guides the shot.

Donkena’s drills, such as practicing wrist rotation without a paddle and tracking the ball with both arms up, help isolate and master each movement. By practicing these components individually, players can significantly improve their overhead shots, turning a weakness into a strength on the court.

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