By: CJ Johnson | October 11, 2019 |

Want to play consistent pickleball? Watch the Ball!

Consistency is Queen or King on the pickleball court. If you can learn to do what dogs do when they’re catching a ball, you’ll be surprised at how much your consistency will improve.

If you ever watched your dog’s eyes when you’re ready to throw its favorite toy, you know that they are focused on nothing else. It’s their eyes that help them position their body to catch the ball. The good news for you is if you watch the ball, it will help you to position yourself to hit the pickleball more consistently.

If you watch pickleball matches on YouTube or in person, you will notice that the best players in the game are focused on watching the ball to their paddle.

Are you able to watch the ball to your paddle? Put a yes or no in the comments below?

Let’s start by playing a little game of catch. Begin by throwing the ball in front of you and following it into your hand. Watch the back of the ball or the holes on the pickleball until you catch it.

Now it would be nice if your opponents always hit the ball in front of you. It’s an easy place to see, but they don’t. Have your partner throw the ball high and low. Again, watch the ball and follow it into your hand.

After you’ve played a little catch, pull out your paddle. Start with the paddle in front of your body parallel to the ground. Bounce the ball up and down. Watching the ball leave and return to the paddle face.

Turn the paddle over and do the same thing on your backhand side. This is not just good for your eyes but also helps you learn to control your paddle face.

Now that you can watch the ball to the paddle let’s put it into motion with the two ball dink drill.

That’s right, you and your partner are going to dink two balls at a time.

It’s best to coordinate your start with a short count, typically one, two, three, and put the ball in the air.  The objective is to switch your eyes from one ball to the other.

Secondarily this drill helps you learn to control the trajectory and consistency of the dink. Unless you put the ball back into the kitchen in front of your practice partner, it’s difficult to return.

Don’t be discouraged if you struggle with the two ball dink drill. It will test your ability to watch the ball.

If your reactions are slowing down, here are a few other ideas to help.

CJ Johnson

Hey there — I’m a professional three-sport athlete and coach who has spent my entire adult life earning a living from playing and coaching sports. Since I started coaching more than three decades ago, one thing has remained the same: My commitment to see students not as they are but as what they can become and to move heaven and earth to help them realize their untapped potential. You should know that when it comes to helping pickleball players over 50 live their best lives on and off the courts, I'm an expert. Good pickleball is not just technique; it's the mind and body working holistically. That's why I'm also a personal trainer and weight management specialist. When I’m chillin', you'll find me watching Star Trek with my husband John and our two fur babies, Shirley and Ralph. (Yes, Happy Days)