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Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Targeting: The Experts on Defending 3rd Shot Drops

Be sure to positively identify your target before hitting the ball...

I would like to again reinforce the concepts in my article with advice from experts. Today's post will discuss the experts view of targeting options after a 3rd shot drop.

Prem Carnot's article When to Hit a Hard Ball Soft in Pickleball, while not about 3rd shot drops, explains the strategy of choices depending on the opponents' positions.
I often suggest that you hit the ball hard when you want to keep your opponents at the back and on the defense. So when you are receiving a hard shot, it’s the same thing.  If they are hitting to you from the back of the court, keep hitting the ball hard at them.  This will help you keep them on the back line and on on the defense.
When your opponents are UP at the non-volley line though, and hitting the ball hard at you, this is when you want to return with a soft shot.  This is the case when it’s time for you to soften that ball so that you can actually take control of the point.
So remember, hit a hard ball hard when your opponents are back and soft when they’re up front.

Joe Baker's video Doubles Pickleball Strategy 201 - Dinking Strategy is a great video to clarify the targets for a dink. I wrote about the video in Dinking Strategy - Part 1 and will repeat some of that article here.

Joe emphasizes the 3 targets to get opponents out of their comfort zone, as I previously wrote:
Beginning dinkers playing comparable opponents will have success using a dink that stays low and challenges players to hit a string of shots up and over the net. But as players advance, their goal should be to increase the stress on their opponents. One aspect of this is pushing the ball toward specific targets as described in Dink like the Pros. Another aspect is when to aim at these targets.

The 3 target areas are shown in the above photo. It should be emphasized that none of the targets are in the opponents comfort zones. All shots should require opponents to reach or move away from their original position.

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