Tune in to any baseball game and you will hear the announcer say “That’s a routine fly ball, he settles under it, and he’s got it for the out.” Reasonable or not, it is fully expected that a baseball player is going to successfully catch every routine ball. Every time.
In pickleball, your goal should be to have your dinks go over the net every time. Resets should land in your opponents’ kitchen every time. Drop shots have to drop over the net every time. Serves and returns of serve must be effective, every time. And if that’s not enough, all of those shots should be unattackable.
So it should also be your goal to successfully execute every one of these routine shots every time in pickleball. How many times have you hit two or three difficult shots in a row and then dinked an easy one into the net? That should not happen. Ever.
Every shot you take requires your undivided focus and attention. I get personally offended by a ball that won’t go over the net, and I know that I have made a completely unnecessary unforced error. These things add up. Really quickly.
Watch the pro’s – the winning players are making 2-5 unforced errors per game. They make the routine shots. Time and time again. The losers make as many as ten unforced errors per game. Where does that leave you and me? Whatever our numbers are, I am very sure that there is more than a bit of room for improvement.
So I drill the “boring” stuff. My drill routine consists of dinking, mid-court resetting, and back court drop shots. Every time. I pay attention to every shot. I watch my mechanics. I do the work.
Make a point of hustling to the NVZ so that you are ready as quickly as possible. Get into position to execute good mechanics on the routine shots. Do not assume that since it is a simple dink that it is going to get over the net on its own. Be focused and pay attention on every shot.
With significant practice, consistency in your games will improve. You will make the routine shots. Maybe not every time, but that has to be the goal. This is something that is completely under your control and definitely needs constant work. Own this.
Consistency means you never miss a routine shot.
And that’s the truth. Now go do it.
Owner/Instructor, Pickleball Strokes
Remember - you’re just one stroke away.
I love pickleball, and Pickleball Strokes is my on-line home. I live in Ottawa, ON and have been playing pickleball since 2012. I am an avid instructor, referee, and 4.5 player.
I am a Certified Pickleball Teaching Professional, as designated by the International Pickleball Teaching Professional Association.
I play with a TMPR Tantrum GXT paddle and I am proud to be a sponsored member of the TMPR Sports Pro team.