At TCB we want to embrace many racquet sports and introduce you to the games and the forces that drive them. As always let us know here if you want to get connected to any of the people featured below. State your name and what you do, please. Thank you.
(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 Speed and Reaction Time?
By Joe Dinoffer
Pickleball is fast. Tennis is fast. We know that. Both sports test every fiber of our eye-brain reaction skills. But how do they compare to one another?
First, let’s compare the court length. Baseline to baseline in tennis is 78 feet. Pickleball is 44 feet, almost half the distance. How does this affect reaction time? For purposes of comparison, let’s use a ball speed of 40 miles per hour, which is a ball speed commonly achieved by intermediate pickleball and tennis players.
A 40 MPH average height groundstroke tennis ball travels baseline to baseline in about 2 seconds. Buckle up your seatbelt pickleball players because pickleball baseline groundstrokes cut your reaction time in half – just one second! That’s not much time when you consider how you have to react to your opponent’s shot which includes determining the incoming ball’s direction, speed, arc, and spin!
Let’s analyze this further. On each side of the net, one-half second elapses with a groundstroke hit at 40 MPH. To simplify what this means, pickleball players must use the half-second that the ball is still on their opponent’s side of the net to determine the incoming ball’s direction, speed, arc, and spin! By the time the incoming ball has crossed the net coming your way, you will need to turn in the direction you have to move and start to prepare your racquet. Then, as you move to the ball (note that the ball has not even bounced yet!), you will need to not only position your feet on balance to hit the shot, but you will also need to decide how and where you will hit that same ball back over the net!
Final thoughts? Don’t let anyone tell you that pickleball is an easy sport to play. But don’t let them tell you it is a difficult sport to play either! Compared to tennis, it may be easier to start playing for the average person but know this. It is definitely a fast game requiring split-second decisions!
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Yossi Fixman, the founder of Tpoint wrote to us, "Tpoint is the new Smart outdoor squash experience. The Tpoint vision is: To establish standalone squash hubs in outdoor areas all around the city, increasing access to sports facilities and raising exposure for the game.
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Contact: Yossi Fixman Yfixman@tpoint.club
By Larry Haugness
Recently there have been many “paddle/racquet sports” entering the sports arena. One of the more established of all of them is the international sport of touchtennis, which started in 2002. It was started in the UK, coincidentally as it was also the home of modern-day tennis with British Major Clopton Wingfield’s patent of the game in 1874. This sport currently is played in over 30 countries with official events played in 10 or more. Yet in the US it is one of the best-kept secrets in sport. It uses a racquet and ball it is arguably the closest game to tennis.
Several years ago, The Lawn Tennis Association in the United Kingdom supported and promoted touchtennis while recommending all their certified pros introduce it to their clients. In addition, at the Teenagers in Tennis seminar in London in 2012 a presentation was given by International Tennis Federation’s Participation Coordinator, James Newman. He had accumulated data from all over Europe. His final recommendation was for Federations to develop a teen format that was a bit different from tennis, specifically “touchtennis or street tennis.” Several schools in the US are teaching touchtennis in their PE curriculum.
touchtennis is a sport for everyone, it allows flexibility for all levels of fitness, athletic ability, and ages. Beginning players find it to be something they can do, improve fast, have fun, and meet people. Improving players will find touchtennis helps their footwork as well as learning how to move their opponent around to construct a point. Accomplished players will be able to enjoy competing in a sport using the same skills as tennis.
One can opt to play socially or test themselves in tournament play. Tournaments range from local to international play with the highest levels playing for world ranking points and money. These have attracted ex-Wimbledon players and several Davis Cup players. Tournament play is unique in that there are no age or gender divisions, everyone plays in the same draw. Only one serve is allowed. Play consists of short sets, first to 4 games by two with the 9-point sudden death tiebreak at 4-4. Most play is best of 3 sets with the upper-level slams playing best of 5. The scoring system adds to the pressure and excitement. Singles and doubles may be played.
The sport can be played on a pickleball court or an official touchtennis 40’ x 16’ court for singles and 40’ x 20 ‘for doubles size court. The service line is halfway between the baseline and the net. A special high-density foam ball is used along with a typical 21” tennis racquet. The speed of the ball combined with the shorter racquet and smaller court actually replicate the full-court tennis game.
The infrastructure includes an MVP Program for enthusiastic players to promote the sport and make money.
The touchtennis website sums it up, “touchtennis is a shorter, sharper, rally-ready version of tennis that is fiendishly fun and addictive for racquet sport newbies and elite tennis players alike. We exist to break down the barriers to racquet sports and attract people who love a laugh and a bit of competition. Keep it simple, keep it fun, as that’s what touchtennis is all about.”
For more touchtennis check out some youtube videos and go to their website www. touchtennis.com.
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 of years of tennis, I started playing and writing about the game. Contact Lynn Cherry
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If you ever wanted a complete guide to everything there is to know about Pickleball, look no further!
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