Relishing Pickleball: Evaluate Your Game and Improve

David Zapatka


* Watch your opponents during pregame warmups to discover weaknesses and tendencies. Be sure you notice if they are right-handed or left-handed.

* Be patient. Take your time. Learn to dink the ball cross court and straight ahead.

* Play soft. Hit the ball hard only when you have proper timing and the ball is high enough.

* Closely watch your opponent’s paddle hit the ball. Paying close attention will tell you how fast the return will be and where it’s directed.

* Hit to the opponents’ weakness on the court. This will generally be at the opponents’ feet or backhand.

* Learn to hit drop shots just over the net from the baseline. Use this weapon when your opponents are at the non-volley line. Don’t use it when your opponents are near the baseline. When they’re deep, keep them deep.

* When your opponent sets up to hit the ball, stop moving and get in the ready position. You will find it much easier to hit the ball when you are set and there is no movementfeet, hands, arms, or head.

* Practice with a friend to improve your weaknesses.

Improve with these tips:

* Talk with your partner. Always communicate whose ball it is when the ball is in the middle.

* Learn to dink. Yes, this shot is very important to your improvement.

* Give the wind some consideration. It does affect the flight of the ball.

* Pickleball is a game of footwork. Get into position before hitting the ball.

* Doubles is a partnership game. Allow your partner to shine!

* Pickleball is won at the net. Get to the non-volley zone and keep your opponents back.

* Become less predictable. Vary your shots.

* Learn the third-shot drop shot. This shot is necessary to improve.

* Make all your serves and returns.

* Always be prepared. Don’t run through your shots.

Have a question about pickleball? Want to know more about the sport, the rules, equipment, or have some pickilicious news you would like to share with our pickleball community? Email David Zapatka at [email protected].