Pickleball 101

1015 Orientation

Written by:  Doc Savarese                                          Cartoon by:  Peter Copen

I’ve been playing pickleball for over 3 years and try to be a student of the game.  I’ve taken private lessons, watched instructional videos, and ardently drill trained.  I really want to improve my game, but as a player of modest ability and along with increasing age, improvement comes at a snail’s pace.  During this pandemic, I’ve noticed a considerable amount of new players who are interested in learning the game and improving their play.  I think it might be interesting to share some  brief basic guidelines:

  • Pickleball is usually a doubles game.
  • The serve begins play by hitting the ball underhand with contact below the waist.  The server must call the score before play and upon serving.  The ball must land within the confines of the opposite diagonal court.
  • Scoring points occurs only by the serving team.  The first team to score 11 points, with a 2 point lead, wins the game.
  • Volleying is not permitted within 7 feet of the net which is referred to as the non-volley zone or the kitchen.
  • A ball that lands on any line except the kitchen is in.

Following is a test that will hopefully give you a better understanding of the game. 

Pickleball 101 test:  match each word with a description

_____ Dink                               A.  A soft shot hit off a bounce from deep in the court 

_____Drop shot                       B.  A lofted shot that sends the ball overhead and deep

_____Fault                                C.  Service passes to the other team

_____Groundstroke                D.  Play stops due to rule violation

_____Let                                    E.  A soft shot his on a bounce from the kitchen

_____Lob                                  F.  A ball hit after a bounce

_____Smash                             G.  A ball hit in the air before it bounces

_____Side out                          H.  When the ball touches the net on a serve

_____Volley                               I.  A hard shot directed downward

Note:  Answers will appear in the next article.

Pickleball has opened up again for many of the new and experienced players with precautions and restrictions.  Most pros will agree that the one common denominator in pickleball is to focus on the fundamentals (body positioning, foot work, shot selection).  Jim Hackenberg (professional player) in a recent interview in Pickleball Magazine, June/July 2020 edition, states that the two key fundamental shots in pickleball are the first two shots of every point:  the serve and the return of serve.  Remember, anyone can play, young and old.  Now go out, get moving, interact with others and most importantly have fun!

New Player Orientation:  Arrangements can be made by contacting:  Pauly Uhr at 984-4186 or Nancy Lande at 978-2998 to schedule a session.


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