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Court Reservation Platform for Successful Pickleball Clubs
CourtReserve is an all-in-one pickleball court reservation & club management platform that helps you run your pickleball club with ease and confidence.
Great website for pickleball facilities!
(Joe Dinoffer is a master professional in the USPTA and PTR, has written 9 books, produced 22 DVDs, and has appeared on the Tennis Channel. His company www.OnCourtOffCourt.com manufactures training aids for pickleball and tennis, and Joe brings that experience and passion in this regular column for Pickleball Magazine.)
Ball Contact: How long is it?
By Joe Dinoffer
What does it mean when your coach says, “Hit through the ball?” Generally, he or she just means that you should lengthen your ball contact as much as possible. But is that even feasible to accomplish? The answer is no, making that instruction far than ideal.
To understand this point, we need to know much time the pickleball dwells on the paddle when they meet. Since so many tennis players are now taking up pickleball, we compared both sports.
From our high-speed camera work, we first learned that tennis ball contact lasts up to 4 milliseconds or up to 1/250th of a second. In actual distance as a part of the swing path, we calculated (with an average swing of 40-50 miles per hour) that the tennis ball dwell time occupies just about 2.5 inches.
Pickleball is quite different. The contact dwell time averages just 2 milliseconds, which is only 1/500th of a second, and covers a distance of only 1.25 inches in length!
Why is there such a difference between tennis and pickleball? There are two reasons.
First, let’s cover the pickleball paddle versus a tennis racquet. The tennis racquet strings compress to increase the ball dwell time whereas the pickleball paddle is a hard surface, creating a faster rebound.
Second, tennis balls are soft and compress (and then decompress) to further lengthen the elapsed time and length of contact. On the other hand, pickleball balls are hard and rebound off the paddle faster, especially considering that the paddle surface is hard also. This results in a time-lapse “event” of pickleballs striking the paddle at literally half the time of a tennis ball striking a tennis racquet.
All that said, there is one redeeming reason to try and lengthen your swing by trying to his “through” the ball. While you will not extend your contact length by this effort, you may be able to control the ball direction better in case you hit slightly earlier or later than you planned!
This New Bridge Makes a Whole Lot of Sense
There are 3 Problems that are hindering the growth of tennis, and the retention & success of players.
#1: Players learn complex swings from Day 1
You don’t need to swing like the pros to be successful at the recreational level, yet players are often taught pro techniques. Rather than learning the simplest swing possible to be able to hit the ball in the court, they learn the most complex swing.
They spend 95% of their time during lessons & clinics focused on technique, but they don’t learn how to ‘play’ tennis. They don’t develop ‘control’ and don’t know how to adapt their swing to different situations.
It takes way too long for players to be able to play a match, and when they do they often lose to players who don’t look good.
In other sports, you play games right away, so why not tennis?
I think we need to equip our students to be able to play a tennis match in 30 days. That’s right, 30 days, not 6 months, not 2 years.
For most, ‘playing’ tennis is way more enjoyable than being fed balls or doing drills.
“Playing” gets them to fall in love with the sport, and reduces drop-out.
If your students’ goal is to play matches eventually, we are doing a dis-service to our players if we don’t prepare them for playing matches in a fast and efficient way.
You can teach someone to play in 30 days if you teach them simplified swings.
#2 Players Don’t Use the Right Equipment When Starting Out
Having a new player use a 27” powerful racquet & high bouncing tennis ball on a 78’ court is not the best learning environment.
Too many failure happen with each skill before the player is able to get the hang of it, and time needs to be spent reversing bad habits.
All of this is solved when you put the right equipment in a player’s hands.
The right equipment in my opinion is Spec Tennis equipment.
I’ve had so many players on the court that were using a regular tennis racquet and were frustrated, but then when I put a Spec Tennis paddle in their hand and had them try the same skill, it was like magic. Suddenly they were able to gain confidence in the skill in ½ the amount of time. And since they built confidence in the skill it was easy for then to them switch back to the tennis racquet.
Failing too often is not a good thing. By using Spec Tennis equipment you control their success rate.
#3 Players Don’t Practice on Their Own
Sure, players spend time on the tennis courts in between their lessons, but do they actuall y ‘practice’ the skill(s) that they’re working on in their lessons? Not typically.
It’s because we aren’t enabling them to practice on their own.
Say a beginning adult is working on their forehand in private lessons. When they go to practice with their friend who is also a beginner, not much gets accomplished in terms of practicing that skill. ½ the time, the practice partner isn’t capable of hitting to their friend’s forehand and rallies are short. A high % of balls that do go to the forehand are not in the desired strike zone..
Eventually the players say “let’s just rally” or something along those lines.
Ever since I incorporated Spec Tennis into my curriculum, players CAN and DO practice on their own.
The Spec Tennis paddles and soft tennis balls give players control, making practice more productive. Logistically it becomes easier to practice. They can practice anywhere including in their driveway.
They’re able to take full swings at the ball and control it in a small space. More balls are hit in a shorter amount of time. Less balls are played out of their strike zone. They improve at a faster rate. End of story.
30 Day Course
I’ve created a video course called the “30 Day Tennis Blueprint” which tackles all of the above problems.
I teach players simple functional swings, get them using the right equipment, and teach them how to practice on their own.
You can pick up the course today here: https://spectennis.com/product/30-day-blueprint/
And enter promo code: “spec15off” at checkout for 15% off.
If you’d like to learn more about Spec Tennis please contact me, firstname.lastname@example.org
Lynn Cherry, Owner
I wasn't around Pickleball very long before I knew I wanted to start a website about the game. That's because I became addicted to the sport in 2018 shortly after finding it when I moved to Connecticut from North Texas. When I saw the local recreation center had Pickleball, I looked up the sport on Youtube and thought I'm going to love this game! I hadn't played a racket sport in quite a few years because of my bad knees but I realized on the small court I could probably handle the movement. So, using my skills from when I played open-level racquetball and a couple years of tennis, I started playing and writing about the game. Contact Lynn Cherry
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