Monday, January 18, 2016

Where to Begin

In this post:
Jojoba Hills has several used paddles available for members and visitors to use. However, after giving the game a try if you think there is any chance you will want to continue you are encouraged to purchase a new and better quality paddle. For detailed information on selecting a paddle you can check out Pickleball Central’s Pickleball Paddle Guide  and their FAQs. Pickleball 002 also has good information. Another good resource is this blog post by Prem Carnot, the (Pickleball Guru), “How to Pick the Right Pickleball Paddle So It Helps (Instead of Hurts) Your Game”.

But basically  there are three categories of paddles depending on what they are made of; wood, composite (fiberglass) and graphite. Pickleball Central states that weight is the most important factor. Pickleball paddles can range from 6 to 14 ounces. Wood paddles are the heaviest (as well as the least expensive) and in general, composite paddles are slightly heavier than graphite paddles.


A heavier paddle will help you to drive the ball but it will increase fatigue and can strain your elbow as well as it offers less control of the ball. On the other hand, a paddle that is too light will not provide enough drive and it may be difficult to support in your hand but it will increase ball control. If you have arthritis or an injury to your hand, elbow or shoulder Pickleball Central recommends you select a middle-weight paddle between 7.3 and 8.4 ounces as this will be heavy enough to provide stability and absorb shock, yet light enough not to tax your arm.  And it is important to get a paddle with the correct “grip size”. Almost all paddle grip sizes are between 4 to 4 1/2 inches in circumference. Follow this link to learn more about checking the fit of the grip on paddles.

Once you have a paddle you have to know how to hold it. As in tennis there are several different ways to hold the paddle but “Coach Mo” recommends that you use a “continental grip”. It is also referred to as the "handshake grip".  An advantage to this grip is that you don’t have to change it during play. The point of the "V" between your thumb and index finger should be placed on top of the handle of the paddle when the face of the paddle is perpendicular to the ground.


The next thing is you need to begin to learn the basic rules.  The best place to get the rules of the game is from the USAPA (USA Pickleball Association).  But to get you started I've excerpted the following  basic rules from AZ Pickleball Fun.com

Serving:
  • In Pickleball a player or team can only score points when serving.
  • Players must announce the score prior to serving. Always call the server's score first!
  • The serve must be made with an underhand stroke so that contact with the ball is made below waist level (Underhand Defined: The arm must be moving in an upward arc and the paddle head shall be below the wrist when it strikes the ball).
  • Serves must travel diagonally and land between the non-volley zone and the baseline of the service court opposite of the serving player.
  • Each player is allowed only one serving attempt unless it is a “let” serve. A let serve occurs when the serve hits the net and still lands in the correct service court. If this occurs, the serve is played over. 
  • Each player will continue to serve until he does not win a point.
Serving in Doubles:
  • At the start of each new game, only one player on the first serving team is allowed a service turn before giving up the ball to the opponents. 
  • Thereafter both members of each team will have a service turn before the ball is turned over to the opposing team.
  • In doubles, the player on the right at the start of a service turn, will be the first person to serve for their team and will continue to serve until he or she does not win a point. 
  • Then his or her partner will serve until he or she does also does not win a point. Then it is the other team's turn to serve.
  • When the serving team scores a point, the server moves to the other side of the serving team’s court. 
  • The receiving team should never switch sides.
  • If the serve rotation is done properly in doubles, the serving team's score will always be even when the player that started the game on the right side is on the right side and odd when that player is on the left side.
Non-Volley Zone:
  • To volley a ball means to hit it in the air without letting it bounce. 
  • All volleying must be done with the player’s feet behind the non-volley zone (an area of the court adjacent to the net).
  • If a player's momentum causes them to step on or over the non-volley line after hitting a volley they have committed a fault and lose the point.
Double Bounce Rule:
  • Each team must play their first shot off the bounce. 
  • That is, the receiving team must let the serve bounce and the serving team must let the return of the serve bounce before playing it. 
  • After the two bounces have occurred, the ball can either be volleyed or played off the bounce.
Faults:
  • The ball may only bounce once per side. 
  • After the ball is hit by a player, it must travel to the other side of the net.
  • If the ball hits one of the sidelines or the baseline, it is a playable ball. 
  • When a player or team fails to win the rally they are said to have made a fault. 
  • Some, but not all of the things that cause a fault are listed below:
    • Serving the ball into an incorrect area.
    • Hitting the ball out of bounds.
    • Volleying the ball before it has bounced once on each side.
    • Hitting the ball into the net or hitting the net with your paddle or body.
    • Hitting the ball while in the non-volley zone before it is allowed to bounce.
    • Touching the non-volley zone with your paddle or clothes while attempting to hit a volley.
    • Stepping on or over the non-volley zone line on a follow through.
    • Missing the ball when you try to hit it.
    • Server swings the paddle with the intent of hitting the ball but misses.
Don't worry if the rules don't make much sense to you.  We will review them as we go along.  Now you are ready to move on to "Getting Ready to Play".

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