If you are new to pickleball or looking for some quick tips to quickly improve your pickleball game, look no further. Here are a few basic pickleball tips to improve your pickleball game:
- First and foremost, have fun. Pickleball at its core is about play, and play is supposed to be fun. So, always make sure you are having fun on the pickleball court.
- Target the middle backhand. The second quick tip is to target two areas on your opponents. The first area to target is down the middle of the court, as this will cause your opponents to fight over the pickleball and you will be less likely hit the ball out of bounds. In other words, a shot down the middle is a high-percentage shot. The second area to target is your opponents' backhands. This is because pickleball players generally have weaker backhand shots than forehand shots. So, if you put these two targets together, focus on targeting your opponent with his or her backhand in the middle of the pickleball court.
- Play to your strengths. If you are good at dinking, make sure to get to the line and engage your opponents in a dink war. If you are good at driving, use your drive and speed up the pickleball and pace of the game. Whatever you are good at, do that. Now, with that said, it is also important to be unpredictable on the pickleball court. So, while the general rule is to play to your strengths (or, to target your opponent with his or her backhand in the middle of the pickleball court), it is important to mix up your shots and remain unpredictable.
- Serve deep, return deep. A deep serve and deep return of serve will put additional pressure on your opponents. This is because a deep serve will likely cause your opponents to hit a short return, making for an easier third shot for you and your partner. On the other hand, a deep return of serve puts pressure on your opponents by making their third shot more difficult. While a deep serve and a deep return are the rule of thumb, be sure to never hit a shot with too small of a margin for error and miss your shot out of bounds. Hitting the pickleball out of bounds will cause you to lose the serve or, in the case of a return of serve, will result in a point for your opponents.
- Perfect your third shot. As you probably know, the third shot in a rally is the most critical shot in pickleball. This is because most points are won and lost at the Non-Volley Zone or Kitchen Line, but you have to be able to get there. And, your third shot is what will get you there. So, the next basic tip is to spend extra time to drill, drill, drill and practice, practice, practice that critical third shot (whether you like to drop or drive the third shot). By perfecting the critical third shot, you will increase your ability to move into the Non-Volley Zone or Kitchen Line and your chances of winning the point will go up dramatically.
- Diffuse the banger. The sport of pickleball is changing. It is becoming faster and there are more drives than ever. So, how do you defeat the pickleball player that is constantly banging the pickleball at you and your partner? To defeat the banger, try the following strategies:
- Always Be Ready – Always expect the drive from the banger. If the banger decides to mix it up and dink or drop the pickleball, you will have plenty of time to react. So, be ready and anticipate the drive.
- Hit a Deep Return of Serve – With bangers, it is particularly important to keep them back toward the baseline with a deep return of serve. This will require the banger to hit a stronger drive, and give you more time to react to the pickleball. Also, consider hitting your return of serve so that the pickleball stays low to the ground. By hitting a return that stays low to the ground, the banger will have to hit up on the pickleball, which may send the banger's drive out of bounds.
- Be Wary of Out Balls – After a few drives, the banger will generally drive the pickleball out of bounds. Look for the pickleball that gets about chest high or higher, as the pickleball will likely go out of bounds. Chest high, let it fly!
- Engage the Soft Game – Most pickleball players have either a strong hard game or a strong soft game, and are not likely strong in both areas. As a result, If you are good at dinking, engage the banger in dinking and try to make the banger uncomfortable (in other words, doing something the banger does not like to do).
- Be a Wall – Be a wall and block the drive. Good blocks require little to no backswing, a loose paddle grip (if you have a tight grip, you will likely hit the pickleball too hard, as a tight grip will cause your paddle to act as a stronger backboard for the pickleball to bounce off of), and quiet hands. This will deaden the pickleball and help you to avoid hitting the banger's drives inadvertently beyond the baseline and out of bounds.
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