Pickleball: Drive or drop: The key to the third shot in pickleball

Pickleball: Drive or drop: The key to the third shot in pickleball

Coach Simone Jardim posted two great short videos that circle back to some more advanced advice on execution of third shot drops. 

The first shot is the serve.  The second shot is the return of serve.  The third shot is executed by the serving team, and it is a strategy used to get to the net. 

The third shot drop travels low and slow, and lands in front of your opponent, who is already at the NVZ line.  It should be unattackable, so it needs to be low enough that your opponent cannot drive it at you.

The third shot drive is a hard shot, hit with pace and topspin.

How do you decide which shot to use?

Simone says it depends on both the height and depth of the return. Here are key differences:

** If the return is a higher ball = drive it.  If it is a lower ball = drop it.

** If the return is deep = drop it.  If the return is short = drive it.

** If the return is short and high = drive it.  If it is short and low = drop it.

** If the return is flat and deep, drive it.

Body positioning a consideration

You need to get low and get under a third shot drop, contacting out in front and below your waist.

With a third shot drive, you want to contact it waist high and out in front of you.  Topspin is effective, and the middle is a good target zone, since the new is lower.

Simone executes both in a live situation.  Be sure to watch the demos to see this in action.

One mistake we see is the tendency to drop it all the time.  If you hit a deep serve, and you see your opponent is struggling to get to the net, that is a great time to drive it.  If you drop it in that situation, you are just helping them recover and get to the net.

If your opponent has beaten you to the line, and you are still back, this is not the time to drive it.  Drop it so you have time to get to the net to battle it out.

In the second short video, Simone asks “When should you absolutely get to the NVZ (kitchen line)?

As you improve, you will know when you have hit a good third shot drop.  Anticipate, and get to the net, ready to pounce. 

The key is to watch your opponent. When their head and paddle come down, you know your ball is not attackable, and you can move in quickly, ready to go from defense to offense.

A time of thanks

This Thanksgiving and holiday season, I have several things I am so thankful for, and I want to share these with you:

** The friends who took care of me when I fractured my femur last year and cracked my patella.

** The gang from In Shape who brought me food, walked my dog, and welcomed me back to class, even when I was in a walker.

** David M. from In Shape, who encouraged me to take aqua classes and start swimming for my rehab.  He continues to motivate me to get stronger and more balanced every day.

** All the students who helped me unload and load my equipment to teach, even when I was in a wheelchair.

** Kevin and others who helped me teach, helped me do school demos and clinics, and were there at my classes and round robins when I needed them.

** Linda, who shares her horses with me, and helped me “Get back on the horse!”

** My golfing buddies, who have been so patient and encouraging while I work on my mobility and confidence.

** My mom and dad, who have been gone for several years.  They taught me to be strong, hardworking, independent, and how to deal with adversity.  I miss them so much.

** And of course, Gracie, my little dachshund, who loves me unconditionally, and doesn’t care if I am a great pickleball player, or a great golfer, if she gets her belly rubs.

If you get a chance, thank someone for what they bring to your life over the holidays.  If anyone would like to give a gift of a pickleball lesson, email me at mgbarsaleau@gmail.com.

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