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Pickleball Techniques & Strategies To Tackle Opponents: Tricks For Beginners & Pro Players

children playing pickleball outside

Last Updated: May 15, 2024

Unlike other sports, pickleball is not just a physical game. 

Yes, it’s not just that.

Strategy is as vital in this game as anything else, it also demands sharp mental abilities if you plan on winning this game. Whether you are playing doubles or singles, using a better strategy will guarantee victory.

The popularity of the game is going up, and players keep on searching for ways to improve their gameplay with their partners.

This pickleball strategy guide will help you enhance your gaming experience.

You should learn and practice these advanced strategies to surpass your opponents.

Tried & Tested Pickleball Techniques And Strategies

senior playing pickleballs

To experience a proper feel of pickleball games, it is best to master pickleball strategies and techniques for both singles and doubles. This will assure your win even against a strong opponent.

Carefully read and follow the following techniques, and in no time you will be able to devise your own strategies:

1. Learn To Hit Drop Shots

Despite being difficult to perform, a drop shot is an excellent pickleball doubles strategy. It can be performed while your opponents are in the non-volley line. 

An effectively executed drop shot will allow you and your partner to move to the non-volley line as well.

Thus, it will counter the opponent’s lead and change the direction of the game. A drop shot can be accomplished by the serving team frequently after each return-of-serve. It allows you to move forward to the non-volley area creating more possibilities for your victory.

2. Keep Your Opponents Pinned To The Baseline

Apart from moving yourself to the non-volley line of the court, you should also try and pin the opponent to the back when they aren’t in the volley zone. Forcing your opponents to play from this zone will give you an upper hand.

Thus, it is better to pin your rival to the back, instead of moving forward.

Doing so will stack the odds in your favor, maintaining a winning streak.

Hitting short shots will allow the opposing team members to move forward towards the non-volley line. That will give you a decisive advantage in the game.

One highly effective pickleball doubles strategy is to hit deeper shots forcing your opponents to stay at the back of the court. Shots from an increased distance are easier to hit, thus this strategy can change the results of your game.

3. Improve Your Pickleball Serve

Make sure to get each serve inside the service box. Utterly focus on getting the ball over the net rather than aiming to top it. A skilled pickleball player is always able to continuously serve the ball without any errors and mistakes. 

In pickleball, you get only one serve attempt, so don’t mess this up.

The center is the most low-risk serve zone, so it is an excellent area to aim for. Any serve that makes it past the net even if it’s not the fastest one will be better than any faulty serve.

With consistent practice, you can learn harder and faster serves with additional spin; this may not sound like a pickleball strategy for doubles by itself but is an important prerequisite to others just like in pickleball singles strategy.

4. Player Positioning

The serving players should be positioned behind the baseline. They should stay there to hit and serve returns after they bounce back. On the other hand, the receivers should stand near the baseline for better and powerful return serves.

Be vigilant and move around the baseline for returning shorter serves.

This pickleball strategy will surely help you experience a high-quality game. The receiver’s partner can stand at the NVZ line at the respective sides of the court.

man and woman playing pickleball outside

5. Moving Together

While playing doubles, your movements should be synchronized with those of your partner. This can be achieved by constant practice and training. 

Try to build excellent team bondage so that you can move up and back together as a team.

If you aren’t able to do so, it will affect your chances of winning. Without any concord, the players may allow huge angles to be opened in the game.

That may force the opponents to move quickly.

6. Hit At Your Opponent’s Feet

Regardless of the position of your opponents on the court, it is an effective move to hit the ball at their feet because such a hit is very difficult to return. If your opponents are between the non-volley line and the baseline, this move will be a smart choice.

This will keep the rival team members pinned to the back.

And it also makes it harder to return the ball forcing serve mistakes, ensuring your victory thus making you an excellent doubles pickleball player.

7. Communicate Well

If someone were to ask “how to win at pickleball doubles,” my one-word answer would be “communication.”

When a shot hits down the middle of the court, it becomes uncertain as to which player will hit it. You should decide on such details beforehand, the power of communication can’t be understated in sports. Be sure to talk about the game and strategies with your partner.

It is better to assign roles before the game starts.

This way, you’ll be able to avoid confusion while playing.

A fun and effective way to communicate with each other is by yelling “mine” or “yours.”

8. Use More Brain Than Power

Instead of trying to go for a winner shot, you should use different tricks from pickleball serving rules such as forcing the opponents to make serve faults.

The most secure place for a ball to hit in the court in the doubles is the deep middle.

This way, you’ll reduce the chances of hitting wide and it may create confusion on the other end too.

In short, exploit your opponent’s weaknesses as you see them!

9. Targeting The Corners

woman in court playing hitting a pickleball ball

While playing doubles, your main hitting target should be the center or corners of the court. The hits become more efficient if aimed for a deeper spot. 

This will demand more energy from your opponent and thus increase the likelihood of your victory.

You should practice frequently to make your corner and center hit become powerful enough to exhaust the opposing team.

FAQ Section

Here are some frequently asked questions and their answers:

How do I improve my pickleball skills?

Most people assume it is hard to improve your pickleball abilities and that it takes a lot of time. But you can easily enhance your skills rather easily by doing things like changing your grip, improving your coordination, doing pickleball drills for beginners, maintaining your weight, etc.

By learning and practicing new strategies you can surely boost your pickleball skills.

What are the best returns in pickleball?

The serve must bounce off before delivering the return. You should wait for the service behind the baseline so that you can hit with higher momentum. A reliable and highly efficient return is deep and in the center of the court.

This is an important pickleball strategy as it will pin your opponents to the back of the court.

Doing so will reduce the speed and intensity of the serve coming from their side. Being at the end of the court increases the distance between both sides. Increasing this distance will help you to win as your opponents will be forced to exert more.

What is the most aggressive shot in pickleball?

A cross-court dink is a simple dink stroke that is directed from one side to the opposite side of the court. It is one of the most aggressive but effective shots in pickleball. It can be very difficult to learn and master, but learning it will be worthwhile.

The key to mastering this shot is to understand your distance from the opponent’s court.

A straight-moving dink is going to be much shorter in distance than a dink that’s going cross-court. Thus, it requires more strength and power (and better judgment) to send it to the other side.

The overhead smash is also among the most aggressive offensive shots in pickleball. It is a powerful hit performed from an incredible height and is focused downward at a sharp angle into the opponent's court.

How do you beat bangers in pickleball?

In pickleball, a banger is a person who hits the ball pretty hard and tries to overpower the opponent.

You can counter-act bangers using different strategies.

Instead of moving towards a defensive game, look at the option of letting balls go out when they are struck hard.

The nearer your opponent is to the net while hitting the ball, the greater the chance that the ball will sail past the baseline. Knowing this, you’ll have an upper hand and would easily beat bangers in the game, but it’ll take time to develop such judgment.

How do you keep the ball low in pickleball?

Keeping the balls at lower angles makes it hard for the opponent to attack.

The more a hit makes the ball go higher, the more your opponent will get a chance to hit down at the ball which will be tough to return. 

Moreover, your stability while attacking each ball depends upon the grip pressure.

By maintaining a stable grip pressure, you can keep the ball incredibly low.

Lastly, try to keep your body away from the ball, this will also help maintain a low ball angle.

Here’s a helpful YouTube for developing pickleball doubles strategies:

Conclusion

Pickleball is not just about your physical strength, it also boosts your mental capabilities.

It provides a platform to enhance your skills and your communication ability (in doubles) by allowing you to devise strategies to tackle your opponents.

This article, or a comprehensive pickleball strategy 101, if you will, went over some important techniques that are worth learning and can improve your gaming experience.

By playing along with your partner you can extract the essence of teamwork.

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