When Cliff Fiore started playing pickleball, it was the mid-1980s and he was working as an engineer for Boeing. While he loved the sport, his growing family never afforded him the chance to play as much as he wanted, so he did what engineers do best – he set out to solve the problem.“
I needed to figure out a way to practice and play by myself,” he said. “Something that could let me work through different drills and allow me the flexibility to train whenever I wanted. That’s when I developed the RTS Pickleball Rebounder.”
Today, Fiore calls the RTS Rebounder “the first rebounder on the market designed specifically for pickleball.” He acknowledges that there are other products out there, but maintains those are merely adaptations of rebounders typically used for tennis.“
The unique feature of our rebounders is the ability to adjust the panel angle. The steeper the angle, the higher the loft of the ball rebound,” he said. “This allows players to learn and practice a variety of different shots that other products can’t offer. With our product, you can even position the rebound panel at a negative angle to replicate playing at the no-volley zone line—where balls tend to come back from an opponent aimed at your feet—and also use it to practice overhand smashes. Virtually any shot you experience during a game can be replicated with the RTS Rebounder.”
Spending years in development, Fiore finally perfected his designs and now the company, Racquet Training Specialists (RTS), offers a complete line of six different rebounder models–two small versions (Dink and Dink Plus), a medium size model (The All-Court), and a large model (The Club). The Pro model, designed for advanced players, features a small rebound panel to simulate the “sweet-spot window” located directly above the net line. There’s also a wall-mounted version for people with limited space. All of the models offer players the ability to return shots from up to five different panel angle positions.
Out of the box, you’re getting a product made with a steel frame that’s available in three different polymer-dipped, color coatings that protect the rebounder from weathering and UV fading. Panels come in green or modern tennis court blue and are of a solid-core, high-density material. The free-standing models roll easily on industrial-grade casters that feature individual locking mechanisms. The net is positioned at the legal net height of 34 inches on center. The entire unit disassembles into two easy-to-carry pieces that only take up 6 inches of space against a wall when stored. To provide some variety when practicing, RTS also offers circular target decals that can be placed on the rebound panel so players can aim for a specific target area, and line tape for creating zones for precision shot-making. Turnaround time on orders is typically just two days, unless you customize your order, which is also welcomed by the company.
One area where business is booming, Fiore said, is with clubs, where the RTS Rebounder is making significant inroads as indispensable practice equipment for pickleball players.“Clubs like it because it’s so easy to use and so easy for players to start working with.”
Quite often, beginners who see our product are initially intimidated and question if they could consistently hit the rebound panel. We advise players to begin by standing about 5 feet away and start hitting practice dinks. Within 2-3 minutes, they start to get comfortable and are then able to move further and further back. Everyone develops the rhythm,” he said. And shot-wise, using a rebounder is an incredibly efficient training aid. You get more shots in a matter of minutes using a rebounder than in a full hour of real pickleball, so you’re getting a more focused practice session and an even better workout.”
For more information on the RTS Pickleball Rebounder, including a video clip demonstrating different ways the product can be used, visit www.rtsrebounder.com.