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Friday, March 4, 2016

Analysis of a Single Point

Pickleball is a game with lots of action compacted into a short time. Sometimes a single rally contains a ton of information. Such is the case with the championship point at the recent Grand Canyon State Games as shown in the below video from Pickleball Channel's Facebook page. 

The team on the near court consists of Jennifer Lucore and Alex Hamner, generally considered one of the best, if not the best, women's doubles teams in the world.  Lucore is in the white shirt and Hamner is in the pink shirt. Let's go through some of the play:

1. Lucore's serve is nothing special as her objective is just to get the rally started and keep the ball in play.

2. The opponents' return of serve is deep, forcing Hamner to retreat farther behind the baseline. This keeps the Lucore/Hamner team from advancing to the kitchen line while the opposition has gained the advantage by getting to the line.

3. Lucore and Hamner attempt to regain equal footing with several dink shots. These shots fail to drop into the kitchen but remain low enough to prevent winning smashes by their opponents. However, their opponents are able to hit deep shots to keep Lucore and Hamner back near the baseline.

4. Lucore eventually hits a higher shot that allows a smash by her opponents. However, Hamner makes a great save and is followed by another great saving dink by Lucore.

5. Despite a good dink by Lucore, their opponents can hit an offensive shot high over the net because Lucore and Hamner are positioned deep. This starts a new series of defensive shots by Lucore and Hamner as their opponents continue to hit low hard shots.

6. The defensive nature of their shots does not deter the Lucore/Hamner team from advancing their position. They earn their way to the kitchen with a slow progression through a series of 4 shots. At this point, they have equalized the court positioning with all 4 players at the kitchen line.

7. Then, a series of 4 dinks occurs, ending with a hard volley by the opponents to Hamner. Volleys rapidly go back and forth driving Hamner back a couple of steps. But she returns to the kitchen immediately and hits the penultimate volley before Lucore smashes a volley for the championship.

So, what did we learn?
  1. Keep balls in play.
  2. Stay together as a team.
  3. Keep opponents on the defensive by pinning them deep.
  4. Switch the momentum by using the soft game.
  5. Even poor shots sustain the rally.
  6. Never give up.
  7. Sometimes you can do everything right and still lose to great play(ers).

1 comment:

  1. LOve it, this is the first time I have seen this post. Keep up the good work.