All of my pickleball tips, drills and suggestions are based off of 7 strategy principles:
- Serve deep
- Hit the service return slow and deep
- Move up to the kitchen – fast
- 3rd shot = drop shot
- Keep them deep
- Never hit up
- Keep your paddle up
- Serve deep.
- Hit the service return slow & deep so you have time to move up to the net.
- Move up to the net as soon as possible. Stand 2” behind the no-volley line, and only step in when you are going to hit the ball off the bounce.
- Make the third shot of the game a drop shot. In order to GET up to the net, after your opponent returns your serve, make your next shot (called “The Third Shot”) a soft drop shot from the back line so the ball falls over the net and lands in the kitchen, forcing your opponents to let it bounce. (To reiterate: Shot #1 is the Serve; Shot #2 is the service return; Shot #3, a.k.a. The Third Shot is the drop shot)
- Keep them deep. If your opponents are not up at the net (i.e. in no-man’s land or at the back of the court), continue to hit the ball hard and at their feet (or even behind them), so as to keep them from coming up to the net.
- Never hit up. If your opponents ARE also up at the net, don’t hit the ball at an upward angle toward them. Instead, hit soft dink shots, which fall DOWN into the kitchen once they cross the net. This forces your opponent to let it bounce, until — sooner or later — they will make a mistake and hit up, which will place the ball high enough so that you can “put it away” by hitting it hard down at their feet, where they probably can’t return it. (Oops, that’s why they shouldn’t have hit up!) 🙂
BTW: Hitting a shot that travels horizontally across the plane of the net is barely better than hitting the ball upward over the net — Don’t do it! Instead, try to either hit the ball hard at a downward angle if it’s high enough, or drop the ball gently so that it is going downward after it crosses the net.
- Keep your paddle up. Bring your paddle up to the ready position out in front of you after EVERY shot, even while moving from the back line up to the kitchen, and especially between volleys and dinks.