Angles can be game-changing on the pickleball court. The ability to maximize your angles, while minimizing your opponents’ angles, can be the difference between winning and losing.
To hit with angles in pickleball means to hit the ball in a way that causes it to travel at an angle across the court, rather than straight down the court toward the baseline (i.e., parallel to the centerline or sidelines).
By hitting the pickleball with angles, you can make it more difficult for your opponents to return the pickleball, as it can create court openings, force your opponents to move laterally, and force your opponents out of position (making it more difficult to defend and keep the pickleball in play). For example, a crosscourt shot can force an opponent to run off of the side of the pickleball court, leaving the middle or near side of the court open for the next shot.
Conversely to maximizing the angles that you hit on the pickleball court, it is important to minimize the angles that your opponents are able to hit. By minimizing your opponents’ angles, you are able to minimize their shot selection and force them to potentially hit a weaker shot.
In light of the importance of angles in pickleball, this article will break down 4 tips to maximize your angles on the pickleball court, as well as 3 tips to minimize your opponents’ angles.
4 Tips to Maximize Your Angles on the Pickleball Court
To maximize the that angles you hit on the pickleball court, try the following 4 tips:
- Court Positioning: Positioning yourself correctly on the pickleball court can give you more options to hit angled shots. For example, playing at the Kitchen line will give you the ability to hit sharper angles than if you were playing at the baseline. Also, when you are positioned closer to the sideline can help you hit crosscourt shots with greater ease (e.g., as opposed to the in middle of the court). Understand where you are on the court and adjust your angles in response. Even further, understand where on the court you have the strongest angles and lure your opponents into hitting the pickleball there.
- Control of Pace: When maximizing your angles, it is crucial to master control of the pace of your shots. Sometimes, the angle is too acute to hit a high-speed shot, which will not give the pickleball enough time to travel down into the court, but rather sail wide out of bounds. Pay attention to the speed of your shot and adjust your pace.
- Use of Spin: Similar to pace, spin can be a major factor in creating strong angles on the pickleball court. Spin on the pickleball (such as top spin or side spin) can change the direction of a ball in the air and cause the pickleball to curve down into the court and away from your opponents, making it harder to return. In other words, spin can help create sharper angles. So, if you can master both the pace of your shot and the spin on the pickleball, you will be able to create elite angles on the pickleball court.
- Practice: Practicing is key to success in any facet of life, including your pickleball game. Be sure to practice your ability to hit angles on the pickleball court. Focus on hitting a variety of angled shots from different positions on the court, with different levels of speed and spin. Practice will help you master your body mechanics and paddle positioning needed to maximize your angles on the pickleball court.
3 Tips to Minimize Your Opponents’ Angles on the Pickleball Court
To minimize your opponents’ angles on the pickleball court, try the following 3 tips:
- Follow the Flight of the Pickleball: One of the most effective ways to limit your opponents’ angles is to position yourself correctly on the pickleball court in order to cover the most court space. One way to help accomplish this is for you and your partner to follow the flight of the pickleball. For example, imagine you hit a crosscourt forehand dink to your opponent. Your partner should follow the pickleball and cover the line, and you should follow the pickleball and squeeze the middle of the court, remaining within six to eight feet of your partner. If your opponents return the pickleball to your partner and your partner hits a crosscourt backhand dink to your opponent, then you should follow the pickleball back to the line on your side of the pickleball court, and your partner should follow the pickleball and now squeeze the middle of the court; again, remaining within six to eight feet of you. Follow the flight of the pickleball to limit your opponents’ angles of attack on the pickleball court.
- Cut Off the Pickleball Early: If you can anticipate where your opponents are going to hit the pickleball, you can move quickly to cut off the ball before it has a chance to reach a wider angle. This will be particularly important if your opponents are able to hit the pickleball with spin. One way to accomplish this is to play at the Kitchen line.
- Keep Your Opponents Back: Conversely to you moving up and playing at the Kitchen line to maximize your angles, it is important to push your opponents back deep in the pickleball court to minimize their angles of attack.
- Find the Middle: If you hit shots down the middle of the pickleball court, you can limit your opponents’ ability to hit angled shots, as there is less space for your opponents to manipulate and work with.
By combining these pickleball strategies, you can maximize the angles you hit, minimize the angles your opponents hit, and become a more versatile and effective player on the court. However, it is important to remember that pickleball is a dynamic game, so always be looking to mix up your shot selection (including the angles that you hit) and stay alert for your opponents to do the same in order to create angles and open up the court.
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