3 Skills to Improve if You’re Stuck at 4.0

3 Skills to Improve if You're Stuck at 4.0

Summer is coming. That would have been a much more enjoyable Game of Thrones plot. It definitely is something to look forward to when it comes to pickleball. The chance to get in more sessions (without paying for court time) and to improve the game. 

General Statements about My Game:
Strong Forehand
Strong Defender
Above Average Athleticism
Above Average Serve
Average 3rd Shot Drop
Average Dinker
Average in Hands Battles
Developing Backhand
Too Many Errors (Too Aggressive on Low Balls)
Ambitious in Erne Attempts

This summer I am focusing on progressing to the next level and I wanted to dig into a few of the skills that I plan focusing on early in the outdoor season.

Backhand Slice / Dink Patience
In order to improve my net play and remain a patient player – I want to begin to hit shots that provide some element of touch/spin to challenge the opponent. This is to add more than just hitting a soft dink to a non-attackable bounce height/depth. 

The shot I believe that will help me do this is the backhand slice from the left side of the kitchen line. Commitment to playing this shot consistently and drawing the opponent into a mistake or leaving a ball high is the desired outcome. 

Here is a quick tutorial from the Kitchen on how to play the shot. 

I plan to work this in during warm ups (make sure just not to straight away dink in your warmups) and then start playing it in games where I am not the weakest player. 

Backhand Groundstrokes
While my backhand has improved tremendously over the last 2 months I still find myself gifting a few points here and there with an overly ambitious or sloppy backhand. I want to keep developing by hitting the ball with pace and depth on service returns but also be prepared to continue to develop consistency with a backhand drop. Remembering that I don’t have to hit winners with the backhand but I just want to make sure I get myself to the net without rushing. 

Serve Depth/Return of Serve Depth
While most of the games I play in I am not going to win many points directly off a serve or a return to serve, they are still a tremendous weapon if you can hit the ball with pace and deep. It enables your opponent to either hit a more challenging return that you can step into have that much more of a challenging ball to try to play a 3rd shot drop on.

Again – I am not trying to win points here but I am going to provide increased focus to try to move to an offensive position with these shots. There isn’t a lot of drilling for me here as I generally will get to play singles once a week where this becomes more imperative and I will get frequent repetitions. 

What are you trying to add to your game this summer?

3 thoughts on “3 Skills to Improve if You’re Stuck at 4.0

  1. I see where you have listed your strengths and weaknesses. Where can the average player get feedback on his/her strengths and weaknesses……..other players….. coaches………check sheets on the web?????

    1. Helen – it was more of a self audit of my own game and then asking a few fellow players what they thought. I came up with some quick categories that I thought were some traditional parts of the game. You could easily add some more categories and refined skills but the beauty about pickleball is you can keep it pretty simple.

    2. Hey Helen-

      Great questions, and while it can be uncomfortable to get feedback, it’s also the only way for us to start to improve our weaknesses.

      First off…ask yourself these questions: what shots do you like to hit? What shots do you like to hit? What shots do you hit most accurately? What shots do you hit the most unforced errors? Those are some good questions that will start to help you know what you are/aren’t doing well.

      Next, ask your regular partners those same questions and answer them on your behalf. As well, if you know them well, ask them how they’re trying to attack you during a game…that will also unlock some interesting tidbits on how they perceive you as a player.

      Those are both informal, but if you really want to ramp up, take a couple lessons with a pickleball teaching pro. One lesson probably isn’t enough to see wholesale changes in your game, but it’s probably enough to give you an idea where they see you could be working to improve.

      Thanks for the response and would love to hear your thoughts!


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