If you have ever participated in the weekly Night Train Pickleball clinics then you probably at one time or another have already heard what I am about to share. If you have not then this is probably a very good opportunity for you to learn a little more about me and my Pickleball journey. More importantly it will give you some good feedback on how you can approach the game of Pickleball in your own personal journey.
One of the very first shots I had to learn based on the players who were teaching me was the third shot drop. As they proceeded to explain the shot to me they stopped and told me that it was one of the hardest shots in Pickleball. After explaining this to me I went ahead and started to try and master this shot. I took all of the practice time allotted me before open play and hit one practice shot after another. Needless to say that I was not getting this at all. Every shot seemed to go really long or hit the net. There were moments of close but no cigar and others shots resembled perfect put away shots for the other team.
I was so bad at third shot drops and yes, I will repeat that, I was so bad at third shot drops (How bad where you Thomas, glad you asked) that eventually no one wanted to play with me except for the older women who felt sorry for me. Routinely at the paddle que I would come up with a new partner and they would inevitably ask “are you going to practice that shot?” to which I answered with a resounding “Yes!” and then they would proceed to ask if anyone else wanted to partner with me as they put their paddle back in the que. At first it was hard to not take it personal but after a few days I just chalked it up as players who decided it was more important to win than the opportunity to build their patience. However, within a few weeks playing 5 to 7 hours a day I finally started hitting that shot. Shortly after that the same players who didn’t want to play with me then now wanted to move their paddles in the que to try and play with me everytime.
So why do I share this story? I learned something from this opportunity to learn and get consistent with the third shot drop. I learned that the biggest reason why I had so much trouble with this shot was because someone told me it was one of the hardest shots in Pickleball. Yes, when they told me it was hard somewhere along the way I made it hard. Everytime I missed the shot I remembered those words “One of the hardest shots in Pickleball” and that shot was unattainable for me for some time before I started hitting it.
Now I am pretty consistent and I teach it as a basic skill in each clinic and then build off that shot as players improve. What I have learned is that I do not refer to the third shot drop as the hardest or one of the hardest shots in Pickleball. Since I have done this I can see players who attend the weekly clinics start getting the shot much quicker. It is so crazy how what someone can say has so much power over the results. So when you practice tell yourself “I have this shot” and watch as you get it down in just a few days or a few weeks.
Now let me just say that I am SOOOO thankful for those who took me under their wings and taught me the game of Pickleball. Without them my game would not have taken off like it did. The reality is that if anything else they taught me that I could excel at this game and that by working with me they solidified that belief.
See you on the courts!