Pickleball is a fantastic game for people of all ages and athletic levels. However, just because it’s so much fun doesn’t mean you don’t need to be competitive about it.
There are tips, tricks, and strategies that you can implement when playing a game to improve your chances of a win, and even improve your overall experience!
While there are unlimited techniques that you could use, we will be covering some of the more important ones to consider.
Hopefully by the end of this, you will have a few new things to try out, and maybe your wins will improve!
Let’s jump into it.
8 Best Pickleball Techniques
1. Bend Your Knees And Move Your Feet!
A big part of pickleball is moving around and getting to wherever you need to be. Unfortunately, a lot of pickleball players forget that it all starts with their feet and knees.
If your feet aren’t ready to move, neither are your knees, and neither is the rest of you.
This ties in carefully with several other strategies we will mention in this list, so if you can get this point down, you have a much better chance.
You should be fairly low to the ground rather than standing up straight, and your legs should always be engaged.
If you remember the strategy of bending your knees and moving your feet, you will have greater control over the pickleball and all movement on the court.
You can aim better, and focus on what you need to – winning.
2. Always be In The Right Stance
The right stance means that you are prepared and ready to go. Be pickleball ready at all times (see also: Is Pickleball Ready For Prime Time?)on the court, because you never know when you are going to need to move.
Having the correct stance is super easy, and all you need to do to be pickleball ready is the following:
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart
- Hold the paddle forward, with the paddle head facing up and ready
- Keep your knees bent with the weight of your body on the balls of your feet
- Hold the paddle at a 10–11 o’clock position if you are right-handed, or 1–2 o’clock if you are left-handed
Standing like this will ensure that you can act on a moment’s notice, and have a better chance of success in your pickleball game.
It’s a simple technique, but it is one of the most important for you to be following at all times.
Not standing “pickleball ready” means that you will take longer to return the ball, and flail to get in position.
When this happens, there is a lot more room for error, and you could even miss the shot entirely.
3. Commit to Your Shot Selection When you Make it
There are a lot of decisions to be made in pickleball, and sometimes coming up with an overall strategy or selection can be tough. However, once you do make a decision, try to stick to it.
You should decide where you want to position yourself on the court, and have good shot selection.
While many things can be decided right at the beginning of a game, there will be times when you need to make split-second decisions.
When these decisions need to be made, you have to follow through and commit – no changing your mind halfway through a return and floundering!
Always aim to give 100% on any decision to make. It doesn’t matter if it’s the right one. Giving 100% on a “questionable” choice will always be better than giving just 50% on a “great” one.
4. Use Your Opponent’s Weaknesses to Your Advantage
This might sound cruel, but it’s the name of the game. In every game with an opponent, you should use the strategy of playing to your own strengths and taking advantage of your opponent’s weaknesses.
Everyone has a weakness, and it will always reveal itself if you don’t already know it.
Just remember that you will have weaknesses, too! Your opponent will also use your own failings to beat you, so it is a two-way street.
Pay close attention to what your opponent does well, and what they can improve on, and guard yourself.
If you know that they are not very good at backhands, then try to make it, so they need to return their shots as backhands, and so on.
5. Try to Keep the Pickleball Low
The pickleball has to go over the net, but you should still try and keep it low rather than up in the air like badminton.
Keeping your shots low will mean that your opponent(s) will not be able to take aggressive shots, which you could miss.
If you flip the scenario, when you go low, it can force your opponent to hit high. This will give you the chance to hit an aggressive shot, and therefore score a point!
Chances are, everyone in the game will try to keep the ball low if there is any competition at all. This means that you will need to keep an eye out for whatever your opponent is doing, and react accordingly.
Don’t fall prey to the tactic of hitting high if you can help it!
6. Communicate With Your Teammate
If you are playing doubles, we cannot emphasize the importance of communication enough. If you fail to communicate, you are both going to be lost, just like the game.
You should be communicating before rallies, during rallies, and after rallies.
Advise one another during the game to help your team win. There might be times when a ball will be out of court, and your partner is running to get it – you can let them know by saying “BOUNCE IT!” or “OUT”.
Talk to one another about the strategy you wish to use, and keep talking between points to make sure you are on the same page.
Not only is communication crucial for strategies and doubles gameplay, but you should also be using that time to encourage one another.
There may need to be times when you act as a cheerleader for your partner – this is especially the case if your partner may be seen as the “weaker” player and is being picked on by your opponents.
Never underestimate the impact of words of encouragement!
When the game stops being fun, everyone will know it, and it might be your job to boost morale. But hey – that’s what partners are for.
7. Serve Deep
The serve will be one of the most important shots you are going to take – and you need to do it right. Aim to serve deep in the court, but be careful not to go out of the service area.
You are required to have good aim, and make sure that the ball goes where it is meant to, or else you can easily lose points.
Try to perfect the way you serve, and your technique, so that you get all the points you can. Aim in a spot that will be more difficult for your opponents to return, giving you a better chance of scoring.
If you can push your opponents back, you may be able to get easier shots for you and your partner.
Again, be VERY careful with your aim when serving! It must be within bounds, or else you are giving away points, much like in tennis.
8. Watch as the Pickleball Hits Your Paddle
We know – there are a lot of distractions on the pickleball court, but it is important to stay focused on the ball itself and your paddle.
You need to make sure that you are focusing on the shot you are taking. Where do you want it to go? What is the most logical place to aim?
To master this pickleball technique, you should aim to hit the pickleball in front of your body rather than to the side.
For this reason, it is important to know how to move your feet and your knees, or else things could get difficult.
The benefits of this technique are as follows:
- Prevents you from over-swinging, so you are ready for the next shot in a minimal amount of time
- You will be able to aim better, so there will be fewer errors for you to deal with during your game. This can make the overall experience more enjoyable
- It gives you the chance to keep going forwards, where you can stay out of the non-volley zone (making it more difficult for your opponent to win)
Pickleball is a lot of fun, but there are some useful techniques that you can implement to give yourself and your partner a greater chance of winning.
Sure, a game is a game, but if you are in any way competitive, you know that you are going to want to make your opponents work for it.
Try out the above techniques, and see how they improve your game! There are plenty of other useful techniques out there, too, if you feel like you master these.