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Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Playing with Lefty...or Not

For some unknown reason, I have rarely played with or against a lefthanded player. When I have, it changes the way I play. Playing against a lefty means taking an extra second to remember where to hit to the backhand side. Playing with a left typically means I am more often out of position as I either cover his forehand with my own or forget his backhand is down the middle. Based on the article Pickleball Leftie: It is Not My Fault You are Left Handed, the RV Picklers have similar issues.

I’ll admit it, I typically shy away from playing competitively with a pickleball leftie. Of course, Wes Gabrielsen is an exception to this “rule”. I would gladly partner with him anytime!

But Wes is an exception. Besides, when he wants to, he plays right-handed better than me. So as far as I am concern, nearly all the balls are his. Let me amend that…all the balls are his.

Pickleball Lefties…But What’s the Point

Some left-handed pickleball players I know, complain they can’t find anyone to partner with. Though I want to be as inclusive as  possible, I must admit that I also shy away from playing with these folks in competitive situations. Why? Perhaps I am a bit slow….but I find it confusing.
  • First, when playing with my normal female partner, I am the first server. It is second nature to me to know where I should be on the court based upon the score. Playing with a left-hander makes me the “odd player”. Okay, I realize those of you who know me feel this is an apt description…but I trust you get my point.
  • Second, I am accustomed to taking the return of serve down the middle of the court when I am on the left side of the court. I realize there isn’t any hard and fast rule. If I am playing with a right-handed partner with a killer backhand and he calls it…I’m flexible.
  • Third, I’m old. As you get old, you may get forgetful….there is a reason we say the score before every single serve. Also as you get old, you seem to get stuck in your ways.  Sorry, mom, but it’s the truth.
Pickleball Lefties…So Who Takes the Middle

Recently, a fellow player asked my advice on who should take the middle on the return of serve, assuming:
  • Right-handed and left-handed players are partners,
  • They are not stacking,
  • Both backhands are in the middle,
  • They are equally skilled players.
My first response was, “Well if they are playing in a tournament I would hope they had talked about this situation before the first match.”

He responded, “This is just open or recreational play….then what?”

My response, “Well, you are still allowed to talk to each other before a match, but if they didn’t, I would say it is the left-handed player’s ball.” My reasoning is that the right-handed player plays the vast majority of his matches with right-handed players. The left-handed player is always conscious of “his difference”. So it should be easier for him to make the adjustment.

The bottom line is that when it comes to open play, we should play with whoever is next in line. This is recreational play….there is no prize money…there is no “medal”…this is one of the hopefully many games you will play today. And to my left-handed friends, remember, it isn’t your partner’s fault that you were born left-handed.


  1. I am left handed been playing 3.5 years; started at age 66 am rated tournment 3.5. I heard on some site that the left hander should serve first. Do you serve first? I always do. That away I know I am always the even number on first serve side. What most people don't know about my play is that my backhand is stronger and more accuate than my fore hand. I was playing yesterday against two good opponents and it was half way through before the guy sent a floater dink to my left hand and I smashed it. Then he said "oh, didn't realize you were left handed". Players just don't see us unless we point out the obvious, lol!

  2. Because I'm right HEADed no cross dominance. People say I'm too argumentative. I see where others are weak and comment. Not hostile at all. I think, they think, I'm being bossy.
    Lately I've been trying to get a steady partner but it's just not happening. Lately I've been trying to avoid weaker players so I win more and my status is better. Signed BadLeftyBrad