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Tuesday, May 30, 2017

The Illegal Server - One Tactic

Psychology in sports makes people crazy...

Last week I posted a Mark Renneson video about pickleball stereotypes. Readers probably thought that was a fun video but that nothing would come of it. Actually, a lot of discussions can be provoked by the behaviors shown. Today, we will start with a discussion of dealing with an illegal server. Jeff Napier has written about a ploy he successfully used on one occasion in his article A Bit of Psychology.

A Bit of Psychology

Correcting An Opponent’s Problem

Pickleball for me is normally about fun, and building skill, but I’m not above a psychological trick or two when it makes sense. A couple of years ago, I tried something that worked well, so I’ll pass it along:

This is going to cost you a point, but may win many points shortly thereafter.

There was a player who was going way too far with the “Arizona serve.” This is the kind of serve which is much more of a forehand than an underhand serve. As you know, the pickleball rules call for the ball to be hit below the waist, or more specifically, below bellybutton height, with an underhand stroke or at least with the hand below the wrist (if that can be done with anything other than an underhand stroke). In serious competition, a forehand serve would be called a fault, but in much of modern pickleball, it is considered OK. But today, this person was winning points on an aggressive serve. Or at least putting some players in a position where their returns were less than ideal.

So early in a game I purposely served a ball with a too-high forehand stroke, then immediately stopped the play, calling a fault on myself.

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