5 Elements of the Forehand Roll

5 Elements of the Forehand Roll

Dink battles are one of my guilty pleasures in pickleball. I recently wrote 5 Ways To Get Yourself Out of a Dink Battle and one of those ways was the Forehand Roll. I’ve been working on adding the Forehand Roll to my game. It was something I had no familiarity with but was amazed when watching the pros pull out this shot and even more amazed when my opponents hit one. So I decided to familiarize myself with it and I came up with these five elements.

Drag Up to Create Topspin

  • This is the most important element of the forehand roll. This drag effect going from the bottom of the ball to up creates the topspin that keeps the ball in play when aiming for the backline. As you make contact with the ball you want to quickly drag up with your paddle, which results in that topspin.
Drag Up to Create Topspin

Turn Your Arm Over

  • This is an important element of the forehand roll and a great element to focus on from a mechanics standpoint. The forehand roll starts with your arm and paddle extended out in front of you with your wrist down. As you start to drag up, your arm up and wrist flip-up, turning your arm over from the initial contact position.
Paddle Out, Wrist Down
Paddle Up, Wrist Up


  • In an ideal world, you’d hit a winner every time with the forehand roll, but that’s just not realistic. In the likely scenario that you don’t hit a winner, the forehand roll often sets you up in an ideal position to reload. Since the drag up leads your paddle to an upward position, you have that paddle up and out in front of you ready to reload for the next hit.


  • One of the sneaky best elements of the forehand roll is that it can easily be disguised in the middle of a dink battle. Since you are most likely at the kitchen line, engaged in a back and forth, you can give the look of another dink but quickly drag up to roll.


  • Where you aim the forehand roll is the final element to work on. Once you have the technique down, the aim will take the shot to the next level. I’ve found that if you feel like you can split your opponents to roll it in before the baseline, do it. If not, try to hit close to their body on their paddle side. Doing this will often result in your opponent jamming themselves up and popping it up, setting you up for the smash.

*It’s important to remember that as you get better at the shot that the faster you drag your paddle head, the harder the roll and topspin will be.*

If you’re looking to add the forehand roll to your game or refine your current technique, focus on those 5 elements and let me know how it goes. 


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