[This is a repost from August of 2015 that was amended with new information in February of 2016. Since then, new sites have appeared, so here's my new and improved list!!
If you learn of a great website that should be added, please let me know.]
So many websites offer pickleball tips and information now that it’s sometimes hard to find what you need quickly or to locate the best.
My list is not comprehensive, and I’m sure I’ve missed sites that should have been included. But I offer this as a starting point if you are looking for tips, tricks, basic info, and/or strategies.
This list is NOT an endorsement of any site, nor a ranking of any over another. My goal is simply to list what I consider the best of the sites that provide useful information contained in clearly presented and easy-to-navigate online sites.
My List of "Best Sites for 'Text & Graphics' Information"
The United States of America Pickleball Association (USAPA.org) is the definitive source for Rules, Places to Play, and a list of upcoming events (click the “Events” tab at the right of the screen). Their “Education and Training” menu contains good information about strategy, skill development, and safety, among a host of other offerings. USAPA members can also read content included in their new monthly Pickleball Magazine.
Coach Mo’s PickleballCoach.com has a wealth of written information. Coach Mo was a tennis pro who has won numerous pickleball accolades. He markets video lessons, but his new website offers a strategy guide you may read or print, a compilation of monthly tips, and a link to his “Pickleball Coach App” available for Android users.
PickleballCentral.com is one of the largest retailers of pickleball goods via the Internet, but their site offers a great Paddle Selection Guide. They also write a blog that has useful information. Their posts include keywords that allow you to search by topic.
Pickleball Experts also carries a full line of goods and they donate 10% of their proceeds to local charities (they're based in Auburn, WA). Their interactive Paddle Selection Guide may be what you need to find your next best game changer.
Prem Carnot was a table tennis champion and is now a 5.0 pickleball player who teaches clinics. His site, PickleballHelp.com, features an Articles and Strategies blog that has a keyword archive for searching (scroll way down on the right).
Multi-National and International Champion Jennifer Lucore’s blog sits atop her sales site AllPickleball.com. She offers blog posts about various topics, categorized by keywords so they are searchable, and there's also an index on the lower right.
A.J. Fraites' Pickleball.biz is a site devoted growing all things pickleball. He has a blog with good information and the entire site is mapped for easy reference. Great source of information.
Jeff Shank hasn't added information recently, but his blog contains a wealth of information that's worth a look.
Of course, if you're reading this, you've found my pickleball blog at GaleLeach.com. Note that this Pickleball Tips blog is searchable by keyword and has a list of topics. You can also subscribe to my page (GaleLeach.com) and receive notifications about new pickleball postings as they occur.
My List of "Best Video Instruction" Sites
For those who prefer to get their information via video, several good sites are available. My only complaint about most of the video sites is that their content isn't tagged with keywords, making it hard to locate the information you want.
PickleballChannel.com’s videos are top-notch, covering diverse aspects of pickleball and “mini clinics” through their “Pickleball 411” segments.
Pickleball Legend Norm Davis has a series of YouTube videos that offer instruction on the basics of just about everything. His videos are clear and easy to follow.
Likewise, Deb Harrison’s YouTube Channel is filled with great information about the basics and many topics not ordinarily covered by others. Worth a look.
My Favorite Pickleball “Radio” Podcast
Pickleball even has its own podcast “radio” station. Chris Allen’s “The Pickleball Show” features interviews with top players and coaches offering strategies, tips, and tricks for playing better pickleball, along with reviews of equipment and notes about upcoming tournaments.
My Favorite Pickleball "Celebrity" Facebook Pages
Quite a number of people are offering sage advice via their Facebook posts. I'm sure I've missed some on this list, but I've enjoyed the format here, because readers can comment also, generating lively discussion at times.
Pickleball Forum A forum where you can discuss all things Pickleball.
Aspen Kern 24-year-old 5.0 National Champion Pickleball player. Lives in Palm Desert, CA.
Jennifer Lucore 16-time USAPA National Champion, 10x Canadian, 4x International... + more.
Mark Renneson Founder at Third Shot Sports which also has some good videos on YouTube.
As I said at the top, I’m sure I’ve missed some good sites. Send me a note or reply to this post so I can include them later. Meanwhile, I hope this list helps you locate good information that will help take your game to the next level.
I drove to Northern California a little more than a week ago to help my son and daughter-in-law with their two children. Elizabeth is pregnant again, and the baby, who was due on the 6th, still hasn't made its appearance. I thought I'd be able to squeeze in time to get a new blog post ready in between playing with trains, feeding, cleaning up, and all the rest, but it isn't happening.
What I will do, though, is direct you to a couple of super posts by Sarah Ansboury. If you don't know about Sarah, give a glance to her website (http://www.sarahansboury.com/) which has a lot more great information—but I love these posts as they contain great information for players of all abilities and levels.
Sarah's Article #1: Your Journey to Pickleball Mastery
Let me begin by explaining what I believe about: Your Journey to Pickleball Mastery
We begin with the understanding that this is your journey. It is wholly yours. As unique as you are. It is a journey, process or path. It is not a destination, a ranking or a gold medal. But unlike some journeys, no special ticket (i.e. athletic ability) is required. It can be achieved even though some will start later in life. It is available to anyone: male or female, young or old.
And though we may have difficulty defining pickleball mastery, we know it when we see it. We believe it will bring us joy. Because throughout our lives we have taken on new challenges. As a child, we may have learned how to ride a bike. Perhaps we learned to play a new musical instrument, or pursued a professional education. And like learning anything new, there were moments when we said “I got it” . And those moments were often followed by exclaiming, “Oh no, I don’t.“
Learning pickleball is a perfect metaphor for this. Let’s follow Sally as she takes up pickleball.
Read more . . .
Sarah's Article #2: My Pickleball Mantra: Balance, Breathe, Believe
I am often asked how I am able to appear so relaxed when I am playing competitive pickleball. For me, the key is my pickleball mantra…
Competing with Your Mind
As I discussed in more depth in my ebook, Be the Best Pickleball Partner You Can Be, we need to learn to control our minds to be successful in pickleball. It is so easy to lose focus or have difficulty closing out a game. We get jumbled up with too many choices: “Should I go for an easy winner?”, “Should I play it safe?”, “Will they come back?” Instead of focusing on the game we focus on “what’s if’s”:
Read more . . .
When playing competitive pickleball, you want to make things hard for your opponents. Too often, though, we play into their hands, giving them advantages without meaning to.
Advantage #1: Allowing your oppo-nents to take position at the net.
When you're serving, your opponents already have the advantage since one of them starts at the non-volley zone line. Then a few years ago, the "third shot drop shot rule" came into favor. The thought was that using the softer, slower drop shot would allow you and your partner to move up from the baseline (where you were stuck as servers because of the double bounce rule) and get to the net.
That made sense—but returning a drop shot also allows your opponent in the back court to run up to the non-volley zone. That's not what you want.
If you can keep your opponents—even one of them--
in the back court, do it.
The net position affords many advantages. At the net:
Advantage #2: Hitting the ball in an upward arc within the opponent's reach.
The farther you are from the non-volley zone line, the more you must angle the ball up to get it over the net. Any ball traveling in an upward arc is ripe for a put-away smash that may be hard or impossible for you to return. One of the hardest things for me as a new player was to keep the ball low over the net.
If you have to bend to retrieve a shot or otherwise return an upward-moving ball, return a soft shot: drop shot, dink, or lob. Which you chose depends on where you are on the court and other conditions. From the back or mid court, choose the drop shot. When at the net, dink. A lob over your opponents' heads can sometimes be beneficial as it sends at least one opponent back and may give you time to move up to the NVZ.
Advantage #3: Playing offense more than defense.
More points are won in pickleball by playing a good defense than a good offense.
It's up to you to make your opponents' game difficult. Be tough!
In doubles play, poaching occurs when a player hits a ball directed toward his or her partner.
Poaching can be planned—something arranged ahead of time with your partner—or unplanned when the moment presents itself.
But why poach the ball?
A well-executed poach can alleviate a situation when your partner is targeted by the opponents as the weaker player and receives all the shots. Stepping across to return the ball is an unexpected move that can throw the opponents off and relieve your partner, at least momentarily.
Poaching is also done to allow the person with the (usually stronger) forehand to take the shot. With two right-handed players, the person on the right (even) side has his backhand to center. The partner on the left (odd) side can poach effectively with her stronger forehand. The situation is reversed with two lefties. If you and your partner are opposite handed, or if you switch hands during play, decide who will retrieve shots down the middle. Poaching opportunities are fewer when both players’ backhands are to center and should probably be avoided, unless an unusual opportunity presents itself.
Three types of poaches are common:
When is the “right” time to poach? One of the best opportunities is when you are on the receiving team just after the finish of the two-bounce rule.
In this example, Player A served the ball to Player D, who returned the ball back to Player A. With the double-bounce rule now satisfied, Player A would likely hit it back to Player D to keep him in the back court. This is an excellent opportunity for Player C to move across and poach the ball as it comes over the net. If player C remains in the right (even) court, Player D should move left to take her place (and also move forward to the net, if there is time to do so safely).
Poaching is not without risk, and timing is crucial. Practice the maneuver and any associated signals with your partner. If you give yourself away too soon, your opponents will drive the ball to your now open court as you move across. Also, don’t poach so often that your opponents expect it of you, and your partner begins to dislike you for stealing all his shots.
Which leads us back to etiquette . . .
If you are playing recreational pickleball with a new partner who consistently poaches your shots, you might suggest that you won’t become a better player unless you’re allowed to hit the ball. If that doesn’t work, find a different partner.
In a competitive situation, where points matter, follow the tips above to talk with your partner before the game. Poaching works best after you have a chance to learn your opponents’ patterns. If you see they consistently hit to your partner, poaching becomes a viable strategy, but only when it’s unexpected. As soon as your opponents think you’ll poach, the shot becomes a liability rather than an asset.
Take time to practice poaching with a partner and you'll add a valuable skill to your arsenal of tricks that can lead you to winning more often.
Gale Leach lives in Arizona with her husband, two dogs, and one cat. When not chasing fur balls, she's working on a new series of novels for young adults.