Last month’s newsletter article was Part 1 of To Drop or Not to Drop!
Yes, I’m a big proponent of developing a good drop shot.
If you’ve ever been to one of my clinics or bootcamps, you probably remember all the drop shots that you did.
In fact, at a recent clinic, one participant mentioned that he probably made more drop shots in one day than, well, ever!
Having a good drop shot in your toolbox will buy yourself some time – time to get to the line, time to get yourself reset for the next shot.
Last month, I recommended NOT using the drop shot when your opponents are back.
In other words: KEEP THEM BACK! Do not give them a reason to come in to their Kitchen line.
Now – two more instances NOT to make a drop shot.
Perhaps This Is an Obvious One…
When returning serve, your partner is (or certainly should be!) already at the line.
And he or she is patiently waiting for you to join him or her!
Which is why I don’t recommend making a drop shot on the return of serve! You want to buy yourself time to join your partner and get set at the line.
If you make a drop shot on the return, you’ve just given your opponents all kinds of time to advance to the line; time you needed to join your partner at the line!
So if I don’t recommend a drop shot, what do I recommend for the return of serve?
Certainly deep, and preferably high!
This will give you plenty of time to join your partner at the line! If it’s really high and really deep, you may also have the time to chat with your partner about what you’ll be having for dinner or the latest Game of Thrones episode!
You and your partner have the advantage of being the only team at the Kitchen – don’t give up that advantage!
A Perspective from the Other Side of the Net
So you served the ball. You expected a deep return. Instead, it came short, about mid-court.
In addition to time, now you’ve got options!
Did the player who returned the serve have time to advance to the Kitchen?
Now, you could try to make a drop into the Kitchen, but because one of your opponents is not at the line, you have the opportunity to drive at him or her, or make an easier shot at his or her feet!
If your opponent was able to join his or her partner at the Kitchen, he or she is probably not set, and you may have the opportunity to drive to the beautiful middle between your opponents!
Plus, a drive from mid-court has a greater chance of success than a drive from the baseline!
Yes, the drop is a shot I encourage you to develop!
And no, I don’t recommend it for every situation!
The Pickleball Guru Is Coming to Cincinnati in July!
Prem Carnot, aka the Pickleball Guru, will be holding clinics and a bootcamp in July at Clear Creek Park!
Prem is the author of the Amazon bestselling book Smart Pickleball, and has helped thousands of pickleball players throughout the world improve their game!
Many consider Prem the best pickleball coach in the business. This is because Prem is not only passionate about pickleball, he’s passionate about you improving your pickleball game!
Depending on your skill level, Prem will be holding a two-day clinic + semi-private on Tuesday, July 9 / Wednesday, July 10, for 2.0 to 3.5 players; and a bootcamp for 3.0 to 4.0 players on Friday, July 12, through Monday, July 15.
Clinics – A Great Introduction to
Tuesday, July 9 / Wednesday, July 10
Prem’s clinic is a wonderful, cost-effective option to experience and implement the Guru’s Smart Pickleball philosophy!
The two-day clinic, held from 9:30 am to noon each day, is for newbies and for those that want to get the fundamentals down! Only $97, you receive five hours of coaching and instruction.
Plus, if you register for the clinic, you can attend the semi-private (limited to 12 participants) on Wednesday, July 10, from 2 pm to 4 pm for only $67!
“Thanks so much for the excellent experience at your Tucson Pickleball clinic. By focusing on what to do and when to do it, it didn’t matter what the skill level the players had. We could all focus on improving our game with your step by step approach. You gave us the tools, now how much we improve depends on how much we want to put into practice what we learned, and the time we dedicate to mastering it. The combination of the clinic and your Smart Pickleball book is a great way to physically learn and apply the fundamentals, and then be able to go back to review the details we might forget since there was so much information. First rate content, organization, and instruction.”
-Gordon, November 2018
You can register for the Cincinnati clinic here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/cincinnati-oh-july-9-july-10-2019-registration-56143756487
You can find more information about clinics in general here:
Bootcamp – The Fastest Way to Improve Your Game
Friday, July 12, through Monday, July 15
Prem’s Bootcamp Breakthrough Experience is more intensive than the clinic, and it’s much more individualized. We limit bootcamp to only 8 participants to ensure that you and your game receive the most attention!
“I know other 5.0 players that know him, and they said he was the best in the business.”
-Sharon, Vero Beach, January 2019
You receive a lot at bootcamp, including:
- 15+ hours of coaching over 4 days
- Water, sports drinks, snacks (fruit, nuts, protein bars, etc.) each day
- Catered lunch on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday
- Guru-signature paddle
- Signed copy of Smart PIckleball
- Drop Shot Master Class (immediately after registering!)
- Smart Pickleball ebook (immediately after registering!)
“If you’re really serious about improving in a shorter period of time, by someone who really knows what they’re doing, I would encourage you to do it.”
-Stephen, Vero Beach, January 2019
Bootcamp is for those intermediate players (3.0 to 4.0) that really want to elevate their game quickly. With only you and seven other participants, you’ll receive lots and lots of individualized attention on your game.
Bootcamp is $1997; if you use coupon code OHIO you’ll receive an amazing and unique pickleball experience for $1497 ($500 off!)!
Coming with a partner, you’ll receive even bigger savings – $1397 for each of you, and as a foursome, $1297!
You can register for the Cincinnati bootcamp here:
And you can find more information about bootcamps here:
Need More Information? Have Any Questions?
Don’t hesitate to contact me!
I’m happy to help and answer any questions about the clinics or bootcamp!
Hope to see you on the courts!
There’s no doubt that I’m a big proponent of the drop shot!
I’ve written a few articles on the drop shot (Third Shot Drop vs. Third Shot Drive; What to Do when Your Drop Shot Doesn’t Drop; 4 Secrets to Get Your Dropshot to Go Where You Want (and Not Where You Don’t).
I even developed the Drop Shot Masterclass on how to construct the perfect drop shot! Not only do bootcamp participants receive this, but there’s an entire session at bootcamp called Drop Shot ‘Til You Drop!
Yes, lots and lots (and lots!) of drop shots!
You must think that I always recommend a drop.
And that couldn’t be further from the truth!
But First, Why I Advocate the Drop Shot
My primary philosophy of Smart Pickleball is to make whatever shot buys you the most time.
If you’re serving, your opponents have the advantage of both being at the line while you and your partner have to wait for the ball to bounce.
In this situation, the drop is the shot that buys time for you and your partner to advance to the Kitchen.
This is a defensive shot! It is designed to take the advantage away from your opponents. It is not designed to win the point!
And Now, When Not to Drop…
Maybe you’ve done this dozens (hundreds?) of times – you and your partner are at the line, and your opponent makes a not-so-great third shot drop. They know it’s a bad drop! And they hang back, waiting for the slam, but then…
You make a drop volley into the Kitchen! Your opponents are so far back, they don’t even try to run up, and you win the point!
And you’ll never hear me advocate this strategy of dropping your opponents to win a point like that!
When your opponents are still back, especially when they’re back at or near the baseline, there are at least five possible outcomes.
And four of them are bad!
One: This is the drop I just described – you win the point with the applause of the spectators and the congratulations of your partner!
Two: You try to make too perfect of a drop, and it goes into the net.
Three: You try to angle the drop shot to ensure you win the point, and it goes wide out of bounds.
Four: You make one of those not great (but not terrible either!) drops, which gives your opponents time to get to the ball, and they drop it back into your Kitchen, taking away you and partner’s advantage of being the only team at the line.
Five: You make a terrible drop to the middle of the court, and your opponent drives the ball between you and your partner, winning the point.
I’m sure you can come up with other scenarios, but I think you get the idea!
Especially in Pickleball, You’ll almost Never Hear Me Say Always, BUT…
If your opponents are back, for whatever reason,
Do NOT bring them in!
KEEP THEM BACK!
Trust me, this is a sound (and safe!) strategy!
Imagine you and your partner are at the line. Your opponents keep trying desperately to keep the ball in play, but they’re not really trying to advance to the Kitchen with a drop.
You and your partner just keep hitting the ball at their feet!
Keeping them back!
Your opponents keep returning, returning, returning, and then it’s in your wheelhouse for the easy smash!
Or, because you’re not giving them anything to hit, they eventually send it out or into the net!
Keeping them back may not be as pretty (or satisfying!) as one of those drops, but in the long run, it’s safe and effective.
Yes, that drop shot when your opponents are back is a soft shot, and you’ve got plenty of time to reset, but you’re essentially (and effectively!) giving that time to your opponents to get to the Kitchen.
DON’T give up your advantage of being the only team at the Kitchen!
And when your opponents are back, KEEP THEM BACK!
And before you think this is the only time when you shouldn’t make a drop shot, next month is Part 2 when I’ll discuss other situations NOT to use the drop shot!
“Randy, please don’t back up.”
“Don’t back up, Randy!”
“Randy! No backing up!”
“GRRRRRRRRRR! Randy! Stop backing up!”
I think that’s the equivalent of a growl!
If you’ve been to any of my bootcamps or clinics, you’ve heard me say a few times (or maybe a few hundred times!) “Paddles Up!” and “Don’t Back Up!”
And you may have heard me growl!
Clearly, I’m not a fan of backing up!
Lots of players have a tendency to back up, either a little or a lot, to take the ball on the bounce.
It seems like you’re giving yourself more time, and it seems like you’re getting into a better position to make a better shot.
There are a couple of reasons why I don’t recommend backing up (and as a bonus, I’ll give you one instance where it’s okay to back up!).
One reason that you shouldn’t back up is the misconception that you are buying yourself more time.
I teach that the shot you want to take is the one that buys yourself more time. So why doesn’t backing up buy yourself more time? Aren’t you providing yourself a precious extra second to make a better shot?
When you back up, you’re actually giving that time to your opponents!
If you can take the ball in air, take it! This gives your opponents less time to reset and get ready for their next shot.
When you back up, no matter how little, you’re giving that time to your opponents; time to reset, time to analyze what you’re about to do with the ball, time to shift side-to-side, even ever so slightly, to counter what you’re about to do with the ball.
If you can take the ball in the air, especially when you’re at the Kitchen line, take it!
The other reason not to back up has to do with body mechanics.
Many strokes in tennis are based on a ‘back-to-front’ motion – your weight and paddle goes back, and you power the ball forward.
Pickleball is different – it’s more of a ‘front-to-front’ motion!
When you back up, your body has to compensate for that backward momentum, and that compensation typically translates into a pop up! (Or if you didn’t compensate, it goes into the net!)
Think how many times you (or hopefully one of your opponents!) backed up to take a dink at the Kitchen and served up an easy put away!
One other tip to avoid backing up is stay in front of the ball. For example, if you dink to your right, shift to the right to stay in front of the ball. This will prevent your opponent from dinking the ball behind you to your side, forcing you to get out of position, and yes, backing up!
Get in the habit of taking the ball in the air whenever you can. And if it helps, pretend I’m growling when you think about backing up!
Or pretend I’m standing behind you (at clinics and bootcamps, I actually stand behind students to keep them from backing up, just like in the above picture!).
Now, when do I recommend backing up?
On a not-so-good lob!
Last year, I posted an article on how to defend the lob. This article was on how to defend really good lobs, lobs that are without question, going over your head!
For a not-so-good lob, you can safely back up one or two steps and hit an overhead.
More than two steps, it’s probably a good lob and it becomes unsafe, with the possibility of your legs tangling and you falling over. I really don’t want that to happen to you!
The perfect summary about not backing up comes from colleague and pro player Dave Weinbach: “Good things happen when you move forward, baaaaaaaaaad things happen when you move back!”