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Top 10 Pickleball Strategies for Beginners

Top 10 Pickleball Strategies for Beginners

Are you new to pickleball and wondering how to take your game to the next level? Look no further! Following are the top 10 pickleball strategies for beginners. Whether you're new to the sport or seeking to refine your technique, these pickleball tips and tricks will help you become the player you want to be. Let's dive in and discover how to get better at pickleball.

1.  Master The Basics

Before diving into specific strategies, it's crucial to establish a strong foundation by mastering the basics of pickleball. Familiarize yourself with the rules, how to grip the paddle, and various strokes used in the game. Practice your technique to get a consistent serve and return of serve, and be able to execute the key shots including volleys, dinks, and smashes. Developing solid fundamental skills will form the basis for implementing more advanced strategies.

2.  Maintain Proper Court Positioning

One of the key aspects of pickleball strategy is maintaining proper court positioning. As a beginner, it's essential to understand where to position yourself during different stages of the game. Know when to stay back (when your side is serving) and when to rush to the kitchen line (when your side is receiving). The moniker “serve and stay or receive and run” may help you remember this important tip.. Adjust your positioning based on your partner's position (up together) and the opponents' shots (shift when they shift) to maintain an advantageous stance.

3.  Develop a Third Shot Drop

The third shot drop is a crucialpickleball strategy for beginners. After the serve and return, the third shot drop is aimed at landing the ball softly in the opponents’ non-volley zone (kitchen), giving you an opportunity to move forward and forcing your opponent to return a softer or arcing shot. Practicing the third shot drop and becoming proficient at it will give you better control over the game's tempo and allow you to dictate the play.

4.  Understand When To Dink

Dinking is a finesse shot and among the must-know pickleball techniques that involves softly tapping the ball over the net and landing it in the opponents' kitchen. This strategy is effective for beginners because it minimizes unforced errors and allows for better control of the point. Dinking helps create opportunities to attack and disrupt the opponents' rhythm. Practice dinking techniques such as cross-court dinks, drop dinks, and angled dinks to improve your precision and touch.

5.  Communicate With Your Partner

In pickleball doubles, effective communication with your partner is essential so that you know whose shot is whose and avoid collisions (or missed balls). Develop a system of signals or verbal cues to coordinate your movements and strategies. Communicate your intentions clearly, whether it's covering a specific area of the court, signaling a switch, or indicating when to attack or defend. Effective communication minimizes confusion and maximizes your team's coordination and efficiency.

6.  Learn How To Volley

The volley (hitting the ball out of the air) is a crucial shot in pickleball, allowing you to maintain control of the point and put pressure on your opponents. Practice your volley technique to become comfortable with quick reactions and precise placement. Focus on keeping your volleys low and deep to force your opponents into defensive positions. Mix up soft and hard volleys to catch your opponents off guard. Caution: be careful to avoid stepping into the kitchen--which is a fault--when executing this shot.

7.  Anticipate Your Opponents' Shots

Developing the ability to anticipate and read your opponents' shots is a valuable skill in pickleball. Pay attention to their body positioning, paddle angle, and shot selection tendencies. Anticipating their shots will enable you to move preemptively, improving your court coverage and allowing for faster reactions. With practice, you'll become more effective at predicting your opponents' next move and gain a strategic advantage.

8.  Control Your Shot Placement

Consistency and controlled shot placement are key to winning in pickleball. As a beginner, focus on placing your shots strategically, keeping them deep and near the sidelines to create difficult returns for your opponents. Aim for consistency over power to minimize unforced errors from low-percentage, difficult shots. Gradually increase the pace and aggressiveness of your shots as you gain confidence and experience.

9.  Vary Your Shots

To keep your opponents guessing and prevent them from settling into a rhythm, it's important to mix up your shots. Incorporate a variety of shots such as lobs, drives, and drops into your game. Avoid hitting to the same court spot multiple times in a row. Changing the pace, height, and angle of your shots will make it more challenging for your opponents to anticipate and respond effectively. Experiment with different shot combinations to keep your opponents off balance.

10. Stop Running Around Your Backhand

Mastering the backhand in pickleball is an essential skill for beginners looking to elevate their game. The backhand shot is on most players’ non-dominant side, which can be challenging at first. However, with practice and proper technique, you can develop a strong and reliable backhand. Start by positioning yourself with a shoulder-width stance, keeping your knees slightly bent and weight evenly distributed. As the ball approaches, rotate your hips and shoulders, transferring your weight to your back foot. Maintain a firm grip on the paddle and swing through the ball with a smooth, controlled motion. Remember to keep your eye on the ball and follow through with your swing, extending your arm towards the target. Consistent practice, focusing on timing and precision, will help you develop a confident and effective backhand that can be a valuable asset on the pickleball court.


By implementing these top 10 pickleball strategies for beginners, you'll be well on your way to improving your game and enjoying pickleball to the fullest. Remember to master the basics, maintain proper court positioning, and develop essential shots like the third shot drop and the dink. Effective communication, anticipation, and shot placement are equally valuable skills to develop. Stay mentally focused, adapt your strategies, and most importantly, have fun while playing pickleball. With practice and dedication, you'll see steady progress and improvement in your pickleball game.

Related Articles:
How To Choose A Pickleball
5 Key Differences Between Pickleball and Tennis
The 8 Essential Rules of Pickleball

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