Pickleball – The 3rd Shot “Drop” Is Not Always the Best Option


Sarah Ansboury Pickleball Champion

Photo of Pickleball Champion Sarah Ansboury Courtesy of naplesnews.com

Pickleballers who have competed for a period of time and who have investigated how to improve their skills, have probably been given the impression that the third shot drop shot is the holy grail of pickleball championships.

In a recent blog post, Sarah Ansboury explains that although the third shot drop is very important and is a necessary skill for those seeking to move upward beyond average pickleball play, it isn’t the only option.

In part, she explains:

“Remember, the goal of the third shot drop is to give you and your partner time to get to the non-volley zone when the other team is already there. However, if your opponents are not yet all the way to the net your best bet is to keep them back. Hitting a hard, flat ball to the deeper player is always a good option. In fact, dropping it into the non-volley zone will actually give them time to come forward. When you can capture the net before your opponents, you have the advantage. Don’t invite them to join you! Keep them back.”

You can read the entire article on Sarah’s website:

The Third Shot Drop is Important…But Not Your Only Option

Sarah Ansboury has won many pickleball championships. She is a coach and player who shares her hard-earned knowledge of pickleball via her blog. You can read more about her HERE.

 

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Pickleball Video- Not All Backhand Volleys Are Equal

Many beginning players have difficulty with their backhand, but very often they manage to develop a fairly reliable backhand groundstroke. That is the good news.

The bad news is that there is more than one type of backhand shot and to be a top player, you may need to develop several different techniques for the backhand volley. The video below shows backhand options for players in a position to hit a volley.

The two volley techniques demonstrated are:

  • The backspin soft shot that can be effective in putting the opponents in a vulnerable position.
  • The topspin shot which keeps the ball low and difficult to return.

Watch Mark Renneson of Third Shot Sports demonstrate these techniques.

NOTE – It has been my experience that if I hit a “good” topspin backhand at the net, the ball has a tendency to stay low and will “skip” (take a very low bounce) which frustrates opponents.

Hint – You can read the comments below the video for further clarification.

Thanks to Mark Rennison and Third Shot Sports for producing this informative video.

Pickleball Expanding in Phoenix

Paseo Highlands

It is always exciting to anticipate new opportunities related to areas in which we have a vested interest. I would like to report about one such happening in the N. Phoenix area pickleball community.

PLEASE NOTE – This is a preliminary report and items presented here are in the planning stages. Given the uncertainties with municipal budgets, priorities, emergencies, etc. any of the following my be revised, changed, etc. Kindly keep this in mind as you read further.



Last week, I met with Jan Sherwood, Recreation Supervisor, Phoenix Parks and Recreation Department, City of Phoenix Landscape Architect, Tom Byrne and several other area Pickleball Ambassadors to preview preliminary plans for new pickleball courts at Paseo Highlands Park.



** About the Park – Paseo Highlands Park (Geolet A.C. Beuf Community Center), 3435 W. Pinnacle Peak Rd., 35th Ave. and Pinnacle Peak Rd. (Located adjacent to Geolet A.C. Beuf Community Center)

Amenities: A 40-acre regional Park with two lighted softball fields, lighted soccer field, lighted basketball court, lighted volleyball court, playgrounds, restrooms and picnic areas, grills, ramadas, and the Geolet A.C. Beuf Community Center.

**Excerpted from the City of Phoenix website.



Some of our pickleball friends have noticed signs in the area which outlined the project.



The plan is to build six outdoor pickleball courts.



The photo below is NOT of any identified pickleball court, but is to show the colors of the courts as the preliminary design and plan currently details.



Here are some of the specifics as I understood them. Please remember, that these plans are still fluid and preliminary.



  • There will be fences/barriers separating all of the courts. This should cut down on ball chasing.
  • The circles represent trees to be planted as part of the development process.
  • There is an existing ramada that will remain; located north of the westmost court (rectangular structure).
  • The courts will be lit with timed fixtures that will go on automatically.
  • For the four courts to the east, entry gates are located in the middle of the quad.
  • The two westerly courts have gates at the northern corners.

Pictured below is the general location for the development.



Bathrooms are located relatively near the courts.



There is a parking lot located a bit east of the courts. It has eleven spaces plus one space for handicapped parking.



It was 100 degrees plus the day we met and I walked from the community center to the area shown on the plans and it was not a far walk.

This is a picture I took while standing near the parking lot looking back at the community center



and here is a photo taken standing on the steps of the community center looking back at the area (with gravel/granite) where the new courts will be placed.



For those who want to see a wide view of the general area, this is the link to the larger image (panorama)

Click HERE

The question that might be on the minds of most readers is WHEN will these courts be finished or when can we begin playing on them? A “guesstimate”, keeping in mind that there are some “ifs” involved, is that we are looking at some time after the new year, 2018!

Until then, it is something nice to think about!



I would like to thank Jan Sherwood and the City of Phoenix for keeping our pickleball community in mind and for allowing us to learn of the projects as they begin unfold.


I hope to see you on the courts!

Pickleball – Court Coverage Responsibilities Video

I am sure this has happened to every pickleball player and perhaps more often than one would really like to admit. A ball is returned to your side of the court near both you and your partner and neither of you swing at the ball as it goes by without a return attempt. Each of you probably thought the other person was going to get the ball.

Ideally, coverage of lobs, balls down the middle, etc. should be discussed prior to each game. Unfortunately this rarely takes place during casual or clubhouse play.

In the video below, Helle Sparre uses a storyboard to explain her theory of which doubles partner should cover particular areas of their court during certain aspects of play. This is not a video with footage of people playing pickleball and it may not be “exciting” per se, however, the information can be very important. If you have a steady doubles partner or play in tournaments, this information may be essential.

Helle Sparre refers to the roles of the “workhorse” and the “terminator” and which person should accept each role. The workhorse covers 75% of the court while the terminator only has to worry about 25% of the court.

 

More Pickleball Videos

To See additional Pickleball Videos Covering Many Aspects of the Game Click Here (primarily for beginners and less experienced players)

Check out Additional Pickleball Info and Videos! (for all players including average to more experienced players)


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All content on this blog is copyrighted by Jeffrey B. Ross with ALL Rights Reserved. While reference links back to JBRish.com are appreciated and encouraged, please acquire approval for any reproduction of original content from this website.

©Jeffrey B. Ross


2017 US Open Pickleball Championships Televised

According to word from Pickleballtournaments.com, the 2017 Minto US Open Pickleball Championships held in Naples, FL will be broadcast on television as per the following…

On CBS Sports Channel (221 Direct TV)
May 19 8pm ET, 5/26 8pm ET (2 shows)
Repeat 5/26 7pm ET, 5/26 11pm ET

Check your local listings for CPS Sports

For those who want a “teaser,” here are a couple of videos including some of the venues and highlights from the tournament.



Highlights from the 2017 US Open Pickleball Championships

Look for an amazing between the legs shot somewhere between 1:06 – 1:07
[ Don’t try this at home! ]

2017 US Open Pickleball Championships Open Air Arena



It is gratifying to see our sport portrayed in such a professional manner.

Pickleballs: Condition Before Play

Onix Pure 2 Pickleball Package

Did you know that Pickleballs by various manufacturers MUST meet specific standards in order to be approved/sanctioned by the USAPA?

Here are some of the requirements for approved pickleballs:**

Size. The ball shall be 2.874 inches (73mm) to 2.972 inches (75.5mm) in diameter. The maximum out-of-round diameter variance shall not be greater than +/-0.020 inch (0.50mm). (revised Nov. 1, 2015)

Weight. The ball shall weigh between 0.78 and 0.935 ounces (22 and 26.5 grams). (revised Nov. 1, 2015)

Bounce. The ball shall have a bounce of 30 to 34 inches (76.2 to 86.4 cm) when dropped from a height of 78 inches to the top of the ball onto a granite surface plate that is a minimum of 12” x 12” x 4”. The test is to be performed at an ambient temperature of 75 to 80 degrees F (24 to 27 degrees C). (revised Nov. 1, 2015)

Hardness. The ball shall have a hardness of 40 to 50 on a Durometer D scale at a temperature of 75 to 80 degrees F (24 to 27 degrees C). (revised Nov. 1, 2015)

Design. The ball shall have a minimum of 26 to a maximum of 40 circular holes, with spacing of holes and overall design of the ball conforming to straight flight characteristics. The ball must have a manufacturer’s or supplier’s name or logo printed or embossed on it. (revised Nov. 1, 2015)

** International Federation of Pickleball (USAPA) Official Tournament Rulebook, Section 2D Ball Specifications – pp. 5-6

WOW! Aren’t those very specific and precise? Naturally there is a good reason for all of these regulations. The governing bodies want to make the sport as consistent as possible. There has recently been a series of ball approvals and when playing indoors in the Phoenix, AZ area, I notice that many of the players now prefer the Orange, Onix Pure 2 ball because it is easy to see in many of the gymnasiums which have uneven lighting conditions.

I am not sure all of those who purchase the balls have noticed the recommended conditioning on the side of the package. It is my guess that the manufacturer is recommending the procedure so the ball will behave in a manner consistent with the rules and regulations and provide uniform play. Without the conditioning noted above, the ball may bounce too high until it is used for several games, etc.

If you use the new Onix Pure 2 balls, it might be advisable to read the side of the packaging to make sure you are playing under optimal conditions. Here is what it says [Yellow outline supplied by me – not on the package ]:

Onix Pure 2 Conditioning Instructions

NOTE: You might want to check with other manufacturers if you use different pickleballs and this is important to you.!

DISCLAIMER: If you are a club player, and this doesn’t make a difference to you, then have fun and play on!

JBRish.com originally published this post

To See additional Pickleball Articles and Videos Covering Many Aspects of the Game Click Here (primarily for beginners and less experienced players)

Check out Additional Pickleball Info and Videos! (for all players including average to more experienced players)

Jeff Shank – Poaching, Drop Shot and Position Adjustments

** NOTE ** – This is the last of our Series Of Pickleball Tips from Jeff Shank. I want to thank Jeff for taking the time in preparing this video and for allowing me to share it in segmented form. I hope all of the pickleballers who visit JBRish.com have learned as much from Jeff’s tips as I have.

Things to watch for in this video (below)

  • What characteristics would make a ball a good candidate for a touch drop shot?
  • Why would you want to hit a serve return to the better poacher?
  • What responsibilities do partners have once a ball is “called” by one of the players?
  • If players are in a position where one is back and one is closer to the net (i.e. the non-volley zone), what protocol should be followed, according to Jeff Shank, with a ball hit down the middle?
  • Why is it necessary to get an overhead deep rather than shallow? (In the demo, the last shot is really the deepest and probably represents the “best” example).
  • When your opponents are in a position where one is back and one is deep, what is the best procedure to follow when returning a shot?
  • How do you respond if your team has “a gap” that creates a tempting target?
  • What adjustments does Jeff recommend for teams composed of right-handed and left-handed players who don’t play together often?

** NOTE ** – Everyone will recognize that there are two parts to developing new skills. The first is knowing what to do, but the second, and just as important, is being able to do it. I have read a great deal about pickleball over the last two and a half years and I have spoken to excellent players and the one thing they all have in common is to remark that to really improve, a player needs deliberate practice not just just playing. AND…if you can have expert guidance during the practice.

NOTE – To find out about this series of posts, i.e. 100 Pickleball Strategies by Jeff Shank, read the first post HERE

 

To See additional Pickleball Videos Covering Many Aspects of the Game Click Here (primarily for beginners and less experienced players)

Check out Additional Pickleball Info and Videos! (for all players including average to more experienced players)

Pickleball – Lose Time, Lose the Point!

Sarah Ansboury has won many pickleball championships. She is a coach and player who shares her hard-earned knowledge of pickleball via her blog. You can read more about her HERE.

Sarah recently wrote an article, The Most Common and Most Deadly Pickleball Mistake , in which she explains how in our fast sport of pickleball seconds and fractions of seconds can make a difference.

As she explains, one way we lose time is by not returning to the ready position. This is often seen during a dinking sequence. Most players, and I am one of them, tend to keep their paddle down when dinking begins. What happens if the ball is returned as a forehand or an intended lob and our paddles are down? We now have to move the paddle farther to attempt a return.

You can read the entire article at the link above to see how Sarah Ansboury recommends you improve your game by eliminating this bad habit.

A companion article which continues the theme is Returning a Lob Serve…Take Time Away from Your Opponent.

 

More Pickleball Videos

To See additional Pickleball Videos Covering Many Aspects of the Game Click Here (primarily for beginners and less experienced players)

Check out Additional Pickleball Info and Videos! (for all players including average to more experienced players)

Pickleball – You Make the Call – Answer– Take It for a Spin!

Original Scenario Posted on 20170323

The Scenario:

Team X and Team Y are engaged in a back-and-forth rally when at one point, a player from team Y hits a ball with much backspin over the net onto team X’s side of the court. A player from team X runs toward the ball, which is close to the net, but cannot quite get to it before the ball bounces back over the net onto team Y’s side.

Recap of essential points: – A player from team Y originally hit the ball with backspin and it was not touched by any player on team X before the ball bounced back over the net.

According to the official pickleball rules, what happens in the above scenario? Is there a fault? Is it a do-over? Does any team score a point?

The Answer according to USAPA Rules:

Here is the ruling from the official rule book of the International Federation of Pickleball which is also the governing document for the USAPA (USA Pickleball Association).

“12.J.4. If a player hits the ball over the net into the opponent’s court, and then the ball bounces back over the net without being touched by the opponent, the striking player wins the rally.” p. 39

In the case scenario above, the last player to touch the ball with the paddle wins the point.

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To See Pickleball Videos Covering Many Aspects of the Game Click Here (primarily for beginners and less experienced players)

Check out Additional Pickleball Info and Videos! (for all players including average to more experienced players)

Pickleball – You Make the Call – 20170323 – Take It for a Spin!

Team X and Team Y are engaged in a back-and-forth rally when at one point, a player from team Y hits a ball with much backspin over the net onto team X’s side of the court. A player from team X runs toward the ball, which is close to the net, but cannot quite get to it before the ball bounces back over the net onto team Y’s side.

Recap of essential points: – A player from team Y originally hit the ball with backspin and it was not touched by any player on team X before the ball bounced back over the net.

According to the official pickleball rules, what happens in the above scenario? Is there a fault? Is it a do-over? Does any team score a point?

Leave your answer in the comment section! The answer will be presented next week (+/-) in a follow-up post.

 

To See Pickleball Videos Covering Many Aspects of the Game Click Here

Check out Additional Pickleball Info and Videos!