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, August 19, 2017

Don't Strangle Your Paddle

Rip and tear and strangle the grip...

There are times when a stranglehold grip is appropriate...such as mountain climbing or climbing a rope. But pickleball is not one of those times. This is something with which I still struggle in cometition. During warm-ups and hitting practice, I can lightly grip the paddle and consistently hit soft shots time after time. But that consistency changes as the intensity of a real game increases. My grip on the paddle seems to tighten and results are deeper drop shots and dinks. That is not good for either me or my partner.

I have read and heard coaches talk about a grip tension scale of 1-10 and associate specific shots with points on that scale. Shorter and softer shots are on the low end as the grip should be looser in order to absorb more of the ball's energy. Longer but soft shots, like a drop shot, should be somewhere in the middle of the scale as the ball must have some energy to cover greater distances. A groundstroke hit with power requires maximum energy and the grip should be tightest on these shots.

Sarah Ansboury wrote about her ideas on grip tension in a blog titled Check Your Grip Pressure. An excerpt from that article is shown below.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Peaked Peformance - an Update

The worst thing most of us do is aim too low...

I posted an article called Peaked Performance back in February. The following is a re-post of much of that article with a couple of additions based on some new and interesting information.

Readers might be wondering what in the world the title of this post means. People may have heard of "peak performance" but have certainly never heard of "peaked performance". That is because I just coined the phrase.

Peak performance is defined online as:
...the zone of optimal functioning and flow. It refers to a moment when an individual puts it all together, when they are in the zone, when everything flows, and when they achieve an exceptional performance.
In other words, peak performance can be attained at any point in life...when skill and luck coincide to create a situation where a player performs as well as he can - given his talent and condition. That doesn't mean that a player has peaked, though. A variable like technique can be improved through study and practice. A variable like conditioning can be improved through diet and exercise.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Paddle Position

Be ready for everything to be ready for anything...

Back in May I wrote a series of articles about the height of the paddle in the ready position. It concluded with What is the Proper Paddle Position? One part of the paddle position I did not discuss in that series was the direction that the paddle face should be held.

Below is the an image from a previous post that shows 2 extremes of the paddle position. The position on the left is perpendicular to the body and the position on the right is parallel to the body.

Simone Jardim and the Pickleball Channel have a new video called Minimizing Mistakes with Paddle Position by Simone Jardim in which she discusses her approach to paddle position.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Protect Your Shoulder

Sometimes we can avoid injuries by practicing techniques...

It seems the primary injury among my recreational group is the shoulder. Some have resorted to surgery whiles others have improved through rehab and rest. But the best solution is to prevent injury in the first place. Barbara Wintroub and the RV Picklers had an article discussing shoulder injuries called How to Prevent Pickleball Shoulder Injuries. An excerpt from the article is shown below. The entire article can be read at the link.

Prevent Pickleball Shoulder Injuries

Wouldn’t it be better to prevent these sorts of pickleball shoulder injuries?  In the video before, I show how posture, specifically the proper positioning of one’s shoulders, can minimize the incidence of shoulder injuries.  I also demonstrate simple exercises to improve your posture and shoulder position.

If you are currently under treatment for a shoulder injury, please review the video with your health professional before embarking on this or any other exercise program.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

2017 Gate City Picklefest Results

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

Jaynie Tank went to Greensboro, NC to participate in the 2017 Gate City Picklefest held August 5-6. Photos are from Facebook.

Jaynie and Sandra Stewart went 0-3 in Women's Doubles (19+, 4.5-5.0) and won the bronze medal.

Congratulations Sandra and Jaynie!

Well done Jaynie!

Monday, August 14, 2017

Re-gripping a Paddle

When getting a grip is literal...

I needed to get a grip. I mean I literally needed to get a new grip because mine was worn out. I had re-gripped tennis racquets a long time ago and put over-wraps on pickleball paddles. I am comfortable with doing a re-grip successfully. But conversations with fellow players taught me that others are not as comfortable. Therefore, I decided to show my method here.

First, let's look at the necessary materials.

Yep, that's it. You need your paddle and the new grip. Everything you need to install the new grip is in the package.

There is one exception that I didn't include in the photograph. My handle is shorter than normal so I needed to cut off some of the grip at the top. I used a pair of scissors so have a pair at the ready just in case.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Offbeat Sunday: Peppy and TMI

Some personal thoughts are best left unsaid...

Aspen Kern manages the Pickleball Forum and contributes a character he has created - Peppy the Pickle. Sometimes Peppy is a little too open. 

Saturday, August 12, 2017

2017 United States Clay Court Pickleball Championships Results

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

Paul Coletta was another traveler and went to Lafayette Hill, PA to participate in the 2017 United States Clay Court Pickleball Championships held August 3-6. Photos are from Facebook.

Paul went 3-2 in Men's Singles (50+, 4.0+) and won the bronze medal.

Congratulations Paul!

Well done Paul!

Friday, August 11, 2017

Tournament Schedule Update - August 2017

Life's a game. Play it...

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

Thursday, August 10, 2017

A Topspin Drill

My mind is spinning in circles...

One of the most significant uses of spin is a topspin groundstroke, particularly when hit as a driving shot instead of a drop shot. Adding topspin to a low hard shot will cause the ball to dive down below the top of the net and help to prevent the opponent from making a winning volley. Today's post will be a review of some basic drills to learn topspin through tennis training techniques. These tennis drills can be used for pickleball without change. Temporary nets may need additional support if they cannot be tightened sufficiently.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Playing Against Spin

My mind is spinning in circles...

Yesterday's post talked about using spin. Today, we will look at Prem Carnot's view of playing and recognizing spin. His article is titled How to Play Against Someone Who Spins the Ball.

How to Play Against Someone Who Spins the Ball

Those pesky tennis players with such beautiful ball control, smooth strokes, good footwork and tricky spin… Do you ask yourself, “How ever do I play against them?” When you diagnose the problem, it’s quite simple actually, once you know these two secrets.

Secret #1: Wait until the ball is past the top of the arch and almost to the second bounce.   

This is similar to the strategy I talk about in my article, The 4 Secrets to Getting Your Dropshot to Go Where You Want (And Not Where You Don’t) in regard to how to hit a good drop shot.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

What about Spin?

My mind is spinning in circles...

I managed a skills and drills class for beginners last week in which we drilled on serves and returns of serve. I have done several of these classes recently and a common theme has emerged - some beginners think extreme spin creates an advantage. The fact that a high percentage of their shots went out of bounds didn't seem to matter as long there was an occasional shot that spun away from their opponent.

My recommendation for beginners is that their time is always better spent working on basic shots. These will be more important to developing their game more quickly. In addition, as they develop and play better opponents, spin becomes less effective.

But that doesn't mean that spin should never be used as players advance. Topspin and backspin are particularly useful. We'll explore some of the views on spin in this post.

Monday, August 7, 2017

North Carolina Holiday Smash Tournament

Just outside the Queen City...

Registration is now open for the annual Holiday Smash Pickleball Tournament to be held at Concord, NC.  This year, the tournament features two full days of action with Men's Doubles and Women's Doubles on Saturday, November 18th followed by Mixed Doubles on November 19th. The courts are open for practice on Friday from 8 to 4 pm for $5.00.  Please join us today by signing up on the PICKLEBALL TOURNAMENTS WEB SITE.

North Carolina Pickleball Holiday Smash 2017
Skill Level Tournament

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Offbeat Sunday - Caption This

An image is only enhanced by a caption...

Time to go to the Pickleball Forum again for Offbeat Sunday material. This one is about captioning a photograph.

Caption This!

  • I came.  I saw.  I pickled.
  • Yes, I think I can play just one more game before I go
  • Did anyone get the license number of the pickeball that hit me?
  • I've fallen, and I can't get up... unless it's for pickleball!
  • Stick a pickle in me... I'm done!
  • They said I could stay in the kitchen as long as I didn't volley.
  • That's the Last time I play Chuck Norris in singles
  • I guess singles IS harder!
  • So now we have to play one to 15?
  • I own this kitchen
  • Good Get!
  • I told you Pickleball is not for you, MOM!
  • Practicing my around the bedpost shot.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

2017 Oregon State Games Results

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

Todd Headley traveled all the way to Bend, Oregon to participate in the 2017 Oregon State Games held June 16-18. Photos are from Bend Pickleball Club.

Todd went 4-1 in Men's Singles (50-59) and won the gold medal.

Congratulations Todd!