This tip is almost so simple it’s too good to be true! A lot of times, winning a point rests mostly on our shoulders, but this is one strategy you can take advantage of even if you’re not the most skilled player. Watch this quick and practical tip from the Executive Producer of Pickleball Channel, Rusty Howes. Rusty’s quick tip can give you the competitive edge to dominate on the court, and the best part is that it’s an easier shot than you think!
In pickleball, the team at the net has the greater advantage than the team that is at the baseline. That’s why you hear players talk so much about the third shot and how important it is – because that’s your opportunity to get up to the non-volley zone line. A solid strategy in pickleball is to get there as quickly as possible!
But, on the flip side, you can increase your chances of winning the point by keeping your opponent off of the non-volley zone line. Even after all the talk about getting up to the non-volley zone line, over and over we see people not getting up there, and you can use their mistake to your advantage.
Rusty’s advice is to hit to the opponent who’s deepest in the court. Many players, especially at low or even moderate levels, hang out at the back of the court and don’t transition all the way up to the NVZ. So, exploit their mistake! Instead of hitting to their partner, who might already be at the net, use the opportunity to hit to the player in the back and keep them there.
Sometimes winning is how good of a player we are, but sometimes winning can mean taking advantage of an easier play. It’s much harder to get the ball past someone that is at the net than it is to hit to someone that is deep in the back of the court, at the baseline. If someone is back, you’ve got a lot more extra space to hit to, and if you can keep them back there, you are on the offensive and they are forced to be on the defensive.
Sure, if you want to take the time to drill a perfect third shot drop to the other player up at the net, go for it. But if you want to have a better chance of winning that point, make your life easier and hit to the person that is back. If there’s a player in the back, hit that ball deep and you’ll dominate the game.
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There are multiple reasons why it is important to get to the non-volley zone line. For one, when you and your partner are both at the non volley zone (or NVZ), you create a kind of defensive wall against your opponents. Also, there are more opportunities for strategy when you’re at the net because you have more options of where to place your ball. Plus your accuracy tends to be greater at the net as well. For example, the more distance you have to hit the ball, the less accurate you will be, but the shorter the distance, the more accuracy you can have. If you want to know more about 3 Big Mistakes and 3 Benefits When Playing Pickleball at the Non-Volley Zone Line, check out this other great Pickleball Channel video!
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