Pickleball: Thoughts about the Soft Game and Drop Shot

I have written about the third shot drop shot and the soft game on JBRish a number of times. This is a wonderful skill to develop to help win pickleball games…but to be consistently good takes lots of practice. I can hit one every once in a while, but that percentage isn’t going to win many games.

Pickleballers who don’t have a great third shot drop shot, or perhaps a poor soft game overall, need not despair. Jennifer Lucore has an interesting take on drop shots and dinking in pickleball.

I would encourage you to read the entire article:

There’s No Dinking in Pickleball

In summary, however, this is what she concludes:

“So, to summarize there is NO RIGHT OR WRONG way to play pickleball when you are talking about dropping the third shot or a powerful, driving ground stroke. (emphasis mine)”

PS – Some of the comments under the article are interesting as well!

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All original 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


Pickleball: Third Shot Drop – Something to Think About

What is a third shot drop shot?

This is a pickleball stroke that goes softly over the net into the opponent’s half of the kitchen (NVZ) close to their side of the net. This will force them to hit the ball UP.

Why is the third shot drop shot such a coveted skill among pickleballers? What exactly does a good third shot drop shot do?

  • Is it to make your opponents move?
  • Is it to make your opponents miss the shot?
  • Is it about getting your team to the net (NVZ)?

If you haven’t decided, perhaps you will appreciate Mark Renneson’s nuanced explanation. It is interesting to think about as we consider our shot options after the return of serve. BTW, Mark is the founder and Head Coach at Third Shot Sports.

Here is the link to Mark’s article – It’s Not What You Think: Myth-busting the Drop

 

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 original 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


Pickleball Video: After the 3rd Shot – Then What?

To the net? Not to the net? That is the Question!

Pickleball players are taught from the very beginning that the “best” place to be is close to the net just behind the non-volley zone (NVZ) line. This is often true, but it isn’t always the case.

The serving team puts the ball in play (Shot 1) and stays back because of the two bounce rule. The opposing team will try to hit the ball deep (Shot 2) so the player returning the serve has an opportunity to advance to their NVZ.

As the video below points out, now comes the question – What does the serving team do after the third shot? Mark Renneson of Third Shot Sports explains: “That depends.” And he is so right.

Beginning players often run to the NVZ willy nilly no matter what, but that could be a big mistake. Watch the video to find out what you should do after the third shot. Read the note below the video which may also be very helpful.

 

NOTE – Did you notice the point Mark was making about how the players on each team should generally be at the same relative depth on their side of the court? Having one player back and the other up creates an angled zone with a big hole that is very hard to cover. Ideally, both players should be at, or very near the same depth on their side 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)


**********

 

All original 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


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.

 

More Pickleball Videos

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

Pickleball Video – What Are Your Third Shot Options?

Helle Sparre explains third shot options. I think many pickleballers will find this interesting. It isn’t a video of pickleball players on a court, but rather about strategy. She uses a magnetic board with “checkers” as players to explain the strategy. This won’t be one of those exciting videos (for most people), but it offers some THIRD SHOT strategy tips for players at different skill levels.

The gold standard, so to speak, of pickleball third shots is the third shot drop shot. My third shot drop shot from deep in the court isn’t very reliable and most of the people I play against would probably say something similar of their own third shot. So…what are the other alternatives for a third shot? Do you just throw your paddle in the air and give up? Of course not!

Helle explains what the three basic options are and offers ideas about what you should try to do. If you are honest with yourself, and you believe that Helle Sparre has the right idea, it will point you to areas in which you need to gain proficiency.

I think you will find this of interest if you are looking to improve your game.

IMPORTANT– Helle talks about when you should NOT RUN TO THE NON-VOLLEY ZONE based on the shot just hit! A very good point or two!

 

To See additonal 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)

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.)

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  • 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.
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    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.
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    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)

Third Shot Drop Shot – Worth the Effort?!

As more advanced players know, the third shot drop shot can be a powerful weapon. On the downside, it is a high risk-high reward shot for many casual players.

What to do in the following scenario:

Your team serves the ball high and deep. The other team now returns a nice deep shot and both the players are near the kitchen (NVZ). The opponents both have good volley skills and are waiting for your next shot…

A – You can try to over power them by hitting the ball hard to one of the weaker spots, i.e. backhand which is not that easy since the margin of error is narrow.

B – You can lob the ball to try to move at least one player off of the kitchen line, but this too takes a bit of touch; too short and it gets whacked, too long and it is out.

C – Third shot drop shot. Get the ball over the net into the middle of the NVZ and move the game to the net where it would then become a “touch” game. Once again, high risk-high reward. Too long and the ball is smashed back at you; too short and it goes into the net.

When playing against skilled pickleballers, the choices may all seem difficult. Why not work on that third shot which may be the best opportunity in the above scenario?

To make it even more of a problem, the Third Shot technique is a bit different from various places on the court. It is a “touch” shot and the paddle position, pace, etc. needs to be altered as the ball is hit either longer or shorter onto your side of the court.

Deb Harrison demonstrates how to practice the Third Shot Drop from various positions on the court. I know this is one area I need to practice quite a bit. I am decent near the NVZ, but pretty bad when it comes to executing the desired third shot from the baseline.

From the YouTube synopsis:

Published on Oct 1, 2016

“This video emphasizes the need for players to develop the ability to execute a 3rd shot drop from various types of balls into the NVZ (No Volley Zone) from all areas on the court. Drills to practice dropping short hop and long hop balls are shown. The key is, depending on the type of hop, opening the paddle to the right angle UNDER the ball and using the pace to determine how much forward motion is needed. Remember that the net is your first opponent and MOST importantly, your drop HAS to go over the net. There is a lot of “feel or touch” to the execution of these skills, so more practice = more success!”

 

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: 3rd Shot in Singles – Not Usually a Drop

Mark Renneson of Third Shot Sports brings us an interesting video from the 2015 Pickleball Nationals at Casa Grande He demonstrates how, in the singles category, the third shot is not usually a drop shot as is the preferred shot in doubles play.

There are, of course, those times when the drop shot is used as the third shot, but not often. Another nice thing about this video is that the names of players are given so we can put the faces to the names we read about! Thanks Mark!!!

Read the comments as they have some interesting information as well. Mark explains why he thinks this phenomenon takes place:

“It’s true that the reduced coverage at the net means there are more opportunities for the third shot to be an offensive (rather than neutralizing) shot. This sport — especially the singles version of it — really rewards speed, agility and great hands.”

Pickleball: Serving Team – How to Get to the Net

After playing pickleball for just a short while, an attentive player will learn that it is better to control the net, i.e. be at the net ready to volley a ball that is hit rather than staying back and volleying from the baseline.

The question then arises: When is the best time for the serving team to head toward the net? It isn’t necessarily wise to run to the net as soon as possible.

Mark Renneson of Third Shot Sports, has created a video to demonstrate how to “earn” the net.

You can also see Deb Harrison’s take on this situation by watching this previous JBRish post:

Pickleball: Earn the Net