Players from Southwest Florida.
Excellent Pickleball Videos
Men’s Singles Pro Gold from the Minto US Open Pickleball Championships 2017 – Yates vs. Johns Watch 18-year-old high school senior, Ben Johns, take on his pickleball friend, Kyle Yates, in a tight gold medal battle during the Men’s Singles PRO match at the 2017 Minto US Open Pickleball Championships. Having trained together in Fort Meyers, FL, both have experience watching each other’s game which makes the match more interesting. This close match even includes a fantastic comeback in the first game to tie it up 9-9! Good sportsmanship and an obvious mutual respect between these two top players are on full display here as you watch this impressive game.
Tami Thomas: Instructor and co – owner of Pickleball Naples LLC wins Gold at the first US Open Pickleball Championships in Naples Florida. Tami beat two 5.0 players to get the Gold in the 50+ womens singles division.
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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…
Scroll down for Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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!
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.
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…
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 before you play Pickleball
“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.
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
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
By Barry Ford
Sun City Grand Pickleball Club
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.
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!
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.
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.
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 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.
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
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.
For more information visit: pickleballnaplesfl.com
Written by Jerry Pershing – Naples FL
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.
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)
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.
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.
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 for Training Grant funds may be filed at any time. They may be submitted by completing this survey
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.
Great fun and great people!
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
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
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
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!!
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
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
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.