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Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Aspen's Advice - No Man's Land

We will not get caught in no man's land...

Aspen Kern is the creator of the Pickleball Forum and often adds his thoughts on pickleball topics. Aspen is a top player in the game and knows what he is talking about, especially with regard to the way the game is changing and how to win. 

Aspen's Advice

NO MANS LAND REVISITED. People refer to the area between the kitchen line and the baseline as No Mans Land, this is a term that has carried over from tennis. Let's get one thing perfectly clear. Pickleball is NOT Tennis. If you fall into the trap of never getting caught in no mans land in Pickleball you are cutting off 2/3 rds of your playing area. 

Don't get me wrong, this area can leave you susceptible to some uncomfortable positions and shot selection but when you become comfortable in an uncomfortable situation you elevate your game by using shots from this area as a weapon, this advice admittedly is not for the lower level players but the 4.5 and 5.0 player needs to work on mastering the dreaded no mans land. 

Doing drills designed to increase your play in this area will give you confidence when approaching the net. A good drill to get started mastering this taboo area is to practice volleying with someone from no mans land to no mans land. Yep, I said it, practice volleying with a 25 foot distance between you and your drilling partner, this will build up your wrist strength and allow you to attack the ball from a distance most opponents have not seen. I like to attack the fifth ball that would normally land in the no man land, take it out of the air and be on the offense early. Being able to do this shot on the forehand and backhand side is a very valuable weapon to have in your arsenal. Especially after a 3rd shot blast that the opponent might happen to pop up nice and high. 

Another drill that I use is to have one person play at the kitchen line and try to hit balls at your feet as you play in no mans land, your job being to dig these out of the asphalt and gain control enough to advance to the line. This is where the split step is invaluable, by using the split step you can more easily advance in stages and not worry as much about getting to the net off one ball. 

If you make No man's land your friend it is no longer no mans land and you are free to play wherever you want and isn't that what America is all about!!!.

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