SERVE AND RETURN—
BUT MAKE IT FUN
Get the early advantage down with this game from pro player Scott Moore that’s actually a precision-boosting drill in disguise.
Though his stats and reputation prove beyond a doubt that he is one of the most accomplished senior male pickleball pros in the world (he is ranked top five in singles, doubles, and mixed), Scott Moore is quick to point out that competition for 50-and-up players is getting much tougher as the sport rises in popularity.
For the highly sought-after coach whose clinics and camps typically attract hitters in the fortysomething-through-septuagenarian range, age is more than just a number: It’s an equation that impacts every aspect of Moore’s athletic life.
“I’m playing against guys 10 years younger than me!” he says.
Moore, who is based in Colorado Springs but teaches all around the world with his Pickleball Trips business, jokes, “I’ve never seen any other sport where people get so excited about getting older.” But whether he is coaching aspiring tournament players or more casual participants who are in or approaching retirement, Moore is sure to keep the age factor in mind.
“Depending on the group and what level they are, a lot of them are slowed down,” Moore says. “We make it appropriate, we make it fun, we make it systematic, and we make it relatively easy to understand and rational.”
“We’ve created a lot of games,” Moore says, adding that games help “people understand positioning and movement. Drills are the best way to get better, no doubt, but people get bored quickly.”
We asked Moore for a drill to help older players gain an advantage early in the game. He shared one that helps players’ ability to serve and return. First prepare the court by taping off the last four feet parallel to the baseline, creating a target zone in the back the width of the court.
Scott Moore is a general partner and the director of pickleball at Espire Sports (espiresports.com), an indoor multisport complex in Prescott, Arizona, and the winningest senior pickleball player to date. His training videos can be found at highperformancepickleballacademy.com
Player 1 serves the ball from the right serving area to player 2 on the opposing side. The goal is for the ball to land in the taped-off target zone in the service area of the opponent. If player 1 succeeds in serving the ball into the target zone, the server gets one point.
Player 2 can also win a point by returning the serve into the target zone on either side. If both player 1 and player 2 hit the ball into the correct target zones, the score would then be 1–1. There is no third shot played.
Practice Makes Perfect
After the server has hit five balls, player 2 becomes the server and player 1 becomes the returner for the next five points. The first player to score 11 points wins the game. Games can take anywhere from five to 10 minutes to complete, depending on the pace and accuracy of the players.