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This page includes pickleball related blog posts of all kinds, tips, drills, videos, etc. — ideas for teaching and learning the game of pickleball

 

Hanky Panky Elbow Target Drill

This drill focusses on how to get the idea of targeting the opponent's dominant elbow (in this case right) into your muscle memory so that you can hit to that awkward location more...

Drills to beat the Blender

I'm calling a rapid exchange of volleys when everyone is at at the no volley zone line "the Blender." And just like dropping a pickleball into a blender, you have no idea where the pieces may fly, or, more crucially, who will win the point. Winning the point in that...

Pole Dance Pickleball Stretch

This video shows a series of stretches that I like to do prior to playing tennis or pickleball. You will need a permanent net with a solid pole, as is typical on a tennis court, or on permanent pickleball...

The Pendulum Swing

This video describes the pendulum swing, the pickleball shot method recommended by the International Pickleball Teaching Professional Association...

Pickleball Rope Trick

This video presents a low-tech solution for gathering pickleballs together on the floor so they are easier to pick...

Pickle on a string

This is an idea for a teaching tool for beginners.

Protect Your Balls

This is a drill to give you the sense of protecting the area around your feet.The title is a bit of a joke, but the idea isn't. I describe this as the opposite of a foot fetish - you don't want anybody getting close to your feet. So, you keep your paddle forward,...

Do the Math

This video describes where to stand if you are receiving serve as the left side player in a pickleball doubles match, plus the logic and mathematical dimensions of the court to support these...

The Magic Wand

This video discusses the path of your paddle after you make contact with the ball on a dink. I call it the Magic Wand because, while the ball has already left your paddle, you act as if you are still controlling the ball in the air by raising the paddle, often to...

The Limp Biscuit Pickleball Grip

This video discusses a way of holding the paddle on third shot drops and dinks that tends to support a softer, more sensitive grip...

The Pickleball Shot Apex

This video discusses the concept of the optimal apex of the pickleball's flight as it is hit from the back court, mid court, and from the no volley zone line (the dink)....

The Aron Pickleball Shot

I asked Aron Yedersberger, an excellent ping pong player who has added pickleball to his list of racket sports along with tennis and (probably - his father was a champ) badminton, to show me how he hits his powerful pickleball drives, and made this slow-motion video....

Solitaire Pickleball Self-test Drill

I sent out an all-points bulletin this A.M., hoping for a game. The fact that I announced it 5 minutes before the start time could be a factor in why when I got to the court I was completely alone. More notice next time. Even so, after a five minute lesson in how not...

Shoes for Pickleball

I’ve had a few people ask me about shoes for pickleball. The main thing to consider is that you should get tennis shoes or what are sometimes called cross-trainers. Scheel’s in Iowa City has a few, but there are many online, e.g- at Amazon Adidas, Nike, New Balance,...

The Pickleball Flick

Every sport has it’s terminology, and pickleball is right there with a bunch of terms, punch volley, dink, third shot drop, etc. You may think that our PB predecessors have it all covered term-wise, but the fact is that there is still a little wiggle room to name...

Pickleball Rope Trick

This video shows sort of low-tech means or hack for gathering a bunch of pickleballs together for easy pickup. Some tips: You’ll need a fairly thick rope, but not too thick or it won’t lie down flat easily. I use a 3/4 incher here You need to move the rope smoothly...

Hanky Panky Elbow Target Drill

Posted by on 5:07 pm in Pickleball, Pickleball Drills, Pickleball teaching, Pickleball tips, Pickleball Videos | Comments Off on Hanky Panky Elbow Target Drill

Hanky Panky Elbow Target Drill

This drill focusses on how to get the idea of targeting the opponent’s dominant elbow (in this case right) into your muscle memory so that you can hit to that awkward location more often.

Drills to beat the Blender

Posted by on 4:40 am in Pickleball, Pickleball Drills, Pickleball shots, Pickleball teaching, Pickleball Terminology, Pickleball tips, Pickleball Videos | Comments Off on Drills to beat the Blender

Drills to beat the Blender

I’m calling a rapid exchange of volleys when everyone is at at the no volley zone line “the Blender.” And just like dropping a pickleball into a blender, you have no idea where the pieces may fly, or, more crucially, who will win the point. Winning the point in that situation often seems out of anyone’s control.

Rather than just resign oneself to the situation and keep whacking away, it can be useful to hit a reset shot in the form of a kitchen drop, or a surprise lob. Such brilliance with microseconds to conceive of it is rare, so, for the rest of us, it’s good to drill these options so that they may sometimes magically emerge in a high speed blender emergency.

Check out the video, with the first guest appearance of our friend Pickle.

(and thanks to Colleen and Lane for their on-camera drill demo)

 

Pole Dance Pickleball Stretch

Posted by on 7:56 pm in Pickleball, Pickleball teaching, Pickleball tips, Pickleball Videos | Comments Off on Pole Dance Pickleball Stretch

Pole Dance Pickleball Stretch

This video shows a series of stretches that I like to do prior to playing tennis or pickleball. You will need a permanent net with a solid pole, as is typical on a tennis court, or on permanent pickleball courts.

The Pendulum Swing

Posted by on 7:44 pm in Pickleball, Pickleball teaching, Pickleball Terminology, Pickleball tips, Pickleball Videos | Comments Off on The Pendulum Swing

The Pendulum Swing

This video describes the pendulum swing, the pickleball shot method recommended by the International Pickleball Teaching Professional Association (IPTPA)

Pickleball Rope Trick

Posted by on 7:24 pm in Pickleball, Pickleball equipment, Pickleball teaching, Pickleball tips, Pickleball Videos | Comments Off on Pickleball Rope Trick

Pickleball Rope Trick

This video presents a low-tech solution for gathering pickleballs together on the floor so they are easier to pick up.

Pickle on a string

Posted by on 7:20 pm in Pickleball, Pickleball Videos | Comments Off on Pickle on a string

Pickle on a string

This is an idea for a teaching tool for beginners.

Protect Your Balls

Posted by on 7:03 pm in Pickleball, Pickleball Drills, Pickleball shots, Pickleball teaching, Pickleball Terminology, Pickleball tips, Pickleball Videos | Comments Off on Protect Your Balls

Protect Your Balls

This is a drill to give you the sense of protecting the area around your feet.The title is a bit of a joke, but the idea isn’t. I describe this as the opposite of a foot fetish – you don’t want anybody getting close to your feet. So, you keep your paddle forward, shielding that area, and you either hit kitchen shots on the rise or in the air to keep them out in front.

Do the Math

Posted by on 6:40 pm in Pickleball, Pickleball teaching, Pickleball Terminology, Pickleball tips, Pickleball Videos | Comments Off on Do the Math

Do the Math

This video describes where to stand if you are receiving serve as the left side player in a pickleball doubles match, plus the logic and mathematical dimensions of the court to support these decisions.

The Magic Wand

Posted by on 5:28 pm in Pickleball, Pickleball shots, Pickleball teaching, Pickleball Terminology, Pickleball tips, Pickleball Videos | Comments Off on The Magic Wand

The Magic Wand

This video discusses the path of your paddle after you make contact with the ball on a dink. I call it the Magic Wand because, while the ball has already left your paddle, you act as if you are still controlling the ball in the air by raising the paddle, often to about the same height as the arc of the ball’s flight.

The effect of using this paddle path is to simplify what you are doing with the paddle and make your shot more consistent and smooth.

The Limp Biscuit Pickleball Grip

Posted by on 5:15 pm in Pickleball, Pickleball shots, Pickleball teaching, Pickleball Terminology, Pickleball Videos | Comments Off on The Limp Biscuit Pickleball Grip

The Limp Biscuit Pickleball Grip

This video discusses a way of holding the paddle on third shot drops and dinks that tends to support a softer, more sensitive grip

 

The Pickleball Shot Apex

Posted by on 8:48 pm in Pickleball, Pickleball Drills, Pickleball shots, Pickleball teaching, Pickleball Terminology, Pickleball tips, Pickleball Videos | Comments Off on The Pickleball Shot Apex

The Pickleball Shot Apex

This video discusses the concept of the optimal apex of the pickleball’s flight as it is hit from the back court, mid court, and from the no volley zone line (the dink).

 

The Aron Pickleball Shot

Posted by on 1:24 pm in Pickleball, Pickleball shots, Pickleball teaching, Pickleball Terminology, Pickleball tips, Pickleball Videos | Comments Off on The Aron Pickleball Shot

The Aron Pickleball Shot

I asked Aron Yedersberger, an excellent ping pong player who has added pickleball to his list of racket sports along with tennis and (probably – his father was a champ) badminton, to show me how he hits his powerful pickleball drives, and made this slow-motion video.

It’s a devastating shot that explodes off the paddle.

Solitaire Pickleball Self-test Drill

Posted by on 5:07 am in Pickleball, Pickleball Drills | Comments Off on Solitaire Pickleball Self-test Drill

Solitaire Pickleball Self-test Drill

I sent out an all-points bulletin this A.M., hoping for a game. The fact that I announced it 5 minutes before the start time could be a factor in why when I got to the court I was completely alone. More notice next time. Even so, after a five minute lesson in how not to move a pickleball net, since the middle base fell off, came apart, got tangled with the net, and then pulling the whole thing from the end pulled the pipes apart, I decided to do some solo drills.

I improvised some ball control units using a set of small soccer goals and hit a bunch of serves, forehand and backhand. All good.

Then I decided to work on those third ball drop (into the kitchen) shots. I pulled the soccer goals up to sit on the line of the no volley  zone/kitchen. In the photo on the left the yellow tape is the east sideline. The blue pipe of the soccer goal is sitting on the NVZ line. The red tape is the center line of the pickleball court.

To drill my third shot into the kitchen I counted out 50 balls, and then dropped the balls one by one and hit them into the kitchen. If the ball hit the back wall or the blue pipe of the soccer net I considered that an “out”, because it probably could have been volleyed by my opponent.

I gave myself a zero for any ball that did not clear the pickleball net, or one that hit the soccer net (or the pipe), or did not bounce between the center and sidelines.

On my first try I only got 39 out of 50 self-fed forehands on target. Not 4.0 material. Then I moved the soccer nets over to the West side of the Pickleball court. On the west side I improved to 45 out of 50. Not bad, barely 4.0 quality (need 9 out of 10). Then I switched to backhand shots, and took a pretty big drop, all the way down to 28 out of 50. Finally I moved the soccer nets back to the East side again, and hit backhand kitchen shots to that side, improving to 31 out of 50.

I was in a bit of a hurry to get to an appointment, and so was a bit rushed to finish the drill, but now I have a baseline level of success from which to improve: forehand to east kitchen, forehand to west kitchen, backhand to west kitchen, backhand to east kitchen: 39, 45, 28, 31.

It can only get better. On the backhand I think I did a little better by applying Mark Renneson’s “soft hands” advice.

You might think that this drill has little value because the toss is always in the same place, unlike in actual game situations. In fact it’s hard to toss the ball in exactly the same place every time, and I also got bored with hitting the ball to the same place in the kitchen all the time, and tended to move my target around.

The best advice in my view is to cultivate a standardized kitchen shot where your upper body, the paddle and the ball have as much as possible the same relationship to each other every time you hit, and then use your lower body to move that configuration around the court, side to side, up or back, in order to let your standardized shot unfold with the same setup each time, from the waist up.

This drill would certainly be better with someone to feed serve returns to you, so you could practice the 3rd ball kitchen shot with a ball that is coming toward you rather than simply dropped. But solo pickle is better than no pickle at all. And sometimes practicing by yourself you can put attention on basic form issues that affect your success in getting that 3rd shot in the kitchen, rather than the living room, or way out on the porch and out of play.

Shoes for Pickleball

Posted by on 5:02 am in Pickleball, Pickleball equipment, Pickleball tips | Comments Off on Shoes for Pickleball

Shoes for Pickleball

I’ve had a few people ask me about shoes for pickleball. The main thing to consider is that you should get tennis shoes or what are sometimes called cross-trainers.

Scheel’s in Iowa City has a few, but there are many online, e.g- at Amazon Adidas, Nike, New Balance, Wilson, all good
Here’s  list of pricy ones:
I have the Adidas Barricades. They come in many colors, not just my Peter Max inspired ones. They usually come with a six-month guarantee not to wear out in the toe, etc., which is important for toe-dragging tennis servers, but less of a concern for most PB players . These look good (about $100)
These also look good, and have a lower price point
These are also low cost and a little bit cooler look

The Pickleball Flick

Posted by on 1:00 am in Pickleball, Pickleball shots, Pickleball tips | Comments Off on The Pickleball Flick

The Pickleball Flick

Every sport has it’s terminology, and pickleball is right there with a bunch of terms, punch volley, dink, third shot drop, etc. You may think that our PB predecessors have it all covered term-wise, but the fact is that there is still a little wiggle room to name things here and there.

Pickleball is perhaps especially vulnerable to new coinages since the origin of the name of the game itself was a bit frivolous, and in many sports such as figure skating (the Axel, the Lutz) names of the originators are used to name the move. One example in Pickleball is the Erne (see the Mark Renneson Erne shot video). Since PB is a bit of a newer sport there may still be space for some new terms.

From my side, of course, I’m not waiting for permission, but simply making up names as situations and new shots that need naming come up.

To start, with, I’ve taken the liberty to name a shot that I made up to handle a particular situation that I call “the flick.” The flick is designed to rescue and return the ball that has hit the net and falls on your side, straight down. Normally you are surprised by that ball, lunge forward, and if you make contact, usually hit it it into the net in a vain attempt to get it back.

With the flick you have a much better chance, and a method that you can practice in order to prepare for those situations.

To hit the flick you bend your knees, quickly step forward with one foot into the kitchen (leaving one foot back enables you to reset back quickly) reach forward with your paddle under the ball and flick it up with a wrist motion. Sometimes that is enough to pop it straight up and over the net, while you get ready for a more typical kitchen dink.

Here are a couple of photos of the flick paddle position, before and after, taken in the pickleball section of my living room, by the door:

You’ll note that there is no arm movement, per se, just a sort of pancake flipping motion to lightly flick the ball up and possibly over the net to become the other person’s problem.

You can (and should) practice this shot by having a partner lightly toss a ball just over the net while they are standing in the kitchen right by the net and you are standing across the net from them, outside of the kitchen. Then when this situation happens, you won’t be surprised, and maybe will even get the ball back, step back out of the kitchen and get back in the point.

Flick Shot Video

Pickleball Rope Trick

Posted by on 12:49 am in Pickleball, Pickleball teaching, Pickleball tips, Pickleball Videos | Comments Off on Pickleball Rope Trick

Pickleball Rope Trick

This video shows sort of low-tech means or hack for gathering a bunch of pickleballs together for easy pickup.

Some tips:

  • You’ll need a fairly thick rope, but not too thick or it won’t lie down flat easily. I use a 3/4 incher here
  • You need to move the rope smoothly and slowly or the balls will start jumping the rope
  • If you keep the ball spaced out rather than bunched up until the last minute they will not jump the rope as much as 3-4 rows of balls bunched together
  • If you have buddy that can go ahead of you and lightly kick the balls away from walls or netting it will speed things up

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