To Drop, Or Not To Drop (Part 1)
There’s no doubt that I’m a big proponent of the drop shot!
I’ve written a few articles on the drop shot (Third Shot Drop vs. Third Shot Drive; What to Do when Your Drop Shot Doesn’t Drop; 4 Secrets to Get Your Dropshot to Go Where You Want (and Not Where You Don’t).
I even developed the Drop Shot Masterclass on how to construct the perfect drop shot! Not only do bootcamp participants receive this, but there’s an entire session at bootcamp called Drop Shot ‘Til You Drop!
Yes, lots and lots (and lots!) of drop shots!
You must think that I always recommend a drop.
And that couldn’t be further from the truth!
But First, Why I Advocate the Drop Shot
My primary philosophy of Smart Pickleball is to make whatever shot buys you the most time.
If you’re serving, your opponents have the advantage of both being at the line while you and your partner have to wait for the ball to bounce.
In this situation, the drop is the shot that buys time for you and your partner to advance to the Kitchen.
This is a defensive shot! It is designed to take the advantage away from your opponents. It is not designed to win the point!
And Now, When Not to Drop
Maybe you’ve done this dozens (hundreds?) of times – you and your partner are at the line, and your opponent makes a not-so-great third shot drop. They know it’s a bad drop! And they hang back, waiting for the slam, but then…
You make a drop volley into the Kitchen! Your opponents are so far back, they don’t even try to run up, and you win the point!
And you’ll never hear me advocate this strategy of dropping your opponents to win a point like that!
When your opponents are still back, especially when they’re back at or near the baseline, there are at least five possible outcomes.
And four of them are bad!
One: This is the drop I just described – you win the point with the applause of the spectators and the congratulations of your partner!
Two: You try to make too perfect of a drop, and it goes into the net.
Three: You try to angle the drop shot to ensure you win the point, and it goes wide out of bounds.
Four: You make one of those not great (but not terrible either!) drops, which gives your opponents time to get to the ball, and they drop it back into your Kitchen, taking away you and partner’s advantage of being the only team at the line.
Five: You make a terrible drop to the middle of the court, and your opponent drives the ball between you and your partner, winning the point.
I’m sure you can come up with other scenarios, but I think you get the idea!
Especially in Pickleball, You’ll almost Never Hear Me Say Always, But
If your opponents are back, for whatever reason,
Do not bring them in!
KEEP THEM BACK!
Trust me, this is a sound (and safe!) strategy!
Imagine you and your partner are at the line. Your opponents keep trying desperately to keep the ball in play, but they’re not really trying to advance to the Kitchen with a drop.
You and your partner just keep hitting the ball at their feet!
Keeping them back!
Your opponents keep returning, returning, returning, and then it’s in your wheelhouse for the easy smash!
Or, because you’re not giving them anything to hit, they eventually send it out or into the net!
Keeping them back may not be as pretty (or satisfying!) as one of those drops, but in the long run, it’s safe and effective.
Yes, that drop shot when your opponents are back is a soft shot, and you’ve got plenty of time to reset, but you’re essentially (and effectively!) giving that time to your opponents to get to the Kitchen.
Don't give up your advantage of being the only team at the Kitchen!
And when your opponents are back, Keep Them Back!
And before you think this is the only time when you shouldn’t make a drop shot, next month is Part 2 when I’ll discuss other situations NOT to use the drop shot!