One thing us northern pickleballers contend with is figuring out how to feed our addiction in the winter months. We’re plenty hearty up here and tend to play longer than we should outdoors.
One of the reasons we resist, though, is when we are forced indoors, the playing conditions are usually imperfect. While the warm indoor air might feel good on the skin, there’s usually some concession we’re making, be it courts that are sandwiched too close together and balls interrupting our games to dangerous posts in opportune places that we have to avoid. Other times, we play on gym floors where the softer ball makes it an entirely different experience.
We have a new place to play locally, and it avoids many of these pitfalls as a stand-alone court on a pristine court floor with plenty of space in any direction. The only drawback? The net doubles as a junior tennis net; it stands a half-inch to a full-inch too high, which isn’t a big deal (and might be a great training tool for us when we revert back outdoors).
So while the height isn’t a huge ordeal, the width is a bigger concern. Why? It takes away the ATP.
I’ve written about my love of the ATP before and how it can be a great weapon, especially against better players. I’d mostly adjusted to not hitting ATPs after playing at this locale a few times, but what I hadn’t realized was the bad habits I’d created for myself in cross-court dinking when the ATP wasn’t an option for my opponent.
When I came back to playing on a conventional-width net, here’s what happened in one of our first dink battles:
If that still frame isn’t clear, I (orange shirt) hit too aggressive of a cross-court dink, and I left a very easy ATP opportunity for my opposition to put away.
So, have my matches of last week be a lesson to us all: when playing with a wide net, be careful of the habits you might be developing! We might be setting up our opponents for easy put away shots when we get back to the great outdoors.