Lake Tahoe recreation: 6 pickleball mantras to live and play by |

Lake Tahoe recreation: 6 pickleball mantras to live and play by

Small "dink" shots win the majority of points in pickleball games.
Courtesy Incline Village Tennis Center |

INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — Playing pickleball is fun at all skill levels. Whether you are a beginner or a competitive player, there is always room for improvement.

We live in Nevada where playing the odds is a way of life. Going for the high percentage pickleball shots will improve your score.

I call these tips “Pickleball Mantras.” The more you repeat them to yourself, the more naturally you will execute them. So keep these tips on your lips:

1. Your team can’t win if your serve isn’t in: Only the serving team can score. So it is important to land a safe serve. There is no need to go for an ace. Just get it in. Most points in pickleball are won after the serve and return of serve.

2. Hit in-between, split the team: Aiming a return shot between your two opponents is a high percentage play. Each player will think the other one is getting it. No one goes for it, you score.

3. Keep it low, steal the show: The pickleball doesn’t bounce very high, so hitting a low shot just skimming the net makes it more difficult for your opponent to return it. There’s a good possibility he’ll hit it into the net.

4. Hit at the feet, you will defeat: The pickleball court is small, and the ball comes at you quickly. It is difficult to return a shot that comes to your feet. So when you have time to place your shot, go for your opponent’s feet whether she is far back in her court or near the non-volley zone.

5. Dinking rules, slamming is for fools: Pickleball is more about blocking and finessing the ball than executing hard hitting ground strokes. You don’t need much of a back swing. Yet accomplished tennis players often play a hard hitting game of pickleball. When you watch championship tournaments, you see that dinking (hitting a short, soft ball over the net) scores the majority of points.

6. Eye on the ball says it all: The pickleball paddle isn’t very big, and the handle is short. New players find it common to miss the ball entirely. Even experienced players sometimes whiff it. You must practice keeping your eye on the ball all the way to contact with your paddle. It’s tempting to look at the spot on your opponent’s court where you want to place your shot, but that risks signaling your intention as well as losing focus and missing your shot.

Have fun on the courts and take advantage of these high percentage moves.

The Incline Village Tennis Center has eight lined pickleball courts as well as regular pickleball clinics, mixers and drop-in play. Please call 775-832-1235 or see for more information.

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