Malia is an intermediate pickleball player and a former college tennis player.
To love or to hate
Pickleball may not be loved by every tennis player. Some players fear it will mess up their tennis game. However, I've found pickleball to be extremely helpful at improving my reaction times and overall net game.
Pickleball (PB) requires a lot of volleying and fast net play. When I first started playing the sport I wanted to sit at the baseline and crank out the usual tennis groundstrokes. I quickly learned this wasn't going to transfer over and needed to get up to the no volley zone or kitchen. Because of this, I've found my tennis volleys have improved over time and I'm much more confident at net.
Drop shots into the kitchen are key in pickleball. It's great strategy when your opponents are out of position to dink one over the net. It may look weird in-between hitting hard shots but it works! The same can be carried over into tennis and can be even more deadly on the larger court.
I love lobbing now. Back in the college tennis days, I would have never said that. I remember my coach used to make my team practice lobbing before a match. I hated it and was actually embarrassed. Thanks to pickleball however I've made peace with it. I found it can be a great weapon in both PB and tennis. It's ugly but works!
The good old slice. Practice, practice, practice. Pickleball is a great time to practice and perfect your slice shots on a smaller scale court. Hit those crazy slices!
Quick hands and reaction time are vital in a heated battle at the kitchen line. It's also a lot less scary and less painful getting hit with a pickleball vs tennis ball. I've found that I'm much better prepared for the next tennis ball blasting towards my face.
When I first started playing PB, I was really nervous at the kitchen line. The rallies are quick and it's acceptable to hit the ball at the opponent. However, the ball won't hurt you and it's fun to get in long heated rallies!
As a tennis player, don't be scared to try pickleball! It won't ruin your tennis game and will make a huge difference with your reaction time and netplay.
© 2020 Malia J