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Talking Ice Baths and Third Shot Drops with Kyle Yates

Talking Ice Baths and Third Shot Drops with Kyle Yates

  • Expert tips from one of pickleball’s first pros.

Shortly after high school, Kyle Yates became one of pickleball’s first pros. Now, at 27, he’s still winning tournaments, while also coaching and offering clinics under the Yates Pickleball Academy moniker and running the apparel brand he cofounded, PB1965. Here, the top player shares some of his strategies for success, plus expert tips that’ll boost your game too.

WHAT’S A COMMON MISTAKE MANY PLAYERS MAKE THAT’S EASY TO CORRECT?

I get in a dynamic stretch before I actually start hitting balls. I know the importance of loosening and activating the muscles. I hate to see people get hurt because they don’t want to take the extra three minutes to warm up properly.

IS THERE ONE SHOT EVERY PLAYER SHOULD MASTER?

The third shot drop. Master getting the ball down at your opponent’s feet. Because if you don’t get the ball down, anyone with a paddle can smash it at you.

Kyle Yates

IS THERE ONE SHOT EVERY PLAYER SHOULD MASTER?

Using too much wrist. When you’re snapping your wrist, your paddle face is turning as you’re hitting the ball so you’re going to have timing issues. Watch the pros—the paddle face stays pretty straight all the way through contact. It gives us little margin for error.

IF YOU’RE BEING CHALLENGED, HOW DO YOU RALLY AND BOUNCE BACK?

I’ve got one word for you: grind. Usually if people are losing, they get flustered or try to start hitting winners. Pickleball is a game of consistency. When I settle down, and just start grinding—smart dinking, high-percentage shots—then I can start chipping away and getting back in the match.

AND YOUR POSTGAME GO-TO FOR TAKING CARE OF YOUR BODY?

Nothing beats a good old ice bath. It constricts your muscles and squeezes all that lactic acid out like nothing else. 

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