Pickleball Golf – Equipment (paddle and balls). Your child stands on the baseline and the center line with his paddle – belly button facing the side fence for a forehand (or a backhand groundstroke). Get your child to “shake-hands” with the paddle for a forehand ground stroke and two hands for a backhand ground stroke depending upon the child’s strength and weight of the paddle. Roll or toss balls so he makes contact with the ball. If he hits the ball before it passes the baseline, he gets a point. If he misses, you win the point. Parent Advice: “Why not offer the winner Hugs and Kisses (and those could be Hersheys!)”
Beach Ball Groundstrokes – Equipment (one 12” diameter beach ball and two paddles). Each player may hold his paddle with one or two hands. Play commences with both players on the same side of the net; the beach ball remains on the ground while both players hit beach ball ground strokes. Both players swing from low- to- high with full follow through over the non-dominate shoulder. (Cue-Tip ~ “Worms to the birds”) “Enjoy helping build hand-eye coordination!”
Slalom Run – Equipment (six small cones and two small buckets with six balls each). Line up three cones perpendicular to the net between the right sideline and the center line. The other three cones are lined up perpendicular to the net between the left sideline and the center line. Cones should be about 3 feet apart. Each of you has a bucket of balls placed a couple feet behind the cones near the baseline. Each player takes a ball out of his bucket and stands behind the baseline. On “go”, both players zig-zag around their cones and throw their ball over the net and zig-zag back to the baseline retrieving another ball until there is an empty bucket. That player is declared the winner! Parent Advice: “If you run fast enough, that’s one less workout at the Fitness Center!!”
Taking your beginner to the Pickleball Court can become a frustrating and discouraging experience for you and your child, especially when balls are flying over the fence. Before hitting balls to your child, it’s important that you ask yourself some questions. Am I looking for instant success? Is he learning anything? Are my expectations too high for my child’s ability level? Could I be hitting the balls with too much pace, or tossing balls that are out of his reach? Is he having fun? With a few techniques and tools in your paddle bag, pickleball could become a great pastime for both of you!
Don’t Expect Too Much Too Soon
Encourage, and Most of All . . .