How to Improve Your Fourth Shot Decision Making

May 04, 2023


Before we keep going, welcome back to another edition of the newsletter. If you’re new to the newsletter and want to go back and check out past editions, go here!

Today’s edition has two parts: 

1. A Helpful Tip (Video) – Master The Backhand Dink AND Never Get Targeted Again. 

2. For The Pickleball Nerds  4th Shot Decision Making. 

A Helpful Tip (Video):

If you're bad at backhand dinking AND opponents target that spot on you — I made this video for you.👇

For The Pickleball Nerds: 

I spend an absurd amount of time thinking about pickleball, whether it's making educational content, studying the game on film, or playing 1-2x a day… 

And as a result, I often have mini breakthroughs where I notice something I've never considered before or not nearly enough.

For example, just the other day, while playing with a friend, we talked about when to use a one-handed backhand versus a two-hander. And this one thing took me three months of experimentation before I had a very clear reason for using each one.

And this week, I had another mini breakthrough related to 4th shot decision making. One of those things I've thought about before, but not nearly enough.

That’s why I’m experimenting with this new section, “For the pickleball nerds” — to dive into the most nuanced aspects of the game my friends and I break down for hours at a time. To take you into my mind on some of the most common shots and mistakes rarely discussed. 

Basically, I'm saying I'm a pickleball nerd. And if you resonate with that in any sense, I have a hunch you'll enjoy this section

TODAY’S Topic: 4th shot decision making. 

When the opponent hits a 3rd shot drop, I often get caught trying so hard to take the ball out of the air, even when they hit a good drop. And ultimately, what happens is, I create no advantage for myself and instead, hit a dead ball or a pop-up — giving them time to come to the kitchen on balance, and often — counter attack me. 

Now, understand this: 

If you can hit down on the 4th shot volley or generate a whipping topspin volley, do that. 

What I’m talking about here is when your opponent’s third shot drop is good, forcing you to hit up on the ball (if you decide to volley). That’s the tricky decision to make. Do I hit it out of the air or do I let it bounce? 

And here’s what became clear to me this week: 

It's better to let the ball bounce, take a step back and hit it, rather than being outstretched with a straight arm trying to hit up on a volley.

This is subtle, but I tell you what. I play pro pickleball and I still find myself reaching in a bit too much, rather than letting the ball bounce and applying pressure that way! 

Give it a shot, and let me know if it helps the next time you go out and play.

Talk next week, 


PS: I'm open to any feedback on the pickleball nerd section. If you want more, definitely let me know. But if you hated it, keep it to yourself, I can't take that kind of criticism 😂 jk. Let me know that as well :)

PPS: My Arizona Pickleball league team is 4-0. Click here to watch some of our matches last Tuesday. I played in the 2nd and 4th quarter. And click here to watch one of the craziest (and most painful points of my life). That was fun. 

PPPS: If you enjoyed this blog and you want to subscribe to the newsletter, you can do that by clicking here!

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