Pickleball Therapy

To be a complete pickleball player you need a third shot drop.
Seems simple enough but, as with many things in life, once you scratch at it a little you find out that it is not quite that simple.
Before players start losing their mind reading the next words, let me make this one thing clear: in a hypothetical, what do you need to play a complete pickleball game, the third shot drop plays an important role. That is not the point of this article. Rather, the point is that a third shot drop alone is not the trick. And the other part will give you more benefit now.
Here’s the reality of the third shot drop: the shot is but a piece of a larger puzzle. To get the benefit of even the best third shot drop, you need to know and be able to navigate:
1.     Movement – both for the hitting player and their partner (the non-hitting player)
2.     Angles and angle coverage
3.     Propensities and likely counters to your third shot drop
Otherwise, you end up with an ineffective piece of the puzzle: a third shot drop that does not do what you want it to.
Rather than focusing on your third shot drop at first, consider spending your time on the movement piece. And specifically, recognizing when NOT to move forward on the third shot. You are going to need this anyways and it will give you benefit now.
As a side note here, think of how many times you end up winning the point on the serve team when you have not made it up to the NVZ line because you stayed in a good position and were able to extend the rally. We demonstrate this in our November 2023 video on In2Pickle (YouTube) entitled “The Pickleball Third Shot (Drop?) You ACTUALLY NEED to Win”

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Enjoy this week's podcast and see you next week.


What is Pickleball Therapy?

The podcast dedicated to your pickleball improvement. We are here to help you achieve your pickleball goals, with a focus on the mental part of your game. Our mission is to share with you a positive and more healthy way of engaging with pickleball. Together let’s forge a stronger relationship with the sport we all love. With the added benefit of playing better pickleball too. No matter what you are trying to accomplish in your pickleball journey, Pickleball Therapy is here to encourage and support you.

[00:00:00.390] - Speaker 1
Hello and welcome to pickleball Therapy, the podcast dedicated to your pickleball improvement. We are recording on-site today, outside in the yard. It's a beautiful scene. If you check it out on YouTube, you'll see the background here. It's just how you're not going to sit out here when it's a day like today. It's a little warm down here in Florida, but not too shabby in the morning anyway in the shade. We're going to do it outdoor and enjoy this beautiful outdoor. You may hear some birds in the background. You may hear some wind wrestling. I think that's consistent with the theme of the Pickleball Therapy podcast because it's all about our minds. It's all about being be Zen-like when we play pickleball. That's the idea anyway. I'm your host, Tony Roy. It's a pleasure to be with you. I am the host of this weekly podcast, again, dedicated to your pickleball and in particular, your mind. Before we get started today, today, we're going to be talking about... Actually, let me tell you what we're going to talk about, and then I'll tell you a couple of housekeeping notes. First of all, we're going to talk about the third shot drop, and we're going to use the third shot drop as a way of thinking about the process of becoming as good of a pickleball player as we want, right?

[00:00:58.950] - Speaker 1
In other words, the idea that as we improve, as we get better, there are certain things that we're going to want to focus on, and certain things that perhaps are not as important to our development. Not an important, that's not the right phrase, as you'll see. More in terms of the order of things. It's a car and a horse situation, and we're going to use a third shot drop as our focus on that. Then the RIF, I'm going to share with you a recent interview, some words from a recent interview that Roger Federer gave, one of the all-time greats in tennis, talked about his success as a player, but also framing it in a better way. I think it really helped us as players. We'll talk about that in the RIF. Before we get into that, a shout out. I appreciate the reviews. If you listen to the podcast, you already know that we always ask you to rate and review the podcast if you can, because it helps us reach a lot of players. In fact, perhaps you found the podcast because you went to a podcast platform and you typed in Pickleball or pickleball podcast, and you were shown this is one option.

[00:01:59.180] - Speaker 1
That happens because It's the algorithm, we don't control that. The algorithm likes ratings and reviews. If you can do that, that would really help us reach other players. This comes from Sisipho, is the name on the review, back from About a month or so ago, a month ago, May '22. Pickleball Therapy has made a tremendous difference for me with my game. I listen to it every week, and often we'll relisten to certain podcasts when driving to my pickleball courts to help to mentally prepare for my Tony is clear, concise, and has a no-nonsense way to tackle topics related to the game of pickleball. I've recently joined the pickleball system this past March, and I'm attending the better pickleball camp in New York City. As I write this, my game is improving all around, and I am a believer. I appreciate the review and appreciate the A shout out for other teaching tools, the system in the camps. We do what we do because we want to try and help as many pickleball players as possible. It's always great to hear that it's having an impact. So thank you very much for that rating. As As we dive into the substance of the podcast, actually, I meant to say, if you throw out a rating, I will do my best to share it from time to time with a shoutout.

[00:03:09.640] - Speaker 1
So leave us a rating, and I will share it with you in a future podcast. As we Coming to the podcast, be on the look out for the summit. We have the summit coming up in a few weeks, and it's exciting, really exciting summit. The presentations are going to be amazing. The list of presenters is awesome. The topics covered are really excellent. They're really going to help your game. Plus, it's just a fun, exciting, pickleball event. It's all online, so you can attend from anywhere. You do need a ticket, so you'll need to register for the event. The tickets are free. If you do want to take it a step further, we have an all-access pass you can purchase as part of the summit, but that is entirely your choice. So not a prerequisite to attending the summit, only if you want more from the summit, including the journals library. If you're on an email list, you'll find out more about it. If you're not on an email list, I don't know what to say. But get on the email list, but also you go to thepickleballsummit. Com, and find out more information there about the summit.

[00:04:02.780] - Speaker 1
All right, let's dive into this third shot drop. And really what I want to tackle is I want to tackle the idea of overwhelm, of potentially be getting overwhelmed as pickleball players. What happens is we want to get better. We want to play better. We want to learn more. We want to feel more confident in our games. And so what do we do? I'm going to use the third shot drop because it gives us a very concrete concrete area to talk about and to show you or to hopefully share with you some of the pitfalls that can happen from chasing shots and chasing concepts. When we start playing pickleball, we all hear about the third shot drop. It's the paradigm. It's the shot of our game. It's the shot that defines our game more than anything else. We're the only sport that has a third shot drop that I'm aware of. It's us. It's pickleball. We hear about this third shot drop, and so So naturally, we hear it's important, and it is, and I'll explain this in a second, a little more as we go through this, but it is important. But we hear about third shot drop.

[00:05:08.910] - Speaker 1
We hear it's important. So what do we do? We go running after a third shot drop. We're like, Okay, I need to learn how to hit the third shot drop. But here's the thing. To use the third shot drop, you need a lot more than just how to hit a third shot drop. You need to have shot recognition. You need to know about court position. You need to know about angle coverage as a team. You need to know how to move, when to move, and how to move as a unit, potentially. As a unit, it could mean separately or together, but you need to move in a concerted way as a team. There's just a lot more to the third shot drop than, Okay, I know how to drop it. I can drop it. There's also some other strategies unlike drive versus drop. There's different types of drops. That's the other thing, too, is that when we hear about a third shot drop, most players picture the textbook third shot drop where it just goes up and bounces in the non-volley zone. That's a great shot, but you need to know how to use that shot.

[00:06:08.830] - Speaker 1
There's other types of third shot drops you can hit that might be more effective depending on your level. This is where I always embrace the complexity of our sport because if our sport was not complex, then it'd be boring. Why am I going to do that again? It's no fun, no challenge. Pickle has a lot of layers to it, has a lot of complexities to it. The third shot drop is one of those areas, where there's a lot of small pieces that when you put them all together, allow you to use a third shot drop effectively and successfully. Anyway, the complexity is something we embrace. The question now is, okay, if the third shot drop is important, shouldn't I go after it? I would suggest to you for the vast majority of players, I'm talking the vast majority, I'm going to be a little conservative here. I would go higher, but let me be conservative. Eighty % of players out there do not need an effective third shot drop to play better and to win more. Just not necessary. For most players out there, way more important than learning how to hit the third shot drop is learning to recognize when they're moving at the wrong time.

[00:07:32.290] - Speaker 1
That's the first step. Here's the thing, you're going to need that anyway. You're going to need to know how to move in order to use that third shot drop that you want to work on. What we suggest is flip it around, flip the script on it. If you want to think about it in terms of cart and a horse, I mentioned that earlier, cart and a horse, don't put the cart before the horse. Meaning, don't put the shot before the movement. Because here's the thing, you need the movement anyway in order for the third shot drop to be successful or to be effective for you. If you learn the movement first instead of second, you will gain value from it now. In other words, you can keep hitting the shots the exact same way you're hitting them. But by learning how to move better, you will remove some of the downsides to your shots not being perfect yet. Again, you need it anyway, even if you have perfect third shot We actually did a video. Well, it made me think about this. We did a video on the In2Pickle channel. You're welcome to check that out.

[00:08:36.270] - Speaker 1
I'll look at the title as we go through this podcast, and I'll share it with you in a second. But we did a video where basically the idea was to demonstrate a couple of different third shots, and how they worked in the... How they compared, I should say. There was one that was the textbook third shot that you see it and you go, Oh, my God, that's a perfect third shot drop. How do I get that shot? But the team ends up losing the rally because their movement is not correct given the shot. They didn't move correctly, and so they opened up a gap and they got attacked, which is shown in the video. They're a very good team. It's a 3-5 gold medal match at the US Open, so very good 3-5 players. When you're seeing any level at US Open or Nationals, those are very good players at their level, at the top of their level. It's a very good team. They have that one rally. Then the next rally, they have a rally where it's not the perfect third shot drop, but they keep working. They keep working the rally, you could argue from not a great position, but from a position that's effective.

[00:09:53.620] - Speaker 1
They end up winning the rally, winning the point. They're on the serve team. They end up winning the rally, winning the point. Because in that rally, they moved better. Their shots were not better. Their shots were not as good as in the first rally that they lost. Their shots were not as good, but their court position was better. And so what that video was aimed to demonstrate was the advantage of understanding movement over the advantage of hitting perfect third shot drops. I think the difficulty for players is that it's been so ingrained faint in us that we need a third shot drop in order to play good pickle ball that we lose sight of the big picture of what's going to work for us. If you're a system member, you know that you're familiar with this terminology, but this is why we talk all the time about framework, about understanding framework of pickleball. Because once you understand the framework, you can see the game, the bigger picture of it, then you're able to suss out strategies and shots in the order that makes sense for where you're at in the game. And generally speaking, for the third shot drop, again, for 80% plus of players out there, it's going to be more beneficial for you to focus on where you are in the court, your court position, more than the actual shot that you're hitting.

[00:11:16.670] - Speaker 1
And the example that... Not the example, but I guess it is an example that I like to share with players is, if you're getting smashed with a ball early, so remember, let's play this out a Let's unpack it a little bit. You're on the serve side, because you're hitting the third shot from the serve side. So your team is. So you're on the serve side. If you are getting smashed with a ball on the fourth, so your team hit the third, and then the fourth comes back hot and you're getting smashed, it is not a problem of the shot. It is a problem of your position on the court. It's where you have put your body on the court that created the possibility of you getting smashed with a ball early in a rally, in this case on the fourth shot. And that's something that you can explore as a player. In those, are you in the right place given the shot that occurred? And the tip I'm going to give you is this, if you want to work on this. The most important step here is actually recognition more than anything else. It's first is recognizing that you're in the wrong place at the time you got smashed with the ball.

[00:12:29.720] - Speaker 1
If When you get smashed for the ball early, so you're eating the plastic, early in a rally, ask yourself, Am I in the right place right now, given the circumstances? And if the answer is no, that's what you want to focus on. That's where you want to spend That's where you want to spend your focus and attention. As you work on this, if you're not sure what to do, stay back on the serve side. If you're not sure what to do, stay back if you're on the serve and start recognizing when to move forward. If you're certain you should move forward, by all means, go to it. But if you're not sure what to do, I would hang out back. Because here's the thing, most of your partners right now, most of the players you're playing with an open play and stuff like that, are not going to hit great third shots. And so guess who's going to eat the ball? You, because you're putting your body in the wrong position. So I use this as an example of how to figure out the right layering for the right layering for yourself as a player in terms of what is it appropriate for you to learn now?

[00:13:40.420] - Speaker 1
Then we went into detail on the third shot, but this applies to every other part of the game, too. I'm working on this, I'm working on that, I'm working on spins. A lot of players can hit 10 dinks in a row without missing, but they're working on their spins. Not probably a good use of time. Here's the tricky part of this is, okay, How do I know what to work on? How do I know what to work on in my game if I don't have a mentor, I don't have a guide? That's a great question. That's why we feel so strongly about the work that we do inside the pickleball system and the other coaching that we do, because we are always trying to do our best to share with you knowledge that will help you now, based on where you're at right now, not general statements like, You need a third shot drop, and then you got to go off on your own, and good luck with that, because you're not sure whether it's right for you right now. That's a difficult thing to do in the abstract without a mentor or without a guide, and that's, again, why we spend so much time doing what we do.

[00:14:50.990] - Speaker 1
I wish I had more answers for you in terms of, Here's the automatic for you. The only step-by-step program that I'm aware of is our pickleball system. I'm not trying to sell you the system. I'm just telling you facts. There's no other step-by-step program that I'm aware of out there. If you can find a good local coach, that's another possibility. If you want to read more about the learning process and how to use different pieces of information or different sources of information out there and some of the pros and cons, I believe it'll be published by the time that this podcast goes live. I'll put a link in the show notes. Otherwise, make sure you're on our email list and you'll get notified when we put it live in our blog post ecosystem. The video I promised you, it's in the In2Pickle channel. It was published. I'll get the date in a second, but it's called the Pickleball Third Shot Drop. You actually need to win. It's the Thumbnail says, It does not make sense, but it works. That's a cool thumbnail. I wish I could come up with something like that all the time.

[00:15:51.720] - Speaker 1
It went public, actually last year, November seventh, 2023. It's been out for a little bit, but you can find that one on the In2Pickle channel and check that out at your convenience. We're going to jump into the RIF. I want to share with you these words from Roger Fedro that I have on my phone that my co-coach, C. J. Johnson, shared with me. I think they're super valuable in terms of framing ourselves and framing our expectations more realistically, because that's the key to avoiding frustration is to have good expectations when we play. As we move into the RIF, I want to let you know that we have several academy courses coming out soon. If you're interested in continuing your growth as a pickleball player, but aren't ready to do the system, understand. The system can seem like it's a big step, and it is. It's intended to be, I should say, a big step because it's a big move forward for you. The academy offers you more bite size, if you want to think about that courses that you can look at. It also addresses specific areas like bangers, loggers, things like that. If you're interested in those courses, go to our pickleballAcademy.

[00:16:53.510] - Speaker 1
You can find it at betterpickleball. Com and just click on Academy. All right, let me jump into the diff here. Roger Federer, He's really one of the greatest players of all time. You can have the debate whether he is the greatest male tennis player of all time. That's an open question, but he certainly is one of the top ones. He talks about tennis being brutal, and there's no getting around the fact that every tournament ends the same way. This is the interview he gave recently, which I thought was really good in terms of state of mind. One player gets a trophy, every other player gets back on a plane, stairs out of the window and thinks, How the hell did I miss that shot? Imagine that today, only one of you got a degree, as he's doing a commencement speech. It's basically like this one survivor concept that we play with. Then he talks about In tennis, perfection is impossible. In the 1,526 singles matches I played in my career, I won almost 80% of those matches. Now I have a question for you. What percentage of points do you think I won in those matches?

[00:17:58.860] - Speaker 1
Then he says, Only 54%. In other words, even top-rank tennis players win barely more than half of the points they play. When you lose every second point on average, you learn not to dwell on every shot. You teach yourself to think, Okay, I double-faulted. It's only a point. Okay, I came to the net and I got past again. It's only a point. Even a great shot, an overhead backhand smash that ends up on ESPN's top 10 playlist, that too is just a point. Then he talks about life being bigger than the court, and he talks about a nonprofit that he started up, and about how he's helping children with education, which obviously is fantastic. But there's three points to this that I think are helpful to suss out. One is this idea of winner takes all. We play pickleball with points, and no one's trying to change that. I'm not trying to make it Participation Trophy sport, that's not the nature of the sport. That said, we need to keep in mind the idea that we're going to win every time, that we're always going to be the victor in every That session that we play and things like that is nonsensical.

[00:19:02.910] - Speaker 1
If we wanted to keep track of that, there's very few players who can maintain a more than 50% winning average all the time if they're playing at level, because if you're playing at level, it should be 50/50. So this idea that I must win to be successful can be damaging if we let it get too far. The second thing is this idea that even Roger Federer, right, won 54% of the points he played. So this idea that After every single rally, I need to analyze my errors because I lost the rally. Again, nonsense. Back to 50/50, right? It's about a 50% proposition, about winning or losing if you're at level. And then the last point is that there's more to life than just the game. I don't think he's saying that tennis isn't an integral part of his life because it has been, obviously. It allowed him to be where he is now and things like that. But it's the same for you. When you're out there playing pickleball, the pickleball is a sport that you play as part of a bigger picture, as a part of a bigger you, and keeping that perspective can be way healthier.

[00:20:08.490] - Speaker 1
Speaking of perspective, hopefully this book that we've been working on will be out in the next couple of months. I'll try and provide some information in the next podcast or two about pre-ordering if you want to pre-order the book. That would be awesome. It would help us, again, get the information out to more players. As you can imagine, the book will be very consistent with the messaging inside the Pickleball Therapy podcast. Because I'll tell you, when I think about what we call the three spheres of mental training, perspective is by far the most important, and that's just the big picture relationship that you have with the sport. I don't know what animals are, but they're super cool. They cued up just in time to share some beautiful background noises with us for the podcast, so we appreciate that. As always, if you enjoyed this week's podcast, please share it with your friends. Remember, if you enjoyed the podcast, they probably will, too. I hope you have a great week, and I look forward to seeing you on the next episode of pickleball Therapy. Till then.