In this blog we’re fortunate to have Riley Newman with us. He’s one of the top players in the world and he’s going to share with us some pickleball tips.
Today, we start off by playing one of Riley’s favorite games on the pickleball court which is called sniper.
He’s going to play again me and it’s going to be straight ahead dinking.
We’re going to be looking for balls that bounce and that are above the net. Those are our green light balls where we can attack and be offensive with the shots.
Riley is going to try to pick a location on my body where he’s going to try and get this kind of “chicken wing” motion out of me when I’m not ready to receive the ball.
He’s always trying to look for targets when he’s hitting. His is also trying to be consistent.
When you’re facing the right-handed player, the target you’re trying to hit is that right shoulder.
A lot of people sit back in with their paddle. What he’ doing instead is he’s trying to focus in on the right shoulder. This way I have to go from a backhanded defence to swinging awkwardly to my forehand to try to get that ball at the right shoulder. As a result I will usually be late on that ball.
As we play the game Riley is always staying nice and low and is always looking for my ball to pop up. If he sees that, he’s going to be aggressive on it.
Riley mentioned he is looking for balls to attack at or above the height of the net after the bounce.
As I notice in the points that we play out, Riley is also looking to, and will, attack balls that he can volley at or above net height. In addition to that I also see Riley attack volleys and shots after the bounce that he will contact below the height of the net but on which he feels balanced and will have a strong contact in front as well as a good trajectory to jam me up on my hitting arms side near my right shoulder.
The key is that Riley wants to be relatively sure that I will be forced to attempt a reset instead of being able to counter-attack.
He will typically not get, and should really not be going for, an outright winner on these lowball attacks. What you are seeking is a weak response that you can then attack again, possibly this time for a finishing shot.
That is the secret to attacking from below net level height. You are not going for a winner. You are attempting to force a reset shot that goes badly for your opponent that floats too high so that you can then put that shot away.
It’s a two-step process at best and you will often have to repeat it more than once to get that finishing opportunity.
Your opponent may even hit several great resets and get out of the jam completely in which case you will have to restart from dinking in order to set up your next offensive move.
That is how high level pickleball is played. Many players force the issue too soon on either a ball that they aren’t really set up for well or will have a bad contact point on or both
Or, they are going for openings and outright winners off their attack, off of the low ball.
If that sounds like you or you are attempting to attack off of low balls like the pros do and it’s just not working out for you and you’re really not sure why, this really could be the reason.
We see this happening very often.
If you want to attack off of low balls then you really need to consider if you’re thinking about it and executing it in the way we’ve just covered.
If you’re not we suggest you start because it works. We know that it works because we do it ourselves to great effect and it’s what we see all the pros doing.
Next we play out a point where we see Riley do what was described above.
What we see from this example is that you may think that you can force a reset like Riley initially did yet the opponent finds themselves able to counter-attack. You then need to quickly decide if you are forced to reset or can also counter-attack.
This is the game.
Once up at the net you are constantly deciding when to dink versus when to attack. Once you are attacked or counter attacked you are deciding between resetting or counter attacking.
You also need to select your targets wisely for all of these shots and decide when it’s a good time to go at your opponent’s vs. away from the opponents.
The player that chooses well and executes best wins.
If you want to get in touch with Riley please check the description below for his details.