Pickleball is a sport consisting of fast-paced action, strategy, and a developing vocabulary. The phrase “Nasty Nelson” may have been heard circulating among the pickleball courts. This stroke is as contentious as it is successful, and it is something that every pickleball player should know. Knowing about the Nasty Nelson may benefit you both strategically and defensively, whether you’re a rookie or a seasoned veteran.
Unveiling the Nasty Nelson
A Nasty Nelson is a pickleball strategy in which the server seeks to strike the opposing player standing closest to the net (who is not the receiver) with the serve. If the ball strikes this player before bouncing, the receiving team commits a fault and the serving side wins the point. It is particularly successful when the non-receiving opponent is close to the centerline of the court or is not giving full attention to the server.
Origin of the name
The shot is named after a well-known pickleball player, Tim “The Puppet Master” Nelson. Tim Nelson, known for his deft and occasionally contentious playing style, put this shot into his arsenal. He is also known for his puppeteer hand motion, which he utilizes to celebrate outwitting his opponents in addition to the Nasty Nelson.
Why is it controversial?
This is a contentious move because, while it is legal under the rules, some players consider it unsportsmanlike or against the spirit of the game. The shot is unusual since it is directed at a player rather than a space on the floor. As a result, some players may find it less than courteous. It is, however, a legal shot that may be used sparingly and judiciously.
How to defend against a Nasty Nelson
Being mindful and vigilant is essential while dealing with a Nasty Nelson. Always pay attention to the server if you are the player closest to the net and are not receiving the serve. Maintain a ready posture and be ready to evade the ball or volley if necessary. Regular court awareness and concentration will help you avoid being caught off guard.