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Thursday, April 19, 2018

Playing Net Cord Balls

Be ready for anything...

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 being ready when a ball hits the top of the net.

Scenario: You see the ball coming toward your side of the net, but right at the level of the tape. How do you keep ready and not get caught off guard or be surprised by the "snap" against the tape? How do you make a play on the ball when it hits the tape?

First, make sure you are in an athletic stance, with your weight evenly distributed on the balls of your feet, your knees are flexed, your shoulders are not hunched over, and your chin is up. Your body will then be better prepared for any shot that comes your way.

Second, track the ball with your eyes and your paddle. Understand that a ball moving very fast (drive) can react differently than a ball that's moving slower (drop shot).

Third, simply be quick to respond mentally and physically. You can't always tell ahead of time whether the ball will either dribble over or pop up a bit higher. However, it is much more likely to dribble over off of a drop shot attempt than a drive, which can lift up off the tape- in which case you may let the ball sail past as it could go long.

If you have a good ready position, your paddle is out front and prepared, you track the ball with your eyes, and have a decent understanding of how the ball might react after hitting the tape, you'll be less surprised and more ready to make a play on a ball that has hit the tape.

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