Washington D.C. Pickleball News & Alerts

Learning to Play Pickleball

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Washington D.C. Pickleball News & Alerts

Club Events

Welcome to Washington DC Pickleball!

Whether you are a beginner, intermediate or advanced amateur player, there are lessons available for everyone.

There are programs tailored to your skill level and needs, starting from introductory clinics for absolute beginners to advanced beginners and on to intermediates.

DC’s Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) offers lessons for levels from beginner to low intermediate on different days and at different times at three locations which can be seen on the DC DPR  (dpr.dc.gov) website under Events and Programs. 

Those classes typically change by season, and there is a small cost to participate.

If DPR’s classes don’t fit your schedule, we recommend small group or private lessons offered by two certified pickleball instructors with whom we have had much experience and success. Steve Valiant and Maya Ben-David are briefly described below. They can find a schedule for classes that better fit your schedule, if necessary, and they also can offer lessons for high intermediates and more advanced skill levels.

Steve has been playing successfully in tournaments across the U.S. for more than 10 years, and he carries a DUPR rating of 4.82. He is a PPR Certified Coach who has instructed nearly 1000 players from beginners through more advanced players to play effectively in recreational and tournament play. His patience and encouragement will help you to improve your game. He has been working with Washington DC Pickleball for over two years, and he is co-founder of the DC Pickleball League. 

He is pictured above instructing one of our members.

Maya is also a PPR Certified Coach who often works with Steve in teaching beginners through high intermediates and above. Like Steve she has successfully participated in tournaments over the last three years, and, with Steve, she is the co-founder of the DC Pickleball League – a recent but very well-received offering that hosts weekly tournaments and pickleball play for diverse groups of players. Her work with players is very successful in helping them improve, and she is well-liked by the players.

Steve and Maya can be reached at wdcpickleball@gmail.com

Introduction to Pickleball

Beginners classes are available for a small fee to anyone interested in learning the basics of the sport, both from DPR and from Steve & Maya. WDCP members receive a discount on all classes taken with Steve after the initial class. Covered topics are:

  • Basic knowledge of game play, scoring & rules
  • Basic stroke technique, body position, mechanics & movement
  • Intro to Dinks & Drops
  • Serve & Return Basics

Intermediate Beginners 2.0 < 2.5

These classes are also available for a small fee. WDCP members receive a discount on all classes taken. The introductory topics above are reviewed briefly, and then these topics are added:

  • Fundamentals Review
  • Pickleball strokes- Dinks & Drops: Making an Arc
  • Volley Basics: Forehand and Backhand
  • Blocking Basics
  • Basic game strategy

Introductory and Intermediate beginners’ classes are offered at several outdoor DC courts, weather permitting. To sign up for any of these offerings, please check with DPR’s website or reach Steve and Maya at wdcpickleball@gmail.com. They will work with you to schedule you into one of the upcoming sessions. Bring your paddle, if you have one, or borrow one for the lesson.

We also offer participation in an ad hoc beginners’ group, which is open to WDCP members only, to encourage ad hoc play among beginners so they can practice the skills they are learning. To join the group, you would download the free software meet-up application from your app store, for which you will need a code. Please do not share the code with anyone else. If you reach the point that you no longer consider yourself a “beginner”, simply remove your name from that group list. We have others to suggest.

Washington DC Pickleball How To Play

Skill Level Clinics

These clinics are offered on different days onoutdoor courts, weather permitting. Contact Steve Valiant for times and locations. The clinics are very popular and often fill up fast, so if you’re interested sign up soon!

Advanced Beginners: 2.5-2.9

Steve Valiant of Washington D.C. Pickleball

Open to WDCP members only for a small fee, these clinics are usually held weekly during weekday mornings & weekends in NW DC. Topics and skills covered for this group are:

  • Pickleball strokes- Dink & Drop drills
  • Forehand and Backhand Directional Skills
  • Serve & Return Drills
  • Volley Drills: Punch/Block Volleys, Forehand and Backhand
  • Doubles Game strategy

For two other, higher skill levels, 3.0 and 3.5: Open to WDCP members only, these clinics are typically held once per week and focus on skills and techniques appropriate to these two levels. See respective topics and skills below. Demand will drive the frequency and scheduling of these clinics. They are very popular, so sign up soon!

Low Intermediates: 3.0 < 3.5

  • Serve & Return Strategies
  • Third shot drop and drives
  • Dinking strategies: Accuracy and Placement
  • Volley & Block Basics
  • Lobbing(offensive, defensive), lob retrieval & overheads
  • Court positioning & strategy

High Intermediates: 3.5 < 4.0

  • Advanced Doubles Strategy- Court positioning & how to move with your partner
  • Spins – top spin, side spin, back spin
  • Serve & Return of Serve Advanced – Depth, speed, placement & spin
  • Third Shot Drop & Drive Drills FH & BH
  • Dinking Advanced: Offensive & Defensive, Placement & Accuracy
  • Dinking techniques – Dinks with spins, half volley & volley dink
  • Volleys- Punch Volley, Slice Volley, Swinging Volley
  • Transition zone Drops & Resets
  • Offensive & Defensive Lobbing, Lob retrieval & Overheads
  • Ground Stroke forehand & backhand drills
  • Net Play – When to attack, block & counterattack, & attacking from below the net

Private and semi-private lessons are available throughout the week. To sign up for the those clinics and lessons, and for any other questions, contact Steve Valiant.

We hope to see you on the pickleball court!

Pickleball Tutorials and Strategies

If you would like to read up on how to play and watch some very helpful videos, please use the links at the bottom of the page to visit the USA Pickleball official website.

The Basics of Pickleball

Pickleball Basics

Get Started and Get Hooked!

Pickleball Strategies

Pickleball Strategies

Get the Upper Hand at Any Level...

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