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Saturday, September 14, 2013

Pickleball Decisions....200 Visitors....Our Picklehood

Our Paso Robles Pickleball Club Website:  Drop-in and play with us when you are visiting the beautiful Central Coast of California.

Our club has had quite of few out-of-area visitors over the past two weeks.  It is always fun to see unfamiliar players walking up to our courts, paddles in hand.  We know they are here for some serious (but fun) play.  We had both.  Today, four players from Heritage Ranch (a community about 20 miles west of Paso Robles---near Lake Nacimiento) joined us for some play and instruction.  Nice to hear that they are playing on their two courts at Heritage Ranch----and enjoying this great game.  Sam and Jackie Poppen are doing a fine job promoting the game at HR.

A few blogs ago I talked about dividing the opposition's court into three hitting lanes----the right third, the middle third, etc.  When receiving a ball hit by your opponents, this same dividing needs to be observed.  The two outside lanes---right and left---are covered by the player on that side.  No problem.  Where problems do occur, is when the ball is hit down the middle, and the "decision" comes into play....who's ball is it?  BTW, I am talking about situations where you (the receiving team) are back near the baseline.  Play at the net is entirely different.  Many times the ball-down-the-middle-problem can be solved by communicating.  But you have to communicate early enough for one of you to "prepare" for the shot.  Late communication....problems.  This leads to a good rule of thumb.  Responsibility for the ball down the center should be "directional."  By this, I mean that whomever the ball is traveling towards should be responsible for the return.  If the ball is coming from the opponent's left lane (as you are looking at your opponent's side of the court) and is traveling to the middle, the player who is on the other end of the diagonal (in this case, the player on the right side of the receiving court) should be responsible for returning the ball.  The ball is traveling towards him/her.  The ball is traveling slightly away from the partner because he/she is not on the other end of the diagonal shot.  Make sense?  I hope so, because it is a very good rule of thumb to follow.  Now, I am supposing that the two players are of somewhat comparable ability.  If you mutually agree beforehand that one player's strokes are better than his/her partner, than you can agree that the stronger person take the ball down the middle.  I'm also assuming you are wanting to win.  Strategy like the above could mean the difference between winning and losing.  I know, we play mostly for fun and exercise, but isn't the drive home a little more satisfying if you have won your fair share of games?

We have gone over the 200 mark as far as players who have visited and played on our venue.  We are on the radar of Pickleballers traveling to our beautiful area of California.  We are no longer the fastest growing sport in the country "that no one has heard of."  Win or lose, the members of this Picklehood should all be smiling on the drive home from the courts.

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