CONSISTENCY is the key to good Pickleball. If you are consistent you can keep the point alive and let the other team make the mistake. If you are consistent, you can choose and make the right high percentage shot to win the rally.
- Watch the ball hit the paddle and then look up. This basic fundamental is KEY to better play.
- PATIENCE, the more you have, the better player you will be. WAIT for the definite put away shot, not the “hope it works”.
- Do not give points away. All serves must be in.
- Hitting balls down the middle between players is a higher percentage shot and can cause confusion between those players of who is getting the ball.
- Return of serve should always be deep and slow enough to give you time to get to the NVZ/kitchen line before your opponent returns the shot.
- Be strategic on where you hit the ball. Think ahead. For example, hit to the person farthest away from the net if you are far away from the net and then get to the kitchen ASAP. The people at the kitchen line likely control the point and therefore, likely win the point.
- Pickleball is game of DEFENSE. Goal is to make every one of your shots “unattackable”. If your opponent has to hit up on the ball, it is very difficult for him to attack you. Ideally, aim every shot at your opponent’s foot on his backhand side.
- Good things happen in Pickleball when you are at the kitchen, bad things happen when you move back unless it is quick step back to defend a smash, but you must get back to the kitchen line ASAP.
- Kyle Yates says: “Avoid wrist actions dinks (cuts down on the complexity of the shot and reduces errors) Shoulder pendulum swings are more consistent.”
- Dave Weinbach says: “Dink and third shots are low to high with momentum transfer forward. Backing up while hitting a third shot is a low percentage shot. You always want your momentum to be moving towards the net for your third shot.”
- The high point of your arc for the third shot should be about 7 ft above your own kitchen line.
- Dave Weinbach looks at the opponent’s paddle face to predict the direction of the incoming call and usually swings before the ball crosses the net.
- To take pace off the ball, block with vertical paddle face with minimal or no forward motion.
- Drill more than you play and you will become a better player.
- Good, safe dinks are about 4″ above the net and in the back 1/2 of the kitchen.
- You and your partner should cover 2/3 of the court directly across from the ball. Leave the 1/3 which is the most difficult shot for your opponent.
- Move together as a doubles team. Don’t let holes between you open up. Move side to side together, and back and forth together.
Video Tips for Improving Your Game
For a whole library of learning to better your serve, dink, drop shot, lob and more, the International Pickleball Teaching Professional Association has an excellent video resource library HERE.
3rd Shot Drop
The correct apex of this shot is the goal! It will land in the middle of the kitchen which forces the opponents to hit “up” and unable to “drive” it back at you. Nice air time also allows you to get to the kitchen line ready to return their shot. In addition, if you hit a drop shot like you do a dink shot, with a grip strength of 3 out of 10, you are more likely to be successful in the drop shot more often than not.