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.

Friday, March 23, 2018

Powerade State Games of North Carolina

Camel City...

Registration is now open for the Powerade Games of North Carolina Pickleball Tournament to be held on June 8-10 at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, NC.  

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Unconscious Competence

Enlightenment is earned in stages...

Nirvana is the ultimate state of enlightenment in Buddhism. It is attained by passing through 4 stages of realization. I am woefully inadequate to explain these stages. But I found it interesting that attaining the Nirvana of Buddhism correlates with attaining nirvana in pickleball. You will see what I mean when your read today's post from DJ Howard.  

Weekly tip: Understand your level of consciousness and competence.

There are four stages of development that everyone must go thru when learning an athletic skill. They are as follows:
1. Unconscious incompetence. Basically, you don't know what you don't know. There is so much to learn and you don't even know where or how to begin. This person often looks at pro athletes on tv and thinks, "that's not that difficult" simply because the pro athletes make it look so easy. He doesn't understand all that went into making it look that easy.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

United Way of Kershaw County Pickleball Tournament

Steeplechase Capital of the World...

Registration is now open for the United Way of Kershaw County Pickleball Tournament to be held on June 9-10 at a new pickleball complex in Camden, SC. The tournament will include Mixed Doubles, Women's Doubles, and Men's Doubles. 

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Third Shot Footwork

Getting the fundamentals right...

The Jordan Briones Primetime video series continues from a different position - the baseline. Today's post uses his video Pickleball | Essential 3rd Shot Footwork to show how proper positioning will help to make your third shot drop more consistent

The fundamentals of any consistent shot, especially the third shot drop, consist of hitting the ball in the same place every time. I talked about this extensively in the December 16, 2017 post Positioning and the Natural Swing. I stated:
I believe that everyone has a natural swing. The swing that you took the first time you touched a paddle was likely your natural swing. You performed it without thought and used what felt comfortable. Ever since that day, your swing has been influenced by your mind as it adjusts your swing to fix mishits and misplays and to add others' technical advice...
The principle of a natural swing is simple. It is all about comfort zones - something I have talked a lot about in this blog, especially when targeting spots to take your opponents out of their comfort zone. The same theory can be reversed when thinking of yourself. Getting yourself into a position to take your natural swing is the ultimate comfort zone. That's a place you want to be.
Jordan talks about hitting the drop shot in your comfort zone, i.e., not reaching and not allowing the ball to get too close to your body. It is the area when you are balanced and most in control. In order to always contact the ball at the same point, it is imperative that you move your body to the proper position. This takes anticipating the ball's path and and getting your feet positioned early.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Don't Coach Your Partner

Just between us...

Yesterday's Recycle Sunday post was about the right kind of communication between partners. Today's post is a bonus DJ Howard post about the wrong kind of communication.

DJ's Weekly Tip: Do not "coach" your teammate during matches!

Your teammate is your teammate, not your student (unless, of course, you are a real pickleball instructor and your teammate IS your student, but that is rare and you get my point, so please go with me here). You are peers with your teammate. This is true whether you are a guy playing men's doubles, a gal playing women's doubles, or you're playing mixed doubles.

You ought not be TELLING your teammate what to do. If they ask for advice, you may give it. Exception: if you have a longstanding relationship in which you are the boss and they are a mouse who is willing to do the bidding of whatever the boss says, then I guess I'm not speaking to you. But my guess is that is a very small minority.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Recycle Sunday - Communicating with a Partner - Off the Court

A blast from the past...

I have started a series called Recycle Sunday in which I repeat some old articles. This article was originally published January 6, 2016.


All of us have relationships with other people - like spouses, children, co-workers, or friends. As a result, we all know how important good communication is to maintaining a healthy relationship. A pickleball partnership is no different, regardless of whether the partnership lasts only one game or extends for years. Good communication strengthens the team and leads to better results.

On-court communication seems obvious and will be discussed in a separate post. But good communication starts off the court with pre-match discussions about what will happen on the court. This is true for all competitive matches and especially true if the partnership is new or in its early stages.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Greenville Pickleball Spring Smash

The hottest city in America...

Registration is now open for the Greenville Pickleball Spring Smash Pickleball Tournament to be held on April 6-7 in Greenville, SC. The tournament will include Mixed Doubles, Women's Doubles, and Men's Doubles. Players can register online at or they can use the attached form and mail in their registration. (The tournament is also listed with registration links on Registration closes soon.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Rally Scoring

Change the rules, change the game...

There seems to be a lot of chatter about rally scoring among some groups of pickleball players. I even heard that one of the rules sessions at the recent ambassador retreat featured an enthusiastic ambassador pushing to allow rally scoring. I did not hear what the USAPA response was but I would guess (and hope) that it was a big "NO".

So what is rally scoring, why do some want to see it implemented, and why do others want to see it die a fast death?

Rally scoring differs from regular scoring by awarding a point after every rally instead of only when the serving team wins the rally. In other words, the non-serving team can also score points. Proponents of the change like that the games are faster and more predictable as a result. Some think it will make the game more appealing to television audiences. They cite the 1999 change to rally scoring for volleyball as a success.

Thursday, March 15, 2018


I need more space...

Daniel Joseph (DJ) Howard is an IPTPA instructor in Michigan. He is also a member of the Pickleball Forum where he offers a weekly tip. DJ has kindly agreed to allow me to include his Forum tips on this blog. This week's tip talks about influence.

When receiving a ball, you want to think about creating or maintaining space between yourself and the ball.

Adequate spacing allows you to perform the shot more efficiently and effectively. Don't allow yourself to get jammed by a ball too close to your stance. On the other hand, don't allow a ball to get too far away so you lose balance leaning over for it.

The goal is to maintain as strong of a posture as possible so you may send the ball back with as much control and accuracy as you're able. Proper spacing is the best way to ensure this.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Land of the Sky Sponsor - Paddletek

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

As I mentioned Monday, we at the Land of the Sky tournament have been working hard to develop some relationships with sponsors hoping that they will continue into the future. Our second Gold Level sponsor is Paddletek.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Volley Dink

Getting the fundamentals right...

The Jordan Briones Primetime video series continues with work at the non-volley zone line. Today's post uses his video Volley Dink Success | Pickleball to discuss why hitting a dink out of the air is important. Better yet, it discusses how to learn the skill and decision-making that enables the shot.

Jordan opens the video with a discussion of both court and body positioning at the NVZ line. These techniques were covered in the past 2 weeks in our Tuesday series. Therefore, I will not repeat them here.

The first new material discusses a topic we have talked about before - what are the advantages of volleying a dink rather than hitting it after it bounces.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Land of the Sky Sponsor - Selkirk

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

We at the Land of the Sky tournament have been working hard to develop some relationships with sponsors hoping that they will continue into the future. Our first Gold Level sponsor is Selkirk Sport.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Recycle Sunday - Why Play in a Tournament

A blast from the past...

I have been posting Offbeat Sunday content for a long time. While it will continue as new material becomes available, I have started a series called Recycle Sunday in which I repeat some old articles. This article was originally published December 23, 2015.

There have been many posts that discuss tournament results or future tournaments. But we have yet to discuss why anyone should choose to play in pickleball tournaments. Let’s first review why anyone should play pickleball at all.

Pickleball is first and foremost FUN. It takes only as much time and effort as you want to expend in order to play at the level you choose. It is a very social sport with a small court allowing verbal interplay among the players. The short games allow players to gather on the sidelines while waiting their turns to play. These gatherings also provide opportunities for social interaction.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Pickleball Performance Training

It's all to do with the training: you can do a lot if you're properly trained...

Why do you play pickleball? Most of us do it for fun. Some do it for the exercise (in addition to the fun). Others do it to satisfy their competitive nature (in addition to the fun). For those and other reasons we all want to play pickleball as often as we can, as many years as we can, and as well as we can. So what limits us from more play, more years, and better quality play? More importantly, what can each of us do to overcome those limits?

Before I answer those questions, we need to agree on one basic truth. Pickleball is a game of movement. Players must move to get properly positioned to make the right shot. Sure, there are other important elements - understanding options, executing the shot, etc. But little of that matters if a player is not properly positioned to hit the ball.

Friday, March 9, 2018

More on USAPA Membership

Why join the Navy if you can be a pirate...

Yesterday's post was mostly about the personal benefits of a USAPA membership, which is a requirement for playing in a sanctioned tournament like the Land of the Sky Pickleball Tournament. There was a brief mention of the activities of the USAPA but I would like to go a little deeper into these in the hopes that those doubting the value of a membership can better appreciate what the USAPA does for them. Yesterday's mention is shown first below.

The primary reason to join the USAPA is to be a part of something bigger than your usual gym. The USAPA is the body that maintains the standards for equipment and rules as well develops outreach programs to grow the game.  

Rosemary Reese, Assistant Regional Director of the Southwest Region wrote an article that very eloquently explains why pickleball players should become members. A portion of the article is shown below.