To defend against hard-hitting players, the best way is to reset the ball by keeping it low and neutralizing the pace. Block pushing back to their feet can also be effective. Finally, attacking with a big drive or by angling the ball off the court, mixing up speeds, and hitting to their backhand can help you keep control of the ball. Transcript: "As an intermediate player, how do you defend against hard-hitting players? Block and reset is your number one way. You're trying to neutralize the pace that they're giving you and take all the pace off the ball to reset the ball either into the kitchen or a short ball, keeping it low. The second way is a block push, where you're pushing the block back to their feet and it's more of a longer, linear shot, putting pressure on them. And finally, the last way is attacking, of course. You know that a big drive is coming, you counterattack and drive it back. Again, keeping everything out front is an easier way to keep control of the ball and you can angle it off the court, you can mix up your speeds, you can hit to their back hands, which tend to be the weaker shot."
Yes, it is a fault. Transcript: "If I hit a volley and my momentum carries me into the kitchen, does not matter if the other team hits the ball or not. Momentum into the kitchen does not end until the next serve is struck. So therefore, it is a fault."
The number one thing that has helped my game the most is slowing down and taking my time. Keeping my paddle out front and staying in balance while I move forward, working my way to the non-volley zone. Transcript: "The number one thing that has significantly helped my game is basically slowing down. I always was in a huge rush. Everybody told me that I needed to get to the non-volley zone as fast as I could. And so sometimes I was not in balance. I was taking balls behind me or late. And so now I've slowed down. I remain at the baseline until I get that drop in that I want to move forward on. I move a few steps forward and then I hit another drop or a mini drive drop. And then basically work my way to the non-volley zone. I keep my paddle out front and I keep my body in balance and then I work my way in. So slowing down, taking your time. You actually have more time than you think. So that's the number one thing that has helped my game the most."
During tournaments, pros eat fresh fruits, energy bars (Cliff bar and Honey Stinger waffle), honey stinger energy chews, peanut butter, bagels, and hydration packets to maintain their energy and keep hydrated. Transcript: "So what do the pros eat during the day when we're at a tournament? It varies from pro to pro, but generally we're eating fresh fruit, bananas, apples, oranges, strawberries, blueberries, you name it, whatever's in the fridge. But a lot of us also like energy bars, so one of my favorites is the Clif Bar and then I also love the Honey Stinger Waffle. That's one of my favorites. We also do Honey Stinger Energy Chews to maintain our energy throughout the day and it's stuff that generally we can swallow very easily and quickly. Peanut butter as a protein, bagels for carbohydrates, those are all some of my favorites that I always carry with me. So we always keep hydration packets as well, so we're always adding hydration packets to our water. So that's how we keep hydrated and fueled for tournament play."
Recognize where the left-handed player is on the court, and try to hit balls towards their weaker backhand. Transcript: "How do I defend against a left-handed player? The number one recommendation is recognizing where that player is all the time on the court. Generally, the left-handed player serves first, so that's usually easy to see because that means that their forehand is in the middle. So I am going to go behind them. I'm going to hit balls to their backhand to hopefully get them to pop balls up. Generally, your backhand is weaker, and that's included on the right-hand player and the left-handed player. So now if that left-handed player moves over and stays on the opposite side, meaning the non-serving side, that means their backhand is going to be to the middle of the court. So now I can take balls to the middle of the court knowing that I'm going to be hitting to their, his or her backhand. So the number one thing for me is recognition, always knowing where that left-handed player is so I know where my target is."
What sets me apart from other pickleball players is my competitive spirit, hard work, and off-court fitness training. I also thrive on pressure situations and perform better when the stakes are higher. Transcript: "What sets me apart from other pickleball players probably is my competitive spirit. I'm just almost the most competitive person I've ever met. I did play with Andy Roddick a few years ago and felt like he probably is more competitive than I am, but with very few exceptions. I am just extremely competitive and that means I also work really hard. I always have believed that champions are made off the court, so my off-court fitness workouts have always been, I think, something that also sets me apart. Four years ago, I found some B3 blood flow restriction bands, and it took me to a whole new level. I was already in elite shape, but I think that took me just off the charts as far as endurance, fitness, lack of getting sore, and just the ability to perform at a higher level, basically. That has been my sort of semi-secret weapon, but basically what really sets me apart is that I just love to train. I work harder than most people. I work smarter, I think. I love to compete, don't really get nervous, so I think I play the big points well. And I just thrive on being on center stage and having opportunities under pressure to perform. So a lot of people perform worse under those situations. I tend to perform better. That's what sets me apart."