Monday, January 24, 2022

Lead with Your Paddle

Coach Wayne’s Corner

Submitted Photo

I have always been intrigued by how two virtually unrelated sports can have a fundamental aspect which is relative to both activities. 

In addition to being an avid pickleball player, another sport I enjoy devoting time to is trap, skeet, and sporting clays shooting. 

In my previous column entitled “Primary and Secondary Vision, I discussed the importance of keeping both our eye on the ball and watching our opponents movement at the same time. 

As I was out shooting clays the other day, I suddenly realized the correlation and coordination associated with tracking the flight of a clay target and how it relates to tracking the flight of a pickleball traveling through the no volley zone. 

When I am instructing new pickleball players and encouraging them to watch the ball, I often notice that they tend to track the flight of the ball moving only their head. 

To effectively track, react, and move to our next shot, we need to track the flight of the ball with our entire body and not just our eyes and head. 

This is extremely important and necessary when we are tracking the flight of a pickleball in the no volley zone.  

In order to effectively accomplish this movement, use your paddle as a focus point to track the flight of the ball like you would use the barrel of a shotgun to track a clay target. 

By applying this technique, you will naturally utilize your arms, shoulders, hips, legs, and feet to track and follow the flight of the ball. This will allow and assist you to move in the direction of the flight of the ball and be better prepared to execute your shot. 

Wayne Clark is a professional tennis instructor with over 25 years’ experience coaching players on all levels of the game. Wayne is also qualified in pickleball instruction and is on staff as an instructor with The Pickleball Academy of Southwest Florida at East Naples Community Park. Contact Coach Wayne by email at, or by phone or text at 239-450-6161. 

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