You’re the serving team and the
return has been hit to your partner. How do you get to the non-volley zone
in the most effective way and without getting killed? Hey everybody at CJ Johnson, if you want the best
pickleball information for
the player who’s over 50 make sure that you hit the subscribe
button and then the bell notification, so you know when I post a new video. I’m curious because I think this is
pretty common when you first learn how to play pickleball, were you told to run
to the kitchen line no matter what? Put a yes or no in the comments below.
That’s exactly what I was taught. Running to the net is great advice,
if you’re the returning team, you should get there as fast as you can
or if you happen to be playing with a 5.0 pickleball player
who’s extremely consistent. If not, you probably found out relatively quickly
that when you’re the serving team, running to the net as fast as you
can is not always the best strategy. Now if the return was hit to you, it’s pretty easy to
understand what’s going on. After all you can feel it and you
know what type of shot you’re hitting. When the return has gone to your partner, it requires a little bit more awareness.
If that return is going to my partner, I know they’re going to do one of three
things. They’re going to hit a lob, a drive or a drop. No matter what shot my
partner is going to hit. My first move is to take a small step
into the court just inside of the baseline. That small step into the court gives me
the ability to run for a shot that my opponents may drop shorter at net while
remaining in a defensive position until I can see the trajectory of
the shot that my partner hit. Now I want to look at my partner to see
what shot they chose and then I want to be aware of the trajectory of the ball. Those things will determine how I move
to the net. Let’s start with the lob. Unquestionably this is the least favorite
shot I want to see my partner hit. In fact, I cringe when I see them do it. Our opponents are already at the non
volley zone and they have already taken away our time. If they hit
this lob anything but perfect, there’s now a smash coming
back towards me and my partner. We don’t want to move to the net. Our only choice here is to get down
and to get into a defensive position to simply keep the ball in play
and to try to reset the point. If they happen hit a good lob and
you watch the trajectory of the ball, that’s when you should
start moving forward. If you can’t tell by the trajectory alone, if you see your opponents
turn to move backward, that’s a good sign that you and your
partner should run to the non volley zone. Helle is here in the red shirt and her
partner who’s off camera hits a third shot lob. You can see her watch
the trajectory of the shot. At first it looks like she’s
getting ready to defend. Then it appears that she
thinks the ball is out. When they both realize the ball is in, they make a mad dash
for the non volley zone. Next, let’s talk about the drive. Most players have a very different
setup for the drive versus a drop shot, so watch how your partner
prepares to hit the ball. If you see the drive coming, you may want to stop your
movement towards the net. Your opponents are already positioned at
the non volley zone and they have taken away your reaction time. By staying back just a little bit, you put yourself in a better position
to defend a well blocked drive. If I see my partners set
up for the drop shot, I need to pay attention to
the trajectory of the ball. Do I think that when that ball bounces
it will bounce with the apex below the net and therefore be less
attackable. If that’s my thought, then I want to go ahead and move
closer to the non volley zone. Another cue is if I see my
opponents starting to bend, that means they think the ball is
dropping relatively low and that’s like a green light. Move towards the net. I need to be prepared to stop the minute
I think it’s either an attackable shot or my opponents are ready to hit. The minute Jeanie sees my
return headed towards Peter, she steps inside the baseline.
She gives a brief glance to Peter, starts to move forward, but
watches the trajectory of the ball. The moment she realizes it’s attackable, she does a split step
and gets ready to defend. She watches her partner hit the next shot, and when she realized
it’s more attackable, she takes an additional step backward, which puts her in a better
position to defend the next shot. One additional point.
When you move forward, you want to keep the distance
between you and your partner, relatively similar. If there’s
a large gap front to back, you’re in a vulnerable position
that’s difficult to defend. It takes time and practice to develop a
visual sense based on the trajectory of the ball and then move
your body accordingly. But here’s something that will help you. Stand at the baseline and try to hit
unattackable third shot drops into the kitchen. As you hit the shot call out
Yes if you think it’s attackable or no, if you think it’s not. Your partner at the net should attack
anything that’s high over the net. Make sure to give this thumbs up or
share it with your pickleball playing friends because together we can
Train Smart, Live Bold and Age Well

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Dennis Veasley

7 thoughts on “Pickleball Third Shot-STOP Getting BEAT!”

  1. Closing the net on drives depend on how the net team handles low hard hit balls. The shake and bake strategy is to charge the net during the drive and put away block shots that pop up too high. Test both of your opponents to find out how they handle drive shots, and if their returns are weak; you can take advantage of them. Other wise use the closing strategies C. J. recommended.

  2. this is probably the most valuable information for improvement. Learning to read the opponents and anticipation. Lots to work on here. Thanks for sharing !

  3. CJ, this is one of your best lessons, and you have some great ones, it addresses how players “must” be aware of the quality of the shot they have returned to their opponents. For some reasons the “myth” of get to the NVZ line as quickly as possibly regardless of anything is still being peddled by many players and some instructors, you’ve explained perfectly the correct approach and how to execute the transition. Great job, keep up your awesome video lessons.

    Ray Bowman, PPR

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