Lessons and Goals

What the heck are these for?
Last updated 10/11/2018
New Dinking Video:      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q916JLPW-BA
This video has some good advice to help us improve our dinking.  Much of this is the way we teach it in the drill sessions so come and join us if you want to work on  your dinking. I especially like the way he keeps the paddle in front of him, the way he gets his paddle under the ball to lift the ball over the net, and the way he "protects" the kitchen line by taking balls out of the air.  I would like to see him set his angle of impact a little earlier and step into the kitchen with one foot more rather than reaching as much as he does sometimes.  But he gives good advice. Follow his advice and your pickleball game will improve!

The Improvement Goals previously listed have been currently removed.  Contact me if you would like a copy.  More Improvement Goals may be listed again in the future so check back.

Winter 2019 Beginner Lessons:
Beginner lessons are available at the Falls YMCA for adults over 18 every Thursday from 11am to noon. Sign up is at the Sheboygan Falls YMCA front desk is appreciated. There is no charge and equipment is available if you don't have your own. 

Winter 2019 Drills:  Drills for  club members are also available at the Sheboygan Falls YMCA every Thursday from noon until 1:00pm.  No sign up is needed. Let us know if you want to work on a specific shot.  We'll try to accommodate you if it also meets the needs of the other participants. We have 4 instructors.  All of us are intermediate players, but we'll try to help the best we can.  Contact me, Rog Klettke, at rog.jane.klettke@gmail.com if you have additional questions.

Improvement Goals for Pickleball Updated 12/4/2018
by Rog Klettke

These are my observations and recommendations.  There are many, valid differences of opinion and exceptions to everything I suggest. There are a lot of better players than I am so pay attention to their opinions also. Try different ideas and see what works best for you. Most importantly, have fun learning and trying to improve your pickleball.

If interested, look at the IFP rating system which can be found at  (http://ipickleball.org/ifp-rating-descriptions/). This will help you decide what goals you should work on to obtain the next level. Also watching some good pickleball online will help you improve. These are easily found online on YouTube, or you can see some recommendations under "External Links" on our pickleball web site, pickleballsheboygan.blogspot.com/   Pay particular attention to positioning on the court for each shot.  

Here are some additional recommended videos dealing specifically with strategy that you may enjoy:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1tSyuffOqPQ

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TlcfSiCGshg

Statistics from our group, and recommendations for improvement.
These statistics are from over 50 rallies from different teams and games that I kept records on.  But even casual observations on any pickleball match usually shows similar patterns. Some of the issues observed are easily correctible while others will take significant additional practice to overcome. 


Unforced errors:  Over 60% of the rallies ended in unforced errors. Some errors were clearly from lessor skilled players, but many were from very skilled players trying to do too much with a shot.  This was especially prominent when the skilled player was playing with a lessor skilled player. 

Lesson: Lessor skilled players should concentrate on improving consistency of shots. Better players should concentrate on trusting their partner and not try to do too much with a single shot.  Yes, you will lose rallies, but we're playing for fun and to improve.


Receiver not getting to the kitchen line:  Over 50% of the time the person receiving the serve did not join his/her partner at the kitchen line in a timely manner. Remember the team at the kitchen line first should control most rallies.

Lesson: Usually keep the return of serve deep, but slow down the return enough to allow you to get to the kitchen line. Often you can be at the kitchen line in a ready position before the third shot.  Otherwise use a split step to get on balance at midcourt. and then join your partner at the kitchen line. This isn't difficult, so do it! Both players should remember to get to the kitchen line and stay there.  I commonly see people retreating from the kitchen line unnecessarily.

Winners:  About 30% of the rallies ended with winning shots, but most commonly this was due to the other team having a poorly executed shot or a poor decision which allowed the winner. The poor shot or poor decision was often the shot just before the winner, but sometimes it was 3, 4, or even more shots before the winner when the poor shot gave the advantage to the other team.  

Lesson: Only practice will help minimize the poorly executed shot, but realizing what are the poor decisions should help correct these.  


Most Common Poorly Executed Shots: About 50% of the poorly executed shots were easy shots too high to a person at the kitchen line. Learn to use the dink and drop shots well will help improve this.


Poor decisions:  About 50% of the shots that led to a winner by the other team were poor decisions. The poor decision, at least, gave up the advantage, if not the outright winner, to the other team.  The most obvious and common poor decision was hitting to the opponent at the kitchen line when the other opponent was still back.  While dinks and drops are very useful when both opponents are at the kitchen line, hitting a ball to an opponent who is back is a far easier, and a higher percentage shot for most of us. It also keeps the other team on defense.  Almost always hit to the deep person if your opponents are of equal ability.

Less commonly, the winner came from an excellent set up shot or series of shots, not only from the person who did the winning shot, but often from his/her partner.> 

Lesson: It pays to have a good partner!  But learning how to make set up shots and being patient until you get a put away shot is a “learnable skill.”  Note, also, that set up shots against your team can be partially negated by remembering to stay “tethered” to your partner. Stay in position!  Don’t let any shot go between you and your partner.

Common pattern that shouldn't happen: Hitting a high ball, or even an easy ball to the opponent at the kitchen line across from your partner who is also at the kitchen line is not a good shot.  It is particularly bad when an opposing team member is back, and your partner expects you to hit it to the back person (as you should.)   Even if your partner is lucky and returns the hard shot he/she receives, it will be a weak shot and usually your team will lose the rally.    

Rules of Thumb: Hit to the deep opponent.

Hit softly, dinks and drop shots, if both opponents are at the kitchen line and you have to hit up. Hit hard if you get to hit down at your opponent’s feet.  Keep working on those dink and drop shots.

Hit the high percentage shot most of the time, but don't become too predictable. In other words, occasionally ignore everything I said above.


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4 comments:

  1. Great advice, as you mentioned unforced errors is a huge issue with beginners. good recommendation on not trying to "do too much with the shot", better to get it over the net!

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  2. Just wanted to say thanks for the head pickleball paddle review and other tips on your site.

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  3. Just wondering if their is any pickleball at any schools or church gyms.I am coming to Sheboygan for the holidays. Also can my grandson who is 14 play? Otherwise I will go to the YMCA in Sheboygan.

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    1. The open times to play pickleball in the Sheboygan area are listed in the "Playing Schedule" tab above. Unfortunately, the club's open times are for adults 18 years old and older and are usually busy. I'm not aware of any times scheduled for younger players. Occasionally the YMCA's may have other times that you could reserve court time. Hope to see you there. Our group enjoys meeting new people. Rog

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