Pickleball Poaching: If you’ve been playing pickleball for any length of time and you play against people who are determined to win, you’ve probably been in the situation where the only time you get to hit the ball is on the serve or return of serve because your opponents hit every other shot to your partner (presumably the weaker player).
This may be the first time I’ve dedicated an entire article to a single shot, and it’s not even about the dink or the drop shot. This month, we’re talking about The Sometimes-Boring-and-Annoying-But-Sometimes-OH-SO!-Gratifying Pickleball Lob Shot.
Learn how to master the lob shot
One of the best ways to improve your pickleball game is to play with better players. It forces you to play at the top of your ability, makes you pay for your mistakes, and puts you on the fast-track to a higher skill level.
All of that is GREAT for you, but how about for those “better players” who are playing with you?
It does almost the OPPOSITE for them…
Playing with you keeps them from having to play at the top of their ability, keeps them from paying for their mistakes, and keeps them from improving their skill level as quickly.
The culture of pickleball has always been very welcoming and inclusive of new players, but as you become more intent on improving your game, you DON’T always want to play with less-experienced players.
But everyone’s gotta start from somewhere, and even the best players in the world were beginners at one point…
So the question is: as a newer player, how can you graciously get to play with better players so as to improve your game? And as a better player, how do you “remember your roots” and play with lower-level players, and when is it fair to ask them to step aside so you can get a higher-level play?
All of my pickleball tips, drills and suggestions are based off of 7 strategy principles:
- Serve deep
- Hit the service return slow and deep
- Move up to the kitchen – fast
- 3rd shot = drop shot
- Keep them deep
- Never hit up
- Keep your paddle up
Yes, it’s true. There IS a time when it is absolutely OK to talk like a top pickleball player, even if you don’t play like one. But I don’t mean trash-talking or even friendly banter (though you can do that if you want).
What I mean is: You can communicate with your partner the way top players do — even if you don’t play like one.