Get ready for your next tournament by learning from the pros who have won multiple gold medals in tournament play! Executive Producer of Pickleball Channel, Rusty Howes, has been privileged to interview gold medalists directly after their big wins, and often these fast reflections yield sharable learning moments for the rest of us. In this article we want to highlight winning advice from two top pro players, Kyle Yates and Dave Weinbach, who each have multiple gold medals under their belts. Three different times, Rusty has been able to talk to these two directly after a big win and get their tips for other pickleball players. Look what they had to say after each tournament, but make sure you watch the videos to see every detail they are discussing.
WINNING TIP #1
PLAY PATIENT, CONSISTENT PICKLEBALL
Kyle: This was such a tough field. It's not easy coming in as the one seed. There's a lot of pressure. But it was our goal to play very consistent, patient pickleball. We tried to outlast our opponents, and if they got the ball up just a little bit too high, we weren't afraid to attack.
Dave: You know, this game at the highest levels is really about consistency. It's not about hitting spectacular winners. If you watch Kyle and me play, we just don't make a lot of unforced errors. And over the long haul, that's how you win consistently in pickleball. I don't care if it's 2.5, 3.0, 4.0, 4.5, 5.0, Pro division---who you're going to see win most of the tournaments consistently is the team that makes the least amount of unforced errors. So, folks out there, really work on your consistency in your third shot drop and in dinking. Kyle and I didn’t win by making spectacular winners...although Kyle had some unbelievable shots. It was really about making less unforced errors, putting pressure on our opponent, and forcing errors from the other side.
WINNING TIP #2
USE THE SOFT GAME TO SET UP KILL SHOTS
Kyle: We definitely made sure to keep the ball down. Our opponents, Wes and Daniel, will hurt you if you pop the ball up. So, we thought, stick to smart pickleball. Keep the ball down and be as consistent as possible.
Dave: Wes and Daniel are two of the best players in the world, and it's hard to attack them. You really have to pick your spots. So, we wanted to use the soft game and third shot drops to set up our kill shots. And you have to be very patient. As you saw when watching the match, there were points that went 20-25-30 dink shots until we got the right opportunity to strike.
WINNING TIP #3
HAVE FUN & STICK TO YOUR GAME PLAN
Kyle: Partner communication, trusting in your partner, and making sure that you mesh well is very important. And Dave is a good friend of mine. We just had a lot of fun. And that kind of propelled us throughout the day, I think.
Dave: You've got to remember, this is a game. And it's all about having fun first and foremost. And the quality of the field here was just fantastic. And you know what? Before every match, we had a game plan. And I thought we followed that game plan pretty well in terms of our execution. And that felt good to be able to execute what we talked about before the matches. And that pulled us through.