Pickleball News – 20200609– – Archived Version

Pickleball News – 20200609 – Archived Version

Archived Version of a Previous Newsletter


This is an archived version of a previously issued pickleball newsletter. The most current N. Phoenix Newsletter is available by clicking HERE!

Latest N. Phoenix Pickleball News – June 9, 2020

Hello North Phoenix Pickleball Players:

I can’t send out a newsletter without mentioning the Coronavirus in Phoenix and it’s impact on our sport. My main concern is the health and well-being of all pickleball players and especially my colleague-players who share the game with me on a regular basis at Paradise Valley Community Center, Beuf Community Center and the FLC. Any information contained in this newsletter is not meant to scare or steer anyone in a certain direction regarding the continuation or resumption of play. I simply want to raise awareness so when the crisis has subsided, ALL of us can once again share the joy of our sport with each other.


I am sure most of you are following the COVID-19 situation as it pertains to Maricopa County and especially Phoenix. In case you didn’t hear or understand all the recent facts…

This is what the news has reported as of 6/8/2020

1 – State Hospitals have been told to “fully activate” emergency plans

2 – Banner Health said it had reached capacity for its nine ECMO machines (machines that take over the breathing function for those who can’t breath even with a respirator)

3 – Maricopa County has the 26th highest number of confirmed cases of any county in the U.S., according to Johns Hopkins University.



I am not a health expert and none of what I am about to say is definitive regarding COVID-19 safety and pickleball so use your own best judgment. These are just a few things I have considered regarding pickleball play in our current environment.

    According to most medical experts, masks do not protect you. They protect those around you from you! [I don’t know if people are wearing masks during play, but certainly after play while waiting that might be a solid choice.]

    If you bring a towel to the playing field/court, be sure to use only one side to wipe your face and do not touch that side with your hands.

    Make sure only you touch your water bottle and other belongings.

    If possible wash your hands frequently or use sanitizer especially after a game. Once your hands are sanitized, don’t pick up the paddle until you get your next turn to play.

    Socially distance while sitting and waiting for the next game.

    Try not to touch your face and/or eyes.

    The kitchen line (NVZ) is seven feet from the net. If all players stay behind the kitchen line at the end of the game, they are a minimum of 14 feet apart. This exceeds the space suggested by many health officials. You can stand there and have a virtual paddle tap and say “good game!”


********** RETURNING THE SERVE *********

Sarah Ansboury points to the best practices for serving and returning the serve. As she suggests: “It is one of the times during a match when you have 100% control of the outcome. Take time to think about what you want to do. Being focused at the beginning of the point is a great start to being purposeful throughout the point.”

Read the rest of the post HERE

********** BY RESETTING THE POINT *********

Mark Renneson of Third Shot Sports explains the importance of getting out of “trouble” by resetting the point.

If you are more or less sheltering in place and you don’t get the Third Shot Sports Newsletter with much information, videos, podcasts about pickleball, perhaps you should subscribe or take a look at the Third Shot Sports website!

******************** THE FLC ********************

In a recent communication, the Family Life Center (FLC) shared plans for resuming the summer pickleball schedule. As far as I understand it, these are the most current plans.**

“You will have to reserve court time in two hour increments. This is the only way we can keep you from coming to the FLC only to find out that we are at max occupancy and you are not able to play. We will have a sign up system on line. We will give you instructions on how to sing up to play soon. We will reopen Pickleball with a max occupancy of 32 people in a two hour time slot. This will make it so you rarely have to wait to play and we have a safe amount of people in one place. If the next time slot is not full when you finish you can sign up at the desk and keep playing. You will still sign on the white board to play games during your two hour time frame. There will be a sanitation procedures in place. As always we will be looking to you to lead in keeping everyone safe so we can allow the Pickleball program to run. This will include spreading out in the bleachers when you are not playing, wearing a mask when you are not playing, and following the basic Covid prevention procedures.”

** Please understand that because of the specific situation in our area, plans may change with very short notice.


Is Pickleball the Perfect Pandemic Pastime?

“Ellen DeGeneres recently declared herself among the intergenerational sport’s ardent enthusiasts.”

NOTE – The NYT allows a limited number of “free” views a month and then users need to subscribe to see more. If your allotment has been used, you will not be able to read the entire article, although ou will get to see the picture and headline briefly before the nag screen shows!


It is my understanding that this information will be updated as new pertinent information for the Pickleball community becomes available.

********** Archived Versions of Previous Newsletters **********


Previous newsletters that may have pickleball hints, videos, rules changes, etc. are now archived at the following link. You can check out previous newsletters there.

Archived N. Phoenix PB Previous Newsletters

********** Support your Sport – Join the USAPA $20 for 1 Year **********


Join the USAPA – Click HERE for More Information


Join the USAPA

Picture Courtesy of Pickleball Magazine and the USAPA


********** That’s All for Now **********


Stay Well and Play Safely!


Jeff Ross

Pickleball: Foot Position When Serving

Recently two people approached me to ask about foot alignment when preparing to serve the ball. Let’s take a look at the pickleball court layout and make sure we understand the terms used.

When standing on the court, the right-hand side is often referred to as the “even” side and the left hand side is often called the “odd” side. We won’t go into the reason for this terminology now.

The line at the very bottom of the court is referred to as the Baseline and in the diagram above, it is being pointed to by the red arrows. Likewise, the corresponding lines on the other side of the court have the same names and distinctions. The line dividing the even and the odd courts is called the Centerline for obvious reasons.

The two double-headed purple arrows mark the right and left Sidelines.

Now let’s take a look at the pickleball court and let’s assume you are Server A in the diagram above. As you know the server has to hit the ball within the rectangle, diagonally cross court, which is represented by the point of the blue arrow.

Server A is standing in a legal position in the diagram above.

Let’s consider a slightly different position for Server A.

What if server A wants to get a better angle and he or she stands outside the sideline when they hit the ball?. Well, that would be an illegal position and thus an illegal serve.

Let’s take a look at the rule governing this situation.

At the beginning of the service motion, both feet must be behind the baseline and the imaginary extensions of the baseline. At the time the ball is struck, the server’s feet may not touch the court or outside the imaginary extension of the sideline or the centerline and at least one foot must be on the playing surface or ground behind the baseline. Page 17 of the 2020 USAPA Official Rulebook, section 4.A.3

If you notice the rule says “At the time the ball is struck.” When player A hits the ball, his or her feet may not touch the court our outside the imaginary extension of the sideline or the centerline…

The sidelines and centerline theoretically are infinite and the server is obligated to stay within the appropriate boundaries created by these lines when the ball is struck.

Server A then must be standing within the blue shaded area at the time the paddle hits the ball to deliver the serve (see the diagram below).

This applies to both the even and the odd courts on both sides although only the A court is addressed in the diagram.

One last requirement is that “at least one foot must be on the playing surface or ground behind the baseline.”


When the ball is struck to deliver the serve, the server must stay with in the corridor formed by imaginary boundary lines that define the appropriate court side (even or odd) as indicated above



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)



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 – 2020 – JBRish.com

Pickleball News – 20190307 – Archived Version

March 7, 2019


Archived Version of a Previous Newsletter

This is an archived version of a previously issued pickleball newsletter. The most current N. Phoenix Newsletter is available by clicking HERE!

March 7, 2019

Hello Phoenix Area Players:


****** Community Center Pickleball Closings/Changes ******

This is the time of the year when the schools are having their recesses for a variety of reasons and the Community Centers are altering their daytime pickleball schedules. I contacted the Phoenix Community Centers and this is my understanding of what will be happening this March. The information below refers solely to the printed pickleball schedule. It might be wise to call ahead if you have any doubt and/or you ar driving a distance to get to the venue.

Beuf CC – The person to whom I spoke was unsure of the pickleball schedule. They thought perhaps it might change or at least have reduced pickleball hours during the week of March 18. They advised that I call back toward the end of next week.

Deer Valley CC – March 18 – 22 – Pickleball Canceled

Paradise Valley CC – March 11 – 15th Pickleball Canceled

Pecos CC – No Change to the printed schedule

Sunnyslope CC – Check Back the week of March 18 – 22

Washington Activity Center – No Change


********** So…what is your Picklbeall Rating? **********

Inernational Federation of Pickleball Rating Descriptions:

If you want to play in a competitive environment, i.e. league or tournament, it would be a good idea to know your skill level to enable a placement that will not be frustrating for you or others. To read about the two ways you can obtain an Official USAPA Rating, read this page:

How to Get an Official Skill Rating

If you are interested in what the skill set of an “average” pickleball player should be, here is a chart to use.

USAPA Suggested Skills for a 3.0 Player


********** For Those Who Have Read This Far **********

Serving for Success

At one time, the theory behind the pickleball serve was to use it just to start the point. Coaches would advise the players to serve high and deep. One of the problems with this is that a good player may be able to take that ball and send it back to the serving team with a lot of speed and good placement making it hard for the serving team to make a good third shot!

Times have changed and with the evolution of pickleball, so has the the serve. A number of the current championship players are now using the serve as a weapon. Learning to serve fast and with a lower arc than the older “high and deep” admonishment may give your opponents less time to set up for a strategic return and give the serving team an easier third shot.

Mark Renneson of Third Shot Sports offers this advice via a video:


********** Pickleball Strategy 301 – Six Rules of the Fast Game **********

Jim Baker has another very good pickleball video that is aimed at the average plus to advanced player. There is a certain level of skill necessary, especially those when players are positioned at the net.

This was presented in one of my blog posts which you can read at this link:

Pickleball Strategy 301 – Six Rules of the Fast Game


********** Archived Versions of Previous Newsletters **********


Previous newsletters that may have pickleball hints, videos, rules changes, etc. are now archived at the following link. You can check out previous newsletters there.
Archived N. Phoenix PB Previous Newsletters

********** Support your Sport – Join the USAPA $20 for 1 Year **********


Join the USAPA – Click HERE for More Information


Join the USAPA

Picture Courtesy of Pickleball Magazine and the USAPA


********** That’s All for Now **********

I hope to see you on the courts!


Jeff Ross

Pickleball – Serve Yourself – Serving Styles and Options

When I first started playing pickleball, the rule of the serve back then was to “just put the ball in play” and “don’t miss a serve.” The mantra was hit the ball high and deep; or some variation on that theme. Indeed this does work at the beginning levels of play. The emphasis on keeping the ball in play is a solid one because your team can only win points on the serve.

Since that time, I have seen a shift in attitude regarding the serve. New players entering the pickleball court are bringing skills from other sports like racquetball, ping pong, tennis, etc. There seems to be a bit more openness to trying something different on the serve and taking risks.

I too have adopted the more open philosophy in that I will take some chances during a game such as trying to serve the ball close to the line if it is to the backhand of the receiving player. I will also try to spin the ball once in a while just to keep the opposing team off balance a bit.

Here is my rationale. I don’t have a killer serve and most 3.5 and better players can get my serve back without a problem so the point needs to be won during a rally or volley.

There are times, however, if I take a risk and try one of the trickier shots mentioned above, I can often win one or two points a game on my serve by hitting an outright winner or forcing a weak return shot.

Because of this, I figure I can take a chance with my serve until I miss one or two and then I scale back a bit. This makes the game more fun for me and I hope more challenging for my opponents.

Mark Renneson of Third Shot Sports, who has been featured on JBRish many times, has a video addressing the serve. Interestingly enough, I recently had a pickleball coach watch me serve and he made the same points as Mark does. One key element I wasn’t getting quite right, was that I was not hitting the ball low enough on my serve. I was told it should be just above the height of my knee. Keeping this in mind has helped my serve.

Watch the video below and pay attention to the key points Mark makes about hitting the serve.

In Summary, I think these are the take-aways:

  • Pre-serve routine
  • Don’t throw the ball too high in the air
  • Make contact with the ball “out front”
  • Relaxed follow through

Click the link to register to receive the Third Shot Sports Pickleball Newsletter

Click the link to see Third Shot Pickleball Past Newsletters.

Click the link to visit the Third Shot Sports Pickleball website.

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