by Pickleball Superstore April 08, 2023
Are you ready to step up your game and dominate the pickleball court? Well, you’ve come to the right place! We've got ten essential pickleball tips to help elevate your skills and make you a real contender on the courts.
So, grab your paddle, put on your game face, and get ready to have some fun while taking your pickleball game to the next level!
You’re likely familiar with the ready position in pickleball: feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent, weight on the balls of your feet, relaxed shoulders and torso, and arms and paddle pointing slightly up in front of your body. But if you’re only in this position while waiting on the serve, you’re not maximizing its potential.
If you’re not moving, you should always be in a ready position before and after every shot on the court. You never know what your opponent may bring next, so make sure you’re prepared for anything.
While your power game is essential back at the baseline, don’t underestimate the impact of a well-placed dink shot. This soft, short drop shot may not seem like much, but it can be highly effective - even if you’re playing an advanced opponent with a stronger shot.
A well-executed dink near the non-volley zone line can force your opponent into playing a soft game, where power shots are less effective and may even cause faults. So, be sure to practice and use dink shots to your advantage - you’ll be glad you did!
One of the most crucial pickleball skills to master is shot placement. Some huge advantages are associated with accurately hitting the ball where you want it to go - like your opponent’s backhand. More specifically, towards your opponent’s feet, especially near the middle of the pickleball court.
Since pickleball players tend to favor their forehand, aiming at their backhand can pull them out of position. This can cause them not to aim their shots properly or miss the ball altogether!
Since you only get one attempt, getting your serve right the first time is incredibly important in pickleball. So, instead of trying to master complicated, fancy shots, you should just focus on getting the ball over the net - and that’s where a pre-serve routine can come in handy.
Simply put, a pre-serve routine helps get your body into a rhythm. After making this a consistent routine, your body will know that whenever it does this little set of movements you come up with (keep it simple), it’s time to serve. This activation of your muscle memory will keep you from overthinking your shot and set you up for confident, consistent serves on the pickleball court.
Simply hitting the 3rd shot of every point (or the serving team’s second shot of the point) isn’t enough - you need to master it. This critical shot can set the pace for the entire point, so it’s worth getting it right.
The key to mastering the 3rd shot drop is to hit it so that it allows you to move forward to the non-volley line. You want to get a good arc going here, where it peaks on your side before dropping into your opponent’s kitchen, so try and give it some lift with your pickleball paddle.
It’s easy to focus on the paddle in your hand, but don’t forget about your feet! Getting into the proper position for your shots will be challenging if you’re just kind of shuffling around the court.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when practicing your footwork:
When hitting the ball, try and keep your feet parallel to maintain a good center of balance
The balls of your feet are more flexible than your heels, so do your best to land on them
With your feet apart, keep one foot slightly in front of the other when you’re not hitting the ball. This should improve both stability and balance.
You may feel more confident performing some shots than others, but you need to keep your opponents guessing if you want to win! So, practice up so you can hit various shots during matches.
You don’t need to do anything fancy - small changes can make a big difference on the pickleball courts. Try changing the height and angle of your shots, using topspin and backspin, and even the pace of your serve. The opposing team won’t know what’s coming!
It doesn’t matter if you’re two pickleball pros - your doubles game will suffer if you’re not communicating with each other.
So, make sure to call your shots (“Mine!” “Yours!”), help with in/out line calls, and develop some signals. You need to be on the same page as your doubles partner if you have any chance of beating the opposing team.
You may pride yourself on being able to hit everything that comes your way, but think about it: how many outballs have you hit? If it’s a lot, it may be time to start holding back.
Yes, it can be challenging to determine if a ball will go out of bounds, but try this: if the ball is above your shoulders, let it go. Sure, you may let in a few points here and there, but often these balls are on their way out of bounds on the pickleball court.
If you want to get better at pickleball, surround yourself with it! Find a group of pickleball enthusiasts like yourself, whether in your local area or on social media, and start talking shop.
You can share pickleball strategy, tips and tricks, discuss the best pickleball paddles and balls, and even meet up for games at your local pickleball court. And don’t be intimidated by a better pickleball player - play them! This is one of the best things you can do to improve your game.
Now that you know these essential pickleball tips, what are you waiting for? Get out there on the court and start practicing today!