The next time you are on a pickleball court, stand on the baseline and bend down so your eyes are about three feet above the court surface. Look straight at the top of the middle of the net (standard pickleball net height is 34 inches at the center strap) and you will be looking on a straight path parallel to the ground. This is your “line of sight.” Then slowly stand up and walk forward toward the net, stopping at the point where you can look over the net and see a reasonable target size of about five feet inside the opposing baseline. What can we learn from this exercise? You can only hit successfully at full power when you have “line of sight” on your side, since power shots have little arc. Therefore, before you “rip” a shot with full power, make sure you are:
1. Hitting the ball out of the air (pickleballs do not bounce high like tennis balls).
2. Contacting the ball well above the height of the net.
3. Standing fairly close to the kitchen line.
What happens if you strike the ball at any other height and position on the court? At full power? Chances are you will hit the ball out or in the net. Compared to tennis, pickleball rules and equipment are stacked against power. There’s little or no topspin to help bring the ball down into the court, serving is underhand, and you cannot volley in the kitchen. Control and touch win over power. This makes for longer points. The result? More fun! The perspective of this image allows us to see what the server sees. What happens if you cover the net with a sheet or blanket? Clearly, most pickleball shots have to be hit up and over the net with control and cannot be hit on a straight line of sight with power.
Ball Speed. The Onix Pure 2 ball will come off of your
paddle at about the same speed as a Dura ball, (depending
on the weather) but it will slow down faster in the air. This
means you actually have a chance to dig out and get to
slams that you might not retrieve with the Dura. So, don’t
give up, you might make a spectacular dig!
Patience. Be ready for long rallies, especially in the
cooler weather when the ball is bouncing lower and
slower. So, get your cardio fitness up because generally
your rallies are going to be longer. Be very patient and
keep dinking until someone pops up a ball!
Spin. Since the ball stays on your paddle a little longer,
I feel that you can spin this ball more. The topspin players
will probably be able to make this ball dip more than
the old balls. Even though you can put more spin, the
backspin players will not be able to make this ball skid as
much as the plastic or Duratype balls. This isn’t because
they aren’t getting a lot of spin, it’s because it grabs the
court more and bounces instead of skidding. This is why
some top players who are famous for their backspin slices,
like Wes Gabrielsen and Mike Gates, would probably
prefer playing with the Duratype ball.
Resetting the Point. Since the ball is softer in most
weather conditions, you should learn how to reset points
from anywhere in the court. Top players already do this
with the Duratype balls but I feel that it will be easier to
learn this with the Onix Pure 2.
Lobbing. Since the Onix Pure 2 ball is better in the
wind, a player with good lobs will have a little more
control with lobbing outdoors. I usually don’t like the
strategy of lobbing from the baseline, but since this ball
will slow down faster in the air, you will have time to get
to smashes your opponents hit compared to the Duratype
Deep Serving. In warm conditions when the Onix Pure
2 ball gets a little more bounce, I would use more deep
lob serves. This type of serve will bounce high and push
your opponent deep in their court, making it harder to
get to the net after returning serve. (Note: I hit this serve
to Kyle Yates in my backyard and he handled it with no
problem by taking this serve early. This would be very
difficult for the average player!)
I do think this is the ball of
the future or maybe another
company will make a ball
with very similar qualities.
Players and clubs that
play outdoors should
give it a try and many
of the players will love this ball for all
the reasons I have