Pickleball Magazine 2-6 - Page 61

BY JAMES HACKENBERG I watched a fantastic pickleball match recently where some of the new, younger players were playing a game I could only dream of playing. Yes, there were plenty of drop shots and dinks, but the power, speed and reflexes of these young stars were incredible. What they may have lacked in terms of patience at the NVZ, they more than made up for with tremendous hand speed, anticipation and shot execution. I overheard some people say, “That’s not pickleball; they’re just bangers.” Well, I’m sorry to tell you but, yes, that is pickleball — as the old saying goes, “There’s a new sheriff in town.” Does this mean the soft game is on the way out? Absolutely not. In fact, in order to combat the power game, you have to develop a good soft game and have the ability to “reset” points by learning how to hit the drop volley. It also requires tremendous anticipation, paddle readiness, and focus. But, while the “third shot drop” has been, and will be, the primary shot for getting to the NVZ, you’re going to see more third shot drives and players quickly moving in to attack the returning volley, or taking the short volley and then dropping the ball into the NVZ on the fifth shot. Power in pickleball is here to stay. With the younger players entering the game, many coming from strong tennis backgrounds, you will witness more and more lethal, hard-hitting shots, intense volleys and shorter dink rallies. Change is inevitable. Think of all the other sports that have changed over the years. Bowling balls and lane dressings have made for higher scoring. Golf equipment and new technology has dramatically changed that game. Even tennis equipment brings more power to the game, and the strokes tennis players make today look nothing like those of Billie Jean King and Rod Laver. As pickleball continues its dynamic growth, change is a certainty. We can complain about it, but it won’t stop change from happening. I, for one, love watching these new stars of the game. And, I love watching matches featuring contrasting styles. Sometimes the patient soft- gamers win, sometimes the hard-hitting bangers win. One thing that w B6vR2FBBFWVG2v6fBFRVf&6VBW'&'2FR7B&BֆGFpW'2vVW&ǒFR&RVf&6VBW'&'2'WBFF( 0Vr7F'2fR7V6&V&&R6Br62@&VfWW2FBFW6ff&BFvf"'&R&RgFV6FRWBFRRV"6VR6( FB6( @6V&( F( BvWBF&wVVB'WBW7B6FW'6Vb( W2B2BN( 2&WGGF&W6FrFvF6( *( dT$U"DT4T$U"#rtPS