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Thursday, March 15, 2018


I need more space...

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. This week's tip talks about influence.

When receiving a ball, you want to think about creating or maintaining space between yourself and the ball.

Adequate spacing allows you to perform the shot more efficiently and effectively. Don't allow yourself to get jammed by a ball too close to your stance. On the other hand, don't allow a ball to get too far away so you lose balance leaning over for it.

The goal is to maintain as strong of a posture as possible so you may send the ball back with as much control and accuracy as you're able. Proper spacing is the best way to ensure this.

Additionally, think of the space of the ball over the net. Obviously, you can't hit the ball too low. As Badger says, you must "respect the net." But you also can't afford to hit the ball too high unless you're hitting a lob on purpose. Be aware of the space over the net you would like to hit the ball. Some of the worst advice ever is "just get it over the net!" because you'll often overcompensate by hitting the ball too high.

You can, and should, be thinking about doing much better than that. Most dinks and third shot drops and drives ought to stay fairly low over the net or else you're asking for trouble.

The other day I played with a lady in rec games who very rarely hit the ball in the net yet hit nearly every ball quite high over the net right into the strike zone of our opponents. Needless to say, our opponents had a field day blasting balls right back at us. My teammate couldn't figure out what was wrong because after all, she was "getting it in". She clearly wasn't aware of the spacing necessary to keep the ball down away from our opponents.

Next time you play, think about keeping appropriate spacing between yourself and the ball as well as spacing of the ball over the net and see if the quality of your shots improve.

Til next time, think space and keep reppin'!


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