As an organization, USA Pickleball is thrilled to have an opportunity to spotlight players from around the nation as we continue to grow as one of the fastest growing sports in the country. This past month, we visited Cherokee Country Club in Madison, Wisconsin to talk with Dave Weinbach and Gina Cilento about how they transfer their tennis and ping pong techniques over to pickleball.
Dave “The Badger” Weinbach, from Madison, has been playing pickleball since 2009 since being introduced to the sport in Surprise, Arizona. He has played competitive ping pong and also brings a tennis background.
“You couldn’t have invented a more perfect game for me with a table tennis and tennis background, than pickleball.”
Dave enjoys teaching pickleball and shares how ping pong and tennis skills translate very well over to pickleball.
Pickleball is all about:
- Eye-hand coordination
- Good footwork
- Paddle control
- Ball control
- Reading the ball off of the paddle. You have to anticipate quickly as to where the ball is going to end up by reading the opponent’s paddle.
Gina Cilento is a 5.5 tennis player from Milwaukee and has played for years, and now using a lot of her techniques in pickleball. She was introduced to the sport by one of the Wisconsin USA Pickleball ambassadors. She immediately fell in love with the sport and has been in love with the game ever since.
Some of the techniques she uses from tennis that help her excel in her game include:
- Use the serve more as a weapon. Hitting consistently hard, deep serves to make the opponent work harder to get to the kitchen line.
- Utilizing the inside-out forehand to create more angles on the court.
- Adjusting to the ball that’s given to you. You have to learn how to quickly adjust your shot to what’s given to you and have more tools in your toolbox. Whether it’s a slice, drop shot or a drive.
Check out their full video interview, including some live playing action and they share how their tennis and ping pong backgrounds help them in their pickleball game.
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