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.

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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

 

 

 

 

 

Ground Stroke Drills

Drills – Groundstrokes

 

When performing these drills, work on trying to have long rallies and trying to place the ball deep and near the corner of your opponent’s court. Hit the ball firmly, but do not try to hit so hard that your practice partner can’t return the ball. Give yourself enough margin of error on your shots so that you are keeping most of them inside the lines.

 

Drills For all Players

These drills are the easiest because you are hitting the ball back to where it came from and are doing so without being on the run. However, after doing all 4 drills you will have practiced forehands and backhands both cross court and down the line from both sides of the court. These drills can be done with two players as described, or you could do them with 4 players keeping two balls going in opposite cross court directions or opposite sidelines.

•Players practice hitting cross court balls to each other from the right side of their respective courts.

•Players practice hitting cross court balls to each other from the left side of their respective courts.

•Players practice hitting down the line on the right side of the court.

•Players practice hitting down the line on the left side of the court.

 

Drills For Advanced Players

These 4 drills are much more difficult and are intended for advanced players who still move fairly well on the court. They would be especially good for people trying to improve their singles game. If you have bad knees, bad ankles, bad feet, or etc, then don’t do them. Each drill gives one of the players practice on hitting while running and the other player practice in changing the direction of the ball while standing still which is harder than returning the ball back in the direction it came from. If only one player moves well, then only do the drills where he is the player to run.

•Player A stands on the right hand side of his court and alternately hits the ball down the line, cross court, down the line, cross court, etc. Player B will be running from side to side and hitting every ball right back to player A.

•Player B stands on the right hand side of his court and alternately hits the ball down the line, cross court, down the line, cross court, etc. Player A will be running from side to side and hitting every ball right back to player B.

•Player A stands on the left hand side of his court and alternately hits the ball down the line and then cross court. Player B will be running from side to side and hitting every ball right back to player A.

•Player B stands on the left hand side of his court and alternately hits the ball down the line and then cross court. Player A will be running from side to side and hitting every ball right back to player A.

 

Drills For Advanced Players who move well

In this drill, both players are constantly on the run and changing the ball’s direction every time they hit the ball. If you have bad knees, bad ankles, bad feet, or etc, then don’t do this one. This is only for two advanced players who both move well and are injury free. This is a great for singles players.

• Players practice at about 3/4 speed with one player hitting every ball down the line, and the other player hitting every ball cross court. Then reverse the process so that the person who hit down the line before is now hitting cross court with the other player hitting every ball down the line. Both players are running in this drill.

 

Drills on Changing Direction of the Ball (for 3 or 4 players)

This is a little harder than the first 4 drills because players have to change the direction of the ball, but it shouldn’t involve much movement.

•In this drill, 4 players hit the ball back and forth to each other at a speed where they can keep a long rally going. Each player should return the ball back to the other team in the direction it didn’t come from. In other words if you receive the ball down the line, then hit it back cross court. If you received the ball cross court, then hit it back down the line.

•In this drill for 3 players, 2 players on one side of the court both hit to the third player’s forehand side while that player alternately hits cross court and then down the line. After everyone has taken a turn by themselves, then do it over again but this time have the player by themselves hitting backhands cross court and down the line while the other players both hit to his backhand.

 

Advanced! – Changing Direction of the ball while running!

In this drill, Players should hit at about 3/4 speed so the player running from side to side has a little more time to get there. After all 3 players have taken their turn running from side to side, then start over, but this time have the player running from side to side hit down the line, and the other two players both hit cross court ever time.

•In this drill for 3 players, 2 players on one side of the court both hit down the line, while the third player on the other side of the net runs from side to side and hits every ball cross court.

Thanks,

Bob Halpin

 

Drills – Overheads or Smashing

Drills – Overheads

 

Overhead drills are not going to work very well until the players have first learned to lob well enough to hit a lob to the player practicing overheads! After you can lob fairly well when returning a ground stroke or volley, then you are ready to attempt these drills.

 

These drills are necessary not only to develop your overhead skills, but also to develop your ability to return an overhead smash with another lob. You will find that if you do these drills your lob will improve as much or more than your overhead improves.

 

Drill 1 is good for two players. If you have 3 or 4 players, then drill 3 is much better because the player hitting overheads can practice hitting to different areas of the court. That also gives the two players lobbing practice in a more game like situation. Hitting overheads is quite tiring and even with 4 players rotating to the overhead position, everyone should get plenty of practice.

 

1.Player A stands on one side of the net at the baseline and hits lobs to Player B who hits overheads back at Player A. Player A tries to hit high lobs that land between the no-volley line and 3/4 court. Player B tries to hit overheads back at player A so that it can be lobbed again. Rotate between lobbing and hitting overheads often. (For 2 players)

 

2.Player A and Player B stand on one side of the net at the baseline and hits lobs to Player C who practices hitting overheads to both corners and down the middle. Anytime player C manages to hit 4 overheads in a row successfully, then they can try to put the overhead away after that. All players take turns hitting overheads and should rotate often as overheads can be very tiring. If you have 4 or more players, then one or more players can sit on the bench as part of the rotation. (For 3 or more players)

 

3.In this drill, you have two teams on opposite sides of the net with one team lobbing and one team hitting overheads. Advanced teams should be trying to put their smashes away while the lobbers should be trying to lob high and deep. When possible, however you also should try to be consistent while doing so. More beginning teams should be considerate of what the other team is trying to do when they lob or smash. We should have lots of rallies of 5 or 6 hits for both teams to get the most out of this drill. (For 4 players)

Thanks,

Bob Halpin

 

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

Training and Grant Program from the USAPA

US Tennis paints the lines in SW Florida
Contact Randy 239.643.7300

Nets can be purchased from:
http://pickleball.com/collections/nets-net-sets
http://store.pickleballcentral.com/Pickleball_Nets_s/37.htm

Training Grant Program Rules
The USAPA Grant program will provide funds to subsidize training programs for school students, local residents, organizations or individuals who are novices to Pickleball and do not belong to a Pickleball club or other organized group.

 

Qualifications

 

Applicants must be USAPA members age 18 and older. Training programs must observe all USAPA rules and conditions.

 

Federal and state government agencies other than schools and universities are not eligible. Other organizations, including but not limited to, local government agencies, housing developments, private resorts, for-profit organizations, organizations not open to the general public or any other similar entities should process their request for funds through a USAPA member. In that case, the Grant will be made to the applicable USAPA member. Exceptions will be made only for extraordinary situations.

 

In general, priority will be given to those individuals or organizations that the USAPA deems most in need of financial assistance.

 

Implementation

 

Grants will generally be given on a first-come first-served basis and will be for reimbursement only. Grants may be approved in whole, in part, or not at all. No advances will be made.

 

When the Grant funding for the current year is exhausted, approvals will cease until the following year. Reimbursement requests for expenses incurred in one calendar year may be submitted the following year if submitted within 90 days of approval of the application.

 

Purpose

 

Costs eligible for reimbursement include but are not limited to USAPA accepted balls, materials for measuring and marking temporary court lines, copying of lesson documents, containers for balls and equipment, and office supplies. Portable net and post equipment is allowable only if purchased from USAPA.

 

Paddles are not allowable because of their relatively high cost. It is highly recommended that you solicit donations of used paddles from your local players. Exclusions from reimbursement include but are not limited to paddles, temporary net and post equipment not purchased from USAPA, court usage costs, traveling expenses, labor and subcontracts, and insurance.

 

Maximum Reimbursement

 

The maximum reimbursement to any person or group is $250. Approvals will be valid for only 90 days unless an extension is specifically approved by the USAPA. Receipts after 90 days will not be honored without specific prior approval. Expenses in excess of the maximum amount may not be resubmitted under a new application for reimbursement.

 

Miscellaneous

 

USAPA reserves the sole right to disperse training funds as it sees fit. All funding and reimbursement decisions by the USAPA are final and may not be appealed.

 

Applications

 

Applications for Training Grant funds may be filed at any time. They may be submitted by completing this survey

 

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

What PickleBall Player are saying.

Submitted on 2013/10/18 at 3:42 pm

Great fun and great people!

Mary

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Submitted on 2013/10/15 at 4:08 pm

Hi Jerry, It’s Kim from Canada eh? I now have fellow players repeating after me ” accuracy over power”. I thank you for your informative site. When I am wondering what I am doing wrong I check back into the categories and always find what I need. Tim and I still talk about our fun time with you all in Naples. Thank you for your dedication to this sport. Kim

 

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Submitted on 2013/10/15 at 11:55 am

Hi Jerry,

Thanks for sending on the pictures and information. The weather looks delightful, and it was so much fun seeing everyone enjoying the game.  I am looking forward to playing with you all very soon! Sally

 

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Submitted on 2013/10/11 at 1:24 am

Hey Jerry, Thanks for the video. All of us at Bonita Bay enjoyed the chance to play with you and your colleagues this summer. Hope we can organize something during the season, once everything has settled down. Best, Steve

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Submitted on 2013/09/17 at 1:15 am

Jerry- You are so valuable and special to so many of us.  Thank you for posting video and pictures.  My turn to take some of you playing tomorrow…..so SHAVE!!

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Submitted on 2013/09/16 at 7:15 pm

Great seeing so many playing.  Looks like some new folks also. I have not been able  to play for a month now due to Achilles tendonitis.  Not at all happy about it either.  I feel like a part of me is missing with my pickleball.  We have had a great summer here in western North Carolina mountains.  We played in the Palmetto Doubles Tourney in Aiken, SC in August and finished a game out of the medal round.  My heel was preventing me from my playing my game, but it was fun.  We saw some fantastic matches.  Our friends, Nancy & Mike Falkenstein, won a bronze medal-their first in sanctioned play.  We will be back in Naples around the first of Oct.  Can’t wait to see everyone again.   Judy & Don

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Submitted on 2013/09/16 at 3:05 pm

Thank you for sharing Jerry!  When I see these pictures, it makes me want to come back sooner than later.  The sunshine looks so inviting, and it’s great to see so many people I know on the courts.

My warmest regards to all!  See you in November. Sally

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Flying over the Earth at night

Click here: Flying over the Earth at night

4,651,733 views

Explanation: Many wonders are visible when flying over the Earth at night. A compilation of such visual spectacles was captured recently from the International Space Station (ISS) and set to rousing music. Passing below are white clouds, orange city lights, lightning flashes in thunderstorms, and dark blue seas. On the horizon is the golden haze of Earth’s thin atmosphere, frequently decorated by dancing auroras as the video progresses. The green parts of auroras typically remain below the space station, but the station flies right through the red and purple auroral peaks. Solar panels of the ISS are seen around the frame edges. The ominous wave of approaching brightness at the end of each sequence is just the dawn of the sunlit half of Earth, a dawn that occurs every 90 minutes.

 

 

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

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“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

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” 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

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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 from the last century

Pickle-ball® was the first game ever play inside the King Dome- Seattle, WA (from 1965 to 1977).  Most of these pictures  were taken on one of the original Pickle-ball® courts in Bainbridge Island, WA during the early 1970’s.

Videos

Watch their footwork, positioning, they never take their eyes off the ball. The paddle is always up and in the ready position.
Videos well worth watching.

Villages Pickleball #1 VS Seattle Superstarts PART 2  Lots of Dinking

2012 USAPA National Tournament – Women’s Singles Final

2012 USAPA National Tournament – Women’s Singles Final 2

USAPA 2012 National Tournament Women’s Doubles Gold 1

USAPA 2012 National Tournament Women’s Doubles Gold 2

 

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!