We’re Falling Behind in the Match…Now What?

March 15, 2019

Gene Smyth, GAMMA Pickleball Contracted Player

By Gene Smyth, GAMMA Pickleball Contracted Player

Do you have trouble coming back after falling behind in a match?

Don’t panic! Pickleball is a sport where the receiving (defensive) team has a statistical advantage of winning each point. So if my team is down 1-7, we just tell each other, “Let’s keep them at 7 and claw our way back into the match.”

Easier said than done? Of course, but here are the key elements of making a comeback:

  • Good, deep return of serves – make their 3rd shots difficult!
  • Get to the no volley zone (NVZ) after the return of serve – that gives your team a big positional advantage.
  • Keep the opposing team back by hitting deep 4th shots to good spots (placement is critical).

Let’s talk a bit more about that deep 4th shot placement. Good spots on the 4th shot include:

  • At the toes of opponents – if they approach the NVZ after a GOOD 3rd shot or 3rd shot drive, we want them to have to LIFT the next shot.
  • Deep – preferably the backhand side of the weaker opponent if they stay back after their 3rd We want to maintain that positional advantage of being at our no volley line while they are stuck farther back.
  • If they elevate their 3rd shot, we want to hopefully put the 4th shot away or put it in a spot deep down the middle or angled so they are out of position. Even if they retrieve that shot we should have an easier put-away.

What we DO NOT want to do is deposit the 4th shot into the net or try to hit it so hard that we miss the court.

This focuses you and your partner on a positive goal of ” let’s be tough to score on” rather than the negative thought of ” we have dug ourselves a huge hole.”

Of course even better is starting the match that way!