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Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Strategic Breakdown of a Single Point

I wrote a post in March called Analysis of a Single Point in which I broke down the strategies employed by players in a high level match. The Pickleball Channel has now done the same thing with top women's doubles player Alex Hamner providing the analysis in a video titled Fantastic Doubles Point with Strategy Breakdown.

Analysis from the video includes the following points:
  1. Neither the serve nor the return of serve are "special", i.e. they are mere formalities to get the rally started.
  2. The third shot is a drop and is not perfect but accomplishes the goal of forcing the opponent to hit the ball upward and setting up a smash by the serving team.
  3. The smash is poorly executed and allows a defensive lob.
  4. The lob is covered by players switching sides and retreating toward the baseline.
  5. With both opponents now at the net and the serving team at the baseline, their return is a well-executed offensive lob. This immediately switches the advantage from the receiving team to the serving team as the receiving team retreats to the baseline together and the serving team advances to the kitchen line together.
  6. The receiving team uses a series of volleys to work their way slowly to the kitchen line and finally accomplish that with a drop shot into the kitchen.
  7. With the point now reset without an advantage for either team, a series of dinks ensue.
  8. The dinks end with another lob attempt that results in a smash and a series of volleys and smashes ending the rally.
My major takeaways include:
  1. Gaining positional advantage includes at least 2 options - the lob and the drop shot. Neither requires a perfect shot but being ready for an offensive return is a necessity.
  2. Working to the kitchen line can be accomplished with different shots and by moving slowly while defending one's position.
  3. Teams should move together both toward the baseline and the kitchen.

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