Pickleball is constantly evolving. Learn one trend to adopt in 2023... it's time to get aggressive with those serves!
Doubles Pickleball Strategy Tips
Strategy is so important in the game of pickleball, as pickleball is not only a physical game, but also a mental game. Some say pickleball is like chess—easy to play and hard to master. With that said, we will give you some pickleball strategy tips to get you started on the right track for your road to mastery.
1. Consistently Serve Deep, to Backhands & in the Court – The first pickleball strategy tip starts with the first shot of every pickleball rally—the serve. The serve is the one shot in a pickleball rally that you have complete control over (but for, maybe, wind), so it is within your control to have a great shot to start a rally.
When hitting your serve, try to target your opponents’ weaker side, which is usually their backhand side (as most pickleball players have stronger forehand shots than backhand shots), and hit your serve deep into the service box, which will make for a more difficult, longer return for your opponents. However, avoid hitting your serve out of bounds by giving yourself a little margin for error and aiming about two to three feet inside the boundary lines of the court.
2. Return Deep, to Backhands & to the Opponent with a Weaker Third Shot – The second pickleball strategy tip relates to the second shot of every pickleball rally—the return of serve. Like the serve, the return of serve should be deep in your opponents’ side of the pickleball court. And, again, give yourself a margin for error because a missed return is an easy point for your opponents. Consider hitting most returns in the middle of the court to give yourself the most margin for error.
The return of serve should also target not only your opponents’ weaker sides (which is often their backhand sides), but also the player of the opposing team that has a weaker third shot.
3. Get to the Kitchen Line – Most points are won at the Kitchen Line. So, as soon as you oblige by pickleball’s two- bounce rule by letting both the serve and return of serve bounce, you should be trying to make your way to the Kitchen line.
4. Make a Decision on Shot Selection & Commit to It – Where pickleball players often make mistakes is by second guessing themselves or changing their mind on their shot selection. The time to make a decision on a shot and execute that shot is only fractions of a second. As a result, if you change your mind, you will likely make a mistake because you will not give yourself enough time to execute the change. So, make a decision on your shot selection and commit to it!
5. Play to Your Strengths & Your Opponents’ Weaknesses – The basic cornerstone of pickleball strategy is to play to your strengths and your opponents’ weaknesses. For instance, if you have a great drive and power game, while your opponents have a great soft game and dinking game, then drive the pickleball more often and try to speed the pickleball up. Avoid the dink rallies. If you have a great lob and your opponents have a terrible overhead or have poor mobility, then try to lob your opponents. If your opponents have amazing forehand drives, but weak backhand drives, hit to their backhands.
Know your strengths on the pickleball court and use them! Figure out your opponents’ weaknesses and exploit them!
6. Dink Crosscourt (Most of the Time) – One tip for strong dinking is to hit most dinks crosscourt (as opposed to straightforward or in the middle of the pickleball court). This is because a crosscourt dink gives you the most margin for error, as a crosscourt dink will travel over the lowest part of the pickleball net—which is in the middle.
However, not all dinks should be crosscourt. Like any shot, mix it up to stay unpredictable in your pickleball strategy.
7. Over the Pickleball Net, Between the Lines & Mostly Down the Middle – Whether you are playing doubles pickleball or singles pickleball, the key to winning at pickleball is hitting the pickleball over the pickleball net and between the lines of the pickleball court one more time than your opponents. One tip to help accomplish this is to hit most of your shots on the pickleball court down the middle—with the exception of dinks, which most of your dinks should go crosscourt. As the saying goes, “down the middle solves the riddle.” This is usually true because the middle part of the pickleball court provides you with the highest margin of error to keep the pickleball in play. And, if you can target your opponent with his or her backhand in the middle (since backhands are usually weaker for most players)... even better.
With that said, the most important tip is to have fun. Pickleball is America’s fastest growing sport and soon to be America’s favorite pastime for a reason—because it is fun!
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The goal of the return of serve in pickleball is to make your opponents’ third shot as difficult as possible. Learn one pickleball strategy to help you accomplish this goal.