Monday, August 5, 2013

Pickleball Tip of Week #10

Ok, so lets continue on from last weeks tip about the soft game.

A really good rule of thumb is that if you have to hit up on the ball, hit it soft into the kitchen. If you are able to hit down on the ball it is ok to try and hit it hard.

The best way to practice the soft game is what my wife anita and i do one evening a week. We go to Laurel Manor and spend 30 minutes practicing dinking straight across and diagonally. Then we both stand at the kitchen line. Anita hits the ball at my feet, and i dink it into the kitchen and take one step back. SHE STAYS AT THE NVZ, HUGGING THE LINE.  She now hits it a little deeper as i am now back a little further and i drop it into the kitchen and take another step back. This continues until i am standing at the baseline. If she hits it too deep, i just practice dropping it into the kitchen as a volley. Then we swap places and i am practicing hitting to her feet, and she is practicing hitting it soft into the kitchen from the NVZ all the way back to the baseline.

Choosing how to hit a shot is 50% of PB. You MUST play smart. I am amazed when i am out and about and watching an intermediate player on the court with advanced players. ALL THE INTERMEDIATE PLAYER  WANTS TO DO IS HIT WINNERS. Most advanced players could care less if you can hit winners. We want you to NOT MAKE MISTAKES.

 What worked for the 3.5 player against other intermediate players is a death wish against 4.5 players. They try and hit the ball hard from low to high and the advanced players just redirect it back for a winner. I see this time and time again and the 3.5 player just cannot get away from this poor mentality.

Not making mistakes ( hitting balls hard when you should be hitting them soft, going for winners down the line and hitting them out, popping the ball up too high ) is even more critical when you are the weak link on the court. When Tim Nelson was here and i played as his partner against two other top west coast pros, i got 75% of the balls hit to me. My job here ( being the weak link ) is to just get the ball back low and not make any mistakes. I am going to have to take too big of a chance to hit a winner against this caliber of players. My job is to keep it low and in play and let Tim ( the MUCH better player ) hit the winners. 

This should be your philosophy, if you are the weak player on the court. But, it usually turns out just the opposite. The weak player wants to prove he/she belongs and wants to prove it by hitting winners. This is a death wish for you and your partner.
jeff shank

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