I noticed today on the Pickleball courts that we could all use a little refresher course on court coverage---sometimes called "shading." Basically, this term refers to a doubles team moving in unison to cover the essential 12-15 ft. "slice of the pie"nearest the bounce of the ball (on the opponent's side). To illustrate: One of you hits a service return that bounces in the far right corner (your view over the net) of your opponent's court. "Shading" suggests that one of you is at the no volley zone line and is 3 feet from the right sideline (arms reach), while the other partner has moved with you in the direction of the right sideline and actually is positioned almost at center court, at the NVZ line, with his/her right foot on the center service. I do not have the capability to illustrate this in this blog, so use your imagination. This allows for good coverage of your opponent's highest percentage return shot--at or between the two of you. Force them to hit the lower percentage shot which would be cross court. If the ball was returned by one of you to the left corner on your opponent's side (your view over the net), positioning would be flip-flopped with one of you at the NVZ line and 3 feet from the sideline, and your partner would be shading the middle, at the NVZ line with his/her left foot on the center service line. The idea in this shading coverage is to cover the shot between the two of you and make them hit a lower percentage angle shot to a smaller area of the court. In this case, to the right of the player standing in the middle.
What happens to the shading philosophy when the ball is returned deep down the middle? Cover the middle 12-15 feet and make them hit an angle shot between you and the sideline. Play for a hard return, because if the return shot is soft (a dink) you will be able to get to the ball with one shuffle of the feet. The softer the shot, the easier the coverage for you and your partner.
If you played today, how was your placement, how was your patience, and how did the ball come off your paddle?
BTW, we had 19 players today. It was another perfect day for Pickleball and we played for almost three hours.