Monday, January 18, 2016

Where to Learn More

I’ve been looking for more sources of information that players can use to improve their game.  There is an incredible amount of information to sift through from books, newsletters, blog posts and videos but I have tried to narrow it down and am including links to the sources that I have found to be most helpful.

Joe Baker, in his second video, “Doubles Pickleball Strategy 102 - Smart Pickleball Vol. 2, Power”, builds on the foundation of his fist one, “Doubles Pickleball Strategy 101 - How to Play Smart Pickleball, Ten Tips”.  This one focuses on when to use power and when to hit the ball softly. He reminds viewers that most rallies end not with spectacular winner shots but rather with unforced errors.  He also makes the point that hitting the ball harder reduces control and increases errors while hitting the ball softer increases control and reduces errors. 

Deb Harrison, better known as “Picklepong Deb”, has quite a few short videos on a wide variety of Pickleball playing tips and strategies.  Deb has a quirky but effective teaching style.  This video, "Earning the Net", helps viewers to learn how to handle the situation when you struggle to get all the way up to the net.


She also has a good video,  "Drop the Ball Against Bangers", with tips of what to do against "Bangers", players who like to hit the ball hard back at you.


Another of her videos that I found helpful is "Returning the Third Shot Drop".


The Pickleball Channel has a list of "Pickleball 411" instructional videos worth checking out.  The list includes videos on "Hitting Down the Middle", ...


..."Improve Your Game with the Soft Return ", ...


... and "Improve Your Third Shot Drop".


Third Shot Sports also has an extensive list of videos including "How to Hit Quality Overheads in Pickleball" ...


... "Pickleball Decision-Making Training: 3rd Shot Drop vs. Drive" and "Pickleball Strategies - When to Move Forward in Doubles and When to Move Back".


These "Top 10 Tips from Pickleball’s Three Greatest Coaches" are from “PBX Club – Pickleball Excellence”.

Richard Movsessian (“Coach Mo”)
  • Never go in the kitchen with two feet. Step in with one foot, tap the ball softly, then get out and into your ready position.
  • Aim for the left person’s left foot - low to the backhand. For 95% of people, it’s their weakest shot.
  • The most important thing in pickleball is to split-step (both feet parallel to each other and in the ready position) every single time your opponent touches the ball - every, single time. That could be 200 times a game. If you do that, you’ll be in a good, balanced, ready position and you’ll be a much better player.
  • Don’t try to win the point from anywhere but the line.

Coach Mo - Source of Image

Deb Harrison (“Picklepong Deb”)
  • You always want to be facing your opponent and square to the ball - the best way to guarantee both is to side-step.”
  • Third shot drop is what you should be using 80% of the time, against a good team.“
  • The key to split-stepping is to stop just BEFORE your opponent makes contact with the ball - and err on the side of stopping WELL before.”
  • If you feel you’ve been beaten in a diagonal dink contest, try to go to the nearest point of relief. Don’t try to go cross-court - just get the ball over, low, and back in play.

"Picklepong Deb" - Source of Image

Prem Carnot (“The Pickleball Guru”)
  • When you’re at the kitchen line, your paddle should ALWAYS be up.
  • Cover the line when the ball is being hit by the opponent opposite you; cover the middle when the ball is being hit by the opponent opposite your partner.
  • Serve a deep, high, floating ball to your opponent - it keeps them back behind the baseline and requires them to supply the pace to return it over the net.
  • The team that dominates the non-volley line WINS.

Prem Carnot - Source of Image

Prem Carnot also wrote a book, Smart Pickleball: The Pickleball Guru's Guide, ...

 

... where he states that “Smart Pickleball is about taking control of the game and constructing each point so that you’re not mindlessly reacting to every shot”.   His book includes the following  "Rules of Smart Pickleball":
  • Always choose the shot that buys you more time so you can get into position and be ready for the next shot
  • Always choose the shot that keeps your opponents toward the back of the court.
  • Always choose the shot or strategy that requires the least energy or effort to play out the point.
  • Always anticipate your next shot as you play your current shot
In addition, he has written what he calls "The 7 Principles & Teachings of The Pickleball Guru".  He states that all of his pickleball tips, drills and suggestions are based on 7 strategy principles:

1. Serve deep.

2. Hit the service return slow & deep.

3. Move up to the net as soon as possible.

4. Make the third shot of the game a drop shot.

5. Keep your opponents deep.

6. Never hit up.  Hit the ball down or a soft dink into the Kitchen

7. Keep your paddle up. 

Prem Carnot also writes a blog with quite a few posts and I found this post, "Pickleball Strategy – Cover the Line or the Middle?", especially helpful.  He asks the question "How many times have you had your opponents hit a great shot down the middle, where you and your partner just watch it go by?"


I also found the Pickleball Guru’s List of The 5 Biggest Pickleball Mistakes You Could Be Making Every Time You Play !

Mistake #1: Not Getting Up To & Staying At The No-Volley Line

Mistake #2: Not Keeping Your Paddle Up

Mistake #3: Depending on Mental Telepathy (not talking to your partner)

Mistake #4: Not Orienting Yourself to The Ball & Your Opponents

Mistake # 5. Afflicted By Bad Karma From Being a Pickleball Snob  (not wanting to play with less skilled players sometimes)

Another resource is Pickleball Joe's Facebook page.

These are the best resources I have come across so far.  I will keep looking and keep adding as I find more.  But I think what I have collected so far is plenty for a beginning to intermediate player to work on.  I know it is for me! 



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