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Uneven Surface

Playing pickleball where the surface is less than ideal is surprisingly common. Where we play, there are cracks in the pavement. At an indoor facility a few miles away, they have wooden floors with soft spots. At some courts, the lines themselves are problematic because when a ball hits the paint, it will skid or spin strangely.

There are three ways to accommodate less than ideal surfaces. The first is to remain calm. Overreacting to a ball that behaves weirdly after a bounce is more likely to cause an error than reacting slowly and deliberately.

Stand perhaps two feet (60 cm) farther back than you ordinarily would. If the ball hits a defect, then you have the extra time needed to react properly.

Keep in mind that a conservative shot may be needed. If you plan to hit the ball back as a mild dink, or to the middle of the opponents’ court and something goes wrong, it is less likely to result in a fault. If you would normally make your dinks very low, you might consider being a little more moderate, in case you need the extra inch or two to clear the net in the case of the ball bouncing weirdly. Same with a passing shot. Perhaps a little less power and topspin, and a little more height is OK. Sure, it is less likely to be the final shot of the rally, but you’re better off extending the rally defensively, than dying right away.

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