Giving up on being an athlete: the pickleball thread

wiffleballhero

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Won game 2 11-2 and then we got stuck playing doubles.

In game 2 I essentially was able to just drive that spin serve deep on his backhand side and get to net so he really had trouble scoring, or if he tried to swing me way out wide on the ad. side (I am lefty) I'd pass him down the line. And then unlike game one I stopped trying to do anything fancy on my serve and just drove it deep and simply tried to keep him back one shot longer than me. It was probably more tennis like than it should be, but it was good.

It is probably a situation where he'll start killing me if he sticks with it but I got that one game.
 

TomTerrific

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How do you go about getting rated in pickleball? I have mainly been playing with friends, friends of friends and folks I meet playing. I feel like I should get hooked in to the larger pickleball world.
There are basically two ways to get rated currently. You almost certainly want to do the first.

1. Get a DUPR rating: This is currently the most widespread method. Sign up on the DUPR website, you'll go into their database, and as soon as you play a single match with 3 other DUPR players you'll get a rating.
2. Play a UTP sanctioned tournament. Make sure your score is registered with them and you will automatically get a UTPR.

You can also self-assess, if you just want to tell people what you think you are. There are numerous websites that can help you with that. Also, just ask the more experienced people you play with what they think you are. They can usually give you a reasonable estimate.
 

Rick Burlesons Yam Bag

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There are basically two ways to get rated currently. You almost certainly want to do the first.

1. Get a DUPR rating: This is currently the most widespread method. Sign up on the DUPR website, you'll go into their database, and as soon as you play a single match with 3 other DUPR players you'll get a rating.
2. Play a UTP sanctioned tournament. Make sure your score is registered with them and you will automatically get a UTPR.

You can also self-assess, if you just want to tell people what you think you are. There are numerous websites that can help you with that. Also, just ask the more experienced people you play with what they think you are. They can usually give you a reasonable estimate.
Thanks man.
 

Rick Burlesons Yam Bag

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So I just signed up on the site, and a few folks I play with have DUPRs. I would guess, based on them that I am somewhere between 3.2 and 3.5 at doubles and it looks like no one gets rated in singles.

Does anyone have any tricks for getting into ladders or brackets or anything like that?
 

TomTerrific

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So I just signed up on the site, and a few folks I play with have DUPRs. I would guess, based on them that I am somewhere between 3.2 and 3.5 at doubles and it looks like no one gets rated in singles.

Does anyone have any tricks for getting into ladders or brackets or anything like that?
That’s a mixed bag, and really depends on your locality. Some of it is word of mouth, but a lot of it is app-based. In and around Boston there has been a noticeable shift from people using Playtime Scheduler to TeamReach, though there are still adherents to PS.

Also, if you know of a dedicated club you can typically go through them, though even the clubs will push you onto their TeamReach group once you’ve signed up or registered with them. They typically run various ladders and leagues.

Around Boston the only two indoor clubs I’m aware of (ie ever go to) are Pickles in Hanover and Kingsbury Club in Medfield. If that’s where you are you could start there. There are also various email newsletters (there’s one for Metrowest pickleball that comes out about once a month, for example). Also I’ve heard there are numerous Facebook groups organized around pickleball, so you could give that a try.

Good luck
 

Rick Burlesons Yam Bag

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That’s a mixed bag, and really depends on your locality. Some of it is word of mouth, but a lot of it is app-based. In and around Boston there has been a noticeable shift from people using Playtime Scheduler to TeamReach, though there are still adherents to PS.

Also, if you know of a dedicated club you can typically go through them, though even the clubs will push you onto their TeamReach group once you’ve signed up or registered with them. They typically run various ladders and leagues.

Around Boston the only two indoor clubs I’m aware of (ie ever go to) are Pickles in Hanover and Kingsbury Club in Medfield. If that’s where you are you could start there. There are also various email newsletters (there’s one for Metrowest pickleball that comes out about once a month, for example). Also I’ve heard there are numerous Facebook groups organized around pickleball, so you could give that a try.

Good luck
You are truly the most Terrific of Toms.

Thanks man.
 

TomTerrific

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This is great and all tracks. And congrats on the W! Best of luck tomorrow
Thanks. Forgot to mention, my wife and I won the mixed doubles! We beat the team that smoked us in the fall, and handily.

Oh, and the opposing team's female called me a bully and a coward afterwards, which was just icing on the cake.
 

TomTerrific

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Hit her with too many body shots?
Apparently. I got the ball into her chest (meaning she only got a piece of her paddle on it and it then hit her chest) on a speed-up at the net, and hit her solidly on the upper leg on a drive from the transition zone when she was careless handling one of my resets.

The hit on the leg in particular seemed to infuriate her, as it and the bruise she claimed she was going to be sporting for a week, were the centerpiece of her rant about me.
 

wiffleballhero

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Apparently. I got the ball into her chest (meaning she only got a piece of her paddle on it and it then hit her chest) on a speed-up at the net, and hit her solidly on the upper leg on a drive from the transition zone when she was careless handling one of my resets.

The hit on the leg in particular seemed to infuriate her, as it and the bruise she claimed she was going to be sporting for a week, were the centerpiece of her rant about me.
hmmmm... Sounds a little like sour grapes to me. Congratulations on the win.
 

SumnerH

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Be careful out there....

https://www.cnn.com/2023/06/27/business/pickleball-injuries-cost-health-care/index.html
Pickleball injuries may cost Americans $377 million in health care costs this year, accounting for 5% to 10% of total unexpected medical costs, UBS analysts estimated in a report Monday...
Pickleball-related injuries occur most frequently in older people, according to a 2021 medical study. From 2010-2019, 86% of emergency department visits due to pickleball injuries occurred in people over 60 years old, according to the medical study. Around 60% of pickleball injuries are sprains, strains and fractures. Twenty percent are contusions, abrasions, or internal injuries; and fewer than 10% are lacerations or dislocations.
 

Rick Burlesons Yam Bag

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Lies, damn lies and statistics.

There is unbelievable health benefit in anyone over the age of 50 getting more active. The data around lifestyle medicine is jumping off the page, but no one wants to touch it. Instead we want to talk about the cost of healthcare and injuries and crap. We have become minions to the insurance industry.

This is not a shot at you, I know that you know this. I am just sick of seeing this type of data and conversation on social media constantly. Get out there, get hurt a little, live longer and have more fun.
 

Rick Burlesons Yam Bag

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Apparently. I got the ball into her chest (meaning she only got a piece of her paddle on it and it then hit her chest) on a speed-up at the net, and hit her solidly on the upper leg on a drive from the transition zone when she was careless handling one of my resets.

The hit on the leg in particular seemed to infuriate her, as it and the bruise she claimed she was going to be sporting for a week, were the centerpiece of her rant about me.
The etiquette and perceived etiquette around mixed doubles is maddening in all sports. On the one hand, if you have a guy hitting every single ball at the female player as hard as he can, yeah....that guy is being a douche, and those guys exist. But everything else is grey space and man oh man do people get pissy about it when they lose. I play tennis doubles with one woman who has a ludicrously good net game, and we have had folks make shitty comments about our style of play and tactics as if there are hard and fast rules around how doubles tennis should be played.
 

TomTerrific

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The etiquette and perceived etiquette around mixed doubles is maddening in all sports. On the one hand, if you have a guy hitting every single ball at the female player as hard as he can, yeah....that guy is being a douche, and those guys exist. But everything else is grey space and man oh man do people get pissy about it when they lose. I play tennis doubles with one woman who has a ludicrously good net game, and we have had folks make shitty comments about our style of play and tactics as if there are hard and fast rules around how doubles tennis should be played.
Yeah, this. And well stated, that’s precisely what’s going on. Which is why I’m doubly glad I basically kept my mouth shut and only said “It was nice playing with you”, which I hope she viewed as the equivalent of “Fuck off”
 

Reggie's Racquet

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A more experienced player might want to chime in with some different ideas, but you'll find that you volley all the time in pickleball and the kitchen rule will make your actual tennis ability to volley more of an advantage, not less, because you'll be immediately unfazed by the 7 foot setback.

I'd bet a fair amount of money that you will need less than ten minutes to be better than your neighbors, based on your tennis résumé.
Well I had a 1.5hr session with a pickleball pro a few days ago. He’s also a tennis pro as was I so he was very helpful. He put me through the ringer evaluating my aptitude at various aspects of the pickleball game. His conclusion was I was good enough now to play high intermediate and would shortly be playing at 4.0 4.5 level when I actually learned the details of the gameplay. It was fun. I wasn’t sore even though I’m in my mid-sixties and I’m meeting an advanced group tomorrow morning to watch and drill. We shall see where this goes.
 

wiffleballhero

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Well I had a 1.5hr session with a pickleball pro a few days ago. He’s also a tennis pro as was I so he was very helpful. He put me through the ringer evaluating my aptitude at various aspects of the pickleball game. His conclusion was I was good enough now to play high intermediate and would shortly be playing at 4.0 4.5 level when I actually learned the details of the gameplay. It was fun. I wasn’t sore even though I’m in my mid-sixties and I’m meeting an advanced group tomorrow morning to watch and drill. We shall see where this goes.
Excellent! You're going to be a beast!

With regard to the volley, I am starting to notice that one large, important difference is that in pickleball you sort of need to maintain bad footwork so that you are facing the net, close to the kitchen line, but not stepping over it. Normal volley footwork either ends up as a violation or leaves you too far back. Feels odd still but, on the other hand, the paddle is so small and light that it is not too hard to just arm it over.
 

Reggie's Racquet

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With regard to the volley, I am starting to notice that one large, important difference is that in pickleball you sort of need to maintain bad footwork so that you are facing the net, close to the kitchen line, but not stepping over it. Normal volley footwork either ends up as a violation or leaves you too far back. Feels odd still but, on the other hand, the paddle is so small and light that it is not too hard to just arm it over.
Yes exactly. Played my first four matches ever yesterday with the advanced group at a nearby park. Doubles. Won two games, lost two games. Had fun. Because the sport is so popular it is going to be hard just to find court time to drill and practice. Coming from a long life in tennis I sure wish the paddle was longer! I had some incredibly beautiful swings and misses!
 

Lose Remerswaal

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Second to last lesson of my second tranche last night, five minutes to go and we are playing a game. Other side drops a ball in the kitchen, I race up to get it, get my head ahead of my feet and fall, bringing down the net (which may have saved my skull). Scrapes on two knees and one elbow, big “mouse” on my head. Entire body is stiff. Very little sleep last night.

Heading to Boston two hours from now in coach. This is gonna SUCK
 

wiffleballhero

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I think the heat killed my paddle. I've been unthinkingly just leaving it in the car. Today the paddle separated from the handle while taking an otherwise unremarkable forehand. So it goes. It was a pretty nice Gamma paddle.
 

Rick Burlesons Yam Bag

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Are you really that lonely?
View attachment 67748
ps - this oped from the times is dumb. not your decision to join a pickeball club.
That is a super weird illustration for a dumb article.

With that said, I think male loneliness is very real and the pandemic really exacerbated it with some folks I know quite well, so if it helps any loneliness I may be feeling then great.
 

jezza1918

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That is a super weird illustration for a dumb article.

With that said, I think male loneliness is very real and the pandemic really exacerbated it with some folks I know quite well, so if it helps any loneliness I may be feeling then great.
100% agree. As a single 41 year old (who does get lonely at times in the winter months) starting to dabble in pickeball, I was just a little grossed out by the portrayal. Apparently some indoor courts are going in less than a mile from my house down on the southcoast of Mass, hopefully will get above the 5.0 level by this time next year if true.
 

Rick Burlesons Yam Bag

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100% agree. As a single 41 year old (who does get lonely at times in the winter months) starting to dabble in pickeball, I was just a little grossed out by the portrayal. Apparently some indoor courts are going in less than a mile from my house down on the southcoast of Mass, hopefully will get above the 5.0 level by this time next year if true.
As a 54 year old married guy whose wife is just the worst and whose kids are pains in the ass, I share your loathing of the portrayal. Mainly though because that haircut and mustache combo is terrible, the wife beater t-shirt is terrible and the crying in public seems a bit overwrought there Michelle Cottle.
 

Bowhemian

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As a 54 year old married guy whose wife is just the worst and whose kids are pains in the ass, I share your loathing of the portrayal. Mainly though because that haircut and mustache combo is terrible, the wife beater t-shirt is terrible and the crying in public seems a bit overwrought there Michelle Cottle.
I had to go back and look at the pic...and damn that's William H Macy in the Boogie Nights movie.
 

wiffleballhero

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I just spent an hour or so "inventing" a spin serve, only to discover that it is illegal per 2023 rule changes.

While I mostly just hit a conventional topspin banger to get started, I've been hitting some pretty effective slice serves and it seemed to me that if I could encourage the spin by already having it going a little at the contact point, I could really put more forward drive into the serve, needing to cut the ball a little less to get the same amount of kick.

I thought I was so clever. But after playing around with this I also thought somebody else must have figured this out and will have some technique ideas I could kick around.

Indeed they do. Too bad they made this illegal. So it goes.

Seems like a lame rule though since snapping a spinning ball into the air is a high risk move, not just a simple advantage or 'cheat code.'
 

wiffleballhero

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OK, so in the last 10 days or so I think I've elevated my doubles game quite a bit by finally really processing a simple proposition into my muscle memory and into my unthinking approach to points:

Once things are in by the kitchen, the player who escalates likely will lose the point.

It took me a long time to get there because I'm a cocky asshole, I was getting just enough success blasting people to not learn and I've mostly played singles. But I got there.

I'm playing some solid pickle right now I think.

But I also now think that I would be very reluctant to play any kind of tournament in doubles with a partner who is not also a lefty. I am lefty and it really is just better to play with someone working the same handedness. A couple other lefties in my area are always a joy to pair up with just because things are more intuitive up the middle. Also, when you have opposite handed partners, the norms of the way the returning side's non-returning partner can jump the volley on their first hit after returning serve (if that makes sense) get a little screwed up when you are both at backhands in the middle. Not good. And I am too much of a knucklehead to keep track of everything when we stack. It is like doing math or something.

Also, people who only have pickleball experience are frequently annoyingly unable to process the unassailable tennis rule with regard to line calls. As the saying goes "if you are 99% confident it was out, you have to call it in." All these people who just kind of wishcast the calls or want a do over when they are not sure? No. If you are not sure, it was in. That is the rule! (or if it is not, pickleball needs to get its act together).
 

wiffleballhero

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Such a weird game.

Yesterday I lost a couple doubles matches against a dude who apparently won an amateur Canadian championship last year.

He was good!

National champion? He wasn't that good.

When I first played not against him but with him I expected that I needed to carry our side because I thought some of his shots were a little 'meh.'

LOL. Funny game though.
 

trs

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A bit sport here is padel, which seems a bit more like actual tennis, but with walls and a smaller court. You're seeing it more in the States (I think the origin of the game is Mexico), and it's a great deal of fun. The issue though is that it requires a specialized court, so you really can't just set it up anywhere like pickeball.

Here's a video of some points from the World Padel Tour

: View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cd0Yy2IJ02U


It's getting extraordinarily popular here in Spain.
 

wiffleballhero

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A bit sport here is padel, which seems a bit more like actual tennis, but with walls and a smaller court. You're seeing it more in the States (I think the origin of the game is Mexico), and it's a great deal of fun. The issue though is that it requires a specialized court, so you really can't just set it up anywhere like pickeball.

Here's a video of some points from the World Padel Tour

: View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cd0Yy2IJ02U


It's getting extraordinarily popular here in Spain.
I would love to play padel, it seems like so much fun. And as someone who used to play racquetball as well as tennis, it seems like a dream come true.
 

Pxer

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I just started playing pickleball in February and am having a blast.

I'm in my 30s and I got 5 of my friends playing on the regular. Local tennis clubs and recs have drop in play which has been fun but it's dominated by 50-70 year olds. They were crafty at first and beating me, but now I'm just destroying a bunch of them on pure athleticism. My friends are hoping to travel for some tournaments to face some better competition and be humbled. Is the age thing just a product of living in a small Maine town, or are all of you old, too? :)
 

wiffleballhero

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I just started playing pickleball in February and am having a blast.

I'm in my 30s and I got 5 of my friends playing on the regular. Local tennis clubs and recs have drop in play which has been fun but it's dominated by 50-70 year olds. They were crafty at first and beating me, but now I'm just destroying a bunch of them on pure athleticism. My friends are hoping to travel for some tournaments to face some better competition and be humbled. Is the age thing just a product of living in a small Maine town, or are all of you old, too? :)
Yeah, I don't know....

Are you playing doubles? If so, age is not the issue. Being in a small Maine town probably is.

Doubles does not reward athleticism enough. They probably just suck. Or you are coming from such a strong tennis/table tennis background that your learning curve was especially steep relative to the not totally sucky but modest competition.

I'm starting my second season coming from a strong tennis background. I'm 51. In doubles, I regularly thrash people 25 younger than me and lose to people quite a bit older than me. I'm more athletic, mobile and in generally better shape than most people and the vast majority of people in their 50s but it does not matter compared to some of the touch and strategy issues in doubles.

A huge part of either the charm or ridiculousness of the game is that athleticism is not the main event.
 

Pxer

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Yeah, I don't know....

Are you playing doubles? If so, age is not the issue. Being in a small Maine town probably is.

Doubles does not reward athleticism enough. They probably just suck. Or you are coming from such a strong tennis/table tennis background that your learning curve was especially steep relative to the not totally sucky but modest competition.

I'm starting my second season coming from a strong tennis background. I'm 51. In doubles, I regularly thrash people 25 younger than me and lose to people quite a bit older than me. I'm more athletic, mobile and in generally better shape than most people and the vast majority of people in their 50s but it does not matter compared to some of the touch and strategy issues in doubles.

A huge part of either the charm or ridiculousness of the game is that athleticism is not the main event.
Sounds like a small-town demographic problem.

Athleticism in getting to the NVZ seems to be really important to me, as that's the biggest difference in a competitive game for me thus far. If I can repeatedly force players to recover or keep them from advancing to the net, it's where I have the most success. I'm still brand new and probably talking out my ass.

I'm not a tennis player, and one of my tennis player friends is a good match for me, but he's wildly out of shape physically.
 

wiffleballhero

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Sounds like a small-town demographic problem.

Athleticism in getting to the NVZ seems to be really important to me, as that's the biggest difference in a competitive game for me thus far. If I can repeatedly force players to recover or keep them from advancing to the net, it's where I have the most success. I'm still brand new and probably talking out my ass.

I'm not a tennis player, and one of my tennis player friends is a good match for me, but he's wildly out of shape physically.
That sounds like singles. Yes?
 

wiffleballhero

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getting to the NVZ
I think my own ridiculous posts in this thread from last year probably chart my own capitulation to the standard sequence, so I hear where you are coming from.

But in doubles there is a relatively formulaic sequence that even very non-agile players can exploit, assuming their basic hitting is adequate, and indeed the rules appear literally designed to counter athletic superiority in doubles.

On the return of serve, the returner is pretty incentivized to return a loopy, slow and deep ball that you have no choice, by rule, but to play off the bounce. From that amount of time through the ball bouncing, even pretty rolly-polly players are at the NV line. Now you can lob them, but lobs are tricky because of the margin of error problem. You can pass them but if they don't suck, they should have good enough hands to mostly block back those baseline drives, and you are way back there, so you might doom yourself. So now you've got to capitulate and 3SD and then you are in regular game play, where hopefully your third shot drop allows you to get in also.

That's kinda the standard sequence. Athleticism does not help as much as I wish it did.

Maybe @jezza1918, who had great pointers when this thread started, would see some other stuff too.
 

Pxer

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I think my own ridiculous posts in this thread from last year probably chart my own capitulation to the standard sequence, so I hear where you are coming from.

But in doubles there is a relatively formulaic sequence that even very non-agile players can exploit, assuming their basic hitting is adequate, and indeed the rules appear literally designed to counter athletic superiority in doubles.

On the return of serve, the returner is pretty incentivized to return a loopy, slow and deep ball that you have no choice, by rule, but to play off the bounce. From that amount of time through the ball bouncing, even pretty rolly-polly players are at the NV line. Now you can lob them, but lobs are tricky because of the margin of error problem. You can pass them but if they don't suck, they should have good enough hands to mostly block back those baseline drives, and you are way back there, so you might doom yourself. So now you've got to capitulate and 3SD and then you are in regular game play, where hopefully your third shot drop allows you to get in also.

That's kinda the standard sequence. Athleticism does not help as much as I wish it did.

Maybe @jezza1918, who had great pointers when this thread started, would see some other stuff too.
I'm playing a mix of singles and doubles. I'd prefer to play more doubles but player availability with my friends is a limiting factor.

Thinking through this more, I think you're right that most of my older opponents just suck. They seem fairly knowledgeable about the game and are constantly giving me tips, but maybe they're giving me bad advice and I'm just exploiting their weak play. They probably aren't hitting most of these 2nd shots deep enough.

I'm doing a lot more driving on my 3rd shot where I just rip it bc my opponents are playing a lot of 3SD that I just destroy. I'm trying to not emulate that. As a result, I'm not using that shot a ton and am pretty inconsistent with it.

Reading through the thread, I registered for PlayTimeScheduler and it seems there are more evening games happening that I didn't know about. Hopefully, it's more competitive.
 
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jezza1918

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I think my own ridiculous posts in this thread from last year probably chart my own capitulation to the standard sequence, so I hear where you are coming from.

But in doubles there is a relatively formulaic sequence that even very non-agile players can exploit, assuming their basic hitting is adequate, and indeed the rules appear literally designed to counter athletic superiority in doubles.

On the return of serve, the returner is pretty incentivized to return a loopy, slow and deep ball that you have no choice, by rule, but to play off the bounce. From that amount of time through the ball bouncing, even pretty rolly-polly players are at the NV line. Now you can lob them, but lobs are tricky because of the margin of error problem. You can pass them but if they don't suck, they should have good enough hands to mostly block back those baseline drives, and you are way back there, so you might doom yourself. So now you've got to capitulate and 3SD and then you are in regular game play, where hopefully your third shot drop allows you to get in also.

That's kinda the standard sequence. Athleticism does not help as much as I wish it did.

Maybe @jezza1918, who had great pointers when this thread started, would see some other stuff too.
First off I appreciate the nod...but my dupr is like a 4.7 though so IANAPPB. When it comes to my first shot after me/my partner serve my logic tree is pretty much:
Bad/shallow return: 90% 3rd shot drop, 10% drive at/pass attempt (mainly to keep them on their toes)
Good/Deep return: 30% 3rd shot drop, 50% 3rd shot drive at them (pass from that depth is likely not happening), 20% lob (this number can go up or down depending on the opponent athleticism level)

Of course all those numbers above can vary a great deal depending on opponent skill level...but assuming somewhat similar to mine bottom line is 3rd shot drops off good returns are pretty difficult to execute in an effective way, and Ive found there is a much better chance of me getting an easier ball to drop in off a 3rd shot drive.

Singles is a whole different ball of wax and ive found that there's some more cat and mouse because if the return isnt really good, you probably cant come in off of it, which opens up the game quite a bit more.