This 12-common-mistakes column began after playing with some very excited, highly motivated, new pickleball players at our community courts recently. After playing a couple games, this question was posed to me, “What should we do to improve and become 3.5 players?” Last month we reviewed the first two mistakes. This month we take a look at two more.
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4. Hitting to your opponent’s strength. One of the basic concepts of the game is to reduce unforced errors. At almost every level of play, the team who makes the fewest errors wins. Determine ahead of time if your opponent’s strength is their forehand or backhand. Most players’ strength is their forehand but don’t make this assumption. Study their play and determine if this is true. Many players favor their backhand. Hitting to your opponent’s strength makes it easier for them to avoid errors. Make it harder for them by hitting to their weakness. Knowing your opponent’s weaker side, you can target where to hit your serve, your return, your third-shot drop, and your dinks.
Case in point, I play against a good buddy who has a stronger backhand than forehand. I move my serve around on him but when I really need a rally to go my way, I start the rally by serving to his forehand. I know a soft lob is coming back. If I serve to his backhand, I’m sure to see a much tougher drive return.
Want to know more about the sport, the rules, equipment, or have some pickilicious news you would like to share with our pickleball community? Email David Zapatka at [email protected]