Monday, August 12, 2013

Pickleball Tip of Week #21

Ok guys,
We have another video this week to watch. It is myself ( in yellow ) partnered with Brian Staub ( who took fourth place in 2012 Nationals Mens Open Division when he partnered with Phil Bagley). We are playing against the team of Rob ( in the hat ) and Matt Staub ( Brians son ). Rob and Matt are practicing for this years Nationals.

There are a couple of things i want you to notice. First off I am the weakest player amongst the four. I am a weak 5.0, Matt and Rob are good 5.0 and Brian is a top 5.0. Being the weakest player on the court , partnered with the strongest player, my role is just to keep the ball low and in play. My opponents are VERY HIGHLY skilled. It is not good odds for me to hit winners against them unless i have a very high ball. So i just try and keep the ball low and in play and let my much better partner go for the winners. This good strategy is not what i see locally in open play. When intermediate players come to play against advanced players, the intermediate players seem to want to "proof" themselves by going for a lot of winners. Not a good strategy when you are hitting against much better opponents.

What you will see is the soft game that i preach so much about. When you get on the court with this high level of opponents, you HAVE TO KEEP THE BALL LOW. You just cant give your opponents a ball that is high because they are very skilled at putting it away. Notice that everyone has really good patience. We have confidence that we can hit dink after dink.
Notice that we try very hard to keep our opponents back. If they are back, hitting up to the kitchen and we have to hit it with a backhand, even if it is a little high, we just keep hitting it DEEP until our opponents get it high to our forehand or they just hit it into the net.

Notice the touch control you see when a opponent hits a hard ball , we have the abliity to do a couple of things with this ball hit hard at us. Either hit it back hard or take the pace off it and drop it in the kitchen. The same thing if we get get caught in no mans land and they hit at our feet, we just drop it back soft into the kitchen and work our way up to the NVZ.
Notice that Matt and Rob usually hit the serve return to my partner Brian instead of to me. They do this because when i hit the third shot, Brian likes to come up to the net and poach. He does this several times when they give me the third shot. Again, they are not doing this because I am a better third shot hitter, they are doing it because if they make brian hit the third shot, he cant come up and poach and overpower them.

You see a lot of CONTROL in this match. You learn control by starting to play the soft game. Hitting balls soft into the kitchen no matter how the ball is hit to you or where you are on the court. If you have a very good soft game, you can play competitively against ANY players in the world. You may not win, but you will be competitive.

This is classic good pickleball.
Deep serve
Deep serve return
Third shot soft into the kitchen
Dink dink dink until someone makes a mistake

jeff shank

No comments:

Post a Comment