1--It is a good strategy to take a lot of risks on your serve? True or False 2--Hitting a short return of serve is a good strategic move? True or False 3--Smashing a smash is no-brainer? True or False 4--Dinking is for donuts? True or False 5--Winning isn't everything it's the only thing? True or False 6--Picking on the weakest player will improve my game? True or False 7--Hitting a ball hard that is 6 inches off the ground is a good strategic move regardless of where I am on the court? True or False 8--Smashing the pickleball at the opponent who has been ignored because you have been playing to the less skilled player is a good move? True or False Check below to see how well you did!
All answers are false!!
1-- Since you can only score a point if you get your serve in, what is the value in hitting a serve out or into the net? Serves should be deep to the returning player so as not to bring them to the NVZ line. Count the number of aces you get and also the number of balls you hit out or into the net on a serve. I would bet the aces lose! You only score points when you have the serve--so get it in!
2-- You do not want to bring the person returning your service to the NVZ line any sooner than necessary. Returning a hard return of serve to the baseline means you have to run faster to get to the kitchen line. Hitting a short return of serve also brings your opponent to the NVZ line before you get there. Hit it slow and deep and keep it in!! And get up to the net!
3-- Timing in Pickleball is critical. The point at which your paddle meets the ball determines height and direction that the ball will go. Professional baseball players at best miss hit 70% of the time in their at bats. They do this for a living!! What makes anyone of us think we can hit a smash accurately greater than a baseball player can hit a fast pitched ball? Get control of the paddle and the ball and hit the ball strategically and safely.
4--The number of dinks per game or per match correlates with the skill level of the players involved. If you watch a match at a 3.0 or 3.5 level, you rarely see the players dink. Once you move up to about a 4.0 level, the number of average dinks per rally is about 5-10. When you move up to the 4.5 or 5.0 level (professional), the number of dinks average around 20-30 dinks per rally with some players getting up to 75 dinks per point! So why is it that the better players generally dink more?
5-- Any one of us is able to pick our partners and opponents and beat someone with a lesser skill. There is no value in beating a person who has less skills than oneself. The object is to improve everyone's skills when you play the game so putting a ball away on an opponent who definitely has not the ability to return it is a no brainer!! Don’t do it!! Who is the true winner of that one? Let’s talk sportsmanship!!
6-- In his book "Smart Pickleball" Prem Carnot encourages his players to play individuals with greater skills than themselves in order to improve their game. But, he cautions, to do so you have to hit the ball to the more skilled player well over 50% of the time to ensure that that player will continue to play with you and you will in fact have difficult shots to return. A good question to ask oneself is am I playing this game to win or to improve my game!! All games are not tournament level games!!
7-- Hitting a pickleball that is slightly above ground level—6 to 12 inches-- that has been smashed at you obviously has to travel in an upward direction to go over the net and keep in play. How many times have we smashed the ball that is so low and it hits the bottom of the net or goes out of the back court? Get control of the shot and game by hitting the ball with the right shot at the right time!!
8-- First of all it is unsafe to smash a ball at an opposing player—aim between the players, what value or fun are you deriving by aiming it at the opposing player? Secondly, if you want to improve your game, keep the ball in play. There is minimal value in putting a smash away to a weaker player—very unsafe and unfriendly—and hitting a put away will end the rally that you have been trying to win strategically. Again, all games are not tournament level games!!
So, how did you do? I would offer you this challenge: that each one of us play some games that improve our skills while improving the skills of our opponent as well!!
So now do what Rusty Howe at the end of each Pickleball411 episode says: "Let’s go play Pickleball "