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.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Pace or Place?

Good shots come to those who wait...

Last Saturday's post - You're Winning but Haven't Won - was yet another reminder of the patience needed to get an attackable ball...and to continue to hit unattackable balls. Today's post is a different version of that same theme. It is based on a short conversation I had with a player who is still learning the game.

I normally play indoors. But I try to get outdoors when I can in order to practice for the upcoming outdoor tournaments. I had an opportunity to play at my home-club courts on an unusually warm day recently. Many players there are new to the game in the last year so I use some of my play to get used to outdoor conditions while I work on specific shots. With other players still learning the intricacies of strategies and techniques, I get lots of questions.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018


Make practice fun...

Jordan Briones Primetime video series returns to its fun drilling with the video Pickleball Dingles Game | Dink Consistency with Simone Jardim. As the title suggests, Simone Jardim is the guest "instructor" who teaches the drill. 

There are 2 versions of Dingles. In the first version, 4 players are in their normal positions at the NVZ line. Using 2 balls, each crosscourt partner hits dinks within the NVZ and in the imaginary crosscourt half of the NVZ.

Monday, February 26, 2018

2018 Asheville-Buncombe Senior Games Registration

Beer City...

Registration is now open for the Asheville-Buncombe Senior Games. The pickleball tournament will be held Saturday, April 28 at Shiloh Center.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Saturday, February 24, 2018

You're Winning but Haven't Won

Good shots come to those who wait...

This blog has covered the issues of patience and attackable balls many times. However, it continues to amaze me how many players - even at 4.0+ - continue to make poor decisions on marginal balls. If a ball is within 6 inches of the top of the net and near or behind the NVZ line, they often choose to drive the ball. It does work occasionally but many times the ball is driven into the net.

I probably would not write about this topic again if only others were culprits. But I fall into the trap set by others in these games. So I am writing this to remind myself about the right approach. If it helps others, that's a great side effect.

Friday, February 23, 2018

CPR / AED Emergency Response Refresher

Save a life...

I have read several recent posts where pickleball players had heart attacks. Some survived. Others were not so fortunate. It is never too late to be reminded of the process to help save a life. Today's video is titled CPR / AED Emergency Response Refresher.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

The Importance of Proper Technique

Hard work and proper technique will beat bad technique every time...

Daniel Joseph (DJ) Howard is an IPTPA instructor in Michigan. He is also a member of the Pickleball Forum where he offers a weekly tip. DJ has kindly agreed to allow me to include his Forum tips on this blog. Last week's tip - "It works for me" - was about the importance of biomechanics. This week's tip takes it to the next level in a discussion of proper technique.

DJ's weekly tip: (FYI, this one is long and I contemplated breaking it into 3 parts, but figured y'all could handle it.)

Tip: Yes, good (proper) technique (still) matters. A lot.

This week's tip is a piggyback of last week's tip on biomechanics being important.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Pickleball and the Olympics Question

Its a matter of when, not if...

Every time the Olympics roll around the question of pickleball as an Olympic sport comes up. The Pickleball Channel video Pickleball in the Olympics?  | Pickleball News Update provides some insight.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Fundamental Positioning at the NVZ Line

Getting the fundamentals right...

The Jordan Briones Primetime video series continues with fundamental advice. Today's post uses his video Pickleball | How To Dominate The Net to discuss positioning and footwork at the Non-Volley Zone line.

The discussion is focused on techniques after all players are established at the NVZ. There are 2 main concepts to remember. Each is discussed below.

1. Establish yourself right at the line. Not a foot back. Not even 6 inches away. Right at the line.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Some Pickleball History

The more things change, the more they stay the same...

A Facebook friend manages the Port Townsend Pickleball group page. He has been digging into some of the history of pickleball and found some really interesting pieces. He posted one last week - a Sports Illustrated article from 1997. An excerpt from the article is shown below. I encourage anyone interested in the history of pickleball to visit the Facebook page linked above.


By L. Jon Wertheim
Feb. 10, 1997

After slicing an underhand serve deep to the forehand of my opponent, Vickie Nawfel, I made a headlong dash to the net to put away a delicious floater, just as the tennis coaches of my youth had taught. But this was not tennis, and my full-swing volley resembled nothing Pete Sampras ever hit. The ball, which was perforated, fluttered and then finally landed two feet away from Nawfel, who calmly lobbed it over my head.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Offbeat Sunday: Peppy and Relationships

Pickles are hard to love...

It has been a while since we heard from Peppy. Since Valentine's Day was this past week, he opened up about his relationships.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Pickleball for 6?

It is not a menage a trois...

I am always looking for new ways to have fun on the pickleball court. I came across a game called "Mortimer" pickleball. This is the description I found:

Mortimer is the third person on each team. Mortimer plays in the middle and usually gets the deep balls - lobs. Mortimer cannot return the serve but once it is returned can play anywhere, usually to back up the first two players. If one of the two makes a mistake - loses the rally then they become Mortimer! If Mortimer messes up they stay Mortimer.

Friday, February 16, 2018

More on Balls

See the ball, hit the ball, the brand doesn't matter...

I wrote an article last week about playing with 4 different outdoor balls - Playing with Four Different Balls. Sarah Ansboury had a recent article on her blog that discusses balls from the perspective of a tennis player. Whether that applies to you or not, she makes some great points.

Tennis Balls vs Pickleballs…There are Differences

During our stay in Florida this month I realized there is something former tennis players need to realize about pickleballs. You see tennis balls and pickleballs are not the same.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Land of the Sky Flyer

It takes real planning to organize this kind of chaos...

Finally! A flyer.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

"It works for me"

Hard work and proper technique will beat bad technique every time...

Most readers have not been following this blog since the beginning. I started the blog soon after I discovered pickleball. One purpose was to chronicle my learning experience. As a former tennis and racqetball player, I was able to learn pickleball very quickly. That early success made me a little hard-headed, though. I was able to beat many players by playing my way - grip, hitting technique, footwork, and strategies were all meaningless. "It works for me" was all I knew.

Then I started studying the game. I watched videos. I watched matches. I read everything I could get my hands on. I started to change my game. Many of the changes have been discussed in these pages. But I still experience the "it works for me" attitude...with students at my clinics. I used to show proper techniques but ended the demonstration segment with a statement similar to "whatever works for you". But I gave that up a long time ago. Instead, I now show the proper technique and explain the limitations of failure to adhere. I can't force anyone to adjust. But I can let them know how they will ultimately fail.

All of that is an introduction to the substance of today's post. I have used some tips from DJ Howard, an IPTPA instructor in Michigan in the past. This is a particularly good one.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Keys to Dinking Success

Getting the fundamentals right...

The Jordan Briones Primetime video series takes a turn away from drills in today's post. Instead, Jordan provides some great advice in his video Pickleball Dink | 5 Keys to Successful Dinking

The 5 keys are:
1. The Grip
2. Swing Path
3. Use your legs
4. Net clearance
5. Hit it in the kitchen

We will go over these in detail below.

Monday, February 12, 2018

2018 Asheville Area Tournament Sponsor Sheets

It takes real planning to organize this kind of chaos...

It has been a while since I talked about the Land of the Sky tournament we are planning for the Asheville/Hendersonville area in July.  That does not mean that work has not been happening. We have been working with graphics experts on promotional materials among other things. We recently finalized the packages we will leave after discussing sponsorship opportunities with local businesses. Below is the entire package for the hospitality industry - hotels, restaurants, retail, wineries, breweries, etc.

Before I show the package, I would ask for your help. If you know of any business that would benefit from association with this major pickleball event, please let me know.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Offbeat Sunday - Caption This - The Shirt

An image is only enhanced by a caption...

Time to go to the Pickleball Forum again for Offbeat Sunday material. Another photo to caption.

  • Oh. Hope nobody heard that. Probably shouldn’t have had those beans last night.
  • The other side of my paddle says ‘This is my Pickleball paddle’....just so everyone is clear...
  • I thought it was going to bounce as high as a tennis ball.
  • Next time, I won’t be afraid to “stick my neck out” to make a winning return!
  • Oops! Had my sights too high and missed the ball.
  • Ooh little ball, this smash is going to hurt you!
  • This game was much easier before they added the ball!
  • When you have your favorite shirt on and miss the ball look
  • Oh you want me to hit that little yellow ball?
  • I think I made this paddle too small.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Rule Changes - 10-Second Rule

Rules were made to be broken, no, what???

Earlier this week, I wrote my notes from the USAPA Ambassador Retreat seminar on the 2018 rule changes. As with all rules, some players will always test the boundaries. It appears that has already started with regard to the 10-second rule, at least based on some anecdotes from Facebook. Before I get to that, let's review the notes from the retreat on the subject.

10 Second Rule

Once the referee has determined that the receiving player is ready (or should be ready), the referee calls the score. This starts the 10-second period in which the server must serve or a fault will be called. After the score is called, only 2 instances allow a stoppage of the 10-second count. The first is a legitimate hindrance such as a ball on the court. The second is a time out. However, a time out cannot be called after the service motion starts. No other scenario exists in which a receiver can be become not ready.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Playing with Four Different Balls

See the ball, hit the ball, the brand doesn't matter...

I recently returned home from a trip through Florida. Along the way I played some pickleball. The interesting part is that I got to play with 4 different balls. The Villages supplies only Dura Fast 40 balls to its courts but I also played with Onix Pure 2 balls in a private game with friends. At the USAPA Ambassador Retreat, Franklin graciously supplied its X-40 balls for all play. But Onix was also a vendor sponsor and provided a few sample Fuse balls for test play. This post is my comparison of the 4 balls.

Onix Pure 2

Everyone knows the pluses and minuses of this ball. It is the preferred ball for clubs because it rarely breaks. It is the devil incarnate to top-level players because it bounces too high and cannot be put away. I've always liked the way it came off the paddle. It was soft and easy to control. But I have also always hated that good shots aren't rewarded. But it is going away so these comments are relevant only to serve as a basis for comparison with other balls.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Controllables - Depth

Don't let opponents control you...

This is the fifth and last in a series from DJ Howard, an IPTPA instructor in Michigan. This post will include 2 of his Forum tips about the controllables of a pickleball. The first is an introduction to the series and the second focuses on the fifth controllable - depth.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Ambassador Retreat Photos

Living the good life at Club Med...

I have posted a couple of articles from the USAPA Ambassador Retreat. Today is all about photos. It wasn't all about pickleball either.

Photos are shamelessly stolen from others' Facebook pages.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Solo Dink Drill

Make practice fun...

The next video from Jordan Briones Primetime video series is for advanced players. It will work on touch, footwork, and conditioning. It is a drill done alone so it is good to practice when a drill partner is not available. The video is called Pickleball Solo Rally Challenge - How many can you hit?

The drill starts with a player standing outside the net post. The player taps a dink over the net and moves around the net post to dink it back. The player then keeps repeating the dink, run around the post, and dink routine until an error.

The next 3 images show the positioning.