Is there a song about pickleball? You bet:
21 Reasons To Like Pickleball
This list assumes outdoor doubles pickleball, but many of these findings apply to indoor and singles play as well.
It’s a full-body exercise, involving upper body stretching, a bit of running, and quick-twitch movements. The best part is you may not realize you’re exercising.
Unlike many other sports or forms of exercise, the likelihood of injury is less.
Most pickleballers don’t take themselves too seriously. You’ll have many opportunities for amusement and laughter.
You can take pride in being in the vanguard of a relatively new sport.
Much like speed-dating, you may find yourself in the company of someone new, with whom you must cooperate right away.
You have a new skill that you can proudly introduce to family, friends and co-workers.
Once you get to the level where you participate in kitchen rallies, it teaches patience.
This shows people of a great age that one is never too old to learn something now.
You get enough sunshine to manufacture some vitamin D.
For players of advanced years, you get to enjoy the company of others in your age range.
Pickleball develops fast reaction times. In doubles, you also expand your peripheral vision ability in keeping track of the position of your partner. The speed of pickleball kitchen rallies and the necessity of solid focus makes safer motorists of us all.
This sport imparts a ‘can-do’ attitude that overflows into other activities. For instance if you have to learn another language, or want to master a particularly difficult piece of music, you may subconsciously say, “Hey, if I can learn pickleball, this is going to be easy.”
Don’t underestimate the time between games on busy courts. Instead of being upset because you don’t get as much playing time, know that real magic can happen in between-game communication.
Pickleball teaches humility as one slowly learns how the three-part scoring works, and to stay out of the kitchen when hitting balls that haven’t bounced.
For instance, it is a great place for networking. Let’s say you are a gigging musician. Pretty soon, a large new group of people will meet you, like you, and hire you for their events.
For those who might otherwise be lonely, pickleball is the perfect solution. After playing with the same people for a while, deep friendships develop naturally.
What better way to meet people of the opposite sex if that is your desire?
Pickleball develops social skills. You might think that the older players would have learned everything they need to know by now. Being an older player myself, I can guarantee there’s still more to be learned.
You develop the skill of playing with people who you might normally not get a long. For instance Republicans and Democrats can enjoy the game together.
Pickleball is a great sport for children. The lightweight ball is harmless, the court is small, the kids learn cooperation and coping skills.
Unlike some sports, it doesn’t matter if the player is tall, short, light or heavy. All body types can be equally competitive.
And, it’s so much fun!
Please leave a comment below if you can think of other reasons to like pickleball.
Abusing Opponents with Spin Serves
I think you’ll get a kick out of how badly people return these serves, and how hard they work to do so.
In case you’d like to learn how to do the same thing, here you go: Legal Spin Serves
This inspiring 90-year-old pickleball player has 29 great-grandchildren. Meet Lois White who plays pickleball in Johnson County, Kansas, USA:
She’s not the oldest player. I doubt at 93 years old Ray Bloch is the oldest player in the world either, but he, too is inspiring!
I’m sure there are more than 7 types, but tell me if you don’t recognize every one of these:
This clinic features a Lobster, an automatic pickleball throwing machine. In the right circumstances, it’s a great practice machine. In this particular workshop, maybe not so much!
In this video, you’ll see pickleball paddle manipulation. I make it look simple because I’ve done it a thousand times. You can do it a thousand times too. It makes good use of your time between games while you’re waiting for other players to use the court. This exercise has a valid purpose. It will help with your hand-eye coordination, and with your instinctive feel for how you are holding the paddle in your hand. That’s very important for accurate shots.
For best results, do this on grass or a soft surface, because dropping your paddle on a hard surface once or twice will work out fine, but after a while, it will break down.
If you watch the video carefully, you’ll see that most of what I’m doing is based on two spins per toss.
To start, just flip the paddle from hand to hand with a single spin. It is important to use both hands right from the beginning, otherwise you’ll always have trouble with the non-dominant hand.
When you’re good at single spins, work on doubles. One of the things that may come naturally to you is to make sure the paddle spins flat. By that, I mean, it shouldn’t rotate on its axis while it is in the air, but should remain in a vertical orientation. If it rotates, or becomes horizontal, it will catch in the air and become unpredictable. Looking carefully at the video, you’ll see I actually had trouble with that during the first couple of tosses.
Everything else such as bouncing it off your feet, transverse throws, under the leg, behind the back, and the head balance are easily accomplished after you master the double spins. Quite possibly you’ll learn some things I didn’t demonstrate. Then you can teach me.
Have fun! – Jeff
The Story Behind This Paddle
The paddle you see pictured above was my paddle with which I learned not only more pickleball, but some of the silly moves such as Strange Serve. I learned some additional tricks which I’ll be demonstrating on this website soon. As you might imagine, I dropped it a few times. Or, maybe more than a few times.
At first, it just started to show cracks at the top corners. Then it got worse, as you can see below:
But it still worked fine. People started laughing at my worn paddle, which of course caused me to keep using it. We were all curious to see how bad it might become.
One day, the black plastic edge pnotecter came entirely loose from the top. It was flopping around. Even still, I could use the paddle, except when plastic strip came between the paddle surface and the ball. So, it had to be cut off.
The paddle not only continued to work but in my opinion was even better than original, being quite a bit lighter in weight. Of course, I’d be kicked out of an official tournament with that paddle, but that wasn’t a concern for recreational play.
Now that the edge protecter was gone, the material started to wear away more rapidly from the corners. You’d see little corrugated strips laying on the courts where I had played.
I kept telling people that I’d retire the paddle when it got down to the size of a teaspoon. Even thought it still works fine today, I have in fact retired it. I started to think that if a teammate and I tried for the same shot, there’s a chance I’d scratch my partner’s hand or arm. I would imagine the scratch with that rough material could be quite severe.
Now I’m using a brand new Z5 just like the old one.
I’ve seen many pickleballers who try multiple paddles, spending as much as it takes to get the most recent fashionable product. I continue to use my Z5. I’m certainly not the best player in the world, but I hope this little story lets people know that the quality of the game is far more based on the skill of the player than having the exact right paddle.
As an aside, in the 1970s when bicycle racers all felt they had to shave their legs and wear chamois-lined black wool shorts to be competitive, the fastest racer in New York started showing up with hairy legs and his shorts inside out. He still won most races.
Click the image to see the YouTube video
This has to be the worst pickleball surface ever. It appears to be full of cracks, the lines are hard to see, there are distracting patterns, and it even seems to be wet in places, yet at times they are playing a very high-quality game. Next time the sun is in your eyes, it is too windy, the net is too floppy, or anything else is wrong, remember that it’s possible to play a good game even in a situation like this.
An Unexpected Pickleball Exercise
The reason is that it teaches several skills that are at the heart of our favorite sport.
1. It teaches you to follow the ball right to the paddle. Many people strike blindly at the ball, while looking at the opposing court, the net, or something distant. If one’s shots too often go wild, then following the ball all the way to impact with the paddle is a good habit to learn.
On the other hand, it is also important with some shots more than others, to see to the best of your ability where your opponents are, and hit to their feet, slightly to their left side, and so on. I, personally, tend to hit a lot of shots blind, meaning I don’t watch the ball all the way to impact, but instead, look to where I’m putting the ball. To complicate things further, misdirection with the eyes and body can be a valuable tactic. Glance where you want the ball to go, but then pretend to look somewhere else to throw your opponents off balance.
2. Many players have random shots because their paddle isn’t at the right angle in their hand. I have talked about this elsewhere in OddPickleball.com. One cure is the Thumb Guide Grip. Another is to become absolutely familiar with the angle of the paddle in your hand. This edge bouncing exercise does that nicely.
3. It builds your reaction time. When you get in a popcorn war, you’ll want to react as fast as possible, as fast as you’ll learn to react when you’re bouncing the ball off the edge of your paddle, it goes sideways, and you manage to correct it on the next bounce.
4. It makes new opponents worry that you are better than you really are, or that you are so confident that they don’t have a chance. This last point is a bit of a stretch, but in any case, you’ll enjoy filling your idle time with activities like edge bouncing while players are rounding up balls between rallies or when waiting for everyone to show up on the court to start a game.
Please feel free to experiment with higher bounces, lower bounces, switching from hand to hand, rolling the ball over the edge, under the leg or behind the back bouncing – just anything you can think of.