Strategy

1. When you are learning to play pickleball, never avoid hitting your backhand ground strokes or volleys. If you avoid hitting your backhand you will never master the stroke.

2. When playing during a windy day keep track of the wind speed and direction constantly because it does change at times. If you play the wind properly then it will build confidence in yourself, in that, the wind is bothering your opponent more than yourself.

3. When you are feeling a little tight during a match, don’t hit tentatively or too slow. Hit at your normal steady pace, but give yourself more leeway to hit your target until your confidence returns.

4. Make a mental book on your own attributes and deficits. Only hit shots that you feel are a high percentage for your own ability. Know what shots you can make more than 50% of the time. Do what you do well and practice the things that you don’t do well then use them when you can make them 50% of the time.

5. Bounce up onto the balls of your feet, in the ready position, at the point of contact of the ball on your opponents paddle. A moving body reacts quicker than a stationary body.

6. If both backhands of your opponents are at the middle of the court, hit down the middle of the court.

7. If your shot makes your opponent take two steps or more your chance for winning the point increases immensely.

8. Don’t back up to play a dink off the bounce, when you can hit the ball in the air. Always try and hit the ball with your weight going towards the net.

9. Make contact with the ball at the highest possible point in the air when volleying and waist high on the bounce for your ground stroke. It will be a higher percentage shot and open up more angles with less chance of putting balls into the net.

 

Play Steady: The team with the most unforced errors loses. Not the team with the fewest winners.

Placement is more important than power.

Keep the ball as low as possible for every hit, unless you must make a defensive lob.

Place the ball at the opponent’s feet or bounce the ball right beside your opponent. He must hit the ball up, which quickly puts him on the defensive and you on the offensive. The team which must hit the ball up most of the time will lose. Keep the ball at your opponent’s feet no matter where he is on the court.

Says “Coach Mo”

The Mind Game

The Mind Game…

Scroll down for Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7

Part 1

Out of Your Mind Pickleball
By Harry Carpenter
What’s going on in your mind affects your pickleball game big time. Do you want to learn how to play the mental game? Want to make a quantum leap in your pickleball skills? Read on.
Long before my pickleball life, I entered a one day, round-robin tennis tournament in Van Nuys, California. The day before the competition, my two Yamaha rackets were stolen and the only available racket was my daughter’s. She had a habit of picking up the ball by scraping the tip of the racket on the court. The scraping wore a hole in the hollow graphite frame that you could stick a finger in. Since I had no chance of winning with that racket, I decided not to take the tournament seriously and just play for fun. Players were divided into two brackets of nine players each. Because I had nothing to lose, I played out of my mind. I wasn’t thinking about it but my game was on a high. I beat all eight players in my bracket. I played the winner from the other bracket in an eight-game set for the championship. He was a better player but I was still playing out of my mind. I was ahead 6 games to 2. Only two more games and I would win the trophy.Then, I began thinking, “Oh my gosh, I’m going to beat this guy. I’m going to win the tournament.” That was the beginning of the end. When I started thinking about winning, I started losing. I didn’t win another game. I played in my mind rather than out of my mind.

Part 2

The Mind Game… One Thing at a Time
By Harry Carpenter
I had my first pickleball “Oops” the first time I swung a paddle; I missed the ball completely. I’m not the only person to whiff his first shot. Learning a new sport takes time. The first time you execute a complex motion, you talk yourself through it with your conscious mind. And, you do it one step at a time because your conscious mind can only do one thing at a time. Recall tying your first bow. The process was unnatural and took several attempts. After you tied a bow properly a few times, the process was delegated to your subconscious mind where it became a habit. Once it became a habit, you could tie a bow without thinking about it. Take something more complex, like a golf swing. I was taught there are 31 elements to a good golf swing. The first few times I swung a club, I thought about each step. This step-by-step motion produced a swing like a flickering old-time movie. It wasn’t until each step was turned over to my subconscious, which can do a zillion things at a time, that my swing became fluid. When a complex task is performed by the subconscious, it is:

  • Easy because your subconscious can handle an unlimited number of tasks at one time.
  • Effortless because it’s unconscious.
  • Graceful because it is a unified, coordinated motion, and
  • Natural because you don’t have to think about it.
It’s the same in pickleball; each shot has a myriad of things to think about, things like short backswing, stiff wrist, paddle face angle, feet movement, bent knees, weight on toes, push the paddle, follow through toward target, keep ball low but over the net, don’t step in the kitchen you idiot, etc. That’s too much to think about. To be successful each shot must be made a habit and performed at a subconscious level without that pesky conscious mind getting in the way. How do you do that? Answer in next month’s e-Newsletter.

Part 3

The Mind Game…
One Thing at a Time
By Harry Carpenter

How do you serve deep and in the court every time? Consistently drop the ball in the kitchen from the backcourt? Routinely smash a high ball and keep it in bounds? The answer is by etching the mechanics of each pickleball stroke into your subconscious mind — practice, practice, practice. By practice, I mean correctly repeating the same shot over and over. Some readers might be thinking that practicing pickleball shots is a good idea, but they don’t have an opportunity to practice. No one conducts drills where they play and they can’t get some chump to feed them balls so they can hit each shot 50 times in a row, including the serve, serve return, drop shot, dink, volley, smash, lob and overhead.

Let’s face it; the majority of pickleball players would rather play games than participate in practice drills. Well, that’s a dilemma: How are you going to practice technique if there is no one to practice with? Here’s good news; there is a way you can keep playing games and practice at home, while waiting for an appointment, or riding to work (assuming you are not driving.) You can practice in your head! Mental practice is as effective, and arguably more effective, than physical play. A study in Russia showed that optimum benefits in a sport were obtained with a ratio of 25 percent physical practice to 75 percent mental practice. Mental practice works because your subconscious mind does not know the difference between real and imagined. Vividly picturing and feeling yourself swinging a pickleball paddle and making a shot in your mind’s eye activates the same patterns of neutrons in your brain as when you physically make the shot. Mental practice forms and reinforces the software for making a stroke. Moreover, mental practice is perfect. Each time you make a shot in your mind’s eye, the swing is correct and the stroke sends the ball to the right spot; each time you reinforce the software in your brain for a perfect shot. On the other hand, when you play for real, every shot is not perfect; in which case, you are reinforcing the software in your subconscious for poor technique. You can raise the level of your game by practicing that dink, kill shot, and volley on a daily basis — in your mind. However, there is a key element to mental practice, which I’ll share in the next month’s article.

 

Part 4

The Mind Game…

Making It a Habit through Mental Practice… By Harry Carpenter
Here’s that key element for effective mental practice that I promised last issue. When you practice pickleball in your mind you must be in an altered state of mind – a state where the subconscious is dominate, not the conscious mind. An altered state of mind is natural and you go in and out of it every day; you just aren’t aware of it. Scientists call it the “alpha” state; athletes call it the “zone;” we call it “daydreaming.”
There are many ways to get into alpha. Here’s the most common: sit in a comfortable chair and let your body relax. Relax one muscle at a time starting from head to toe (or toe to head, it makes no difference.)  It might help to imagine a wave of light flowing down your body as you relax each muscle. Pretend this wave has the magical ability to totally relax your muscles, all your muscles including those involuntary muscles controlled by your subconscious. Did you catch the word “let?” Let your muscles relax; muscles can’t be forced to relax.
If imagining a magic wave of light sounds silly, here’s another bit of mental wisdom: Your subconscious mind is illogical and immature. So imagining silly images makes a stronger impression on your subconscious than using logical, sensible ones. Now that you are physically and mentally relaxed and in a dreamy state, see yourself executing an ideal drop shot from the service line. See yourself returning drop shots from all positions on the court. Each time you hit the ball, it drops in your opponent’s kitchen. See and feel your feet moving to get into the best position before you swing. Feel your leg muscles as you bend your knees to hit low balls. Picture making each shot over and over — always perfect. See it, feel it, hear it and delight in the emotion connected with hitting precise shots. Emotion, the electro-chemical power in your subconscious, makes this process more effective. Repeat this scenario with each stroke – serve, return, drop shot, dink, volley, lob, smash and overhead.
Athletes at all levels use guided imagery. Pitchers see themselves in their mind’s eye throwing the ball to an exact spot. Golfers see themselves making a perfect swing and picture the ball landing on the green near the pin. Skiers map the fastest way down a slalom course and imagine making perfect turns through each gate. Pickleball players envision deep serves, dazzling drop shots and blazing put-aways. Try it. And soon it will become habit!
Part 5
The Mind Game… Watch Consciously; Hit Unconsciously…

By Harry Carpenter
Your conscious mind can only do, or think of, one thing at a time, whereas your subconscious mind can literally do trillions of things at a time. It follows that smooth, coordinated (good-looking) strokes, are executed with your subconscious mind. You have practiced your pickleball strokes until they are ingrained in your subconscious and they have become habits. Since your strokes are now habits, you don’t have to consciously think about them. All you have to do is get your conscious mind out of the way and “let” your subconscious play the ball.
Getting your conscious mind out of the way and “letting” your subconscious play is not always easy. Your conscious mind has an ego that thinks it knows better, so it wants to be in control. Two bads happen when it takes charge of your pickleball play. One, you can’t play well when you are thinking, “I’ve gotta hit a winner; Should I hit a dink or smash it? Why did I hit that last shot into the net? That was dumb; What’s the matter with me? Look at all those people watching me.” Two, and even worse, you start thinking about winning or losing. These thoughts introduce some degree of fear – the fear of losing or the fear of being embarrassed. Any aspect of fear undermines confidence and sends your game down the tubes.
Here’s how to get your conscious mind out of the way: use your conscious mind’s limitation (i.e., that it can only think of one thing at a time) to your advantage. Keep your conscious mind preoccupied with watching the ball. Your conscious mind’s job is exclusively to focus on the ball. Think, ball as you watch it. Be aware of its flight path, its velocity, etc. If you concentrate on the ball, your conscious mind cannot interfere with your inner athlete, your subconscious. In a nutshell, when your conscious mind is focused on the ball, your subconscious mind is free to make that perfect shot.
Part 6
The Mind Game… Try Harder? Play Worse!

By Harry Carpenter
Ever had a night when you couldn’t get to sleep? You got frustrated and tried harder.  The harder you tried to sleep, the more awake you became. Or you were winning a pickleball match and you just missed a couple of easy shots and started losing. You vehemently urged yourself to play better. But the harder you tried to play better, the worse you played. These examples demonstrate that the harder you try to do something or the more you will yourself to play better pickleball: a) the harder it becomes to do it, and b) the worse you do at it.
Willing yourself to do something is a conscious process. Your conscious mind can only do one thing at a time, and it can’t directly control your involuntary muscles. Thus, you don’t play your best pickleball when your conscious mind dominates. Your subconscious mind, on the other hand, can do trillions of things at a time without conscious thought. It also controls involuntary muscles that are required for good strokes and rabbit-like movement. It is where your pickleball strokes are stored as habits so you can execute them smoothly without thinking about them. Plus, your subconscious computes information a million times faster than your conscious mind. Thus, you play your best pickleball by suppressing your conscious mind and allowing your subconscious to dominate. Pushing yourself to play better pumps up your conscious mind, minimizing your subconscious mind. Hence, urging yourself to play better achieves the opposite — you play worse.
Another factor, although subtle, is that when you will yourself to play better, you subconsciously introduce a fear of losing. Fear, a strong emotion, erodes confidence, and confidence is an important aspect of playing well. Okay, suppose you’re playing in a tournament and because of the pressure, or for whatever reason, you are playing poorly. What can you do? Will yourself to play better?  Don’t bother — it won’t help. This is what you do. Oops, I’m out of word space. Hope you’re not playing poorly in a tournament before the next USAPA e-Newsletter…
Part 7
The Mind Game… Try Harder? Play Worse! The Solution…

By Harry Carpenter
You’re in a tournament and you’re playing badly. You’re ticked off at yourself. What are you going to do? Tell yourself to quit making mistakes? Will yourself to play better?  Don’t bother; it won’t help; you’ll probably play worse. Instead, do the following: 1. Play in the Now — Your conscious mind thinks in the past, present and future; whereas your subconscious only operates in the present. Since you want your subconscious to be dominant, keep your mind in the present. Don’t think about that snide remark your opponent made or the shot you missed – that’s the past. Don’t think about the consequences of hitting the ball long or about winning or losing — that’s the future.  Focus on the ball — that’s the now. 2. Observe – Your conscious mind is the critic; it judges, discriminates and analyzes; whereas your subconscious mind accepts things literally. When you critique your strokes during a game, you bring your conscious mind to the forefront. To keep your conscious mind from taking over, don’t analyze your strokes, just observe them. If any adjustments are needed, your subconscious will make them — unconsciously. 3. Watch the ball – Think about, and keep your eyes on, the ball. You can only focus on one thing at a time with your conscious mind. Focusing on the ball blocks negative thoughts, keeps your mind in the present and keeps your conscious mind from interfering with your subconscious mind. 4. Relax – Tension impedes court movement and thwarts good stroking. Top athletes don’t tense all their muscles while they jump, throw, catch or stroke – only the ones needed to do the job. Any additional flexing hinders performance. So loosen up. Take slow, deep breaths between points. 5. Act with confidence – You’ve spent weeks practicing your strokes and strategies. Your strokes are ingrained in your subconscious so you don’t have to think about them.  Knowing your strokes are programmed in your subconscious gives you confidence that you can play as well, and better, than anyone in your bracket. Act with confidence; imagine you are confident and play confidently.

Warm up 1

Warm up

“The most important part of any sporting activity!” Jerry

A warm up is the act of preparing for an athletic event or workout by exercising or practicing for a short time beforehand. Warming up helps reduce your risk of injury and the aches and pains that come with exercise. The physiological reason to warm up is to assist your circulatory system in pumping oxygen-rich blood to your working muscles. The idea is to increase circulation throughout the body in a gradual manner. A proper warm up safely prepares the body for the increased demands of exercise. Cold muscles do not absorb shock or impact as well, and are more susceptible to injury.

A warm-up helps you prepare both mentally and physically for exercise and reduces the chance of injury. During a warm up, any injury you have can often be recognized, and further injury prevented.

 

Winning Strategies for Doubles part 2

 

By Barry Ford Sun City Grand Pickleball Club Surprise, AZ

 

Keep the Ball in Play

 

Mark Friedenberg comments in his book “The Official Pickleball Handbook” that 75% of all shots are won on errors. Do I need to say more…..just keep the ball in play any way you can. AND, don’t try a kill shot on your first opportunity unless it’s just perfect. Be patient and just get the ball back, preferably deep in the middle, while you wait for that perfect put-away! Your opponent may just hit the ball into the net.

 

Opponents Weaknesses & Paddle Position

 

On most occasions, your opponent will “telegraph” where they are going to hit the ball with the angle of their paddle and perhaps their body just before they hit the ball. It happens quickly. Cover that area.

 

 

 

Just one example: During warm-ups you can get an indication of your opponent’s potential weaknesses so that you can exploit them in the game. If they never hit a backhand shot….guess what. Also, when he/she returns a serve, if they tend to slide more to their backhand side then guess what. I’d serve to their backhand all day long and hit there as well during play.

 

 

 

Watch for tendencies. If your opponent always hits the same shot to the same location…then cover it. The opposite holds true as well. You need to vary your shots!

 

Don’t Play Catch

 

Too many players are hitting the ball back (horizontally) to their opponent while at the net. AND, the ball is coming right back! To win the point you should be hitting the ball at a down angle into the middle of the court at your opponent’s feet. If you’re hitting to your opponent and its coming back to you then your doing something wrong and may well lose that point.

 

 

 

Anticipate / “Open” alleys / Angles

 

Always assume that the ball will be hit back to you. Be ready. Anticipate your opponent’s returns. If you hit a particular shot, where do you think he/she will return the ball…..THEN COVER that area. Hit for the open alleys. Make your opponents move. Don’t play catch! Hitting angles wins points.

 

 

 

Move Your Feet

 

Have you ever watched the top tennis players and how they glide around the court? How they are always moving from side to side and front to back. That’s not by accident. Their feet are always in motion positioning their body to hit the next shot. The same should be true with the game of Pickleball. Keep those feet moving even when you’re at the non-volley line getting ready to hit that next shot. Planting your feet at the kitchen line is a no-no!

 

 

 

Your Body & Paddle Positions

 

I believe the game is won when all four players are at the net. Therefore you ask, what’s so important when you’re at the net. How about your reaction time for a start? If you agree, then keeping that paddle up and in front of you ready for a quick response to hit the ball is a key. It takes much too long to hit the ball when your paddle is either at your side or down below your waist. Try keeping the paddle up right in front of your face. Sounds funny but give it a try.

 

___________________________
Remember this is one man’s opinion. It is not written in stone. Try what he says, take what works for you!
Jerry AMB Fleischmann Park Naples Florida

 

 

Winning Strategies for Doubles part 1

By Barry Ford
Sun City Grand Pickleball Club
Surprise, AZ

The purpose of this article is to share with you the winning strategies that have helped me win in the game of Pickleball. I’m sure that there are many other approaches but these techniques seemed to work for me and perhaps may work for you as well. It is not intended to be a comprehensive tutorial on how to play the game.

The Serve

How many times have you heard “just get the ball into the court”? Well, they’re right. Forget the spins and trick shots unless you’re very proficient. Instead focus on just getting the ball in play. Make them move if possible. If your opponent has a weak back hand then exploit that weakness, but always, always just get your serve in and preferably the deeper the better!

Service Return

Returning the ball to the center is always good because it makes your opponents move and guess who’s going to hit the ball. If at all possible return the ball so it bounces within a foot of the baseline. Never hit a short return! Keep them back and follow your return to the net.

The Third Shot

In my opinion, the game really starts with the third shot. I believe the player returning the service return has five shot opportunities each with its own complexity, level of difficulty and benefits. They all have an advantage depending upon the level of skill of your opponent. Choose wisely.

“Down the Line”

A low probability of success and it’s the high point of the net.

“Drilling the net person”

Test your competition and you may just surprise them. Again, a low probability of success with higher skill level players.

“The Lob”

I don’t recommend this shot with higher skill level players However, it works as a nice surprise shot. I would only use it when I’m significantly ahead in points. It’s a defensive shot and you need to be on the offense.

“Middle Drop Shot”

A low shot over the net and into the middle of the court. I would use this shot most of the time. If successful, follow it up to the net. Your partner should watch the return as well and, if it’s good, follow you up to the net and be ready for net play. He or she should not just run up to the net without watching the return. Always work your way up to the net together.

“Side Drop Shot”

A very tough shot to achieve—- but effective! You’re hitting the ball from the service return to the backhand side of your opponent where it just drops over the net. You’ll both need to follow it up to the net together to be successful.

__________________________

Remember this is one man’s opinion. It is not written in stone. Try what he says, take what works for you!
Jerry AMB Fleischmann Park Naples Florida

 

 

PickleBall at a Glance

PickleBall at a glance PDF

ballpaddle

PickleBall At-A-Glance

The court is 20’ wide and 44’ long. The net is 36” high at the ends and 34” at the center. There is a 7’ Non-Volley-Zone (NVZ) on either side of the net. NVZ means you cannot hit the ball on a fly while standing in the NVZ this includes the lines. The lines surrounding the NVZ are considered part of the NZV.

The Serve

The serve must be underhand and hit on a fly, striking the ball below the waist. The person on the right always serves first. The serve must be hit cross court on the diagonal. The back line and the side line are considered good serves. If the ball hits the NVZ line or lands in the NVZ box the serve is bad and the serve is lost. There are no double faults; you only get one chance to make a good serve. The serving team has both players at the base line. The receiving team has one player at the baseline (the serve receiver) and the other at the NVZ line (the kitchen line).

Double Bounce Rule

The receiver of the serve cannot hit the ball on a fly; the ball must bounce before returning the serve. The best position to return the serve is behind the back line (called the baseline). It is easier to move forward for a short serve than trying to move back to get a deep serve. When the ball is returned to the serving team, they also must let the ball bounce. After the 2 bounces, the ball can be hit on either the fly or the bounce.

Scoring

The Player on the Right Always Serves First to Start the Game

To negate the inherent advantage that the serving team has when serving first to start the game, only one player – the player on the right side of the court – gets to serve during the first service turn of the game. After this initial service turn, each subsequent service turn is comprised of serves by both players on the serving team – beginning with the player on the right side of the court. If the serving team wins the rally (thereby, scoring a point) – the server rotates sides (from right-to-left or left-to-right) with his/her partner and serves to the receiver in the opposite court. Each time a point is scored, the partners on the serving side alternate sides

Ready position

Your feet should be shoulder width apart, knees bent with your weight on your toes. The paddle should be held at chest level with the handle pointed to your body. The blade of the paddle should be perpendicular to the ground.

PickleBall Terminology

Lesson available

For more information visit: pickleballnaplesfl.com

Written by Jerry Pershing – Naples FL

497px-Pickleballcourt

 

 

 

 

 

Drills – Volleys

The simplest volley drill is for either two players or four players to stand at the no-volley line and volley the ball back and forth. Each player should attempt to hit the ball to the other player in a manner that will allow them to keep the ball going. At all levels, the goal should be to keep quite a few balls going between misses.

For beginning players, this might mean you are hitting the ball fairly slow and high and possibly even to the forehand. As you improve, you might hit the ball a little firmer and even try to hit to their backhand more often. You will find that all players at all levels will do best if you don’t hit the ball right at them.

As players improve, you can hit the ball harder at each other and intentionally hit some to the backhand and some to the forehand and some right at the other player. If you are having long rallies, you can get more aggressive. If your opponent is starting to miss too much, then you should slow the ball down until he/she is successful again.

With only two players, you should practice not only volleying the ball straight ahead, but also crosscourt using both backhands and forehands. With 4 players you will get to practice both, but you should practice both from the leftside and the rightside of the court.

Remember, the goal is to practice and keep the ball going, not to hit so hard the other player can’t get it back! However, you should be noticing any particular weakness they have in case you ever play them in a tournament.

Thanks,

Bob Halpin

Drills – Dinks

Drills – Dinking

Information for all Dinking Drills
Whenever you are practicing your dinks, you should try to make all balls bounce in front of the no-volley line and they should be short and low enough that the player    you are practicing with couldn’t kill the ball if he/she wanted to do so. While you    will probably have to step into the no-volley zone to hit a lot of the dinks, you    should immediately step back behind the no-volley zone line before the opposing player    hits the ball.

If you and your partner aren’t able to keep the ball going more than 2 or 3 hits, then    don’t try to keep the ball to low or to short. Its more important as a beginner to keep    the ball going so you can gradually get the feel of how hard to hit. Just keep practicing    as often as you can.

The Short Dink – all skill levels
Both players start by standing in the middle of the court and dinking the ball back and    forth nicely to each other for 3 minutes. If you have 4 players, simply have each pair    of players stand in the middle of their half of the court and each pair use their own    ball.

Both players hit cross court dinks back and forth from one side to another trying to    hit fairly sharp angles to each other. Do this for 3 minutes and then do another 3    minutes cross court in the other direction. Do not try to avoid backhands while doing    these drills as you need to begin developing your backhand dinks even if they don’t    work very well in the beginning. Again if you have 4 players, simply have each pair    of players hit cross court in the opposite direction.

Both players dink the ball down the line on one side of the court for 3 minutes and    then 3 minutes down the line on the other side of the court. With 4 players, each pair    uses a different sideline.

If you have 4 players, you should do this additional drill which is to use only 1 ball    and dink back and forth between all players trying to practice all of the above    directions while doing so. Try to hit 1/2 of the balls back to the player that hit it    to you and 1/2 of the balls back to the other player so you are practicing all    directions again. The more advanced players can spend more time on this drill and less    time on the others. Don’t forget to practice this from both the left and right sides of    the courts so both you and your partner practice both forehands and backhands.

The 3/4 Court Dink – Intermediate and Advanced skill levels
To practice this with 4 players, have 2 players stand at the no-volley zone line and    the other two players stand at about 3/4 court position on their side of the net. The    two players at 3/4 court try to hit soft dinks while the two players at the net position    try to hit the ball back nicely so they can try another dink. After a little while,    reverse positions and practice for an equal amount of time. This might take quite a few    practice sessions or one, but eventually you will get the feel of how hard to hit to    make a good dink. This works just as well with either 2 players or 4 players and don’t    forget that you can practice cross court dinks as well as down the line dinks with this    drill just as you did in the short dink drills.

The Baseline Dink – Advanced skill level
To practice this with 4 players, have 2 players stand at the no-volley zone line and    the other two players stand just behind the baseline  on the other side of the net.    The two players standing just behind the baseline try to hit soft dinks, while the    two players at the net try to hit the ball back nicely and near the baseline. After    a little while, reverse positions and practice for an equal amount of time. This works    just as well with either 2 players or 4 players and don’t forget that you can practice    cross court dinks as well as down the line dinks with this drill just as you did in the    short dink drills.

Dinking Game – all skill levels
To help you concentrate and have some fun while learning the dink, you can play a game    with four players where everyone has to dink and you lose the point if the ball lands    behind the no-volley zone line. You can still play to 11 points, but you have to start    the point nicely to each other for this game to work.

You could also play this game with 2 players, but you would have to agree to use only    1/2 of each side of the court for this to work. You can decide whether to practice this    from down the line sides or cross court sides.

Thanks,

Bob Halpin

Paddle choices – Graphite vs. Fiberglass

Ted from NC asks: “having only played a few games, I don’t know how graphite and fiberglass paddles differ. I’ve tried both and don’t see that one is any more effective than the other.”

ANSWER: A traditional paddle is made up with both a face (skin) layer and a core (the guts). Each paddle can be made up of a variety of material combinations—each offering a different feel and weight. Because of the numerous combinations of materials and blends a graphite face paddle with an aluminum core (Pickle-ball Inc’s, Attack paddle) feels different then a graphite face with paper core (Vortex, Elite Graphite or Champion), but both paddles are called graphite. Interesting stuff …

Face materials are generally either graphite or fiberglass; whereas, the core’s material can include paper, aluminum or wood. The fiberglass face can be stronger and more durable, but is lighter than graphite. Pickle-ball Inc’s fiberglass face paddles are the Legacy (currently my favorite) and the Champion Aluminum. Another layer to factor into the feel of the ball could be if the face is painted or not.  My guess is the paint layers are so thin one could not feel a difference – but you never know… So with two different face options and three different core options there becomes numerous combinations of paddle feel and weight to choose from.

There are other non-traditional paddles out there, and I have seen some with vinyl and aluminum faces and other unknown (top secret) materials.

I hope my explanation of paddle materials helps you Ted, because one fiberglass paddle vs. another fiberglass WILL feel and play different depending on the face, core, and weight.

Jennifer Lucore

Jennifer Lucore

Third Shot

Third shot

Posted On April 09, 2013

Marsha from Toledo, OH asks: “I was interested in your thoughts on strategy. I hear so many players talk about the third shot being a soft shot so that your team can get to the kitchen line. What is your take on the third shot and what is your strategy when hitting it?”

Jay from Steamboat Springs, CO asks: “I understand the mechanics of the 3rd shot, drop shot, master shot (whatever its called) but need some help with where to place it to combine a solid strategy with the shot. Help?”

Susan from Northville, MI asks: “I’ve read about mastering a 3rd shot. What are your thoughts?”

Answer by “Jennifer Locore”

Great questions- For our purposes here, I’ll stay with “third shot”. I’ve also heard it referred to different names, but they generally describe the type of shot like “drop shot” or “long dink” opposed to being the actual third shot of a point; admittedly, I’d not heard of the “master shot”.

The third shot is a valuable and necessary shot to master; maybe that’s where that name came from. This shot is used when your opponents are already at the net and you’re at the baseline needing to get yourself to the kitchen line. The third shot is a long dink hit from the baseline softly over the net and into your opponent’s non-volley zone. The goal, often easier said than done, is to land it at their feet not allowing them to volley the ball in the air. When executed correctly this shot allows the person (and their teammate) hitting the third shot to get to the net . The sooner you get to the net, the higher chance of winning the point.

The location of placement is dependent on various scenarios, but the middle is generally the safest and highest percentage; in part because the net is lower, but also because you have more room for error and there is always the chance of confusion on the part of your opponents. If the opportunity presents itself by an opponent being out of position, cross court or down the line can be effective. Lastly, I’m sure you’ve noticed players who “play” to the weaker player. That’s a whole other strategy that may be considered as you decide where or who to hit your third shot too.

Whatever you decide, once the ball leaves your paddle move to the net ready for the elusive pop-up. If you’re ready, you’ll be occasionally gifted a perfectly placed ball ready to be smacked for a winning volley shot. That is a great feeling!

 It’s subtle improvements and consistency that will take you to the next skill level.

National PickleBall Champion

National PickleBall Champion

Perfect Serving Form

Chris has great form on her serve. See how the paddle at the top of her back swing is in line with the ball and parallel to the ground . As she drops the ball her arm will come forward in an upward arc to make perfect contact with the ball. If you look at her feet, her weight is on her back foot at the top of the back swing, knees slightly bent.  She will transfer her weight to her front foot as she makes contact with the ball. She never takes her eyes of the ball. I don’t think I have ever seen her miss a serve.

Super form

Excellent form on her serve Chris M

Getting to the Ball

Downloadabel PDF Getting to the Ball

Get Ready for Each Shot

What happens if you don’t make it up to the non-volley zone line and get caught in mid-court? This isn’t the area you’d like to be, but it doesn’t matter where you are on the court — still at the baseline, halfway up to the non-volley zone line, or waiting there: the moment your opponent’s paddle makes contact with the ball, assume the ready position. Really do this! Don’t just think, oh, I can just stop moving. Put your paddle up and in front of you. Keep your weight on the balls of your feet and be ready to move, keeping your eye on the ball. Then, after you hit the ball, head for the non-volley zone as soon as it’s safe to do so.

Find the Right Ready Position

The ready position most people are familiar with is with your feet about shoulder width apart, knees bent slightly, your weight on the balls of your feet, and your paddle pointing toward the net so that you are ready to move to your forehand or backhand, depending on how the ball comes to you. This position comes from tennis where the court is large and there is more time between your opponent’s hit and your return. Using this ready position is fine when you’re at the baseline, but it may not be the best choice when you are up at the non-volley zone.

This close to the net, there often isn’t time to move from this ready position and make contact with a shot coming at you quickly, especially a volley. Try this instead:

Hold your paddle in the backhand position up in front of your chest. This way, you can return most shots by simply rotating the paddle. If the ball comes to your forehand side, just rotate your body toward the ball and you’ll be able to reach the forehand volley.

Gail Leach

 

Pickleball Early Preparation

EARLY PREPARATION is the most important part of the game. It is the most common mistake, because players do not realize they are not prepared early enough. Players in their quest to get to the NVZ line tend to be running out of control at the point of contact of the ball on their opponents paddle. Players sacrifice early preparation for a better position on the court which is very poor technique because if you are moving at point of contact of the ball on your opponents paddle then you are not able to hit a low ball, go back for a lob, or move right or left as quick.

The proper technique is to split step [feet are parallel to each other and shoulder width apart. Similar to the old game of hop scotch] and hesitate for a split second in the proper ready position at the point of contact of your opponent touching the ball. Watch the face of your opponents paddle to be able to read if you will be hitting a forehand or backhand shot and be prepared to cross step to the ball. Using the split step allows you to have a little forward motion and be in control to move quickly in either direction.

If you use this technique every single time your opponent touches the ball it will make you a quicker and more consistent player.

Coach Mo

 

Early Preparation

Pickleball Early Preparation
EARLY PREPARATION is the most important part of the game. It is the most common mistake, because players do not realize they are not prepared early enough. Players in their quest to get to the NVZ line tend to be running out of control at the point of contact of the ball on their opponents paddle. Players sacrifice early preparation for a better position on the court which is very poor technique because if you are moving at point of contact of the ball on your opponents paddle then you are not able to hit a low ball, go back for a lob, or move right or left as quick.
The proper technique is to split step [feet are parallel to each other and shoulder width apart. Similar to the old game of hop scotch] and hesitate for a split second in the proper ready position at the point of contact of your opponent touching the ball. Watch the face of your opponents paddle to be able to read if you will be hitting a forehand or backhand shot and be prepared to cross step to the ball. Using the split step allows you to have a little forward motion and be in control to move quickly in either direction.
If you use this technique every single time your opponent touches the ball it will make you a quicker and more consistent player.
Coach Mo

Get Ready for Each Shot

Get Ready for Each Shot

What happens if you don’t make it up to the non-volley zone line and get caught in mid-court? This isn’t the area you’d like to be, but it doesn’t matter where you are on the court — still at the baseline, halfway up to the non-volley zone line, or waiting there: the moment your opponent’s paddle makes contact with the ball, assume the ready position. Really do this! Don’t just think, oh, I can just stop moving. Put your paddle up and in front of you. Keep your weight on the balls of your feet and be ready to move, keeping your eye on the ball. Then, after you hit the ball, head for the non-volley zone as soon as it’s safe to do so.

Find the Right Ready Position

The ready position most people are familiar with is with your feet about shoulder width apart, knees bent slightly, your weight on the balls of your feet, and your paddle pointing toward the net so that you are ready to move to your forehand or backhand, depending on how the ball comes to you. This position comes from tennis where the court is large and there is more time between your opponent’s hit and your return. Using this ready position is fine when you’re at the baseline, but it may not be the best choice when you are up at the non-volley zone.

This close to the net, there often isn’t time to move from this ready position and make contact with a shot coming at you quickly, especially a volley. Try this instead:

Hold your paddle in the backhand position up in front of your chest. This way, you can return most shots by simply rotating the paddle. If the ball comes to your forehand side, just rotate your body toward the ball and you’ll be able to reach the forehand volley.

Call the score

 just before you serve—not while you’re serving and not too far ahead of the serve. Call the score—then leave a few seconds for any questions or corrections before starting the serve. Doing this alerts all the players that you are preparing to serve the ball. Calling the score while you serve is very distracting to you and your opponents and is considered to be poor etiquette on the court. You’ll find that anything occurring while you serve will cause you to serve out of bounds, into the net, or otherwise to serve poorly.

GaleLeach

PickleBall Lessons

PickleBall Lessons: Taught by Jerry and Tami

Learn the basics or improve upon your basics.

  • Footwork: how to get to the ball.
  • Basic rules: Was that shot good?
  • How to contact the ball, forehand and backhand strokes.
  • Things you can do off-court to improve your game.
  • Video Appraisals available
  • And more…

Private or group lessons

Email info@pickleballnaplesfl.com to schedule your lesson today. Or talk to me at Fleischmann Park between games.

What my students have to say:

“I had a PB lesson with Jerry and just loved it.  Jerry is a great instructor.  He is very patient and very encouraging.  Jerry is focused on making you a better player.  I already scheduled my second lesson. Jerry truly enjoys what he is doing and I recommend  him if you want to learn more about PB and become a better player.”

Chris D

Presently Naples, Fl

______________________

“I took my first PickleBall lesson ever with Jerry and enjoyed it tremendously.  He is a competent, thorough and patient instructor.  Jerry’s huge interest in the game of Pickleball is obvious and infectious.  He truly wants you to succeed, and therefore, gives you the knowledge you need by explaining and demonstrating techniques and the proper way to play the game. 

I feel so much more confident after one lesson, that I have already scheduled another lesson, and plan to continue with his instruction as the perfect way to improve my game.  I would highly recommend that anyone who is new to this exciting game take some lessons with Jerry.  He will solve the problems you have as a beginner and improve and simplify your game.  It was truly an enjoyable experience.”

Linda P., Naples, FL

______________________

” I just wanted to say how much I enjoyed my first PB lesson. It takes great patience and understanding to be able to show a person the skills we need to improve our game, without making the person feel lost. I feel anyone can benefit with your lessons and develop a better understanding of this game. I have only been playing a few weeks, however I feel the lessons are valuable because they will hopefully teach what is necessary not to develop bad habits.”

Thank You

Carol P, Naples, FL

____________________

PB Ambassador at Fleischmann Park is not affiliated with USAPA Ambassador program.

Footwork – Reduce Unforced Errors

Footwork

Never step into the non volley zone with both feet. If a ball should bounce close to the net in the NVZ, keep one foot planted outside the NVZ line and lunge forward like a sword fighter. Tip the ball over the net into your opponents’ NVZ and quickly recover with both feet outside your NVZ line. If a player steps into the NVZ with both feet, it will take twice a long to get back out. A player cannot touch the ball in the air when any part of his body is in the NVZ. Good footwork at the net in this situation can shorten the time a player is in a vulnerable position. ( NVZ the Kitchen. Volley: hitting the ball on the fly. Hence, you can not hit the ball on the fly in the Kitchen. The line that surrounds the Kitchen is part of the Kitchen. You can not step on any part of the Kitchen line and hit the ball on a fly. )

Reduce Unforced Errors

The safest place on the court to bounce the ball is soft, low and in the middle of the no volley zone. With this placement, your opponent may hesitate, thinking that his partner will hit the ball. Hit the ball soft so your opponents will have no pace to work with. This is the highest percentage shot.

Coach Mo

Ready Position

Ready Position

Get back to the ready position  quickly after every ground stroke and especially volleys with your paddle way out in front of your body.

A common mistake made while moving forward to net is not having your paddle in proper ready position. Many players have their paddles at their knees or below the net, not up and out in front of the body.

At the point when the ball contacts your opponents’ paddle, you should be in your ready position: elbows and paddle out in front of your body, feet at shoulder width apart, side by side on your toes, not your heals, ready to move left or right. Never be moving at the point of contact of your opponent’s paddle on the ball. No matter where you are on the court, stop and get into your ready position. Never sacrifice being ready, for positioning on the court. If you are not prepared early and properly to hit a ball, it doesn’t matter where you are on court. You probably won’t hit the ball properly. Coach Mo

Click pictures for larger view.

Making Good Use of the Court

Making Good Use of the Court / Planning Your Shots

  • In doubles play with right-handed partners, the stronger partner should start in the odd (left-hand) court to maximize use of his forehand (which is covering the middle). If the stronger partner is left-handed, have him start in the even (right-hand) court and agree that he will take the center-court shots.
  • Get to the non-volley zone and try to stay there. Why? From the NVZ, you can hit drives more deeply, you can volley, dink, and lob, and all of this requires far fewer steps to reach the ball, no matter how it’s hit to you. The team that stays at the non-volley zone the most will usually win more points. Try a drop shot into the non-volley zone or a lob over your opponent’s head that will give you time to safely move up from the baseline to the non-volley zone.
  • When a dink or drop shot lands very close to the net, try to step into the non-volley zone using only one foot, keeping the other foot outside the zone behind the line. As soon as you hit the ball, step back out of the zone behind the line. This may not be possible if you are very short or if the ball barely makes it over the net, but otherwise should become second nature. Stepping back out immediately leaves you ready to return a volley or any other shot without incurring a fault, and it’s much easier to step out if only one foot is in the zone.

Rush to the NonVolley Zone

When you move forward from the baseline, keep your body facing forward. When you reach the desired position close to the nonvolley zone, assume the ready position. All of this needs to be done before your opponent hits the ball.

Any time you can move close to the non volley zone safely, do it. In doubles, it’s best if both partners move in tandem, so if you can both move up safely, do so. If not, wait until both of you can. But what constitutes “safely”? When you are sure you’ll have enough time to get to the non volley line and not be caught in midcourt with a ball aimed at your feet.

GaleLeach

The Basics and General Thoughts about the Game

The Basics and General Thoughts about the Game

Keep Your Head Still Throughout the Shot

When you miss a shot, you may think you weren’t watching the ball. Sometimes you are watching the ball, but you may not be keeping your head still.

When you hit a ball, your eyes will instinctively follow the ball’s path until the moment of contact (even if you can’t really see the ball traveling that fast). Keeping your head still throughout your shot will help you maintain better balance. This is particularly important on shots close to the net, especially when you have to run up to reach the ball. It’s very tempting to raise your head just before you contact the ball in order to watch the intended target. This typically results in poor ball contact and a loss of accuracy.

If you can keep your head still through the entire swing, your shots will be stronger, more consistent, and more accurate.

Get Ready for Each Shot

What happens if you don’t make it up to the non-volley zone line and get caught in mid-court? This isn’t the area you’d like to be, but it doesn’t matter where you are on the court — still at the baseline, halfway up to the non-volley zone line, or waiting there: the moment your opponent’s paddle makes contact with the ball, assume the ready position. Really do this! Don’t just think, oh, I can just stop moving. Put your paddle up and in front of you. Keep your weight on the balls of your feet and be ready to move, keeping your eye on the ball. Then, after you hit the ball, head for the non-volley zone as soon as it’s safe to do so.

Pay Attention to the Details

The little things can win or lose a game. UCLA basketball coach John Wooden used to start every season by teaching his players how to tie their shoes. Actually, he had them learn to put on their socks properly first. All this because it avoided blisters and made game play much more comfortable. It’s the little things that can make a large difference in your game. The grip of your paddle – is it too large or small? Is it too short or too long? Is your paddle too heavy? Not responsive enough? Take time to analyze the details and try new things to make your game better.

Find the Right Ready Position

The ready position most people are familiar with is with your feet about shoulder width apart, knees bent slightly, your weight on the balls of your feet, and your paddle pointing toward the net so that you are ready to move to your forehand or backhand, depending on how the ball comes to you. This position comes from tennis where the court is large and there is more time between your opponent’s hit and your return. Using this ready position is fine when you’re at the baseline, but it may not be the best choice when you are up at the non-volley zone.

This close to the net, there often isn’t time to move from this ready position and make contact with a shot coming at you quickly, especially a volley. Try this instead:

Hold your paddle in the backhand position up in front of your chest. This way, you can return most shots by simply rotating the paddle. If the ball comes to your forehand side, just rotate your body toward the ball and you’ll be able to reach the forehand volley.

GaleLeach

Line calls

Pictures and visuals  help me learn. This picture from the USAPA showing how to accurately view the ball as it hits the line. Some players, especially if coming from tennis, may think the ball compresses giving it more of an area to touch the court surface but that is incorrect. A pickleball is hard and only a small section of the ball actually hits the court. Check out this visual and make the right line call.

inorout

Help Your Partner With Line Calls. When your partner is trying to make a difficult shot, it is often hard for that player to concentrate on the line and the shot at the same time. Your partner is counting on you to make the out call if necessary. It is very common to see players looking straight ahead while their partner is playing the ball. You should always watch the ball so that you can help your partner with the call. Otherwise, you may be giving away points if your partner is unable to make the call.

If your partner calls the ball out and you see that it is clearly in, then you should declare the ball to be good. When you disagree with your partner about a line call, the benefit of the doubt always goes to the other side. Never play the point over. ( I am not sure about this I will check with Cindy and Nancy).

BallInOut

PickleBall Tips 2

Pickleball Percentages

• NEVER SACRIFICE PLACEMENT FOR POWER. A SLOW BALL AT YOUR OPPONENT’S FEET IS BETTER THAN A VERY FAST HIT TO THE WAIST.

• NEVER SACRIFICE BEING IN THE READY POSITION FOR A BETTER POSITION ON THE COURT. ALWAYS STOP AND BE IN THE READY POSITION AT THE POINT OF CONTACT OF THE BALL TOUCHING YOUR OPPONENTS PADDLE.

• THE TEAM WITH THE LEAST UNFORCED ERRORS USUALLY WINS, NOT THE TEAM WITH THE MOST WINNERS.

• A GOOD VOLLIER WILL USUALLY BEAT A GOOD GROUND STROKER. THE GROUND STROKE IS JUST MEANS TO GET TO THE NVZ LINE AND WIN THE POINT.

• YOUR BEST POSITION ON THE COURT SHOULD BE EITHER ONE FOOT BEHIND THE BASELINE OR ONE INCH BEHIND NVZ LINE. STAY OUT OF NO MAN’S LAND.

• THE TEAM HITTING DOWN INTO THE COURT MOST OF THE TIME WILL WIN MORE POINTS THAN THE TEAM ALWAYS HITTING UP,SO KEEP YOUR HITS LOW TO THE FEET. IT WILL PROBABLY BE THE DIFFERENCE IN A CLOSE GAME.

• NEVER EVER MISS YOUR SERVE OR RETURN OF SERVE.

• MOST OF YOUR SHOTS SHOULD BE DOWN THE MIDDLE OF THE COURT, OVER THE LOW PART OF THE NET, GIVES YOU A LOT OF LEEWAY RIGHT AND LEFT, AND CAUSES CONFUSION BETWEEN YOUR OPPONENTS.

• PATIENCE IS A VIRTUE WHEN DINKING. DO NOT TRY FOR A WINNER UNLESS BALL IS MORE THAN 12’’ ABOVE THE NET.

• NEVER TRY AND HIT A WINNER OFF A VERY DIFFICULT SHOT. JUST PLAY DEFENSIVE AND TRY TO RETURN THE BALL LOW INTO THE COURT.

A GOOD VOLLEYER USES GOOD BOWLING TECHNIQUE

• A bowler first PAUSES to aim the ball at his target— steps toward his target— and follows through toward his target.

• A good volleyer PAUSES to aim the face of his paddle at his target— steps toward this target (if possible)— and follows through toward his target.

• Whenever possible PAUSE to aim (set the proper angle and direction of the face of your paddle) step and finish toward your target. Do not rush or guess… AIM!

 

PickleBall Terminology

Terminology

• Baseline — The line at the back of the pickleball court (22 feet from the net).[3]:A-4
• Centerline — The line bisecting the service courts that extends from the non-volley line to the baseline.[3]:A-4
• Crosscourt — The opponent’s court diagonally opposite yours.
• Dink — A dink is a soft shot, made with the paddle face open, and hit so that it just clears the net and drops into the non-volley zone.[3]:52
• Fault — An infringement of the rules that ends the rally.[3]:xxii
• Foot fault — Stepping on or into the non-volley zone while volleying a ball, or, while serving, failure to keep both feet behind the baseline with at least one foot in contact with the ground or floor when the paddle contacts the ball.[3]:xxii,61,A-11
• Half-volley – A type of hit where the player hits the ball immediately after it has bounced in an almost scoop-like fashion.
• Let serve — A serve that touches the top of the net and lands in the proper service court (it is replayed without penalty).
• Non-volley zone — A seven-foot area adjacent to the net within which you may not volley the ball. The non-volley zone includes all lines around it.[3]:A-4 Also called the “kitchen”
• Poach — In doubles, to cross over into your partner’s area to play a ball.
• Rally — Hitting the ball back and forth between opposite teams.
• Serve (Service) — An underhand lob or drive stroke used to put a ball into play at the beginning of a point.
• Server number — When playing doubles, either “1” or “2,” depending on whether you are the first or second server for your side. This number is appended to the score when it is called. As in, the score is now 4 – 2 – second server.
• Sideline — The line at the side of the court denoting in- and out-of-bounds.[3]:A-4
• Volley — To hit the ball before it bounces.
• Players – 2 or 4

More on the Dink

Master the Dink. The dink is one of the most effective shots in pickleball. The main purpose of the dink is to keep your opponents from gaining or keeping an offensive advantage. The dink is a soft shot that is hit just hard enough to clear the net, but not so hard as to allow your opponent to aggressively volley the ball (volley means to hit the ball before it bounces).

If you don’t have a chance at a strong offensive shot, then chances are good that the best shot selection is the dink. That is especially true if both of your opponents are at the net (at the no-volley line, which is the strongest position in pickleball). If one of your opponents is back at the baseline, don’t use a dink in that situation unless you are pretty sure that he won’t be able to get to the ball. A dink in that situation will just bring your opponent up to the net, which is where he wants to be. If he is at the baseline, keep him on the defense with a deep shot hit with pace.

The keys to effective dink play are patience and precision. It takes patience to keep dinking and to resist the urge to try to create an offensive shot when none is available. Move your opponents around with a variety of shot placements including a cross-court shot at an angle. You want to maneuver the opponents enough to where they make the first mistake, either by hitting the net or hitting it high enough to give you an offensive shot. It takes precision on your part to not make that first mistake. That takes practice to hit the ball with just the right amount of touch. Practice the dink while you are warming up.

Master the dink. It is likely that your opponent has not.

PickleBall Tips 1

Return of Serve. Very often, the best return of serve is a soft floating return that keeps your opponent in the back court. You will be taking advantage of the 2-bounce rule that prohibits the serving team from volleying the return of serve. The soft floater gives you and your partner plenty of time to establish your positions at the no-volley line. When you control the no-volley line, you have assumed the offense and put the serving team on defense. The other advantage of using this type of return is that it is one of the easiest returns to make and greatly cuts down on errors.

There are times when a hard driving return is appropriate. It can be especially effective if one of your opponents has a tendency to move up too quickly after the serve. If he has moved up too quickly, the hard drive forces him to backpedal quickly and forces an off-balance shot. But, keep in mind that your chances for error increase with that type of return. An attempt at a drive return means that it is much more likely that you will hit the net or hit the ball long. The other risk of the drive return is that it may be returned to you before you have had time to establish your position at the line.

Use the hard drive return every now and then for a change of pace and to keep your opponent off balance. But, most of the time, it would be wise to play the winning percentages and return a deep soft floater.

Is it OUT or IN? The ball can only touch the court at one point. As you can see in the first photo below, the center of the ball is touching the red. So, even though part of the profile of the ball is over the top of the line, the ball is out. The second photo shows a ball that is good because the center is touching the white line. Reference: section 6C of the official USAPA rules. Note that this rule is different than the rule for tennis. A tennis ball can flatten out when it hits, so if any part of the tennis ball touches the line, it is called good.

BallInOut

Remember, all lines are good during the rally and the serve except for the no-volley line during the serve. A served ball that touches the no-volley line is a fault and results in loss of serve.

Help Your Partner With Line Calls. When your partner is trying to make a difficult shot, it is often hard for that player to concentrate on the line and the shot at the same time. Your partner is counting on you to make the out call if necessary. It is very common to see players looking straight ahead while their partner is playing the ball. You should always watch the ball so that you can help your partner with the call. Otherwise, you may be giving away points if your partner is unable to make the call.

If your partner calls the ball out and you see that it is clearly in, then you should declare the ball to be good. When you disagree with your partner about a line call, the benefit of the doubt always goes to the other side. Never play the point over.

Anticipation. Pickleball is a very quick game requiring fast reflexes for those quick exchanges at the no-volley line. The best players give themselves an edge of just a fraction of a second by anticipating the shot. If you wait for your eyes to pick up the flight of the ball after it is struck, it may be too late. It is important to take note of the visual clues that will tell you where the ball is most likely to go. Observe the speed and angle of the paddle as the ball is struck so that you can begin to react and shift your weight before the ball is actually hit. Also take note of the position of the feet for another visual clue of the general direction in which your opponent is aiming. You don’t need to look directly at the feet. You can usually see the feet in your peripheral vision as you keep your eyes on the paddle and ball.

Watching the paddle will also help you anticipate any spin that is being placed on the ball. If the paddle is moving from high to low, then the ball will likely have backspin. That is especially true if it is hit with an open face (paddle tilted slightly upward). If the paddle is moving from low to high across the top of the ball with a closed face, it will have top spin. If the paddle is swept horizontally across the body, it will probably have some side spin.