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Keep It Simple Stupid

Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth – Mike Tyson

Alright – so pickleball isn’t quite like boxing. Going into a match and trying to keep it simple with a few strategic thoughts can go a long way to winning points and ultimately a match. 

Four things that can really help play consistent strokes and implement a consistent strategy. 

3rd Shot Drop

Pretty standard here. The best of the best leverage the 3rd shot drop to regain balance at the net and put their team back on the offensive. A third shot drop enables you to get to the net without rushing and keeps you under control and gets you into dink battles. You have to be comfortable receiving the ball and hitting a cross court drop. 

Target Forehand Hip

This is something that is new to me and trying to be aware of while at the net. As the game dinks back and forth and you have a chance to speed up play, try to focus on driving the ball with pace at the forehand hip of your opponent. It is somewhat counterintuitive to drive at their forehand but it is an awkward spot for your opponent to return. Pace and height is key on the drive. Leave it too high and your opponent has an advantage. 

Erne w/ Purpose

This one might be special to us – as we fancy ourselves ERNE enthusiasts. When playing in 4.0 or lower games we have found that ERNE’ing with purpose often leads to the offensive advantage for your team. It isn’t always you putting the ball away but it adds an additional element to your opponent playing a shot they might not be comfortable with. They may either hit it directly to you for a put away or they often leave a shoulder high ball to your partner for a winner. 

Risks While Serving

Unclear if this is actually a strong strategy as you should probably take what the game gives you regardless of situation. Lately I have tried to employ greater risk and hit more winners while my team is serving. By going on the offensive you put your opponent on their heels without the risk of giving up points. When returning serve it is best to continue to play a strong but less risky play. Any unforced errors will lead directly to points. 

Not everyone’s will be the same, maybe its a hybrid based on your skill set or who you are playing. Keeping the game simple will likely remove a lot of unforced errors and lead to more winners. 

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