Better Pickleball - Virtual Summit Day One

Day 1–Paddles, Jolt, Drops, Drives, and the Kitchen? These subjects are the questions our viewers ask most.

What’s the best 3rd shot, and why? Nicole Havlicek tackles the great 3rd shot debate. Paddle Geek Brandon Swanson owns more than 140 paddles, and he’ll tell you how to pick the best one for you. Drew Evans, Pickleball Librarian, shares the must-have gear that’s missing from your pickleball bag. Laura Fenton Kovanda shares the kitchen movement strategies that have made her a 4x U.S. Open Champ.

Welcome and Introductions


@betterpickleball CJ Johnson from Better Pickleball


After watching the summit, did you have a question that didn’t get answered in the chat? Or perhaps you thought of something you wanted to ask after the stream was over. Not to worry!

This is the perfect place to tell your favorite presenter what’s on your mind. Click the reply button at the bottom of this post. If the presenter has a @ in front of their name, they are part of pickleballist, and you can tag them in the reply. If not, we’ve got you covered. The notification will come to me, and I’ll personally answer your question.


The Modern 3rd Shot-Drops, Drives and Beyond


@nicole from Primetime Pickleball

The 3rd shot has evolved! Are you up to date with what’s going on? If not, you’re in the right place. We’re going to get you up to speed.

It used to be all about the drop, but that simply isn’t true anymore. Do you need to have a good drop? Yes, absolutely! The drop will likely always be an important part of the game. But there is a lot more to consider than the age-old advice of “Always Drop The 3rd Shot”. If you want to evolve along with the game and stay competitive out on the courts, then this presentation is for you. Check it out…


How to Select the Right Paddle for YOU


@brandon from Paddle Geek

Someone who owns more than 140 pickleball paddles knows a thing or two about paddle construction. Brandon shares with us the factors to consider when choosing the perfect paddle to suit your game.

The pickleball world knows Brandon as the Paddle Geek and for his equipment reviews on Facebook and YouTube. He’s also a coach, aspiring pro player, professional commentator, and founder of Pickleball Underground, which is a group dedicated to highlighting the best acts of kindness and advocacy in our sport.


Essential Pickleball Gear You Don’t Know You NEED


Drew Evans is the Pickleball Librarian

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We all know we need a paddle, a few balls, some shoes but what else do you need in your pickleball bag? Drew shares the must-haves for your next pickleball game.

Drew Evans is the founder of the Pickleball Librarian team. He was a librarian at Kansas State University and Washburn Law. He has been publishing reviews since the eighties and reviewed books and videos for various library associations. In addition to playing multiple sports, Drew is a member of the U.S.A. Martial Arts Hall of Fame and owner of Hokkien Martial Arts.


Line to Line–The Best Way to Get to the Kitchen


Laura Fenton Kovanda at World Team Pickleball

Laura Gearbox
LINE – TO – LINE: Why do people just rush to the kitchen line? Maybe you are one of those who has just been told to “just do it.” But is it possible you may have more responsibilities waiting for you back near the baseline?

Find out from 4-time U.S. Open Champion, Laura Fenton Kovanda, the best ways to get to the kitchen line based on the term “It Depends!” And what exactly does it mean to be the “off” person and “square up” to your opponents?



In my presentation, one of the things I mentioned that you can work on right now while you’re hanging at home is what we call the Two Touch Drill.

This is a GREAT drill that has 4 levels to it. It’s progressive so that each level is more difficult than the last. It’s A LOT hard than it looks. As a matter of fact, Jordan was just telling me how he was reminded of that when he did it in the garage the other day. Try it out and you will see what we mean.

This drill will help all your soft skill (drops, dinks, resets) SO SO much. Jordan and I are currently working on the “at home edition” of this very same drill and I will swap that one out here when it’s available.

While that’s in the works, here is the “on court” version of the drill so that you can get started on it TODAY! Just pretend that you are Jordan, hitting against a wall. Or, if you are lucky enough to be in a household with another pickleball player then go for it. Get creative, use a chair as a net or whatever. If none of that is available, imagine there’s a net.

As I also mentioned in my presentation, the drop is still and will likely always be a very important part of the game. We just can’t keep thinking it as the absolute best option at all times for the 3rd shot to the exclusion of all other things. That is old school thinking at this point.

Now, that said, we could all stand to get better at our drops and being able to hit them at will from practically anywhere.

With that in mind, why not take this time to revisit your drop technique. Get in front of a mirror and inspect your motion. Spend time each day (10-15 min/day a couple of times a day) shadow swinging your drop motion.

Really connect with it physically & mentally. Visualize that you are actually hitting a ball. Feel it! Our brains interpret imagery as equivalent to real-life action so take advantage of that neurological fact and see (and feel) yourself hitting those flawless drops.

Here are two videos to watch so that you can be sure that you are getting your technique right. I am intentionally putting the backhand video FIRST. If you watched my presentation, you’ll know why I say that. lol :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

Enjoy & let me know how this goes for you!

1 Like

Great videos. I’m going to take a little time away tomorrow and see what I can replicate indoors.