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Pickleball Press- Pivot to drilling

By Nancy Dowell

 If you have been out and about, you have probably seen the many ways our community members have been keeping busy.  Dave and I are the ones happily batting around a pickleball in our driveway-garage space, repurposed daily as a pickleball practice court.  Using a temporary net just outside the opening to the garage, and chalk to mark the kitchen and back lines, we were in business in no time flat. 

Our determination to keep our pickleball skills as sharp as possible began timidly in the garage itself by volleying over an adjustable walker and hitting against the cabinets with the net height marked with painter’s tape.  After a while, we got brave enough to set up the net  (which we already had), creating a more serious and usable area for practice.  Not wanting to disturb the neighbors, we start at nine or later and are not out there for more than about 1 ½ hours before dismantling and calling it quits for the day.  Much to our relief and delight, the neighbors have been nothing short of supportive of this daily ritual.  Not only do the neighbors encourage this incorrigible behavior, passers-by are equally entertained by our ingenuity.  Necessity is definitely the mother of invention.

 One factor that is a bit uncontrollable is our court “surface.”  If the ball hits a seam in the driveway, or any errant pebble, it shoots the ball on an unexpected trajectory.  Dave and I have decided that, when this happens, it actually creates a challenge similar to the ball hitting the top of the net on its way to the other side, which requires an immediate adjustment to the planned swing.  At least that is how we choose to view that sudden, and rather common, eventuality.  Occasionally a “crack ball” (this has a new meaning) shoots the ball very low and forward across the street into a covered culvert drain, catching what, we now call, “gutter balls”.  Then there is the delivery of an errant ball (by me, of course) out of Dave’s reach, again the culvert works perfectly.  We have, however, lost 4 balls to an uncovered storm drain (the “down the drain” ball).  We tell ourselves that more balls are lost through cracking during regular play than we have lost so far in practice.  

Dinking, third shots, drives and volleys can all be practiced on our little “court.”  I am not sure we are getting any better, but I like to think that dedication to drilling might pay off.  Dave is recovering from 2 consecutive knee replacements and this activity is considered part of his PT at home.

One thing I have noticed is that people passing by our “court”, most waving, stopping to chat, comment or take a picture, are very happy.  Many are enjoying golf, walking, biking and the stunning Arizona scenery.  We are so lucky to live in SaddleBrooke during the health crisis.  Dave and I really appreciate having a community that supports everyone’s interests and a path for doing them when the usual ways are no longer available. 

 Hope to see you on courts soon!