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The One Thing You Cannot Do on the Pickleball Court

News Stacie Townsend 01-09-2023

There are a few things that will crush your chances of winning games on the pickleball court. One of those things is hitting your third shot into the net.

Since you can only score as the serving team in pickleball (under traditional side-out scoring rules), hitting your third shot into the net is a sure way to never score a point. And, even worse, if you are playing with rally scoring (like the pro pickleball players in Major League Pickleball, where each rally results in a point regardless of which team is the serving team), then hitting your third shot into the net is a way to award your opponents easy points.

As a result, it is imperative to respect the net on your third shot (in particular, on the third shot drop) and give yourself a chance to stay in the rally. Give yourself some margin of error over the top of the pickleball net. While it is important to keep your third shot drop low and unattackable, if you hit the pickleball too low, you will hit your third shot straight into the net and take yourself out of the point.

If you watch the professional pickleball players, you will notice that they rarely hit a third shot into the net. And, thanks to a “Pro Pickleball Stats” study by Jim Ramsey, this observation is more than a generalization or anecdote. Specifically, Ramsey performed a brief study and analyzed all third shot drops hit in nine semi-final and final doubles matches (each of the women’s, men’s, and mixed doubles semi-finals and finals) from the 2022 PPA Hertz Championships. In those nine matches, the pro players hit a total of 563 third shot drops, which Ramsey labeled as follows:

Pro Pickleball Stats

Third Shot Drop Study




Third shot drops that were volleyed by opponents



Third shot drops that bounced on the court



Third shot drops that were hit into the pickleball net






So, learn from these stats on the pro pickleballers and avoid doing this one thing on the pickleball court. Avoid hitting your third shots into the pickleball net, as you will immediately take yourself out of the rally and erase any chance of winning points. If you are going to miss your third shot, miss high (and above the net), rather than low (and into the net). Although your opponents may be able to hit an aggressive shot if you miss high, you will be able to stay in the point and try to reset or hit a better consecutive shot on the next one (likely from the transition area).

The One Thing You Cannot Do on the Pickleball Court | Pickler Pickleball

Bottom line – Respect the pickleball net!


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