Pickleball: Is this serve “legal”? – VIDEO

I can’t tell you how many times I see people using illegal serves during recreational play. A serve has several key elements:

  • The serve has to be done with an upward path (underhand)
  • The head of the paddle needs to be below the wrist when the ball is struck
  • Contact with the ball must be made below waist level


This is what it looks like in pictures

pickleball serve in pictures
[ From p.17 of USAPA & IFP Official Tournament Rulebook ]

Of course the server’s feet have to be appropriately within bounds and behind the baseline until after the ball is struck.

There are those who have always used a serve that would not meet all of these requirements, but others may have “drifted” away from a legal serve through bad habits or poor practice.

My serve was questioned recently and I went back to the drawing board to make sure that I was complying with all elements. I wanted to be “obviously” correct. As you can see in the video below, it isn’t always easy to tell if a serve is completely legal.

Watch Mark Renneson of Third Shot Pickleball as he demonstrates a variety of serves and discusses the differences between them and whether or not they might be considered illegal, i.e. a fault!

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More Pickleball Videos and Information

To See additional Pickleball Videos & Information Click Here (primarily for beginners and less experienced players)

Check out Additional Pickleball Information 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 2014 – 2019 – JBRish.com



Pickleball Video: Fix the hole in your paddle – watch the ball!

Perhaps you have heard the phrases…

“You can’t hit it, if you can’t see it.” or “Hit it? I can’t even see it!”

This highlights a major problem in pickleball (and many other sports). We are all told that we need to watch the ball until it makes contact with the paddle. Well, that seems pretty easy and in warm-ups it can easily be done.

Once a game begins however, many players lose concentration and become so interested in seeing the results of their “hit” that they look up at the last minute and thus often do not hit the ball in the paddle’s sweet spot where it is easy to direct the ball and control the speed.

How many times has this happened to you (and me)…You think you have an easy shot and you are ready for it and when the ball comes you swing for what you think is going to be a good shot or a winner and you whiff; miss the ball completely.

Some players then look at the paddle as though there is a hole in it which the ball just happened to pass through. Most of the time this is caused because, at the last moment, the player took their eye off of the ball.

The two pictures below show highly skilled pickleball players hitting the ball. Notice where their eyes are focusing:



picture courtesy of the USAPA


picture courtesy of YouTube video: Blocking with Sarah Ansboury
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FQa0N5TtSW0&feature=youtu.be

These players are focused on watching the ball until the paddle makes contact!

Looking up just before hitting the ball can often cause the ball to hit the edge of the paddle, the handle or somewhere on the paddle face that does not enable the ball to be properly stroked to acquire the appropriate direction and/or speed.

Practicing watching the ball is important. Start with the serve because at that point, you are not anticipating a quick shot coming right back to you. Watch the ball hit the paddle. This will give you a sense and feel of what it is like. Develop this routine and go on to watching the ball on your ground stroke, backhand, lob and dink.

In the video below, pickleball coach Matty Klein discusses the importance of keeping your eyes on the ball and demonstrates how it is done to achieve the proper effect.

Tennis has been closely compared to pickleball because of some of the similarities so let’s consider a study addressed in an article Watch The Ball? How Elite Tennis Players Focus On The Contact Point by By Damien Lafont, PhD and Certified Tennis Coach, France (First published in the ITF Coaching and Sport Science Review, Dec. 2007)

“Additionally, what contrasts with previous studies is that Federer and Nadal (tennis champions of distinction [ed)] not only keep their eye on the ball up to the moment of impact, but after impact their head remains still and in the direction of the contact zone.

This ‘fixation’ of the contact zone is the trademark of elite players.

The most noteworthy finding was that elite players were able to maintain a fairly consistent control; a consistency also illustrated on the women’s tour by Steffi Graf who kept her eyes on the ball on every shot with significant fixation stage after impact.”

Source – https://www.tennismindgame.com/how-pros-watch-the-ball.html

To quote Tennis Professional Michael Emmett: “…none of these techniques are relevant – if you’re NOT watching the ball!”

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More Pickleball Videos and Information

To See additional Pickleball Videos & Information Click Here (primarily for beginners and less experienced players)

Check out Additional Pickleball Information 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 2014 – 2019 – JBRish.com



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!

 

More Pickleball Videos and Information

To See additional Pickleball Videos & Information Click Here (primarily for beginners and less experienced players)

Check out Additional Pickleball Information 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 – 2018 – JBRish.com



Pickleball: Paddle Dos and Don’ts

I haven’t written about pickleball in a while and today I thought I would talk about one aspect that most players probably take for granted. Before I get into the detials however, let me explain something about stagecraft.

When a theater production is prolonged and continues for months, every week or two weeks, the crew, actors, stage managers, director, etc. would conduct a walk through of the play to see if anything has inadvertently been changed. They recite the dialogue and compare it to the written script. They want to ascertain if any words have been altered, if all the the props are in their precise location and if the blocking (marks where actors are to stand) have remained intact. All of these are checked and double checked.

The reason this is important is because over time, simple changes seem to creep in and even though they may not be huge deviations, when added together, they can alter the production.

Now back to pickleball…

How many times have you reviewed how you hold the paddle when you are playing? Is it possible that your grip has gotten a bit off kilter? Is the face of your paddle in the correct orientation when striking the ball?

Mark Renneson of Third Shot Sports has an interesting video about keeping the paddle in the proper orientation when hitting the ball.

Sarah Ansboury also shares some thoughts about proper paddle placement/orientation in a recently penned essay. She goes on to explain

“One of the biggest differences between an advanced and intermediate pickleball player is where they hold their paddle…”

And she goes on to offer further details. You can read the entire essay, Pickleball Bulleye: You Have One on Your Chest, at her website.

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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 – JBRish.com



Pickleball – Up the Creek Without…

When I first began my pickleball play, there were very few paddles available in brick-and-mortar stores. As a matter of fact, one way I gauged the popularity of pickleball was to take note when sporting good stores began to carry paddles and pickleballs. Now they can be found at many outlets including some Walmart stores.

When asked which paddle I should buy, nobody could give me a solid answer and there were no obvious choices. Do I select wood, composite or graphite? How is one to know which paddle to get? Well…I think I can safely say that the paddle is not my problem no matter which paddle I am using.

I decided to watch those players I considered to be good or very good and I saw that many of them used the Z5 Wide Body Paddle. I thought that if they could play that well with the paddle, it must be good (little did I know that the paddle had no magic!).

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A problem that occurs under the above circumstances is that quite a number of players end up using the same paddle. I know at least four players in my PB circuit that use this same paddle in the same color. This may become a problem when paddles are put down; one looks like the other.

To avoid any problems, I took a couple of steps:

[ NOTE – I am not recommending these. I am just putting them out there to generate ideas. One could just as easily change the grip to a specific color, etc.]

I cut my name from an address label and placed it on the right-hand side edge of the handle:

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I also took red tape and placed it on the bottom of the paddle with my name on itt

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I also wanted a way to locate my paddle no matter what edge was facing me so I put pieces of white tape or pieces of an address label along the edge so I could identify it.

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One could write a name on the white tape pictured below prior to placing it on the paddle.

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I also have another paddle that I allow other players to use and I put a complete address label on the front of the paddle bottom near the handle.

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NOTE – Address is intentionally blurred and is legible on the paddle.

Taking all the above precautions now allows me to easily identify my paddle and if, for some reason, it gets misplaced, the chances of it finding its way back to me are greatly improved.

NOTE – There are rules and regulations issued by the USAPA regarding what is and what is not allowed on paddle surfaces. For your information, I am printing them below so that you can make sure any modifications you make will comply with official USAPA rules and regulations.

From the INTERNATIONAL FEDERATION OF PICKLEBALL (IFP) OFFICIAL TOURNAMENT RULEBOOK

2.E.2. Surface. The paddle hitting surface shall not contain holes, indentations, rough texturing, tape, or any objects or features that allow a player to impart additional spin on the ball. Paddle roughness is determined using a Starrett SR 100 or its replacement testers such as the Starrett SR160 Surface Roughness Tester. The allowable limits for roughness shall be no greater than 30 micrometers (μm) on the Rz reading (average maximum height, peak to valley), and no greater than 40 micrometers on the Rt reading (maximum height, peak to valley). All readings will be taken in 4 different directions. The paddle hitting surface shall not be adversely reflective, such that it has the potential to obscure the vision of opposing player(s). (revised Apr. 15, 2016)

 

2.E.5. Alterations. The only alterations that can be made to a commercial paddle are changes to the grip, adding an edge guard, and adding name decals and/or other identification markings on the paddle face. These decals/markings can extend no farther than 1″ (25.4 mm) above the top of the handle nor more than 1/2″ (12.7 mm) from the outer edge of a paddle, or paddle edge guard if in place. Altered paddles must meet all specifications. Homemade paddles are not permitted. (Effective January 1, 2014)

 

2.E.6. Prohibited Surface Features and Mechanical Features.
2.E.6.a. Anti-skid paint or any paint textured with sand, rubber particles, or any material that causes additional spin.
Section 2: Court and Equipment 2.E.6.b. Rubber and synthetic
rubber.
2.E.6.c. Sandpaper.
2.E.6.d. Moving parts that can increase head momentum.
2.E.6.e. Springs or spring-like material.
2.E.6.f. Flexible membranes or any compressible material that creates a trampoline effect.
2.E.6.g. Electrical, electronic, or mechanical assistance of any sort.

If you have ways to distinguish your paddle that are not mentioned above, leave them in the comments section.

Pickleball Paddle Approval Process

Jennifer Lucore is a Pickleball champion and in a recent post on her blog, she explains the process paddles must go through to be sanctioned by the USAPA. There are a few points I think you might find interesting.

  • Not only do paddles need to pass inspection by USAPA officials, but they also go through third party testing.
  • Once a paddle is approved, it is listed on the USAPA website.
  • The sport is really maturing because PB is approaching a milestone of 50 paddle manufacturers.

To read the entire story and see some photos, visit Jennifer Lucore’s website