Today’s Tuesday Tip is brought to you from Tony Roig with In2Pickle.
“A quick tip about how to avoid this pickleball error. This error tends to happen during return of serve and during third shots; players will rush in towards the incoming ball. In addition to causing errors it actually makes the incoming shot faster. Let the ball peak and then strike it. You will reduce your errors and gain more control over your shots.”
Lastly, we have this video from Mark Renneson at Third Shot Sports who offers his opinion and reasons why he feels the “Paddle Up” mantra that is repeated so often by many coaches to beginner pickleball players is not necessarily good advice …and may actually be creating bad habits that are detrimental to your pickleball game!
The video does a great job showing many examples of top-level players who do NOT keep their paddle up high. In fact, some of the clips show them consistently holding your pickleball paddle at waist height or even below –down near their thighs while in the ready position waiting to return the next shot. Mark also explains that keeping your paddle too high will elevates your center of gravity which makes it difficult to move quickly.
It may be a matter of compromise, some players are willing to give up some paddle readiness to have a lower center of gravity and move better on the court.
Sarah Ansboury introduces a concept she calls “PaddleTracking” to use the pickleball paddle to track the ball while it’s in play. She likes to think of her paddle as a heat-seeking missile. I really liked that description, I’ve tried this out in practice and find the visualization really does help keep me on the ball better.
Sarah points out that one of the keys is good body positioning, keeping your body high (not bent over) and pickleball paddle held high and out in front of you while constantly pointing the paddle at the ball and shifting your body weight as the pickleball ball moves around the court. Maximize use of your shoulder, not elbow and wrist!
This helps you keep engaged in the game and brain and body connected. This is also a great strategy for poaching as it helps you get in position and anticipate the shots! “Poach Like A Pro”!
Proper paddle position is a key skill in pickleball. Having your paddle in a good “Ready Position” can reduce the time it takes you to perform your return shot and reduce your percentage of errors.
Whether we get tired or lazy, it’s easy to let your paddle drop to your side especially later in the game when you are starting to feel fatigued. While a simple reminder to keep your paddle can help kick the bad habit a bit, there are some much better strategies that you can implement to go beyond the simple advice of keeping the paddle up and ready.
Many times, beginner pickleball players are told to keep the paddle at the 12:00 position (imagine a clock) straight at the net and then transition to 9:00 for backhand shots. Although this works for many players, it can create some weakness that opponents can easily take advantage of. Many players get into trouble when the ball comes over their weak side shoulder (left side for right-handed players) and they flip or turn the paddle into weird positions rather than hitting a solid backhand.
Another problem on the 9:00 position is the elbow comes out from their torso and up (“chicken wing”). Simone recommends adjusting the ready position to 10 and 2 o’clock with elbows tucked, hands in and belly button high. This body positioning enables Simone to cover 75% of her shots and easily transition from forehand to backhand shots and eliminates the awkward “chicken wing”.
Great video and great advice Simone! Watch the full video here:
For a long time, many of us have been told, forehand takes the middle. But, is that always a good idea?
In this first video, Tony Roig at In2Pickle explains the “X” .
“We are always looking to gain a strategic edge in pickleball. Understanding the “X” can help you determine which player on the serving team should handle the third shot after the ball has been returned. The “X” is not a one-size-fits-all concept, but rather a concept to be understood and applied as part of a well-rounded approach to the game.”
In the follow up video below, Tony dives in deeper. “Understanding and respecting the “X” is a critical skill to learn if you want to improve your pickleball doubles play. We also look at keeping the ball away from your body as you hit your third shot. These are critical pickleball skills to improve your game.
This is part of our Project 4.0 point breakdown video series where we break down a pickleball point to look at optimal and not as optimal play so that we can improve our games.”
And now onto Part 2. This video shows real game situations that highlight the “X” in action.