Pickleball Video: Hate Practice, BUT Love Doing Better

I hated every minute of training, but I said, 'Don't quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.' Muhammad Ali
picture quote Via

I like to revisit Muhammad Ali’s quote above because I find it motivating. Whenever I am involved in a competitive endeavor, I like to do the best that I can and I am sure many pickleball players want to move their game forward even if they are just playing to get the exercise without consideration of winning or losing. Of course most people would prefer to win.

Winning can be hard because to maintain the winning edge, there needs to be PRACTICE. Professional athletes practice almost every day. Even on game day they have some practice. Pro players are people who are generally in excellent physical shape and some of the best in the world at their skill set and yet every day they practice. To maintain skill levels, there needs to be practice. To improve needs even more practice.

As Ali states above, training and practice may not be fun, but it helps to make a person better at the thing they are practicing. Sometimes you may be motivated to practice, but you can’t find someone else who wants to practice, i.e. “No partner, no practice?”

Well pickleballers, Joe Baker is here to show us how we can practice alone and do a good job with it. All you need is a wall. It can be a wall in a gym, a racquetball court, a handball court, etc. I have even seen videos of people practicing in their garage against a piece of plywood they set up for the purpose.

If you want to practice your pickleball skills and don’t have a partner, perhaps these drills can provide the repetition you need to improve your play.

Backboard Wall Drills for Pickleball

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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Jeff Shank’s Pickleball Strategy Video – Third Shot – Major Skill

In the last post taken from Jeff Shank’s tips, the role of the non-receiving partner during the serve was covered. You can watch that video tip at the following link:

The non-receiving partner’s role

After learning the basics of pickleball, i.e. double bounce rule, non-volley zone, keeping score, volley, lob, ground stroke, etc. one of the next essential skills that proves to be hard to learn, but very necessary, is the third shot drop shot.

Everyone, including Jeff Shank in this video, acknowledges that hitting a good third shot drop shot from the baseline is a skill that is hard to perfect for most people. Keep in mind, however, that hard does not mean impossible. The video below contains a good number of Jeff’s hints pertaining to the the serving team’s third shot.

Listed below are some of the key points presented in the video. See if you can find the answers as you watch! (stay with the video because it does have some very good ideas throughout.)


  • As a member of the serving team, where should you be standing after the serve?
  • Who has the advantage according to each team’s relative position on the court?
  • What are the three possibilities when attempting the third shot into the kitchen and which of the three needs to be avoided.

    NOTE – Jeff points out that one does not need to get to the non-volley zone on the first attempt after a drop shot.

  • What should you do when your partner is the one hitting the third shot? Where should your team be standing? What are the options? (I see the mistake Jeff points out all of the time especially with beginners. I sometimes make the mistake as well, but I have learned to try to avoid it.)
  • At the 16:25 mark, Jeff shows a technique for practicing the third shot drop shot. I have found this helpful and I think most players will also benefit from starting this type of practice to improve their third shot skill.
    Key points when hitting the the successful third shot:

  • Where are the safest/best places to hit the ball?
  • When to avoid hitting the third shot into the kitchen or NVZ?

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 – How Do They Do That? – 3rd Shot Drop

According to some of the best players in the game, the third shot drop shot is one of the most difficult strokes to execute properly. Too high, and it comes flying back at you. Too low and it lands on your side of the court or too far on your opponent’s side of the playing area.

As the video below explains, there are two key things to remember about this third shot…

  1. A Third Shot Drop shot is not a soft forehand. It is a separate and different stroke altogether!
  2. The appropriate technique is to have the ball arc on your side of the net.

Watch Wes Gabrielsen explain it all in the video below. Oh, one other thing. This is one shot everyone, even the very best players, need to practice.


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

Check out Additional Pickleball Info and Videos!

Pickleball – Practice Need Not Be Dull

In Malcolm Gladwell’s Book, “Outliers”, he asserts that to gain complete mastery of a skill one would need 10,000 hours of practice. He did this by examining the work of generally acknowledged geniuses or noted masters. There are those who will dispute the number Gladwell uses, but few argue with the idea that to gain mastery, one needs to practice.

The problem arises with the fact that practice may not be as much fun as using the skill for its intended purpose. A basketball player, for example, probably prefers to play a game rather than practice free throws to assure a ninety scoring percentage from the free throw line.

What if there were a compromise between practice and play? Now understand that I am not suggesting that this is better than just practicing. What I do propose is that perhaps this would help some players achieve a greater success in pickleball by focusing on ball placement during revised play.

An essential pickleball skill is to be able to “aim” the ball and what I mean by that is getting the ball where you want it to go. If you can’t hit the ball to your opponent’s backhand or down the middle, you will have trouble beating average to above average players. Learning to place the ball is a key pickleball skill.

Here is one way to practice placing the ball where you want it to go. Play a game with one other person (Yikes, not singles), BUT… the ball can only be hit to the side of the court the serving player serves from and the diagonal opposite court of the receiver. The game must be restricted to just those two diagonal courts. Anything on the other side of the court is a fault. Play this game to a score of fifteen when starting this revised play because faults will be much more prevalent at the start.

[ Looking at the graphic above then, play can only continue while the ball is hit to the courts indicated with the black arrow during even numbered points and only to the courts indicated by the red arrow on odd numbered points! ]

Once players have become better at this and the points are getting longer, the game can transition to opening play to any side of the court starting with the third shot. In this variation of play the server hits the ball diagonally, the receiving player must return to the server’s court and after that normal pickleball play resumes, i.e. hit the ball anywhere in the playing area.

Both of these revisions of play will force players to concentrate on getting the ball where it needs to go and thus practice placement. It isn’t practice per se, but it is one way to get experience with putting the ball where it needs to go.