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The Importance of “Setting Up the Point” in Pickleball & 5 Tips for Success

News Stacie Townsend 08-07-2023

In pickleball, “setting up the point” refers to the intentional and strategic execution of shots and tactics to create an advantageous situation that allows you or your team to control the rally and eventually win the point. It involves using various shots, placement, and movement to manipulate your opponent’s positioning, exploit their weaknesses, and create opportunities to finish the point in your favor on the pickleball court.

Setting up a point is not just about hitting the pickleball back and forth; it requires thoughtfulness, strategy, and a well-rounded approach to the game. Setting up a point in pickleball involves analyzing your opponent’s strengths and weaknesses, adapting your shots and tactics accordingly, and patiently constructing the rally to gain an advantage. Generally speaking, it may mean hitting one more shot to set up an easier put away, rather than simply trying to drive through your opponents. By effectively setting up points, you increase your chances of winning games and matches in pickleball.

In particular, setting up the point in pickleball is essential for several reasons:

  • Control the Rally: By setting up the point, you can dictate the pace and rhythm of the rally on the pickleball court. This allows you to control the flow of the game and make your opponent react to your shots, rather than the other way around.
  • Create Opportunities: A well-executed point setup can create openings for more aggressive shots or put-away opportunities. By manipulating your opponent’s positioning, you increase the likelihood of getting a favorable shot that you can capitalize on.
  • Consistency and Patience: Setting up the point often involves playing consistent and patient shots, which helps you avoid unforced errors. Patiently constructing the pickleball point allows you to wait for the right moment to attack, minimizing unnecessary risks.

The Importance of “Setting Up the Point” in Pickleball & 5 Tips for Success

  • Exploit Weaknesses: By observing your opponent’s weaknesses and tendencies, you can target specific shots or areas of the court to exploit those weaknesses. This strategic approach puts pressure on your opponent and makes it more challenging for them to play their preferred game.
  • Reduce Unforced Errors: By focusing on setting up the point, you reduce the likelihood of making hasty or ill-advised shots on the pickleball court. This leads to a more controlled and disciplined style of play, which decreases the number of errors you make during the match. In other words, encourages you to play “high percentage pickleball.”
  • Build Momentum: Successfully setting up points in pickleball can help build momentum in your favor. When you construct points effectively, you gain confidence in your ability to control the game, and this positive energy can carry over to the rest of the match.
  • Frustrate Opponents: Constructing points effectively can frustrate your opponents. When they feel unable to find weaknesses in your game or respond to your pickleball strategy, they may become more prone to making mistakes or taking unnecessary risks.
  • Adaptability: Point setup requires an adaptable approach. Being able to adjust your tactics and strategy based on your opponent’s reactions keeps you engaged and effective throughout the match. Strategy is key in pickleball!
  • Teamwork in Doubles: In doubles pickleball, setting up the point is crucial for teamwork and communication. Working with your partner to create opportunities and find weaknesses in the opponents’ game can lead to more successful outcomes.

The Importance of “Setting Up the Point” in Pickleball & 5 Tips for Success

  • Strategic Advantage: Players who are skilled at setting up points have a strategic advantage over opponents who rely solely on their power or athleticism. This advantage allows for a more well-rounded and effective playing style on the pickleball court.

To set up a point in pickleball, remember that each shot contributes to building a winning opportunity. It might involve using soft shots (dinks) to draw your opponent close to the net, setting up a lob to send the ball over their head, or maneuvering them to create an opening for a powerful drive. Each shot has a specific purpose to set up the winner or attacking shot.

To help you construct a point on the pickleball court, try these 5 pickleball tips:

  1. Control the Pace: Setting up the point on the pickleball court allows you to control the pace of the game, keeping the rally at a tempo that suits your playing style and prevents your opponents from establishing their preferred rhythm. This may mean “slowing the game down” using drops and dinks, or “speeding the game up” with drives and speed-ups in order to get in a hands battle. This is dependent on your style of play and how fast your hands and your partner’s hands are relative to your opponents’ hands.
  1. Create Openings on the Pickleball Court: 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.
  1. Exploit Your Opponents’ Weaknesses: Effective point setup involves recognizing your opponents’ strengths and exploiting any vulnerabilities. For instance, if your opponent has a weaker backhand, target that side of the court—as it may cause unforced errors or cause your opponent to be out of position by running around the pickleball to hit a forehand shot.
  1. Work as a Team: In doubles pickleball, setting up the point often involves coordination and communication between you and your partner. Players that can work together will create opportunities and capitalize on their opponents’ weaknesses. Be sure to discuss strategy with your partner and develop a game plan to maximize your chances of success on the pickleball court.


Plus, if you want more pickleball tips and strategies on every aspect of your pickleball game, check out Pickler’s online video lesson collection called My Pro Pickleball Coach. My Pro Pickleball Coach is a fraction of the price of one clinic or even one lesson, and features over 140 video lessons (over 7 hours of instruction!), as well as a corresponding e-book. These online video lessons are available on demand 24/7 and breakdown every aspect of the sport of pickleball, including pickleball drills, strategy, and advanced concepts, so you will play your best pickleball.


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