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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.

Ballers, here is your weekly tip:

There are several things you CANNOT control about a pickleball- color, size, shape (no dura jokes here, please), weight, density, among others.

Meanwhile, there are only five (5) characteristics of a pickleball you CAN control. Does anyone know what all five are without looking below?

Listed in no particular order, they are as follows: 
  • Direction
  • Height
  • Depth
  • Speed
  • Spin
Each week for the next five weeks I will break down each one of the five characteristics that you are able to control and explain it in more detail.

This week in practice, control what you can and don't worry about what you can't control.

Final installment of the flight characteristics line of tips! I know, some of you are sick of it already. Good thing for me, I don't care.  :)

Direction, Speed, Spin, and Height have already been discussed. Now the MOST IMPORTANT characteristic you can control about a ball is DEPTH.

Depth can be harder to track than height or direction, and oftentimes more difficult to control than any other characteristic including spin or speed.

Hitting deep is highly effective on serves as well as serve returns. But did you ever think to hit the ball "deep" to the kitchen line when you and your opponents are dinking back and forth? Think about the depth of your dinks to pull your opponent in closer and hit one deeper to push them back. Be intentional about it!

If you want to improve, you MUST learn to vary the depth of your shots to make it more difficult for your opponent to track and receive the ball well. While you cannot hit every ball toward the baseline, you should be thinking about hitting deep toward your opponent in relation to their position on the court. Deep shots most often land near your opponent's feet and can help prevent them from moving forward. Sometimes a short drop shot will open up as a result of pushing your opponent deep or vice versa.

The pros serve deep, return deep, and adjust the depth of their dinks for a reason - it works!

Practice controlling the depth of your shots next time you go out and practice or play. You will find that depth wins!

Go to Controllables - Direction to read part 1 of this series Controllables - Speed for part 2, Controllables - Spin for part 3, and Controllables - Height for part 4.

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