Best Day of Televised Pickleball – Peachtree Classic

During COVID, I had very little court time with pickleball and this was the motivation for me to watch matches on YouTube.

Recently, I watched the final matches of the Peachtree Classic and the commentators said that this was probably the best display of championship pickleball ever streamed/televised. I couldn’t agree more!

The lineup for the finals:

  • Women’s Singles Final: Callie Smith vs. Anna Leigh Waters

  • Men’s Doubles Final: Ben Johns & Collin Johns vs. Matt Wright & Riley Newman

  • Women’s Doubles Final: Anna Bright & Jessie Irvine vs. Anna Leigh Waters & Leigh Waters

  • Mixed Doubles Final: Ben Johns & Anna Leigh Waters vs Riley Newman & Catherine Parenteau

  • Men’s Singles Final: Julian Arnold vs. JW Johnson

For those who are curious, you can check player rankings at the Professional Pickleball Association.

One thing for sure, the sport of Pickleball is maturing and the long-dink rally is slowly disappearing and the hard-core bangers seem to be taking over. The reflexes exhibited by the players in these contests are amazing.

So…if you are interested in watching excellent pickleball, this video has over seven hours of pickleball magic.

I don’t think most people would elect to watch the entire video in one sitting. If you are not familiar with YouTube videos, check the section below with hints regarding how to watch YouTube videos and use the controls.

Peachtree Classic – Championship Sunday


Some things to note:

  • Pay attention to those matches where the momentum seems to change. This happens in all sports. It is hard to measure, but one point, one play or one tug on the emotions can shift the momentum of the contest.
  • Note how players/teams change strategies when they find that their style of play is not winning.
  • I never appreciated the importance of “stacking” and how certain players are better at one side of the court than the other because of the location of the stronger backhand or forehand. I don’t think most recreational players do much stacking, but is interesting to watch the pros.
  • I also enjoy learning the names of some of the shots: the ATP (Around the Post), the Ernie, the Bert and the Scorpion.

This video has more than 56,000 views. That many pickleball fans can’t be wrong!!

Check this YouTube website for additional tournament videos!

Hints about watching PB on YouTube

To start the video, click on the right facing arrow in the middle of the screen.

When the video linked above starts to play, if you point to the bottom of the video frame, a line appears (this can be yellow or red). You will then see a variety of controls which are explained below in the diagrams.

Here are some other controls you should know if you are not familiar with watching videos on your computer.

From time-to-time YouTube will provide the option for the viewer to skip the current add by placing a link like the one below. Click that to return to the video if so desired.


If you stop the video for a break, note the time stamp indicated by the red line. The number of elapsed minutes/hours will show. Write that down in the event you have to find that place when you next start the video. Do this each time you are going to take a break of more than ten minutes or so.

Don’t worry if you forget. Viewers can start the video and click and drag the right-edge of the red line to move the video back and forth to find the desired location, i.e. any place in the video.

Once you click on the start arrowhead, the icon at the bottom left of the video frame changes to two short vertical lines. That is the “universal symbol” to stop a video. You can click on that whenever you want to pause or stop the video.

To start the video once again, just click the right facing arrowhead.

I hope you enjoy these matches as much as I did. Although we may never approach the skills exhibited in these matches, it is grand to see what can be done by some of the best players in the world!

Happy Viewing – Jeff Ross, Pickleball Enthusiast


Pickleball: How the Pros Practice

********** WOW! What a Workout *********


Whether you are stuck inside because of quarantine OR the inclement weather, I think you will enjoy this practice session of Pro Pickleballers Zane Navratil, John Cincola, Kyle Selinko, and Ryan Rosenthal.

Some of their points had more hits than a few games I can remember. I mean really, these guys are unbelievable! I think the players in the dark shirts had an advantage.

What do you think about some of these shots!!?



More Pickleball Videos and Information

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©Jeffrey B. Ross 2014 – 2020 –

Pickleball – How to Reduce the Speed of a Ball to Reset the Point

Defend Against Hard Hitters by Taking Pace off the Ball – Pickleball 411

I think most of us will recognize this situation…

We are facing an opponent who is more skilled than us and they are able to really bang the ball back in a hard, sharp line with plenty of speed. We try with all of our might just to get the ball back onto their side of the net when it comes our way.

Even if we manage to return the ball, it seems to be hit or miss or, at best, a weak return. The video below describes one way to “slow the game down” by reducing the speed of the ball and getting it back in a place where instead of being on defense, you have a chance of being on equal footing with the banger.

NOTE – I have read other techniques which require a loose grip on the paddle to absorb the impact of the banger’s shot to take the speed off of the ball. This technique, however, asks the player to hold the paddle firm, but barely move the paddle, i.e. bunt the ball back.

Bunting the ball” will cause it to fall with less depth and pace onto the other side of the court where, theoretically, it is harder to bang it back at you and may lead to a dink series where the odds of you winning the point are increased. Watch the video to see if this can improve your percentage of winning points.


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

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Jeff Shank’s Pickleball Strategy – Return of Serve

In the last post from Jeff Shank’s tips, he addressed where to serve the ball. In this portion of his 100 Pickleball Strategies, he provides pointers regarding the return of serve.

Not only does Jeff discuss where to return the ball, he explains how to handle different types of pickleball players such as those who hit the return of serve hard, i.e. bangers and those with weak backhands.

He also talks about one of my favorite service returns and that is down the middle, slightly to the even server’s side to cause confusion. Watch for this at about the 5:08 mark.

Jeff also gives some pickleball pointers for those who are a bit slower getting to the Non Volley Zone (NVZ).

NOTE – To find out about this series of posts – 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)

Let’s Hear Praise for the Pickleball Bangers

The article below is being presented here with permission from the author, Mark Renneson. Mark is a 5.0 pickleball player, coach and advocate. He is the founder of Third Shot Sports which provides first-class tennis and pickleball training. He lives in Collingwood, Ontario, Canada. You can reach him at

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To visit the Third Shot Sports Pickleball website, click here.

Thanks to Mark and Third Shot Sports for allowing this to be presented on

In Praise of The Banger:
Why We Should Thank Hard-Hitters

By Mark Renneson

“Uh! I’m so glad I don’t have to play with those people again!”
“They don’t play proper pickleball. All they do is smash it as hard as they can!” “I see. So how badly did you beat them?”
“We lost 15-5.”

This was an actual conversation I had with a 3.5 level player in 2014. I have since heard many more complaints about “bangers” and how their style of pickleball (i.e. hit hard in an attempt to overpower the opponents) is somehow improper, less pure and less “correct” than those who look to win by dinking and using the soft game. I think it is about time to address this negative attitude toward bangers and to unpack the mistaken assumptions that underpin it.

Why Bangers Bang

Why is it that some players look to hit hard whenever possible? The answer is twofold: First, it’s relatively easy to hit hard. It takes little precision – much less than an excellent soft shot – and it is a skill that is accessible to most players. Sure, you might hit a few balls long, but overall it’s far simpler than dropping the ball gently in the first half of the kitchen. Second, players often hit hard because it works! More precisely, because it works against players of a certain level. Rarely is it the case that beginning, novice and even intermediate players have sufficient volleying skills to handle balls that are hit hard at them. Indeed, in the case of the player I referenced above, while she was reasonably proficient with her soft game, her volleying was weak. She could get medium-speed balls back but anything faster and she was in trouble. Her opponents recognized that they won points when they blasted it at her and so they kept doing it. It was smart strategy on their part and they were rewarded. Bangers bang because it gets them points. Until it doesn’t…

Why Experts Don’t Bang

When you watch the best players play, it is rare that you see them hit the third shot hard at their opponent. Why? If banging works and is easy to do, why don’t the best players use it all the time? Surely they can bang as well or better than anyone else. Instead, unlike their less-skilled counterparts, experts usually play a soft shot into the kitchen and then get into a dinking rally. Are they playing “properly”? No. Are they playing the “right” way? No. They are using soft shots as a deliberate strategy to help them win.

Experts use soft shots because they are usually playing with other experts. And as an expert, their opponents have great volleying skills. At a high level, a ball smashed hard from the back of the court will be volleyed back with ease – often for a winner. Excellent players’ volleys are too good for banging; it’s a losing strategy to try to overpower an expert from the back of the court so they don’t do it. It has nothing to do with playing a purer version of the game and has everything to do with effectiveness. If an expert believed his opponent couldn’t handle a fast ball when at the net, he would most certainly hit it hard right at him. But experts have great volleys which makes banging basically useless.

To Bang or Not To Bang?

So what should you do: Hit your third shot hard at your opponents? Avoid hitting hard in favour of third shot drops? Where do you go from here? First, I advocate for doing what works. Pickleball is a game and games have winners and losers. I encourage you play the kind of game that works for you. If hitting hard is an effective strategy at your level, go for it! Overpower your opponents and show them that their volleys aren’t good enough to handle your powerful shots. That said, if you want to be able to compete at a higher level – against better volleyers – you must also develop a competent soft game. Your current strategy won’t work forever and you should prepare for the future.

Second, I urge you to become a player who doesn’t fall victim to the banger. The woman in the story that began this piece lost to her hard-hitting opponents. It’s too bad her anger was directed at them for “not playing properly” rather than at herself for not being skilled enough to receive fast-paced shots. Had she had better volleys she would have either received their hard shots well enough to win the game, or forced them to change strategies and play the softer shots she thought more appropriate.

Why We Should Praise Bangers

Hard-hitting players do us a great service: they help us to evaluate our skills. They point out the limits of our net game and can provide motivation to get better. Rather than deriding her opponents, the woman from my story should have thanked them for highlighting the work she needed to do to get to the next level. The bangers she lost to acted as a measuring stick for her and they can do the same for all of us. If our net game cannot stand up to the fast pace of the bangers, that’s a sign that we need to get better. We should practice, take lessons from a good coach and work deliberately until our volleys are so good that our opponents can no longer overpower us. We should learn to volley so well that even the best bangers are no match for us. Until then, the next time you lose to a banger consider thanking them for the lesson.