Pickleball SKILLS & DRILLS – by Nancy Stern

Serve & Return of Serve
Two MOST IMPORTANT POINTS:
• Keep the ball in play – can’t win point if you serve or return the serve out.
• Hit the serve and return of serve deep to baseline (slower return gives you more time to get to the Non-Volley Zone (NVZ)).

Dink shot at the NVZ & footwork
Two MOST IMPORTANT POINTS:
• Soft touch – face paddle head to floor and use bowling motion to place ball
• Control – keep stiff wrist and follow through to the target
• Step in & out quickly at NVZ

3rd shot Drop & lob
Two MOST IMPORTANT POINTS:
• Keep the ball in play – can’t win point if drop is out or in net
• Target in front of NVZ – make your opponent move
• Lob – Get ball high & control – use height & soft touch (diagonal lob gives more distance for the shot)

Forehand
Two MOST IMPORTANT POINTS
• Patience – you have more time than you think, breathe
• Placement – point shoulder at target and follow through (hit 4 consecutive balls)

Backhand
Two MOST IMPORTANT POINTS
• Patience – you have more time than you think, breathe
• Placement – point shoulder at target and follow through (hit 4 consecutive balls)

Game Strategy
• Get the ball over the net = 50% chance of winning rally
• Hit high % shots to reduce UNFORCED ERRORS, don’t make your goal a winning shot
• Placement over power – think target, where you will put the ball
• Patience Grasshopper – >70% of your points come from opposition error
• Move around court with your partner – think of an elastic band
• Communication – talk to partner (mine-yours-up, etc.)
• Have fun – be a good sport, call lines fairly. If in doubt, ball is in!!

Ten easiest ways to LOSE a game
Here is what Coach “Mo” says are 10 ways to guarantee that you will LOSE more Pickleball games than you WIN.

1. FREQUENTLY miss your serve.
2. FREQUENTLY miss your return of serve.
3. HELP your opponents by keeping their OUT balls in play.
4. When your opponent hits a very difficult FAST shot at you, try and hit a low percentage sharp angled shot for a winner rather than a DEFENSIVE shot.
5. Take away your PARTNER’S easy forehand shots, with your weaker backhand shots.
6. Get upset with your Excellent Pickleball partner who has SUCCESSFULLY jumped in front of you to win the point!
7. Do NOT keep the ball at your opponents feet as much as possible.
8. Do NOT play up to the No Volley Zone line.
9. Hit the ball TOO FAST for good placement, and do NOT give yourself enough leeway for error.
10. Take TOO MANY sharp angle shots rather than high percentage shots down the middle of the court that bounces between your opponents.

Steps to Mental Toughness

(Adapted from: Dr. Jim Loehr & Ken Wasserman)

1. Focus – pick a spot (i.e. ball)
2. Rituals – examine & practice your rituals
3. Pace – develop sense of pace and follow it
4. Breathe – synchronize breathing
5. Positive Intensity – practice & play with intensity
6. Confident Image – project a ‘fighters’ image
7. Relaxation/Timing – stay loose
8. Managing Mistakes – look the same, replay correct shot
9. No Negative Talk – change thoughts to positive ones
10. Have Fun – enjoy the game, smile
11. Positive Attitude – keep strong positive attitude
12. Paddle Up – stay up emotionally, hold up paddle head
PLAY HARD !!

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What it takes to play High Level Pickleball