Improve your Pickleball Game for 10 cents!
Most everyone that plays pickleball would like to improve their game. An easy way to get better at PB is to make less errors. The best players are the ones that make the fewest mistakes. These players are consistent with returning the ball over the net and letting their opponents make the mistakes. We all know this is true, but it is not as easy to implement. However, Bill Sikes, one of Lake Wildwood’s PB Ambassadors, has an ingenious way to help you make less errors, which equates to improving your game. And, best of all, you only need 10 pennies!
Here is Bill’s take on the problem and the solution:
How many times have we all hit the ball out, hit the net or just simply miss hit the ball? It wasn’t the spectacular kill shot hit by your opponent that scored the point but your act of hitting an unforced error — UFE! I like to call the players who consistently hits the ball over the net “Steady Eddies” — they just keep the ball in play and let the opponents make all the mistakes.
So, how do we really know how we are doing when it comes to UFEs? I have been wanting to know how many UFEs I make in a game, so I came up with the idea of using pennies. You start the game with 10 pennies in one pocket and whenever you hit what is clearly an UFE, you transfer a penny to the other pocket. At the end of the game, you check to see how many pennies you transferred over to the other pocket.
If you are a “Steady Eddy,” I would say you transferred one or two pennies per game, and mathematically your game is only 10 to 20 percent UFEs, which says that you are a consistent player.
I think most of us, however, will find that it is not quite that good or consistent. I think most of us will find that we are transferring more like seven pennies for a 70 percent UFE rate, which means you need help!
Why is this important to know? Because if you can practice and make less UFEs per game, your game is automatically going to improve. Again, all we are talking about is just keeping the ball in play — getting it back over the net and into your opponent’s court.
After playing several games, add up all your UFEs and then divide by the number of games played to calculate your average UFEs per game. The objective is to make you aware of your UFEs and the goal is to decrease the number of UFEs per game.
Bill has been playing PB with 10 pennies in his pockets for some time now, and when he first started he realized he was making quite a few UFE/game. Now with a better awareness he is making fewer mistakes and plays to get the ball over the net, be consistent and let his opponent make the mistakes. —Terri Wordby
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