Whether you’re a novice, intermediate, or experienced pickleball player, you’ll certainly want to enhance your game by utilizing any pickleball tips and techniques available to you.
If you’ve been playing for a while, you’ve probably gotten a lot of pickleball advice from coaches, teachers, and well-intentioned partners. Some of the suggestions were undoubtedly useful, while others were, to put it mildly, “well-intentioned.”
Pickleball Technique Tips
For consistent execution of varied pickleball shots, excellent technique and fundamental soundness are essential. Here are some pickleball technique suggestions that will offer you the best chance of executing a successful stroke.
These pointers will be especially useful for pickleball players at the beginner or intermediate level.
Pickleball Technique Tips
1. Before your opponent strikes their shot, go into the ready position: feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent, weight on the balls of your feet, paddle in front of the torso.
2. Make sure your paddle is "up" towards the NVZ line so you can easily block if your opponent tries to shoot one at your chest.
3. Keep your backswing to a bare minimum while hitting volleys and dinks at the NVZ line. You'll have greater control over the issue, and you'll be more consistent.
4. Make sure your contact point (where the ball touches the paddle) is well in front of your body when performing dinks, volleys, drops, and drives.
5. Loosen your hold on the paddle when doing dinks and drops. On a scale of 1 to 10, with one being the loosest and ten being the tightest, you should have a grip on the paddle that is about a 3 or 4 for dinks and drop shots. You will most likely get dinks or drops that are too far and too high if you hold the paddle too tightly.
6. For volleys (both forehand and backhand), the continental grip is preferred because it gives a firm stance on both sides. Because there isn't much time to swap grips during volleying, this is advantageous.
7. Make sure your hand is stretched out over the grip and your knuckles are at a 45-degree angle to the hoop while utilizing the continental grip.
8. For a consistent drop shot, strike the ball on its downward arc after the initial bounce. This should result in improved consistency when compared to striking the ball on the rise or short-hopping the ball.
9. Make sure your dinks and drops are done with a low-to-high "lifting" action and very little (if any) backswing.
10. During the shot, keep your eyes on the ball and your head down. Looking up too fast may result in an off-center shot (not in the sweet spot).
11. When hitting a 2-handed backhand, make sure your dominant hand is on the bottom of the paddle and your non-dominant hand is on top (or overlapping).
12. Footwork - If feasible, slide while leading with your outer leg when dinking or volleying at the NVZ. This will allow you to stay square to your opponent and the approaching ball.
13. Remember to split-step when you transition from the baseline to the NVZ line to keep your balance.
How To Improve Your Pickleball Technique With These Tips
Work On How You Receive The Ball
Footwork – If feasible, slide while leading with your outer leg when dinking or volleying at the NVZ. This will allow you to stay square to your opponent and the approaching ball.
Remember to split-step when you transition from the baseline to the NVZ line to keep your balance.
Work On Your Backhand
Rennison recommends training on the backhand to improve your pickleball game because most individuals have a weaker backhand (when they strike the ball with their non-dominant hand). While you may be able to dodge backhands at first, “better players will find a method to attack it,” he adds. “Try hitting your backhand just against a wall or with a partner. It’s incredible how much better you can get with just a little focused practice.”
Work On Your Height
According to Rennison, most pickleball points end when someone smashes the ball too high or too low. “High balls are smashed for winning strokes or thrown out of bounds. “The low balls that are too low strike the net,” he says. “Keep your paddle and swing path under control so you can consistently throw the ball a few inches over the net. Even if you don’t want them on the serve or return, low balls are worth their weight in gold after the third stroke.”
Powerful Pickleball Tips To Win More Games
1. Get To The Kitchen Quick
The most beneficial location on the court in pickleball is directly at the kitchen line. It puts pressure on your opponents while also allowing for more shooting angles. You want to get to the kitchen as soon as possible, but there’s a catch: you need to do so fast and safely.
We’ve all made the mistake of racing up to the kitchen only to be smacked in the face with a pickleball. As you go forward, keep an eye on where the ball is going and where your opponents are.
Stop going forward and prepare to return your opponent’s shot if you notice them about to hit the while advancing towards the kitchen.
It’s far simpler to return a shot-like way than it is to try to place a shot correctly while running. After returning the ball, keep moving forward fast.
Similarly, don’t settle into your new position if you have to leave the kitchen line to collect a ball or cover your partner. As fast as possible, move up and regain the kitchen.
2. Keep Your Opponents Back
The diametric contrast of this notion is to the first one. Because the kitchen line has the best court position, keep your opponents near to the baseline.
It is not a good idea that when you are in the kitchen you put your opponents at disadvantage. In addition to the tough challenge of earning time in the kitchen by taking a proper drop shot, they need to cover a much bigger court.
Put the ball at the foot of your adversary if you can not reach a kitchen line by one or both of your adversaries. Returning the ball to your feet is one of the hardest shots to pull off and almost certainly you are going to force it to be wrong.
The only warning I will provide is this: when you have a clean overhead chance, it’s usually a good idea to take it to the opponent who is near to you. You have less time to respond, and your overhead is less likely to return.
3. Get Your Serves In
It is one of the easiest and effective ways to boost your service just by bringing them in.
It feels wonderful to break down a power that shouts or serves a hard spin. However, if you hit half your service into the net or out of boundaries as a result, it is not an advantageous technique.
You effectively give up the opportunity to score points if you miss your serve. You can overcome those who are more competent than you by playing smartly and being a consistent server. Serve first and make mistakes with your adversaries.
You don’t want to win the point on serving. Your aim should be to put only sufficient pressure on your opponent to avoid them.
4. Practice Your Third Shot Drop
You probably heard about “third shot drop” if you have been playing pickleball for some time. Although this isn’t your only choice, the third shot drop is a pickleball shot that should form part of all the arsenals of serious pickleball players.
The reason this shot is so crucial is that the ability of your opponent to attack the ball restricts and you gain time for a cooking transition.
When the third shot drop is spoken about a lot, you might obtain a drop shot every time a game takes place. If you’re ever out of position and need to ‘reset’ the point and get back in place, this is a fantastic alternative.
Just be ready to eat a few smashes while your drop shot is functioning. This is one of Pickleball’s trickiest shots and it took time to learn. Take a look at the award and don’t become discouraged — it rewards you greatly when you get it down.
5. Know When You’re On The Attack OR The Defensive
In pickleball, the team with the advantage can change extremely fast throughout a point. You can be on the attack at one time — controlling the point and pressuring your opponents. However, the roles can be reversed at any time, and you’ll be hustling to keep the ball in play and the point alive.
Players of all skill levels frequently make the error of pushing the attack when they should be playing more defensively, or of giving their opponents easy shots when they should be pressing their advantage.
Here are two well-known examples:
- When your opponent is near the baseline and you’re in the kitchen, hit a gentle shot to mid-court.
- Attempting to hit a hard drive off a low ball while your opponents are waiting in line in the kitchen.
In the first scenario, the player gives up the upper hand and allows their opponents to come closer to the kitchen. In the second, the player is working to their opponent’s advantage, putting them in position for a great smash.
Recognize which team has the upper hand and adjust your strategy appropriately. Because the dynamic of pickleball may vary from shot to shot, be ready to adjust fast.
6. Communication Is Key
Communication with your partner may appear to have no practical benefits at first look. How can communication assist you in scoring more points and winning more games?
Consider how many times you’ve abandoned a shot because you were confident your partner would grab it, only to have the ball land between the two of you and learn your partner had the same notion. Or how about colliding paddles with your partner and throwing the ball into the net because you both went after a ball that you believed was yours?
It’s something we’ve all gone through. This lack of communication can cost you points and, in a tough game, can be the difference between winning and losing.
During a game, make it a practice to yell out “yours” or “mine” to indicate who has the ball. If you detect a ball heading out of bounds, support your teammate by shouting “no.” Make sure your calls are brief and to the point.
Before a game, discuss how you’ll manage lobs with your partner and how you’ll defer to the player with the forehand shot (usually a good default). If you prefer to take poaching shots, make sure your partner is on board.
7. Be Strategic – Look For Low-Risk Shots
Pickleball players who wish to improve their strategy sometimes ask where they should place their strokes.
It’s crucial to remember that pickleball is a game of errors, and the team with the fewest errors usually wins. Avoid the attitude of attempting to hit a “winner” with every shot you take. As a result, riskier strokes are taken, resulting in unforced mistakes.
Instead, understand that put-away possibilities emerge as a result of the strokes that came before them.
As a point advances, players move about the court, creating vast open zones. Make your opponents move or reach for the ball by aiming at these places.
The aforementioned are some of the best pickleball game tips that you can follow to improve your game. By applying these tips you will become a pro player. If you strictly adhere to these guidelines, you will undoubtedly defeat your opponent and advance to the next level in this game. Just remember to keep it simple and unpredictable if you want to play pickleball like a pro.