Notes

Newcomers to the site should note the pickleball book "chapters" in the left column and the repository of expert articles and videos in the right column.

Chapters were revised May 9, 2017.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Pickleball PEP Talk - the Keys to Success

The more disciplined you become, the easier pickleball gets...

This might be the most important post I have written in nearly 2 years of blogging. I have been playing pickleball for over 3 years and studying it for nearly as long. I have studied techniques and strategies. I have read and listened to the best in the game tell me what I need to do. I have taken pieces from each that make sense to me. But I have not grasped a simplified concept to the keys to success...until now. 


Bu what is a simplified concept without an acronym? So here is what I came up with - PEP. As hard as I tried to honor Peppy, I was unable to come with a "Y" word. PEP works better anyhow, because the fewer keys to remember, the better.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Patience...Again

Patience is a conquering virtue...

Last week, I wrote an article on attackable and unattackable balls. One huge factor I mentioned to successfully avoid hitting an attackable ball is patience. But what is better than words on paper, errr, a computer monitor? A video! Here is a great video that shows how patience works for one side and impatience works for another side.




Thursday, October 19, 2017

Mountain Falls Luxury Motorcoach Resort

Don't call this an RV park...

I had the opportunity to visit the Mountain Falls Luxury Motorcoach Resort in Lake Toxaway last Saturday to give a pickleball clinic. As someone who has never been a part of the RV lifestyle, I had no idea what to expect...except that my contact - Jan - was very upbeat about the players' enthusiasm for a clinic. The entire visit was impressive - the resort location and development, the pickleball facilities, and, most of all, the group of players.



The pickleball facilities consist of 4 dedicated courts with a possible future expansion under discussion. In our email discussions, Jan said that they regularly had 24 players and the numbers were growing. I asked to limit the clinic to 8 players.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Planning a Tournament

It takes real planning to organize this kind of chaos...

Some friends and I have started the process of creating a new tournament for 2018. Our goal is to make it a first-class event in order to set the standard for an annual tournament. The task is daunting and looks even more so as gain further insight. I plan to document the process as much as practical. Today, we'll start with a time from the USAPA. These are the highlights. There is much detail underlying each step.



Accomplish by This Date

10 Months                                               Secure Venues

9 Months                                                 Registration dates

9 Months                                                 Budget

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Rules Clarification - When to Serve in a Refereed Match

If confusion is the first step to knowledge, I must be a genius...

My first experience refereeing a match was several weeks ago. I only had to make calls on 2 situations in the 4 matches I refereed. I wrote about one last week. This article discusses the second - serving before the score is called.

The situation arose twice with the same player in different matches. In both case, the player started to serve before I had completed my announcing of the score. The first time I sped up the announcement and did not call a fault. The second time I tried to do the same but the serve was struck well before I finished and I called the fault.



The rule is clear:
4.I. Readiness. Serves shall not be made until the receiver is ready and the score has been called. Serving before the score is called shall result in a fault, and loss of serve. The referee shall call the score when he or she determines that the players should be in position to resume play.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Targeting: Where and Why - The Fourth Shot (After a Drive)

Be sure to positively identify your target before hitting the ball...

This will be week 5 of the series on targeting. The first, Targeting: Where and Why - The Serve - focused on the serve targeting strategies. The second, Targeting: Where and Why - The Return of Serve, focused on the return. The third, Targeting: Where and Why - The Third Shot, focused on options for the serving team's first return. The natural progression for last week was the fourth shot, i.e., the return of the third-shot drop or drive...and we covered the targets off the drop shot. This week will cover the targets off the third-shot drive. It will be very similar to last week with one exception - the drive generally precludes the opponents from gaining the NVZ line.

The usual reminder before starting: there is a set of premises that guide us in through the decision-making process. These were covered in the article Targeting: Where and Why. The primary goal of the fourth shot is to begin constructing the rally in your favor. The target is dependent on the opponents' positions on the court.



Scenario 1 - Opponents fail to gain the NVZ and remain back

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Offbeat Sunday - Team Names

Names have power, or not...

Most pickleball teams do not use names other than the players' names. There are rare occasions in local play where teams do go by a team name, though.  Pickleball Portal has developed a fun list of team names, a small sample of which is shown below.




Ace Bandages
Ace Kickers
Backhanded Compliments
Ball Busters

Court Jesters

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Attackable

Without a plan, there is no attack...

Attack. The word brings to mind violent images. In fact, the definition of attack is "an aggressive and violent action against a person or place". But pickleball is a genteel game so violence does not apply, right? Well, violently attacking players is certainly not part of the game. But attacking the ball is another matter altogether.

"Attackable" is a word I have seen enter the pickleball lexicon recently when discussing pickleball strategy. To the best of my recollection, I have not used the term before. But I do like the mental image it conveys as it applies to pickleball. I like it so much that it will be a part of my normal descriptions so it makes sense to define and explain it.


Friday, October 13, 2017

2018 Georgia Mountain Pickleball Fall Classic Results

You earn medals at practice. You just pick them up at tournaments...


Some local players participated in the Georgia Mountain Pickleball Fall Classic recently in Hiawassee, GA. Photos are from Facebook.









Lucia Delchamps and Doreen McDonald went 2-2 in the Women's Doubles 3.5 50+ and won the bronze medal.

Congratulations Doreen and Lucia!




Thursday, October 12, 2017

Fix Your Back Pain...and Your Game

Back pain is youth leaving the body...

I was drilling on dinks several weeks ago when my back started to tighten up. A friend who often gives me advice told me I was bending from the waist. Instead, I needed to get lower in my stance while keeping my head up. Another friend commented that the proper position would be felt with soreness in my legs and glutes. To make a long story short, I needed to lower my butt.

A couple of experts have some similar advice. Let's start with Sarah Ansboury and the RV Picklers in the article Pickleball Posture: Oh My Aching Back! Here is an excerpt:

STOP BENDING AT YOUR BACK!
I see poor pickleball postures at many levels of play. Often people crouch over, making themselves seem smaller. This is really bad for your body, putting stress on your back, hips, hamstrings, quads and more. Not only is bending at your back bad for your body, but it affects your ability to play at your best.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Rules Clarification - Items on the Court

If confusion is the first step to knowledge, I must be a genius...

I wrote about my first experience refereeing a match last week and followed that up with an example of court changeover positioning. Today, we will cover the rulings when items fall on the court.

The situation arose in my game when one team had their paddles collide on a mid-court groundstroke. One partner's paddle flew from her hand into the NVZ. Play continued for several more hits until the ball was hit to the player without a paddle. Since she could not return the ball, her team lost the point. As she went to retrieve her paddle, I heard her say "It doesn't matter. We lost the point when my paddle went into the kitchen". I did not think she was right but did not have to make a ruling because the point was lost on the continued play.




Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Targeting: The Experts on Defending 3rd Shot Drops

Be sure to positively identify your target before hitting the ball...

I would like to again reinforce the concepts in my article with advice from experts. Today's post will discuss the experts view of targeting options after a 3rd shot drop.

Prem Carnot's article When to Hit a Hard Ball Soft in Pickleball, while not about 3rd shot drops, explains the strategy of choices depending on the opponents' positions.
I often suggest that you hit the ball hard when you want to keep your opponents at the back and on the defense. So when you are receiving a hard shot, it’s the same thing.  If they are hitting to you from the back of the court, keep hitting the ball hard at them.  This will help you keep them on the back line and on on the defense.
When your opponents are UP at the non-volley line though, and hitting the ball hard at you, this is when you want to return with a soft shot.  This is the case when it’s time for you to soften that ball so that you can actually take control of the point.
So remember, hit a hard ball hard when your opponents are back and soft when they’re up front.



Monday, October 9, 2017

Targeting: Where and Why - The Fourth Shot (After a Drop)

Be sure to positively identify your target before hitting the ball...

This will be week 4 of the series on targeting. The first, Targeting: Where and Why - The Serve - focused on the serve targeting strategies. The second, Targeting: Where and Why - The Return of Serve, focused on the return. The third, Targeting: Where and Why - The Third Shot, focused on options for the serving team's first return. The natural progression for this week is the fourth shot, i.e., the return of the third-shot drop or drive.

The usual reminder before starting: there is a set of premises that guide us in through the decision-making process. These were covered in the article Targeting: Where and Why. The primary goal of the fourth shot is to begin constructing the rally in your favor. The target is dependent on the type of third shot and the opponents' positions on the court. Today's article will cover the third-shot drop. Next week will cover the third-shot drive.



Scenario 1 - Opponents fail to gain the NVZ and remain back


Sunday, October 8, 2017

Offbeat Sunday - Tweener

Always protect the family jewels...

Every once in a while I run across some pickleball material that file away and wonder how I can use it. Such was the case with a video from Mark Renneson, How To Hit The Tweener. This is a video showing a shot I would teach and, most definitely, would never use. The agony of defeat cannot compete with pain of failure.









Saturday, October 7, 2017

Tournament Schedule Update - October 2017

Life's a game. Play it...

North Carolina Pickleball has updated the upcoming tournament schedule for players in the local area.