Scott has been coaching for more than 30 years in sports such as tennis, skiing/ snowboarding, running, cycling, and triathlon. Now, he is excited to go Back to the Future as he returns to the court to share his passion for Pickleball! Scott is an IPTPA Level 2 certified pickleball coach and Director, a 5.0+ rated player, and ranked in the top 10 on the Senior Pro Tour. Scott won a silver medal in Sr Pro men's doubles at the 2022 USA Pickleball National Championships.
To improve reaction time, practice volleying back and forth with your partner from one foot inside the nonvolley zone. Commit to using the backhand side of the paddle when defending against a body shot. Transcript: "A really quick and easy drill to improve reaction time is actually go ahead and take a step into the nonvolley zone. That's going to put you and your practice partner 10, 11, 12 feet away from each other, which is closer than you'll ever be in an actual pickleball match. And practice keeping the ball in the air, volleying back and forth with each other at that super close proximity. You'll quickly find out that there's not a lot of time to guess whether it's a forehand or a backhand. As such, the best thing to practice from there, go ahead and commit to the backhand. The backhand is best for defending against a body shot. Really, you can handle a lot of attacks by using the backhand side of the paddle. So let's not guess. Commit to the backhand side. Stand relatively close to your opponent, a foot inside the nonvolley zone. And then when you actually play, things will slow down a little bit, and I think your reaction time will be all that much quicker."
Tennis players coming to pickleball should take a minimal backswing and embrace the finesse elements of the sport, as it is difficult to impart enough spin with the rudimentary equipment and small court size to hit the ball hard and keep it in play. Transcript: "There are a ton of tennis players coming in to pickleball which is a great background sport for the game. But however, many tennis players just simply hit the ball too hard take too much of a back swing. The problems with that have to do with the generally rudimentary equipment and the tiny court. The court is only 22 feet on the other side of the net, which is pretty tough to keep the ball in play. Combine that with the fact that the pickleball doesn't bounce very high. So often, we're hitting a ball 8, 10, 15 inches off the ground, which means you have to hit up over the net. And add to that, we're playing with a generally not very sophisticated paddle, especially, compared to a tennis racket with strings, felt on the ball, and all of those things. So it's difficult to impart enough spin to hit the ball hard and have that spin keep the ball in play. So my recommendation with tennis players is to take negligible minimal back swing and really embrace the soft game or the finesse elements of the sport. Thanks for asking the question, Wendy. I'll see you on the courts."
The two most common mistakes I see beginner pickleball players make are using their wrist too much and hitting the ball too hard. To avoid this, use a firm wrist and shoulder for power and be sure to bend your knees. Focus on enhancing the finesse part of the game in order to reach the intermediate level. Transcript: "There are two common mistakes that I see most beginner pickleball players making on the court. The first is they use their wrist too much. I understand why in tennis racquetball squash, these are risky Sports in order to produce power but pickleball is as much a finesse game as it is a power game. With that in mind, we want to have our paddle face the target for as long as possible. So I like to have a firm wrist when I do that, the shoulder is our primary hinge when sweet. NG a pickleball paddle and secondly, we want to be able to bend the knees. That's another hitch. The second mistake. Many beginning pickleball players make is they just simply hit the ball too hard. All of the time it's fun but it's not a great way to get better at pickleball. The court is Tiny, it's only 22 feet worth of court. On the other side, seven of those feet are taken up by the non-volley Zone, an area, where our opponents are not allowed to step in and volley the ball out of the air. So, we really want to enhance the The Finesse part or the soft game in order to reach the next levels, intermediate on up in pickleball."
The amount of time a pickleball paddle lasts varies greatly, depending on the specific paddle and the player using it. Top players may go through a paddle every 1-2 tournaments, while others may have the same paddle for years. The core will eventually break down, producing dead spots, and the amount of friction used to produce spin may wear off quickly for some paddles. Transcript: "There's a pretty huge range when it comes to how long, a pickleball paddle last. Depending upon the specific paddle and the player been John's. For example, the number one, male player in the world says that he goes through a paddle, every one or two tournaments. So that's only a couple of weeks. I've had players who have the same paddle in their hand for two plus years and only realize that it might be time for a new one when we give them a demo, you know, of a new paddle to try most paddles. These days come with a polypropylene Honeycomb Core, which is great for producing power and control some amount of sound deadening, but that core doesn't last forever. It'll start to break down, you'll get dead spots and you go to hit a ball and you think it will go over the net and it doesn't because you're just not getting the response from the battle in the core that you had previously, that would be a, you know, a good time to go ahead and get a new pal, another rather new Tell when it comes to paddle longevity, is the amount of friction or grit or how much the paddle service can grab a ball in order to impart spin. Some paddles. That's amount of friction last for quite a while. Other paddle manufacturers, that is only a short-term application on the surface of the paddle and wears off rather quickly. If you like that, feeling of a producing spin, you might go through paddles a little bit more quickly, if that's not a Big deal. Then you'd probably enjoy the use of the paddle until you reach the end of the life cycle of the core. Thanks for your question. Brett, look, forward to seeing you out there on the court."
Line calls in pickleball have been controversial, especially for pros, as they usually make their own calls, and can appeal to a referee if needed, or have video replay in some tournaments. In the past, Slayer Volunteers would sit on court and make line calls, but now pros prefer to make their own calls to avoid getting a bad reputation. There is not enough money yet to bring in expensive technology, such as Hawkeye in tennis, to make the line calls for them, though this may change in the future. Transcript: "So calling lines in pickleball for all players, but especially from Pros, has been a little controversial of late given that, they make their own calls, they can appeal to a referee. If the referee clearly sees it differently. They can overturn it and some tournaments allow a video replay. Interestingly only two or three years ago, most of them metal rounds, bronze and gold, silver matches had Slayer Volunteers who would sit on the court and little lawn chairs and make line cards in short order, the pros. Decided they can make better line calls themselves and most of the pros, especially, because they're traveling around the country. Seeing the same, the same people all over all the time, they don't want to get reputation for bad line calls. So in general, the line calls are pretty good. Compared with tennis pickleball is in its infancy at the pro level. There just simply isn't enough money in the game yet. For some significantly expensive technology to come in like Hawkeye in tennis and make the line calls for them. Hopefully that will come along in the coming years as the money continues to increase."
Pickleball is still predominantly played in the US, but is quickly growing in popularity around the world. Canada, Mexico, Costa Rica, Europe, England, France, Australia and Israel have all seen growth in pickleball. The World Pickleball Federation is helping to spread the game globally. Transcript: "In 2022 pickleball. Still play predominantly in the US. Canada has a good number of players Mexico. Costa Rica a lot of the resorts are attracting players down there and Europe England, France have pretty good scenes and down under Australia has a number of terrific players growing by the day. This past summer, I had a chance to join a group in Israel promoting. A ball as a part of the Maccabi games, the every four years Jewish Olympics. We taught a number of Israelis as well as participants from teams around the world. The Spanish players picked it up really fast. So pickleball is growing the world pickleball Federation is helping spread the game globally but right now pickleball is still played mostly in the US."