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

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Pickleball – Dinking: An Essential Part of the Soft Game

For those who want to move their game forward, there is probably no better skill set than learning to play the “soft game” and, like it or not, dinking is a key component!

Joe Baker is back with another excellent video tutorial, Doubles Pickleball Strategy 201 – Dinking Strategy, about this essential skill. You can view it at the bottom of this post.

Here are some notes and things to watch:

Advanced Dinking

  • Main Objective – Apply the maximum stress to your opponent’s team by making them “reach, move or scramble.”
  • Shot Placements: Sideline, Middle or Cross Court
  • Three main target areas:
  • Sideline
  • Middle
  • Cross Court (preferred especially if you can get a great, sharp angled shot and force and error)
  • Do NOT hit to the near opponent if you get drawn out of position near your sideline; especially to their forehand!
  • Do NOT hit to the same sideline twice in a row.

Defending the Dink

  • Link to your partner. i.e. move as a unit – together
  • Getting out of “trouble” involves hitting cross court and into the kitchen<
  • Use a surprise lob when you can catch your opponents off-guard
  • Try to disguise your shots:
  • Look one way and hitting the other
  • Not signaling your intention until the last possible minute
  • Wrong Foot your opponent, i.e. hitting in a direction from which your opponent was just leaving

Doubles Pickleball Strategy 201 – Dinking Strategy

This video is worth studying and watching a couple of times. There is no substitute for practice. Playing games, the experts repeatedly say, will not help improve your game as much as targeted practice.

If you haven’t seen Joe Bakers other pickleball videos, run, do not walk,to your nearest computer and view these:

Doubles Pickleball Strategy 101-How to Play Smart Pickleball, Ten Tips

Doubles Pickleball Strategy 102 – Smart Pickleball Vol. 2, Power

Pickleball Doubles Strategy 101 & 102 from Joe Baker

In October of last year, I blogged about Joe Baker’s video – Doubles Pickleball Strategy 101-How to Play Smart Pickleball, Ten Tips

If you haven’t watched it and you are interested in raising the level of your doubles play, I suggest you read the post and review the video. It is an excellent video and Joe Baker teaches the skills in a very understandable and deliberate manner. Diagrams and game footage are interspersed to make the concepts clear.

You can find this blog post at:


For those who have already watched the 101 series of tips, here is the follow up:

Joe Baker’s Tips for Doubles Strategy in Pickleball – 102

Joe starts out by emphasizing that smart play that often leads to winning points and not necessarily strokes or shots.

As Joe points out, most pickleball points are lost and not won. The improper use of force causes many balls to go errant. That is to say, players often hit the ball hard when they should hit it soft and hit it soft when they should hit it hard and thus lose the point.

As Joe Baker points out, power and control are opposites:

  • Hitting the ball harder reduces control – increases errors
  • Hitting the ball softer increases control – reduces errors

Two Rules of Thumb:

  • When you must hit up on the ball, hit softly
  • When you hit down on the ball, hit harder

Watch the video for complete explanations of the above ideas! I hope you learn some great points as I did!