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Sunday, April 22, 2018

Recycle Sunday - Moving as a Team - Let's Stay Together

A blast from the past...

This week's Recycle Sunday article was originally published January 14, 2016.


Everyone has heard the saying "Two heads are better than one". In pickleball, two players are better than one...if they play as a team. Pickleball is a game of quick shots and strategy. A team must be properly positioned to to account for both factors in order to maximize the probability of winning a rally.

Before beginning the discussion of team positioning, let's review the court dimensions.
The court width is 20 feet. Simple math says that leaves 10 feet per partner to cover. An average player has a wingspan of approximately 6 feet. With the ability to take a step, a player may be able to cover an additional 2 feet against a quick shot. That means a maximum of 8 feet per player or 16 feet total can be covered, leaving at least 4 feet of the court minimally defended on every shot. 

That math leads to the prevailing strategy of teams forming a "wall" covering 2/3 of the court width. The wall is formed by partners moving together - forward and back as well as side-to-side - about 6-7 feet apart. Imagine that you and your partner are linked together with a pole. When he moves right or left, you also must move right or left the same distance. When he moves up or back, you also must move up or back. The wall moves together.

This is true on nearly every shot. Exceptions would include defending a lob, which will be discussed in a separate post. Another exception is when one partner is forced to chase a ball well off the court. In that case, the other partner should remain near mid-court to try to defend the next return.

The next few posts will focus on very specific team positioning strategies. But all of them will be based on the basic premises of:
  1. Setting up a wall 6-7 feet apart
  2. Moving together in almost all situations.
The following video from called Covering court highlights these concepts. It even includes a brief segment with Hendersonville's own Paul Coletta.

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