It’s almost here and I’m excited.
This will be the first year I will be making my way out to the pickleball nationals in Arizona. My dad (some call him “Rocket”) played at the nationals last year and told me how much fun it was to play against the best players in the country. I am really looking forward to heading out there, but I know there are a few things I need to do first.
Like practice, practice, practice!
This might be the busiest I have ever been! I am a tennis coach at Leo High school, which is near Fort Wayne, Indiana. And as I write this, our season starts in less then a week. So I am very busy getting the team ready for the season.
Next, my wife just had our second child! Now we have a 2 year old and a newborn. Try juggling all this with my full time job, and it can be quite stressful.
When do I find time to practice pickleball?
Well to be honest I don’t get to play as much as I like, but there are a few things that I do to get ready for tournaments with my hectic schedule.
I am usually early to the tennis courts to get all the equipment out before the kids arrive, so I just take my pickleball equipment with me. While I am waiting on the kids to arrive I can work on my serves. I just use the tennis service boxes as my court. I want to make sure I am serving the ball as deep as possible to help keep the other team back on the baseline. This is a good drill to do when you don’t have anyone else to hit with.
The best thing you can do if you don’t have a partner available to hit with, is find a wall that you can hit off of. Pick a spot on that wall and try hitting that spot every time. This was a huge part of my brother and my success in becoming college tennis players. My dad built a hitting wall in our back yard and painted little squares on it to give us targets to aim for.
What if you do have a partner but don’t want to run around playing singles?
Here are a couple of drills to work on with a partner that can get you ready for your doubles tournaments.
Practice returning serves deep. Have your partner stand back on the baseline and hit serves to you. Your goal is to get them back as deep as possible. Take turns serving to one another.
Another good doubles drill is have one guy stand on the baseline and have the other at the net. Have the guy at the net feed balls to the baseline and have the baseline try to hit the ball into the kitchen in front of the net player.
And lastly you can always practice the single most important shot in pickleball, THE DINK. Here is a quick video of me and my brother practicing in my garage on a rainy day.
Rain for shine, anytime is a good time for pickleball. 🙂
Hopefully you can use a few of these drills to get yourself ready for your next big doubles match.
Josh Grubbs – Guest Blogger and first time Nationals competitor