Pickleball Magazine 1-3 | Page 46

PICKLEBALL INSTRUCTION SENIOR STRATEGIES Against the Youth BY STEVE PARANTO I have been playing this great game of Pickleball for 42 years now. I started playing competitive intramural tournaments in college when I was 18 years old. So, now that I am a 60-yearold player, I have had the experience of competing as a young player and now as a senior. This experience has given me a good insight on sound strategies for senior players to use when playing with and against today’s good young players. In the Pacific Northwest we are very fortunate to have many of the nation’s top young male and female players. Most of my playing time involves games with and against these players. I have loved mentoring many of them and it has been a kick at my age to hang around and play this sport with such great players. These players have also taught me shots that I never thought I would see on a Pickleball court. I just love their energy and optimism about life in general, and I feel just by hanging around these young players that I have gained a more youthful perspective of life. I know for sure that they definitely know how to make me laugh and have a good time on 44 and off the court. If I only played with fellow senior players, I would be missing out on much of the enjoyment of this sport. So, if you are a senior player and you would like to mix it up a little more on the pickleball court with today’s young players, I highly recommend it. You will probably find yourself being a mentor in some way to a few of the young people you play with too. In this article I will share some of the strategies that I recommend senior players use when playing against, or even with, those athletic young players. First off, I want to make it clear that today’s pickleball game is very athletic. Today’s top young players have tremendous speed, great jumping ability and lightning-quick reflexes. This athletic factor of today’s game is what clearly gives the young players the advantage. The strategies and tactics I am going to give you in this article will help the senior player take as much of the athleticism out of the game as possible. In other words, we don’t want the match to mainly consist of which team can move TO SUBSCRIBE CALL 724.942.0940 OR GO TO THEPICKLEBALLMAG.COM the fastest, jump the highest or have the quickest hands. STRATEGY 1 Hit a 3rd shot dink on almost every 3rd shot. Most likely, if you hit a hard 3rd shot to young, fast players, the ball will just come back faster and it may even come back to a place on the court that you are unable to get to. The teams that are successful hitting hard 3rd shots are almost always very quick players that can get to the ball blocked onto the open court. STRATEGY 2 Now that you have hit a 3rd shot dink, I want you to keep dinking! STRATEGY 3 Not only do I want you to keep dinking, but I want you to learn how to dink shorter than you are used to dinking. By dinking very short you have gained a “blocker.” With this strategy you are using the net to block the young players from hitting the ball hard at you. If they do hit hard at you, you only have to duck because the ball will be going out.