Let’s start Pickleball Tips with the basics.
First one out of the bag in this line up of 8 Pickleball Tips is to grip your pickleball paddle correctly.
1. Pickleball Paddle Grip
Yes a basic tip but so crucial for shot play and fulfilling your stroke playing potential. For all sorts of reasons the best tip for the best grip is the continental or shake-a-hand grip. This grip lets you play every shot in the book without the need to change grip or hands. Your Pickleball paddle grip is cornerstone to your stroke making potential for all stroke play and our page on the (Pickleball paddle grip) to use explains exactly why.
2. Get your serve in
Not getting your serve in is a crime – or at least should be. Once you do have a reliably consistence serve however. Take the next step because your pickleball serve is an opportunity to deliver a winner or at least put great pressure on the receiver. Don’t waste the potential that is handed to you every time you take serve and get better than good at serving, get great!. (Pickleball serve) and (Pickleball serving drills)
3. Get your return of serve in consistently
Your return of serve is not about trying to hit a winning shot, well not always. It is however about always getting it in, consistently. A looping slow return that lands in is far better than a fast low return that lands out! An ideal place at first to aim at is to the backhand side of the server close to the “T” of the centre line. More advance strategies and stroke play become available as your competency rises and subsequently your player rating. You can read more options to your Pickleball Return of Serve here.
4. Target the weak player or weak point of either player
Ok, we know that pickleball is a game of love and friendship and gentle exercise yes. For some of us that is true but for those that are competitively motivated, all is fair in love and war and we have a passion and thrill in winning. While we may not do everything in our power to do so, picking on the weak player or the weak point of any player such as their backhand or low to their feet is more than honorable – it is smart pickleball play. Remember – there is no SORRY in pickleball!
Take notice of your opposition players when you play then and better yet in the warm up pre game.
Are they slow or sloppy around the no-volley zone? Are they out of position on the court at times? Do they hang back or veer to one side leaving some space down the side line? Do they struggle to hit fast balls or are all at sea when it comes to spin? Do they talk to their partner (mine - yours) well when a shot lands between them? All this on court game play of your opposition is candy to a baby if you notice it.
One of the best Pickleball Tips you ever get is that pickleball is about strategy. Information or player observation is information that you can use to your advantage.
5. Hit to the longest player
The typical third shot drop is used because the opposition players are both up at the net and you need to get there also. So, short of a great passing shot or a shot over their heads, you’re left with putting one into the kitchen. However, do not hit into the kitchen if you see an opposition player who has not made it up to the kitchen yet. Hit the ball to them, keep that player long, it still gives you time to get to the kitchen but it also forces the other player to retreat because their partner is still deep in the court. Hello, happy days, you now command the kitchen and the other side are back on the base line. Your chance to win this point has escalated greatly. More about 3rd shot drops in our ebook - Pickleball Sport - How to Think and Play Better - A tennis players approach to playing Pickleball.
6. Be ready to hit the ball
You have to be in position. It doesn’t matter if you are at the base line receiving serve or at the kitchen line waiting for a tattoo, (pickleball tattoo that is), being ready is positioning your body, your paddle to hit the required shot. This typically means that your stance will be bent at the knees, your feet will be comfortably apart and slightly wider than your shoulders, your back will be slightly hunched, your elbows will be bent and your paddle will be at chest height above your wrists and almost forward facing in the neutral position which means your paddle is pointing to the opposition end of the court.
While you may have time to get into the most correct position to hit the ball when you are standing long, the closer you get to the net the less time you have to get ready. If you start at the ready position “position”, then it often means the difference between winning the point and losing the point. This can simply be because a ball fired at your body was defended by deflecting your bat inches to one side or the other and it happened to return the ball in a winning play.
Never not be as ready as you can be by being ready to hit the ball.
7. Lobbing has a place in pickleball
Lobbing the ball is an effective strategy in pickleball but like all shots it needs practice and consideration of when to use it. And while a lob is an option from the base line, it is a shot that is used most often to get out of jail because the opposition has forced you back and they are up at the kitchen line waiting to put your poorly executed dink to the kitchen away.
A baseline lob has more distance to travel and gives more time for the opposition at the kitchen line to react in being able to get back to the ball and return it to play effectively.
Also the ball trajectory needed to be high enough to clear the opposition and short enough to land in play is fine line for the the margin for error if the opposition are anything taller than 4 foot 13 inches tall!
A lob is aggressively more effective and less risky to execute at the kitchen line. It is easier to clear your opponents (overhead paddles) with the up and over trajectory possible when being initially close to them and the ball also only needs to travel half the court distance giving them far less notice of the shot and time to retreat and return it effectively.
In practice you will find that his is a lot easier to execute and win than trying to lob from the baseline and hope to win.
8. Sideline shots win points
While most doubles advice is to make sure you keep the ball in play with the reasoning that the opposition will make a mistake is good advice, remember that sideline shots that become open because a player has drifted too close to the centerline are sometimes easy wins. Even if you see a player stray to the centre line, it is good to put a shot down the side from time to just to keep them in position and so that it keeps your target centre line just a little bit wider.
This is just eight helpful Pickleball Tips. In reality that are 107 pickleball tips (are there ever enough pickleball tips?) - so never stop learning, make each tip a perfected habit and win more games more often.
Let’s look a little deeper at pickleball tip #2 in this list of tips. Your pickleball serve is an opportunity to deliver a winner or at least put great pressure on the receiver. Don’t waste the potential that is handed to you every time you take serve. Check out: Your Pickleball Serve – An Opportunity to Better Your Win Ratio
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