Pickleball: Between Games Don’t Just Wait

When you are playing in a non-tournament situation what exactly is your goal? Is it to get exercise? Is it to have fun? Is it to do your best? Is it to do everything you can to win? Whatever your goal may be, I think we all want to do well.

The question then arises…If you are at a club and there is a ten or fifteen minute wait between games, what do you do with that time? I think depending upon your answer to the goal question above, you may have a couple of different answers, but some coaches suggest that there are several things to consider doing.

* If there is space, can you get on a practice court and stay warm?

* Is there a wall you can use to hit against? You can practice your dink or reflex vollies.

* Can you do some in-place movement to stay limber?

NOTE – The ideas above were excerpted from the article 3 Pre-Game Tricks to Play Better Matches by Mark Renneson. While his essay focuses on those in tournament or more serious play, I believe we can all benefit from his admonition that between games “Don’t just stand (or sit) there.”

If you are a serious, competitive player, you might want to check out the article linked above.

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pickleball, non-volley zone, kitchen, faults, rules, legal, partner, bounce, enter

Pickleball Paddle: Get the Lead Out!


Lead Tape for Racquet or Paddle Customization
Picture courtesy of Tennis Express

I am going out on a limb here by suggesting that most pickleball players probably do not know that some of the competitive and/or professional players add lead tape to their paddles to change the weight and feel.

Of course there are rules about what can and cannot be done with a paddle and still have it qualify for USAPA certification. I understand that many people don’t play in tournaments, but my personal philosophy is that I want to play with certified and approved equipment whenever I can.

Keeping that in mind, let’s consider what the rule book says about making changes to the paddle:

“2.E.5. Alterations. The only alterations or additions that can be made to a commercially made paddle are edge guard tape, lead tape, changes to the grip size or grip wrap, and adding name decals and/or other identification markings on the paddle face. Decals, markings, and tape can extend no farther than 1.0 inches (2.54 cm) above the top of the grip nor more than 0.5 inches (1.27 cm) inside from the outer edge of a paddle or paddle edge guard if in place. Altered paddles must meet all specifications.”

One of the professional players I follow, Sarah Ansboury, uses quite a bit of lead tape on her paddle. She has written an essay explaining why she does it and what some of the advantages might be.

She ends her blog post with encouraging players to try different things and experiment. Sarah says:

“You can buy 100″ of lead tape on Amazon for under $13, so experimenting won’t break the bank. You may find altering your pickleball paddle just feels more comfortable. And we all know comfort is a key to playing better pickleball.”

Read the entire blog post at the link below. Even if you don’t try it, I think it is an interesting option that many players don’t appreciate.

Should You Add Lead Tape to Your Pickleball Paddle?

 

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Video: Faster Way to Sharpen Your Pickleball Skills

A number of my pickleball blog posts have made a statement such as: “You can’t greatly improve your game just by playing. Focused practice is necessary.” I didn’t make this up. I have read this or heard this from many of the top pickleball coaches. It sounds logical and I believe it is true.

Now let me ask you. If you had a chance to hit twice as many balls as you normally would, do you think that would give you more practice? Do you think it might help you improve your game? I think it would.

Did you ever play a game with a weaker player and most of the balls are hit to them while you stand by wondering when the next ball will come your way?

Here is a unique idea. Play Sick Trx Singles (I have no idea how they came up with this name). It is playing singles almost like a doubles game. This way each player gets to hit all the balls on their side of the net; no partner. Don’t worry, you still cover just half of the court.

This will force players to learn to “guide” the ball in various directions and to be more precise!.

What makes this a different variation is that the service and return of serve is similar to that of doubles.

Watch the video below to see if this is something you can use to improve your pickleball skills.

 

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Pickleball Video: Yours, Mine, Oh No!

We aren’t necessarily mean, but we love it when it happens to others.

If you have played pickleball for just a few days, you will probably know what I am talking about here. It is that ball that is neither totally on one side of the court or the other. Or, it is very close to the player with the forehand even if it is a bit on the other player’s side of the court AND…

Each player on the team thinks the other is going to get it and the ball zings by scoring a point for the other team or at minimum a lost rally. Partner communication is important both before and during the game.

Mark Renneson of Third Shot Sports gives a few pointers. As the video points out, many teams will actually call “yours” or “mine” to let both players know who should and who shouldn’t go for the ball.

 

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Video: Tennis Players, Pickleball Isn’t so Bad!

Pickleball is growing across the United States and the world. There were a significant number of new pickleball courts developed in the US last year and many tennis centers are embracing pickleball as a companion sport.

This gives some tennis players the opportunity to try both sports and many have made pickleball part of their athletic routines. Watch the video below to see how the Bobby Riggs Tennis Club made the transition.

From the YouTube Page:

“Yes, pickleball and tennis can thrive and flourish together! At the world renowned Bobby Riggs Tennis Club, owners and tennis pros Steve and Jennifer Dawson decided to add pickleball to their tennis club which not only added revenue to the organization but has enhanced the community and members’ experience. Watch a heartwarming story about this tennis club and how the Dawson family took a chance on pickleball and ended up completely embracing the sport. The Dawsons aren’t planning on giving up tennis, but by adding pickleball, they’ve given their tennis club new life and have created a unique community that opens doors for additional opportunity and community for BOTH sports.”

 

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Pickkleball: Why do you do what you do?

 


When you are playing pickleball and you are ready to return serve, do you try to place the ball in a specific spot on your opponent’s side of the court? If you do, does your partner understand where they need to be to help you defend against the third shot? Do you know where you should be in relationship to your partner to best counter the returning ball?

In a recent post by Sarah Ansboury, Pickleball Tip: Follow the Ball, she explains the importance of knowing “why” you want to accomplish something on the court. She suggests that technique and knowing how to hit the various types of shots are not really enough. Sarah continues to explain why successful players need to follow specific strategies depending upon the variables.

If you want to “up your game” and begin to bring it to another level, check out her recent post by clicking this link:

Pickleball Tip: Follow the Ball

 

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Pickleball Video: Returning a Very Short Ball

There are times when a ball from your opponent barely makes it over the net. Perhaps it ticks the top of the net and dribbles over. When the ball lands only a foot or so away from the net, this can be a problem for the returning player.

Such a short ball is very hard to return as there is no room for the player to swing and get the ball up and over the net if they hit the ball straight on. There is, however, one very good alternative. Watch the video below to learn a one way to handle this situation.

NOTE – If you can, time your hit so the paddle reaches the ball as it is bouncing up (ascending) so it is not at its lowest point to the ground. The higher the ball, the easier it will be to get it over the net!

 

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Pickleball: Video – Getting Out of Trouble

If you play doubles pickleball on a regular basis, sooner or later you will find that you and your partner are in a defensive posture stuck near the baseline. If this happens, one of the best strategies is to “reset the point.” After all, it is hard to hit a winner when you are pinned near your baseline.

So what is “reseting the point?” Mark Renneson, pickleball coach and owner of Third Shot Sports, explains via the video below:

Remember, the drop shot isn’t an offensive shot. It doesn’t have to be a “winner,” it just needs to give your team time to move forward.

Do you want to Win a Trip for 2 to the 2018 USAPA National Championships in Indian Wells California? If so, CLICK HERE!

 

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Pickleball Video: Give Me the Ball!

NOTES FROM THE VIDEO’S Web Page

Seventeen time national champion, Jennifer Lucore, shares her Pickleball Quick Tip that is simple but brilliant! How can you be ready for the ball when you’re waiting at the kitchen line? Watch and listen as this pickleball pro gives all of us some practical advice for being prepared to hit that winning shot! You’ll be amazed what this simple trick can do for your game. It can make you more aware, engaged and focused, and ultimately, it can set you up for hitting the next winner. What is this quick and easy tip? Watch the video to find out!

When you are playing doubles pickleball do you look forward to having the ball hit your way or do you hope the ball doesn’t come in your direction? Jennifer Lucore, national champion, explains why it is important to want the ball.

This doesn’t mean that you should be a ball hawk and go after every ball. What it does mean is that you should be ready for every ball to come your way and with that anticipation, you will be prepared to make your best possible shot. It keeps your head in the point and therefore in the game!

Keeping your paddle up and in the ready position as well as keeping your eye on the ball, will help you be ready when it does come in your direction. Another great hint offered by Sarah Ansboury, is to use your paddle as a pointing device and keep it pointed at the ball when it is on the opponent’s side of the court. In this way, your body has a better chance of being in the ready position to attack the ball if comes in your direction.

Watch the brief video for a further explanation:

 

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Pickleball: Reflex Drill – A Ball, A Paddle and a Wall

I am one of those people who want to become a better pickleball player, but I don’t like drills; my bad! Most coaches tend to agree that proper drills will do more to help pickleballers improve than will playing games.

Having said that, I often invoke the woe is me defense: “I don’t have a drill partner! Nobody I know wants to drill.” Well, there are some drills that don’t require a partner. What they do require is the will to do them.

Let’s add this question to the “I don’t like drills” equation: “Can pickleballers develop faster reflexes?” Most of the reading I have done from the websites of certified pickleball coaches uphold the idea that reflexes can be improved, i.e. it isn’t necessarily something built into your DNA! Of course we all have physical abilities and limits. Reflexes however can be improved.

Once again I turn to PrimeTime Pickleball and Jordan Briones to show us a drill to help us develop our pickleball reflexes. Good news, all you need is a paddle, a ball and a wall – – – no partner require.

Takeaways: Start by hitting the ball higher so it will take longer to return to you. This is how to sart; slower. Once you can do that well, lower the ball a bit and it will return to you a bit faster. Continue to lower the ball as you get better.

Remember – 1) Watch the ball until it hits the paddle. 2) Hit the ball in front of your body.

I guess I don’t have as many excuses now!

 

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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 – 2018 – JBRish.com