lost the rally
By: Tony Roig | February 25, 2022 |

Is That The Reason You Lost The Rally?

I enjoy playing with different levels of pickleball players. From pro players to beginners. Go out there and bat the ball around, share some laughs and get some movement in.

One of the things that stands out to me is how often players focus in on the “wrong” thing when they lose a rally.

An example: All four players have made it up to the non-volley zone line. One player hits a really good angle dink pulling your partner out of position. The ball gets popped up and “BAM!” you end up on the wrong end of a slam.

Oftentimes the player who did not dig the slam will wonder what they could have done differently: paddle ready, move into a better spot, etc.

The player who popped the ball up will wonder whether they could have bit the ball somewhere better, moved sooner, etc.

On its face, there is nothing wrong with this sort of reflection, provided it is done constructively.


It is normally way down the list of things that the players should be worried about.

Many times in that same game the players are missing the basics. The returns of serve, returning short, inviting their opponents forward, missing fourth shots, and doing other things that are waaaaayyyyyy more important to their improvement than the stress dink – pop up – slam combo.

Let me be clear. I am not saying that players cannot try to improve their lateral movement and get-out-of-jail shots. What I AM saying is that 85% of players need to chalk those rallies up to “good shot” and focus on the much bigger areas in their game that are holding them back.

The truth is that not only will these other areas result in a greater gain for the player, but they are also generally lower hanging fruit (easier to fix) as well.

As a result, our advice for players is to focus on the higher-margin, more easily attainable areas of the game. These areas will provide greater results in a shorter amount of time. Once these are ironed out, then the players can move to other areas. Like mastering the counter to a really good angle dink.

Next time you are out there, try to weed out the low-hanging fruit / big picture items that are adversely impacting your game (thinking return of serve here). Focus on those first and you can then move on to the next.

Not sure what’s your low hanging fruit?

Turn on your video camera and see if its’ any of the basics. If you see any of the basics, especially something on the return side start there first. You’ll be amazed at how quickly you’ll improve.

The Better Pickleball Success Path™ is built with these principles in mind. We take an incremental step-by-step approach to your pickleball improvement.

Want to explore this topic more? Listen to the Podcast

Tony Roig

Hola. Hello. Konichiwa. After 40 years playing tennis, I am now a full-time pickleball player and professional. As a 5.0 rated Senior Pro Pickleball Player and an IPTPA-certified Master Teaching Professional, my focus is on helping players like you learn to play their best pickleball. In 2016, shortly after starting to play pickleball, my friend Tom and I jumped into the highest division at the first US Open in Naples, Florida. That morning it became clear just how much there is to learn in this seemingly simple sport – a lifetime of learning if you so choose. Since 2018, I have been on a mission to share my knowledge of pickleball so other players can enjoy the game at a higher level and attain their pickleball objectives. When not studying or playing pickleball, I like to travel with my other half, Jill.