What is the Chicken Wing in Pickleball?

Pickleball is a sport that is filled with attacking and defensive techniques that ensure the whiffle ball to stay within bounds. It is a fast paced sport which demands spontaneous reaction from the player.

In high intensity rallies, players often find themselves in awkward positions to return shots that approach them at uncomfortable heights. Some of these shots are directed at the player’s body. When such body shots are directed at the player’s paddle side, the player finds it difficult to return given the demands of quick reaction time. In such instances, the player hits a fragile shot called the chicken wing.

The chicken wing is a defensive shot where the elbow of the player’s hand holding the paddle is pointed upwards and the paddle is facing downwards. The shot does not generate any power and is simply used to defend a ball that was received by the player at a shoulder height of their paddle side.
Instead of getting into the vulnerable chicken wing position, players should practice to shuffle and get into a position where they can hit a more comfortable and offensive forehand shot.

In rare instances, the chicken wing becomes an attacking shot if the paddle is angled correctly towards the court. It is necessary to have good footwork in such scenarios. Reaching the ball by quick movement will determine how effectively one can return a chicken wing attack.
A chicken wing more commonly is thus a position that a player would want their opponent to get into by hitting offensive shots towards their body.

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