Third shot drive for advanced players

"The Pickleball Show had a recent discussion with Matt Staub, one of the top players in the world, about changing his third shot strategy away from the drop shot to the topspin drive. Matt discussed several factors in his new style:

  1. Equipment advances (both ball and paddle) allow for more powerful shots and greater amount of topspin. 
  2. Opponents are hitting the ball harder with the new equipment and players must adjust just to stay even.
  3. The ability to hit a harder shot that drops below the top of the net negates a lot of the advantage that has always been owned by the non-serving team being positioned at the kitchen.
Matt emphasizes that the shot is not intended to win the point, although that may happen more often than with the drop shot. Instead, the intent is to set up the fifth shot, which is the drop shot or something more offensive if the return volley is weak. 

While Matt uses the drive regularly on the third shot, it is particularly effective when the second shot - the return of serve - is short.  The drive strategy adds yet another element to the game by increasing the pressure on the service returner to make a deep return. This also increases the odds of a few free points when the return is hit out of bounds or in the net." Source:  Apple County Pickleball blog.