Land of the Sky Tournament information can be found by clicking on the button above.

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.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Offbeat Sunday - Pickleball Anthem

Music is the medicine of the mind...

I never thought I would see pickleball taught by song. Here is the Pickleball Anthem.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Watch to Learn

Listen, watch, and learn...

We all love to play pickleball. And playing/drilling is certainly the best way to learn the nuances of the game. But that doesn't mean that watching others play should be just for entertainment. Much can be learned by watching better players as well as playing with them. Such is the lesson espoused by instructor Daniel Joseph (DJ) Howard in one of weekly tips.

Watch top players play.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, what is a video worth? If a video is worth more than a picture, of how much more value is watching a live event?

In your spare time, please watch videos of top players playing. Watch Facebook livestreams when they are available. Watch YouTube videos of past matches.

Watch men's pro doubles.

Watch women's pro doubles.

Watch mixed pro doubles. (You'll notice this is played far differently than men's or women's!)

Friday, December 29, 2017

Tips for Playing Down

We were all there once...

The past 2 days were about etiquette for playing with better players. Today is for those better players who may be asked to play down. As noted a couple of days ago, Prem Carnot has published a printable chart that can be posted at places to play with some great information about managing a situation that often results in tense relationships. The pdf version of the chart can be found at Prem's website. It is shown below as a image.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Don't Play Keep-Away

Give them a good reason to stay...

Lesser skilled players like to play with more advanced players. It challenges them to become better players themselves as they see firsthand the strategies and tactics used to construct a point. But too often the lesser players allow their competitive nature to take over. Instead of playing the game the right way - hitting the appropriate shot regardless of their opponent - they play just to win the game by hitting only to their weaker opponent.

If there is a single-most reason that advanced players hesitate to play with less-skilled players, the lack of shots to them likely tops the list. I would like to follow up yesterday's tips about playing up with an article from PickleballMax called Playing Keep-Away from the “Best” Player on the other Team — Good Idea or Inconsiderate Strategy?. Excerpts are shown below. Please read the entire article at the link.

Although I absolutely LOVE pickleball, nothing gets my blood boiling like being on the receiving end of “Keep-Away” during rec play.  And it gets me very frustrated.  Every time.  You see, every once in a while, in a recreational game of pickleball, I’m deemed the stronger player on the team.  And the opponents — you guessed it — hit seemingly every ball to my partner.  All in the name of winning the game to 11.  In rec. play!!!  Not tournament play.  Did I mention this is “recreational” play?

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Tips for Playing Up

Respect must be earned...

I previously wrote about a Prem Carnot article about the proper etiquette of playing up with better players in How to Play Up. Prem has now published a printable chart that can be posted at places to play with some great information about managing a situation that often results in tense relationships. The pdf version of the chart can be found at Prem's website. It is shown below as a image.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Moving Dink Drill

Make drills fun...

Continuing the Jordan Briones series, this post covers a 2-player dink drill with one player moving along the NVZ line. Jordan's video, Pickleball Dink Drill | "You Go - I Go" Dink Control Drill, shows how to work on targeting as well as footwork. 

To set up the drill, one player (the feeder) starts at the NVZ line and the other player (the driller) starts across the net on the opposite NVZ line as shown below. This drill will use the entire width of the court.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Conversion of a Tennis Snob

Tennis: "a lonely, dogged pursuit designed for masochists"...

More light posting during this holiday week of travel with another interesting article. This one is from the San Diego Union-Tribune and is titled Tennis snob converted after first taste of pickleball. The story is excerpted below. Please click the link to read the entire article.

Friday, December 22, 2017

The New "It" Sport

Pickleball: an addiction you'll never want to stop...

Here is yet another good article about the addictive nature of pickleball. Below are excerpts from the article, the entirety of which can be found at 417 Magazine.

The number of places to play pickleball has doubled since 2010. Digital Director Dayle Duggins (aka Dill Duggins) loves pickles, so we sent her to try out the sport with a funny name.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Jack Munro

"Youth is wasted on the young" - not for this one...

I have never done a post about a teenager before, but this is one amazing kid. At 13, Jack Munro is the youngest 5.0 rated player. Below are a couple of videos. The first shows him playing in a final in the Tustin tournament. He is playing with his father who is dressed in all orange. The second from Pickleball Channel tells his story. Oh, to be young again.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Jacksonville 8th Annual Pickleball Tournament 2018

Home of Camp Lejeune...

Registration is now open for the City of Jacksonville (North Carolina) pickleball tournament to be held on March 1-4. The tournament will include Mixed Doubles, Women's Doubles, and Men's Doubles. 

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Sweet Spot Volley Drill

Make drills fun...

We have been discussing a series of videos from Jordan Briones where he demonstrates different drills. This post is another in the series but is a little different. First, Jordan is not the one demonstrating the drill. Instead, Marcin Rozpedski shows a drill that forces a player to watch the ball the whole way to the paddle. Second, the drill does not consist of a game, but is so unusual that it can be a fun way to learn.

The video, Pickleball Drill | Sweet Spot Volley Drill with Marcin Rozpedski, shows a 2-player drill. One player (the feeder) starts at the NVZ line and the other player (the driller) starts at the opposite NVZ line but in the same half of the court. The feeder simply tosses the ball to the driller at shoulder height. Sounds pretty standard, right? You have not heard the unusual part yet.  

Monday, December 18, 2017

North Carolina Slam February 2018

The home of NASCAR...

I have been negligent in spreading the word about North Carolina area tournaments. With my travel this week, I don't have a lot of time to write full posts so I will do some catching up. 

Registration is now open for the North Carolina Slam to be held at Concord, NC. The tournament is a one-day event with Mixed Doubles only for skill levels 3.0-4.5. The tournament will be held Saturday, February 3. Registration and more information can be found at

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Positioning and the Natural Swing

The more disciplined you become, the easier pickleball gets...

Back in October, I wrote a post I thought was one of my most important. It was titled Pickleball PEP Talk - the Keys to Success and was intended to boil success down to its 3 most essential elements. PEP was an acronym for Positioning, Execution, and Patience. Today's post will expand on Positioning. But first, let's revisit that segment from the October article.


Positioning primarily refers to two issues - being in the right place on the court and getting your feet/body in the right place to hit the shot. Being in the right position on the court demands an understanding of several strategies including:

Friday, December 15, 2017

From Drills to the Game

Don't overthink, just let it go...

I have been posting a lot about drills...and that will continue. But there is a question that always comes up - "How do I make sure that my practice sessions improve my play during games?" Sarah Ansboury had a recent article on just that subject. Below is an excerpt from Taking Your Pickleball Drill Practice to the Game.

Give Yourself a Break…Play!

When you are working to improve your game, you may do very well during pickleball drill sessions, but you find that your old habits seem to resurface when you are in recreational or competitive play. Remember, that these ebbs and flows are common, and in fact necessary, on your journey to improvement. You need to give yourself a break!  Accept that this is part of the process, and play.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Rules Clarification - Player Bumped into NVZ

If confusion is the first step to knowledge, I must be a genius...

Players love to talk about rules, especially esoteric rules. i have been posting about some situations that I faced as a referee. Now I will venture beyond my personal experience into the experiences of others. This post relates to the always-confusing momentum rule and the NVZ.

Let's look at a specific situation. Alan and Barry are partners. A ball is hit to them such that Barry thinks he can poach it. However, it is volleyed by Alan before Barry reaches it. In the process of going for the poach, Barry's momentum carries into Alan and they collide after Alan has made the return. The collision knocks Barry into the NVZ after separation between the players occurs. The question is whether this is a NVZ violation. 

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

"2 in 1" Drill

Make drills fun...

This post is the next in the series of Jordan Briones' drills. While this one differs in that there is no scorekeeping for a competition, the 2 players do switch positions from feeding to drilling based on success or failure in the drill. 

This video (the sixth), Pickleball 3rd Shot Drill | "2 & 1" Drill, covers shots from the dink to the 3rd shot drop. To set up the drill, both players start at the NVZ line on opposite sides of the net but in the same half of the court. This drilling game will use only 1/2 of the court for boundaries. 

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Options: Step Back or in the Air

You can't judge my choices without knowing my reasoning...

Pickleball is a series of choices. Players have options about how to approach a shot - backhand or forehand. They have a choice of type of shot - drive, drop, or lob. They have a choice of targets - crosscourt or down the line. These are only some examples. Depending on the advice followed by the player, some choices are minimized. Such is the lure of experts whose advice adheres to what worked for them or the most technically correct strategy. This post is the first of a series offering options to traditional thoughts. It can either make your pickleball life either easier or harder. The choice is yours.

One of my earlier posts, Dinking Secrets to Success, discussed 3 techniques to win the dink game. Two elements had similar reasoning - reduce the time for your opponent to react. The first technique discussed in the video is the one for which an alternative will be presented. In the video (shown below), top player and coach Steve Dawson explains that taking the ball in the air when possible is the best choice.

Monday, December 11, 2017

What Advice Should You Consider?

Trust what you see, not what you hear...

A recent Pickleball Forum discussion got me thinking. I contributed a couple of comments to the discussion and wanted to show them to readers of this blog. But, more importantly, it brought to mind a couple of issues. The first is whose advice should you trust. The person who started the discussion seemed to imply that consideration of any pickleball advice should be related to the advice-giver's skill level. It later was apparent that it was more of a rant than his actual thoughts. But a great discussion ensued. That issue and discussion is the subject of this post.

A second issue will be addressed in a series of posts to follow.  I will not say too much here except that different coaches advise different techniques or strategies for a given situation. How do you know which option to choose? We will discuss some of those situations.

For now, though, let's address the Forum discussion from my perspective. Here was the kick-off post:
Suggestion: If you're giving pickleball play advice/instruction on the forum, put your skill level in parenthesis at the end of your post/comment so people who don't know any better can estimate how big a grain of salt to take your advice with. I see a LOT of questionable advice on the forum and don't have the time/motivation to respond as often as I would like to. Thanks in advance.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Saturday, December 9, 2017

November Beginner Clinic Photos

Experts start as beginners...

A beginner pickleball clinic was recently held at the Henderson County Athletics and Activity Center. Four players were introduced to the game by Henderson County USAPA ambassador Deb Romaine and local volunteer extraordinaire Larry Formicella.

With only 4 players and 2 courts, I was able to pull players away to work on specific problems. I had a great time and the players seemed to appreciate the individualized attention. All players were enthusiastic about pickleball and greatly appreciative of the instructions by Larry, as am I.

Some pictures of the clinic follow.

Friday, December 8, 2017

3rd Shot Drop Drill

Make drills fun...

This post is another in the series of Jordan Briones' drills. As with his other videos, he makes this drill a game. This makes what otherwise can be a task into a fun exercise, meaning we all are more likely to do it. 

The fifth video, Pickleball 3rd Shot Drill | "0 to 60" Drill, covers the 3rd shot drop. To set up the drill, one player (the feeder) starts at the NVZ line and the other player (the driller) starts at the opposite baseline but in the same half of the court. This drilling game will use only 1/2 of the court for boundaries.