Be Surprising in Pickleball
OK, so in pickleball we have high-speed, low passing shots. We have the lob. We have dinks into the kitchen. We have the smash. We have the forehand and the slice. We also have soft non-volley zone rallies. We have diagonal placements, and shots right down the middle.
Of all these possibilities, do you have a favorite shot? Are you consistently blasting balls into the backcourt? Do you drop every shot right into the kitchen to instigate non-volley zone rallies? Do you pretty much always try to put the ball to your opponents’ backhands? Do you slice every serve that comes your way? If so, you’re probably getting very good at what you do, but you’re probably also losing a lot of games.
Your opponents will learn to respond to your tricks, if they haven’t already.
So, if you can manage it, it is a great idea to become reasonably good at as many pickleball maneuvers as you can learn. Then, you can be surprising. You’ll have a big advantage when your opponents never know whether you’re going to drop into their kitchen, or slam right past them with a low backcourt shot, or maybe even make them frantically run backward to retrieve a lob. Your opponent doesn’t know whether you’re going to go straight ahead, to the right, or to the left with your next non-volley zone play. So, bottom line: Be surprising!
One trick that makes this seem easy is to have a plan. Say to yourself something like, “If I get the right opportunity, I’m going to try a lob,” or “If I’m in a kitchen rally, I’m going get behind the ball and try an extreme diagonal shot.” Then when the opportunities to be surprising come along, you’re all set.