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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.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Do the Unexpected

Body language gives away tendencies...

Being predictable is a good thing in certain activities - like driving a car. Predictability in pickleball is not a good opponents can better anticipate shots, position themselves early, and make more effective shots. We have learned some deceptive techniques but the strategy goes beyond those. Sarah Ansboury talks about that strategy in her article called Pickleball Choices, Sometimes Hit the Unexpected, from which an excerpt is shown below.

Pickleball Choices:  Problem or Benefit

Of course, too many pickleball options may be a major stressor in your game. Some studies suggest that the human mind is actually able to think of four things at once. If you have four targets in mind as you are striking the ball, it is likely your body won’t produce any of those as a result.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Be Unpredictable through Deception

Body language gives away tendencies...

I hope that the previous 2 days of posts have shown that watching your opponent for clues about shot direction can potentially be problematic. Players use their bodies to send false clues and use deception to their advantage. Morgan Shepherd showed 3 different deception techniques in yesterday's post. There are even more that he did not show. Today, we will view a video from called Unpredictable that shows deception used in actual play.

The first shot in the video is one shown by Morgan - the hard short off a short backswing.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Disguise Your Shot

Body language gives away tendencies...

Last week's series was about watching your opponent to get clues from his body and paddle language to determine where his shot was going. It really is a great theory and will against most players most of the time. But players learn that they are giving away their shots and can start to use their body language as a weapon. This is the deception or misdirection mentioned by Aspen Kern in  Aspen's Advice: Body Language and More. It is a topic we broached yesterday and will discuss more deeply this week.

The subject of today's post is disguising the shot by using similar body position and swings while executing different shots. The Pickleball Channel created a video with Morgan Evans titled 3 Ways to Disguise Your Attack and Win the Point that illustrates some techniques.

Monday, August 28, 2017

The Key to Shot Direction

Body language gives away tendencies...

Last week's series was about watching your opponent to get clues from his body and paddle language to determine where his shot was going. Some of the suggestions included watching the direction of the lead shoulder, watching the toes, or watching the paddle face. Today's post will be a short one to show some of the myths of shot-making in order to set a base from which to grow our discussion.

The topic today is the element of the shot-making that determines direction - the angle of the paddle face. I will use a Mark Renneson video called Controlling the direction of groundstrokes in Pickleball to illustrate that concept.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Offbeat Sunday - Pickleball Cakes

Stressed spelled backwards is desserts...

I love dessert. I especially love cake. And I love pickleball. I want a pickleball cake.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Temporary Nets

Everything is temporary - especially these darned nets...

Everyone loves dedicated courts. All you have to do is walk onto the court and start to play. Unfortunately, too many of us have to play with temporary nets that must be assembled before play and dissembled after play. Its a real pain. Just imagine how beginners must feel. They not only have to learn the game, especially the crazy scoring, but they have to learn the net procedures. Luckily for us, our friends in Atlanta have prepared a video showing a quick and easy process.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Watch Your Opponent

Body language gives away tendencies...

So far we've heard from Aspen Kern and Prem Carnot on the topic of getting clues from your opponent. A topic like this would be incomplete without the thoughts of Sarah Anboury. She has an article with the RV Picklers called 3 Keys to Look For: Watching Your Opponent from which the following excerpts are taken.

Keep Your Head Up

A big reason people struggle to see what is in front of them is their posture. Often players dip their heads. If you are bobbing up and down, often because of excess movement, it is difficult to see the court in front of you. So my first piece of advice is to keep your chest and your head up. We want to look at our opponents, determine what they are doing and when it is best to attack. Here are some keys to look for:

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Predict the Shot

Body language gives away tendencies...

Yesterday's post was Aspen Kern's advice about reading body language to get cues about your opponent's shot. Today we will continue that topic with another view of the topic with more specific recommendations. This post will include excerpts from 2 Prem Carnot articles.

Prem's first article briefly discusses the options available to a player in order to analyze the direction of his opponent's shot before it is moving toward him. This article is titled How to play pickleball: Determining the direction of the shot.

QUESTION: When receiving a shot from my opponent, should I be watching the ball, the position of their paddle, or the the position of their shoulders?

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Aspen's Advice: Body Language and More

Body language gives away tendencies...

I had an article about deception all queued up and ready to go. Then Aspen Kern posted a one of his advice pieces in the Pickleball Forum that I thought would be a good lead-in. Below is Aspen's advice. We'll branch out from here over the next couple of days.

Aspen's Advice

Get in the habit of watching your opponents as they get ready to hit the ball. There is body language and there is paddle language. If you pay attention to their body mechanics as they are preparing to hit the ball, several things will let you know where they are planning to hit. Their feet,

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Lake Lure Olympiad Pickleball Tournament Results

You earn medals at practice. You just pick them up at tournaments...

The Luke Lure tournament was completed last week and lots of local players were participants. The results are shown below. Photos are from Facebook.

Men’s Doubles 3.0
Gold: Anthony Butera and Joseph Clarke
Silver: Kevin McCarthy and John Middlethon
Bronze: Andrew Dills and Jeremy Simpson

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Offbeat Sunday - Trailer Hitch Covers

If you're seeing this, then the trailer fell off...

My car has a trailer hitch with the dealer's name on the cover. I am tired of giving him free advertising and would prefer something more personal. Well, the name of this bog is A Pickleball Life, after all, so...can it be obvious what I should have? I just did not realize there were so many choices.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Don't Strangle Your Paddle

Rip and tear and strangle the grip...

There are times when a stranglehold grip is appropriate...such as mountain climbing or climbing a rope. But pickleball is not one of those times. This is something with which I still struggle in cometition. During warm-ups and hitting practice, I can lightly grip the paddle and consistently hit soft shots time after time. But that consistency changes as the intensity of a real game increases. My grip on the paddle seems to tighten and results are deeper drop shots and dinks. That is not good for either me or my partner.

I have read and heard coaches talk about a grip tension scale of 1-10 and associate specific shots with points on that scale. Shorter and softer shots are on the low end as the grip should be looser in order to absorb more of the ball's energy. Longer but soft shots, like a drop shot, should be somewhere in the middle of the scale as the ball must have some energy to cover greater distances. A groundstroke hit with power requires maximum energy and the grip should be tightest on these shots.

Sarah Ansboury wrote about her ideas on grip tension in a blog titled Check Your Grip Pressure. An excerpt from that article is shown below.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Peaked Peformance - an Update

The worst thing most of us do is aim too low...

I posted an article called Peaked Performance back in February. The following is a re-post of much of that article with a couple of additions based on some new and interesting information.

Readers might be wondering what in the world the title of this post means. People may have heard of "peak performance" but have certainly never heard of "peaked performance". That is because I just coined the phrase.

Peak performance is defined online as:
...the zone of optimal functioning and flow. It refers to a moment when an individual puts it all together, when they are in the zone, when everything flows, and when they achieve an exceptional performance.
In other words, peak performance can be attained at any point in life...when skill and luck coincide to create a situation where a player performs as well as he can - given his talent and condition. That doesn't mean that a player has peaked, though. A variable like technique can be improved through study and practice. A variable like conditioning can be improved through diet and exercise.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Paddle Position

Be ready for everything to be ready for anything...

Back in May I wrote a series of articles about the height of the paddle in the ready position. It concluded with What is the Proper Paddle Position? One part of the paddle position I did not discuss in that series was the direction that the paddle face should be held.

Below is the an image from a previous post that shows 2 extremes of the paddle position. The position on the left is perpendicular to the body and the position on the right is parallel to the body.

Simone Jardim and the Pickleball Channel have a new video called Minimizing Mistakes with Paddle Position by Simone Jardim in which she discusses her approach to paddle position.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Protect Your Shoulder

Sometimes we can avoid injuries by practicing techniques...

It seems the primary injury among my recreational group is the shoulder. Some have resorted to surgery whiles others have improved through rehab and rest. But the best solution is to prevent injury in the first place. Barbara Wintroub and the RV Picklers had an article discussing shoulder injuries called How to Prevent Pickleball Shoulder Injuries. An excerpt from the article is shown below. The entire article can be read at the link.

Prevent Pickleball Shoulder Injuries

Wouldn’t it be better to prevent these sorts of pickleball shoulder injuries?  In the video before, I show how posture, specifically the proper positioning of one’s shoulders, can minimize the incidence of shoulder injuries.  I also demonstrate simple exercises to improve your posture and shoulder position.

If you are currently under treatment for a shoulder injury, please review the video with your health professional before embarking on this or any other exercise program.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

2017 Gate City Picklefest Results

You earn medals at practice. You just pick them up at tournaments...

Jaynie Tank went to Greensboro, NC to participate in the 2017 Gate City Picklefest held August 5-6. Photos are from Facebook.

Jaynie and Sandra Stewart went 0-3 in Women's Doubles (19+, 4.5-5.0) and won the bronze medal.

Congratulations Sandra and Jaynie!

Well done Jaynie!

Monday, August 14, 2017

Re-gripping a Paddle

When getting a grip is literal...

I needed to get a grip. I mean I literally needed to get a new grip because mine was worn out. I had re-gripped tennis racquets a long time ago and put over-wraps on pickleball paddles. I am comfortable with doing a re-grip successfully. But conversations with fellow players taught me that others are not as comfortable. Therefore, I decided to show my method here.

First, let's look at the necessary materials.

Yep, that's it. You need your paddle and the new grip. Everything you need to install the new grip is in the package.

There is one exception that I didn't include in the photograph. My handle is shorter than normal so I needed to cut off some of the grip at the top. I used a pair of scissors so have a pair at the ready just in case.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Offbeat Sunday: Peppy and TMI

Some personal thoughts are best left unsaid...

Aspen Kern manages the Pickleball Forum and contributes a character he has created - Peppy the Pickle. Sometimes Peppy is a little too open. 

Saturday, August 12, 2017

2017 United States Clay Court Pickleball Championships Results

You earn medals at practice. You just pick them up at tournaments...

Paul Coletta was another traveler and went to Lafayette Hill, PA to participate in the 2017 United States Clay Court Pickleball Championships held August 3-6. Photos are from Facebook.

Paul went 3-2 in Men's Singles (50+, 4.0+) and won the bronze medal.

Congratulations Paul!

Well done Paul!