Pickleball 2018 resolutions

Date Published: 
Dec.15, 2017

At various times over the past year, I have written entertaining articles about pickleball, and at other times, various issues I thought were good for the community of pickleball.

Sometimes I promoted pickleball so the public would know more about the game, and other times I highlighted extraordinary accomplishments of some of our pickleball warriors on a national level.

Now, I want to focus on pickleball player self-improvement for the 2018 season.

I spent much of 2017 on the pickleball sidelines, repairing life’s earlier injuries. As a result, much of my time was spent watching many of you play. There are a half-dozen very common errors being repeated by so many of you that I felt it might be helpful to the entire pickleball community to highlight them.

These discussions about pickleball errors should be as applicable, in various degrees, to members of the Ocean View Crew or Ocean Pines Pickleball Team as to Jane Doe, beginner.

For starters, if you would just lose 5 or 10 pounds and do core and flexibility training, you would be shocked at how much better you are playing... and feeling.

At various times in my career, I was the guest in the player’s guest box at major international tennis events, normally sitting with the player’s coach, and I was almost always struck by how the winner was only ahead of the loser by how well they simply executed the basics. Although the level of play was world-class, the basic principles are the same.

Here are the pickleball instruction sessions I plan on covering in upcoming editions of the Coastal Point:

Session 1: Reduce your total errors.

Session 2: Your success depends on balance.

Session 3: The dreadful “Leaning Tower” of pickle.

Session 4: Improve the one shot everyone hits 40 percent of the time.

Session 5: Move as a team, not two strangers passing in the night.

Session 6: Backhand.

Session 7: The third shot.

Session 8: The volley, overhead, etc.

Session 9: The dink.

And, as part of the effort to help some of you advance your games, here are some clinics to help you jumpstart 2018:

• On Jan. 10, at Northside Park in Ocean City, Md., I will conduct a pickleball clinic on three indoor courts for beginners to pickleball. It costs $6 for the court time and is limited to the first 24 to sign up. On the other three courts, we are going to conduct a “Third Shot” clinic for the first 20 players who sign up. That clinic is for novice players trying to take their game to the next level. Both clinics are scheduled for 1 to 3 p.m.

• On Jan. 16 at Tidewater Physical Therapy at 6 p.m., Bob Cairo will conduct a free clinic focused on the most common injuries associated with pickleball and his commentary on the strengthening exercises that will help you avoid these injuries. I will point out how you might want to change your strokes over the winter months to cause less stress on your body.

• On Jan. 17 at the indoor gym at Sea Colony at 1 p.m, there will be a free clinic on their one indoor court, for both beginners and intermediates. At the conclusion, Director Michael Pitts — a fitness trainer and greatly improved pickleballer — will demonstrate how to utilize the various equipment at Sea Colony to help strengthen the core for playing pickleball.

Again, these sessions are first-come, first-served. Because all of these clinics are limited, please email me at vaughn@pickleballcoast.com to be included or wait-listed.

The Toys for Tots Tournament was held last weekend. Here are some reported scores:

Men’s Doubles — Gold, Frank Creamer and Kevin Reading; Silver, Rick Bell and Charles Biddle; Bronze, Bruce Smart and Chic Stearate.

Mixed Doubles — Gold, Diane Milam and Brett Stonesifer; Silver, Linda Rhodes and Paul Reed; Bronze, Mel Milar and Mike Jump. (Biddle, Smart, Stearrett and Stonesifer are members of the Ocean View Crew.)

Vaughn “The Baron” Baker is a Senior Olympics gold-medalist in pickleball, and is public relations director for the First State Pickleball Club (FSPC) and captain of the Ocean View Crew pickleball community. He spent his career working with top tennis professionals while working for Wilson Sporting Goods and introducing the Prince Tennis Racket and Wimbledon Tennis Lines. For more information, visit PickleballCoast.com.