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Sunday, July 31, 2011

Introducing Tips and Techniques

Many of you have asked me to memorialize the tips and techniques we are so quick to hand out at each open-play session. (Well, OK, nobody asked but I know you would have asked if you had thought of it.) What we have been doing thus far is picking a subject based on what we have observed people doing as they play and trying to distill a few thoughts as to how they might improve (if necessary) in those areas. I will therefore gracefully succumb to the pressure of your unspoken desire to have me capture this week's Tips and Techniques below, and (even better!) will soon capture these and more in a weekly-updated link on this site so that you can refer back and learn how YOU can become just as good as ME (or, better, as good as Irene!). And with no further ado, let me talk about Partner Communication, this week's Tip and Technique.

Partner Communication is very problematic for new players and more experienced players alike. This is compounded by the nature of our sport where we play with new partners every couple of games. This is also exacerbated by the fact that many of us are older and have some physical limitations, which SHOULD dictate that we discuss who covers what shot with EVERY new partner we have. Let me cover in brief the basics of what you should discuss with every new partner:

1. Decide who covers the middle of the court on each exchange. Generally, the forehand covers the middle, and covers it to about a paddle-width into your partner's court as well. Your partner maintains his/her position, roughly in the center of their box on the court. If you have one left-hander on the team you must be aware that there are times when there is NO forehand in the middle and one of the two of you must verbalize that you have it...."I have the middle," or "You have the middle" before each point is played.
2.  Decide who covers lobs (if you opponents are lobbers). Often this is decided by who is mobile enough to go back and get the lob. If you are each covering your own lobs, both of you should go back against an opponent's lob. If one person is covering the back lobs and comes into his/her partner's court to do it, the partner, staying up, shifts over to the other court AND STAYS THERE until the point is over.
3.  Call everything, even obvious shots, with QUICK, SHORT statements..."MINE, YOURS, or (to quote the infamous Bob Youngren) "I GO!", generally said just before El Poacho tramples you.
4.  Major don'ts - (1) Do NOT NOT communicate. Any attempt is better than silence in pickleball; the game is too fast for a lack of communication. And the better the two of you are the more you need to, for reasons that become obvious at higher, faster levels of play. (2) Do NOT say "I'VE GOT IT!" I don't know why it is, but saying that particular phrase, which is too long to begin with, is also the kiss of death and will virtually guarantee you will NOT get it, whatever "it" happens to be.

Do those things consistently and you will be a better pickleball player almost immediately.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the tips and by the way "I GOT IT"