What is the Joey in Pickleball?

Pickleball is a paddle sport that requires the player to be spontaneous at all times on the court. It has a host of advanced shots like Erne, Bert, Scorpion, etc that are difficult to master. One such shot is called the Around the Post (ATP) shot.

An ATP shot is played by a Pickleball player who runs outside the bounds of the court and hits a shot at or below the level of the net posts from outside the court such that the travelling ball lands within bounds. It is usually played in response to a well-executed cross court shot that sends the player chasing to retrieve the ball.

The finest execution of an ATP shot can be seen when the ball traverses cross court and the shot ends up as a winner.  However, the best possible return of such an ATP shot is an ATP shot. When the player who is returning an ATP shot does so by replying with an ATP shot, it is called a Joey.

The Joey is named after professional Pickleball player Joe Valenti who is credited for popularizing this shot. The Joey is a shot where the ATP shot hit in reply to an ATP shot is targeted towards the player who hit the ATP shot. It is a highly skilful shot to play and more often than not bamboozles the opponent. The Joey is not necessarily a cross court shot. Spontaneous reaction can help the player in hitting the Joey directed towards the opponent who hit the ATP shot who is standing on the same side of the court.

The Joey can either land up as a finishing shot or a winner, or might result in a low impact return from the opponent. This low impact shot can be capitalised further to the Joey-hitter’s advantage.

The Joey garnered popularity in 2012 and is now a sought after shot to master.

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