THE Pickleball System

Question Video
3rd Shot-Where should you hit it?

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You are the serving team and get a short return. Where do you hit your third shot and why?
Give yourself as much time as you need and when you are ready watch the answer video.

You'll find the answer video below

Answer Video
3rd Shot-Where should you hit it?

For some, this was easy, for others a head-scratcher. It doesn't matter!

It's all about learning.

Share your thoughts in the comments below

78 Comments

  1. Maggie Carotenuto on March 10, 2022 at 1:20 am

    C or E

  2. Maggie on March 10, 2022 at 1:26 am

    But C is to their backhand. If Blue team is poaching you can then go to D

  3. Lynn Frank on March 10, 2022 at 1:29 am

    to the players backhand

  4. Daria Gal on March 10, 2022 at 1:30 am

    Down the middle drive.

  5. RJ on March 10, 2022 at 1:32 am

    D/ drive
    C/drive
    E/ drop

  6. Chantal Tie on March 10, 2022 at 1:32 am

    D- keep the returner back at the baseline.
    C- not as good because the R partner could get it.
    B- too easy for partner to cut off
    A and E allow them to get to the line, giving up positional advantage, so not good shot

  7. Doreen Jones on March 10, 2022 at 1:33 am

    E. Furthest away from opponent

  8. Melody on March 10, 2022 at 1:34 am

    C, D, E

  9. Janet McElroy on March 10, 2022 at 1:34 am

    loved 1st session and looking forward to the next 2

  10. Chuck on March 10, 2022 at 1:34 am

    E D C A B

  11. Diana on March 10, 2022 at 1:34 am

    B, C, D, E, A

  12. jul on March 10, 2022 at 1:35 am

    E D B C A

  13. Barbara on March 10, 2022 at 1:35 am

    1st choice is E hardest for either player to get
    B next most difficult for player to get
    C goes to the backhand
    D forehand
    A easiest for the return player to get to

    • Kathy Wharton on March 18, 2022 at 5:06 am

      E brings that player forward. You want to keep them back

  14. Shalon on March 10, 2022 at 1:36 am

    I like to drive down the middle or drop to the left kitchen area mainly. So C,E,D,A,B would be my ranking

  15. Frank on March 10, 2022 at 1:36 am

    C,d,e,b,a

  16. Eleanor on March 10, 2022 at 1:36 am

    C or D to keep the returner back off the NVZ

    • Kathy Wharton on March 18, 2022 at 5:04 am

      D,C or E

  17. Connie on March 10, 2022 at 1:36 am

    C, D,B, E, A. what if B is a lob?

    • CJ Johnson on March 10, 2022 at 3:49 am

      Hi Connie, we like the way you think. While a baseline lob can be a great strategy lobbing over the moving players head forces them to stop their momentum and move backward and could cause confusion between the two players. Additionally if both players are right handed and the lob is missed short, it would be at that players backhand. A short lob over B is to the players forehand.

  18. Douglas on March 10, 2022 at 1:37 am

    C, D, B, E and A.

  19. BILL WITTA on March 10, 2022 at 1:37 am

    C, D, B, A. STOP YOUR OPPONENT FROM MOVING UP TO THE KITCHEN LINE SO YOUR SIDE HAS THE ADVANTAGE,

  20. Diana on March 10, 2022 at 1:38 am

    I picked B first because it is deep and gives me time to get to the NVL and keeps R back. Then C is next best for same reason, D, next same reason. E before A because A can be retrieved by the other R player giving his/her partner time to get to NVL.

  21. Warren on March 10, 2022 at 1:38 am

    D,E,A,C,B

    D low at the returners feet. After listening to your core concepts – E or A would be my next shots to get to the nvz
    C or D seem low percentage returns

  22. Ed on March 10, 2022 at 1:38 am

    D & C – keep low? medium hard? Hard shot gives us less time for us to get to the NVZ

  23. Shelli peterson on March 10, 2022 at 1:38 am

    Do you do this for a longer return of serve too or????
    Thank you.

    • CJ Johnson on March 10, 2022 at 3:33 am

      Generally yes. Even if the returner has made it to the NVZ they are still moving and as set as their partner. That means there’s a greater chance of error.

  24. Chuck on March 10, 2022 at 1:38 am

    E is great if blue return can’t move forward fast enough to get it.

  25. Cathy Clemens on March 10, 2022 at 1:39 am

    1. C keep em back
    2. E cross court- make the back person run…I love making others run
    3. D Keep em back
    4. A to backhand NVZ
    5. B…drive past front can be stopped.

  26. Judy Todd on March 10, 2022 at 1:40 am

    C – 1, D – 2, E – 3, A – 4, B – 5

  27. kamana mathur on March 10, 2022 at 1:40 am

    If you lob it over to B, it keeps opponents back. Normally they miss the shot. You don’t have to drive it.

  28. Connie on March 10, 2022 at 1:40 am

    Great strategy

  29. Susan on March 10, 2022 at 1:40 am

    I understand what you are saying here. What I’m wondering is when is a good time to use the 3rd shot drop? It seems to me, it pulls the opponent up to the NVZ. If the objective it to keep them off this zone…why would you drop the ball in front of them?

    • CJ Johnson on March 10, 2022 at 3:38 am

      Hey Susan, excellent observation. If both players have locked down the NVZ, meaning the returner has gotten to the line, it’s likely they are still not quite set so a drop to them would be ideal. The other option is if you know that the team you’re playing always locks down the NVZ and your targeting one of the other players than the drop may go to them.

  30. John on March 10, 2022 at 1:41 am

    Awesome strategy. Will definitely give that a try when that opportunity presents itself

  31. Nicole Brisson on March 10, 2022 at 1:42 am

    @tony, what is the corollary to the ad side return? Are you going to the same spot or hitting to the outside more (right-hander’s backhand)?

    • CJ Johnson on March 10, 2022 at 3:43 am

      Hi Nicole, the first target is always the returner because even if they get all the way to the NVZ they are still getting settled so they are most likely to make a mistake. On the ad side that would be a shot to the backhand of a righty. Also keeps their partner from poaching.

  32. Suzanne Penner on March 10, 2022 at 1:43 am

    1. B drive – less time for opp to react, I would be running up so hard to finesse drop shot
    2. C drive – between opp, maybe backhand, less time for reaction, opp moving up may catch unaware
    3. E drop – opp moving up maybe not be ready
    4. D drive , 2nd least fav
    5. A drop – least fav for this situation, straight ahead, I am running in and would give me less reaction time coming back

  33. Carol H on March 10, 2022 at 1:44 am

    Most often you are playing 2 right handers. Hitting to D allows them to hit a forehand. Therefore, I chose C as my first choice, because the returner wouldn’t to hit a backhand. Of course you need to take the returners partner into consideration as they would have an easy forehand block.

  34. Al Wildey on March 10, 2022 at 1:45 am

    My order was C, D, E, A, B and I fell pretty good about that. I assumed the returner was right-handed and so preferred to hit to C rather than a strong forehand to D. Your point about a poach or block from the returner’s partner is valid and makes sense, hitting to forehand D makes sense as to higher percentage success. Thanks for these, you guys are terrific!

  35. Carol H on March 10, 2022 at 1:45 am

    Most often you are playing 2 right handers. Hitting to D allows them to hit a forehand. Therefore, I chose C as my first choice, because the returner wouldn’t to hit a backhand. Of course you need to take the returners partner into consideration as they would have an easy forehand block.

  36. Douglas on March 10, 2022 at 1:46 am

    Thank you. It makes sense to me. I will need to try to start driving my 3rd shot at the first two locations for returner’s short returns.

  37. Mark Sypher on March 10, 2022 at 1:49 am

    I would try to hit the ball in the following order:
    (c) This would normally be a low backhand to a rtn team player who is moving or is deep allowing us to keep them deep as we establish a positional adv at the NVZ line
    (d) This would still be a deep ball to a player who would either be moving or still deep allowing us to possibly gain the positional advantage
    (e) A crossing shot into the NVZ, would bring out of bounds into play and bring the deep player forward to the NVZ line to play the ball.
    (a) This appears to be a drop (dink) to a balanced player at the NVZ line and a relatively simple shot back to us while in the mid-transition zone
    (b) I’m thinking that this is a lob (maybe a passing attempt down the line…. bringing OB into play) if a lob, for me, this is the toughest shot choice. Executing a lob while moving forward to a short ball is a difficult touch shot to a small target that may allow for an overhead by the up player or an easy switch of coverage not overly stressing the service team and a poor risk-reward payoff.

  38. Kevin Wood on March 10, 2022 at 1:53 am

    I had the D and C correct, but then I assumed B (as a hard drive right at the player) since A and E clearly allow the player to move up to the NVZ line.

  39. Rich Porter on March 10, 2022 at 1:54 am

    C, D, B, A

  40. Mark Sypher on March 10, 2022 at 2:08 am

    Tony, Thank you. I didn’t consider the “up return player” poaching (which I enjoy doing) was thinking that the “up player” may be reluctant to open up space for an easier down-the-line medium-paced shot if he slid right early to lock down the middle and stop the (c) option ((especially if it is that players backhand side)).

    I appreciate all the hard work and time everyone put into the webinar tonight.
    v/r
    Mark

  41. Shannon on March 10, 2022 at 3:01 am

    A 4
    B2 — would probably try for the RH corner so it’s harder for the receiver to get it. Too close right now.
    C3
    D5
    E1 — NVZ. They aren’t there yet.

    The rest are hittable balls directly to the recipients.

  42. Terri on March 10, 2022 at 1:30 pm

    So I thought B would be a lob. I put it before A & E because it would either cause the rear player to stay rear or the forward player to go back and give me time to get to the NVZ. So I don’t understand why A & E are better than B. I got the first two choices correct.

    • CJ Johnson on March 10, 2022 at 1:35 pm

      Hi Terri, the explanation is in the answer video. Did you get a chance to watch that?

  43. Ken Krueger on March 10, 2022 at 2:09 pm

    My order is D, C, E, A, B. Basically hit it back to the one who returned the serve since that player is still back from the NVZ. B is less desirable than D or C because it simply draws the returner in toward the NVZ and doesn’t follow the objective of not allowing the the returner to get to the NVZ. A & B don’t meet the strategy but at least A may not be an attackable ball.

  44. Stacy O. on March 10, 2022 at 5:11 pm

    My Answer
    C – most likely to backhand and keeps receivers (Blue) split and one back away from NVZ
    D- keeps receivers split and one back away from NVZ
    B- Can be poached by receiver A and difficult to return
    E- moves receiver (blue) away from A, and is an easier shot for Yellow to make, also allows yellow to move to NVZ
    A- a harder shot for yellow to make, requires quicker response time if Blue gets the shot, allows yellow to move to NVZ
    What I think Tony’s answer is (E and A) would be first because yellows main objective is to get to the NVZ and a shot in the kitchen is never tactical error. After that I am not sure.

  45. sharon on March 10, 2022 at 9:18 pm

    B E A D C

  46. Mardie Schroeder on March 10, 2022 at 9:29 pm

    D, C, B, E, A
    Of course if you can make a lob successfully I might choose that first, depending on the height of the net person.

  47. sharon on March 10, 2022 at 9:35 pm

    when you hit the ball to C or D aren’t you hitting it right to him?

  48. Debbie on March 10, 2022 at 9:37 pm

    1. E, most difficult to return, gets server to nvz
    2. A, gets server to nvz
    3. B, if lob, can get to nvz but Tony said drive so could go out of bounds, easier for return side to drive back and prevent from getting to nvz
    4. C, return side can drive back and prevent from getting to nvz
    5. D, same reason as 3&4

  49. joanne on March 10, 2022 at 9:38 pm

    E. Drop it at the person moving.

  50. joanne on March 10, 2022 at 9:40 pm

    E, C, D, B, A. send the ball to the person moving.

  51. Claudia Owen on March 10, 2022 at 10:57 pm

    B as it would keep the return team back
    C receiver still has to stay back to get the shot
    D
    E
    A an easy shot for other team giving receiver time to get to NVZ

  52. Dave R on March 10, 2022 at 11:27 pm

    D or C, would be my first choice because it allows Yellow team to move towards NVZ and it’s a fairly simple shot to make. Location B, A and E shot may require a more skilled shot by Yellow by going long or into the net).

  53. Judy French primary (Hey Jude secondary) on March 11, 2022 at 4:37 am

    My Server would hit the 3rd to deep positions C and D first to keep the back Returner back, and C is Returner’s backhand,
    then back to B, however that could be easily intercepted by Returner at NVZ line,
    then drops into NVZ, A and E because they provide less time for Server to advance through the transition zone.

  54. Lauren on March 11, 2022 at 5:05 am

    D – keep server back and goes to their backhand if they are rightie
    C – also keeps server back, but could be poached by partner
    B – if you can get past the player at the NVZ, this keeps the server back
    E – don’t like this shot because it brings server up to neutralize advantage
    A – No!

  55. Jan Abraham on March 11, 2022 at 11:59 am

    This is my nightmare! I am a barely a 3.0 and I play with 3.5 & 4.0 a lot! So frustrating!!
    E ~ if I could make a nice fast shot that zipped out of the court and gone! (I don’t have a reliable drop yet)
    D ~ probably best for me at this point, because if I do any of the other three… “The long armed poacher” in the front can get it and slam it back at me 🤦‍♀️
    C ~ if I’m lucky enough to get by the net person…
    B do A ~ not good choices for me!! (Possibly a lob to B)

  56. kat on March 11, 2022 at 3:48 pm

    B – with a low and hard third shot low – keep the team back and give server side more time to get to NVZ – our goal
    E – a third shot drop to either e or a could maintian some postional position depending on how fast the receiver team is. A is not a good placement for a drop as it gives us the serving time little time to get to the net and we will probably be struck in the tranisiion zone where we don’t want to be. I would go for E as it gives me more time to get to the NVZ and shot E lets me hit a drop shot by going over the lowest part of the net and not the high part like A.
    C/D – these are my next choices, most likely try to do a drop to the backhand side for D and either F or B be prepared for a return down the line. Positional advantage may still exisit for servers
    A – here you would lose positional power and you are dropping over the highest part of the net – need good consistency to do this shot.

    With all the answers I try to quickly analyze where the returning player will return the ball, so I can get prepared.

  57. Judy Robertson on March 11, 2022 at 7:36 pm

    e
    d
    c

  58. Virginia on March 11, 2022 at 11:46 pm

    C, D, E.B and A

    Assuming they are both right handed, I’d try to hit to their backhand first and keep them back from the NVZ

  59. Virginia on March 11, 2022 at 11:55 pm

    Thanks, I think I understand.

  60. Janice on March 12, 2022 at 7:17 pm

    Isn’t E likely to be missed by both players, thereby making it easier to just get a quick point?

  61. JoRoyce Robinson on March 12, 2022 at 9:59 pm

    B, C, D, E, A

  62. Patty Murray on March 12, 2022 at 10:47 pm

    Very interesting. The group classes I take tell us to go to E which I hit the net. This gives me more hope! Thank you!

  63. Daniece Moore on March 14, 2022 at 4:19 am

    D C E B A

  64. Bruce Coen on March 14, 2022 at 10:31 am

    E

  65. Diane on March 16, 2022 at 1:31 am

    C,D,B,E, A
    Angles to weak side, keeping player back.

  66. Whit on March 16, 2022 at 5:46 pm

    D C E B A

  67. Bernnie Morgan on March 17, 2022 at 1:42 pm

    WHY are my answers upside down from yours? If the return of serve is to the player on the left, is your third shot placement the same?
    I have been blistered trying to drive to C& D. Thinking about my 3rd shot now I believe it is different depending on which court I am in.
    But I do love my drop shot to A.

    • CJ Johnson on March 17, 2022 at 2:09 pm

      Hi Bernnie, it sounds like you may have missed the answer video where we explain our answers. If so, keep scrolling, it’s just below the question video. Yes, the answers are the same on either side of the court.

  68. Gary Brooks on March 17, 2022 at 9:14 pm

    My response is late but I want to respond “before” I watch the Answer video (just to see were I’m at).
    1 C -to keep oncoming returner back and to their backhand
    2 D -possibly drive it to returner’s feet
    3 E -to oncoming returner’s NVZ
    4 A -not good b/c returner’s already set up
    5 B -not good b/c returner could volley that drive back quickly

    Thanks for the great question. Your thoughts?

    • CJ Johnson on March 18, 2022 at 2:01 am

      Hi Gary, hopefully you found our thoughts in the video.

  69. Nancy Dippolito on March 18, 2022 at 7:46 pm

    VERY helpful!

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