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6 min read

How Playing “Calculated Pickleball” Will Help You Win More Points 

Strategy & Technique Pickle4 Team 06-27-2024

In the fast-paced world of pickleball, a calculated approach to the game can make all the difference between a win and a loss. As pickleball players, we all know that the game demands not just agility and skill, but also a clear strategy that involves teamwork and coordination. This is where “calculated pickleball” comes into play.

What exactly is calculated pickleball? It’s all about teammates coming together to agree on a plan and finding a way to win through careful analysis and strategic play. In essence, it’s about making intentional and deliberate choices rather than relying purely on instinct. So, let’s break down the strategies, tips, and techniques to help you play calculated and win more points:

Communicate. Communicate. Communicate. One of the key aspects of playing calculated pickleball is the consistent communication and understanding among teammates. It’s crucial for players to work as a unit and constantly communicate to share ideas, plan the next moves, and adapt to the opponent’s strategy. Before play begins, discuss your strengths and weaknesses as a pickleball player, your observations of your opponents, and your plans for the game. This level of teamwork sets the foundation for executing calculated plays effectively.

Stay Balanced. Court positioning means understanding where you and your teammate should be on the court at any given time to maximize your chances of winning the point. The best court positioning is typically in tandem with your partner. This helps you stay balanced, in position so you are not overreaching, and ready for the next shot from your opponent. Remember, most points are won at the Non-Volley Zone Line (also known as the Kitchen Line), so it is imperative that you work your way to the Kitchen Line as soon as possible! However, make sure you are moving into the Kitchen Line under control. If you move in too wildly, you will not be in a position to properly prepare for the next shot, which could result in unnecessary unforced errors. By strategically placing yourselves in the right positions, you can effectively cover the court and anticipate your opponents’ moves. 

Select Shots Strategically. Your team will also need to analyze the situation on the court to make deliberate choices about the type of shot to execute. Whether it’s a defensive lob to reset the rally, a well-placed dink to disrupt the opponents’ rhythm, or a powerful drive to speed up the game, each shot should be carefully calculated to contribute to the overall game plan. ​​By strategically placing shots in certain areas of the pickleball court, you can create openings in your opponents’ defense, allowing you to attack and finish the point with a well-placed shot. Utilize cross-court shots and sideline shots to force your opponent to move laterally and cover more ground. Working the angles can create openings for a winning shot or force an error from your opponent.

Analyze Your Opponents. Calculated pickleball also involves analyzing and adapting to your opponents’ playing styles. By observing and understanding how your opponents play, you can adjust your own strategy to exploit their weaknesses and minimize their strengths. What are their patterns? Observe their footwork, shot placements, and court positioning. This strategic analysis will allow you to make intentional decisions based on your opponents’ tendencies.

Adapt and Adjust. Your opponents’ strategies could change from point to point and shot to shot. For this reason, a critical component of playing calculated pickleball is adapting to the game’s evolving dynamics. As play progresses, your team should continually reassess the situation, adjust your strategies, and make calculated decisions based on the changing circumstances. Flexibility and adaptability are essential for executing a well-thought-out game plan.

Remain Focused. Calculated pickleball requires a cool head and a calm demeanor. While pickleball can be an intense and fast-paced game, maintaining composure and staying focused are crucial to making calculated decisions and executing your game plan effectively. Regardless of the score or the outcome of a point, it’s important to maintain a poker face during play. Calculated pickleball requires a certain level of trust in your partner and in your own abilities on the pickleball court. Stay focused and stick to your team’s plan.

Calculated pickleball is all about teamwork, communication, strategy, and adaptability. It’s about approaching the game with a thoughtful and intentional mindset, rather than relying solely on raw talent. By embracing the principles of calculated pickleball, you and your teammates can elevate your game to new heights and find success on the court. So, the next time you step onto the pickleball court, remember to play smart, play strategic, and play calculated.

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