But is it pickleball?

The standard of play has improved significantly at Heaton since we started playing 18 months ago. However, the question comes up occasionally, “but is it really pickleball”. The question is always prompted by the observation that we rarely, if ever, find ourselves playing dinking rallies. The answer to the question is, yes, we are playing pickleball. We know the pickleball rules, our serves are usually legal, we know the two bounce rule, we respect the non volley zone. We are playing pickleball.

However, an important part of the game is missing – dinking. The main problem is that we rarely have all 4 players at the kitchen line at the same time. The service receiving pair have the easiest job to get there. One of them is already at the kitchen and a good return of serve gets the service receiver up there to join their partner. The problem lies with the serving pair, pinned to their baseline by the second bounce rule. Assuming the receiving pair are reasonably good players, from their dominant position they can keep their opponents pinned at the back or hit the ball at their opponents feet. The pair at the net won’t win all the points but should win most of them.

The usual tactic for the serving team to get to the kitchen is to play a third shot drop. A good one cannot be attacked as it has to be played from below net height and it allows the serving pair to advance to the kitchen and thus neutralise the advantage of the receiving pair. That’s the idea anyway but it’s a hard shot to master, to be able to play a drop shot into the kitchen from deep in your court. It is not surprising that many players hit a drive for the 3rd shot. As it happens, it seems that the 3rd shot drive is gaining popularity with high level ex tennis pickleball players. They still get into dinking rallies but often with a 5th shot drop from further up the court.

The upshot of this is to underline the importance of drills to play drops shots from deep in the court and while moving into the the transition zone.

One thought on “But is it pickleball?

  1. Dinking to be worked on. Although we do seem to be having more rallies at the net than before

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