If you want to become a pickleball expert, you will have learn and implement some pickleball tips and strategies first. Tips, like how to move your feet, when to to attack the net, and proper paddle grip (continental grip) will help improve your fundamentals. Strategies will help you with decisions like: where to hit the ball, when to hit it hard, when to hit it soft, and shot selection. Let's break it down.
General Rules - A Quick Recap
First off, pickleball is played on a 20 x 44 badminton sized court with paddles that are smaller than a tennis racquet but larger than a ping-pong paddle. These paddles are used to serve the ball diagonally, starting from the right-hand side. Points can only be scored by the side that initiates the serve.
Players on each side must allow the ball to bounce at least once before volleys are allowed. Players must be aware of the seven-foot no volley zone placed each side of the net to prevent spiking.
The server must continue to serve, alternating service courts until he/she faults. The first team that manages to score 11 points and lead by at least 2 points wins the game. The sport can be played with singles or doubles.
Related: Did you know one kind of paddle tends to lead to more miss-hits than others? Click here for 17 paddle facts you never knew!
Pickleball Tips and Strategies for New Pickleball Players
Here are a few tips you should keep in mind if you are new to the game and want to drastically improve your performance:
PICKLEBALL TIPS & STRATEGIES
- If you have violated a rule, ask somebody to explain it in detail and accept suggestions. It will be beneficial for you in the future.
- Always try to make it to the no-volley line as fast as possible - this is the strongest position to be in.
- Instead of facing the no-volley line, keep your eyes on the player who is about to hit the ball. This will give you a better hitting position.
- Learn to place your paddle at a higher position to get a better shot.
- Do not attempt to hit the ball at the sidelines, the odds of making the perfect shot are against you. Instead, let your opponent make the mistakes.
- Hit deep serves. This will give you more time to reach the kitchen.
- When starting out as a new player, do not attempt to make fancy spin serves or serves near the sidelines. Keep it simple and in play.
- Use your forehand as often as you can - this will result in more accurate shots with less faults.
- Remember to keep both feet behind the baseline when serving or while receiving a serve. Keep in mind that both the serve and the return of serve should bounce before you hit the ball.
- Instead of trying to utilizing strength and power, focus on ball location and finesse, so that you do not tire your arm.
- Try to hit in open areas instead of trying to hit sideline shots.
- Everybody wants to be in the spotlight but stick to your side of the court and do not take your partner’s shot away.
- Always be a good sport, congratulate the other team on a good game regardless of the score. Good pickleball clubs promote a great combination of fun and competitiveness. Make sure your an advocate for good sportsmanship.
Pickleball Tips and Strategies to Help you Practice
If you want to become a pro, you need to find somebody to practice with. To become a good player, you must improve your footwork. Learn to split step, cross step and split side with a good pair of court shoes.
Good footwork makes it easy for players to adopt better balance and take better shots. It is important you brush up on the rules and ensure all your serves are legal.
Another great pickleball tip and strategy is to warm up by bouncing the ball up and down on either side of the paddle. Bounce it twice on one side then, when the ball is in mid air, flip the paddle and bounce it twice on that side.
Here's another great pickleball tip and strategy you can do alone. If you're at the court and don't have a partner, bring some orange cones and set them up on the opposite baseline. Those are your targets for improving your serve.
Serve the ball and try to hit as many of the cones as possible. Line the cones up as close to the opposite baseline as possible. This tip mimics where your opponents feet would be and will improve your serve accuracy.,
Related: Interested in improving your serve? Or want to dominate at the net? Click here for the only online training course dedicated to everyday pickleball players (like you and me) that I recommend.
Do not overplay your current physical position. If you are too tired, it is best you walk out. Playing ‘just one more game’ can strain your arms, causing an injury. Additionally, invest in a lighter paddle if you suffer from arthritis.
Wear the Right Apparel
It is imperative you wear something comfortable that allows you to move easily. If your playing outside on a sunny day, it is best you opt for light colored clothes that allow your body to breathe.
Nike Dri Fit is a great fitness brand to check out for keeping cool. Also look into headbands, hats and visors, whatever works best for you. If you are playing out in the sun, do not forget to wear sunscreen.
Beware of Faults
Instead of arguing with your opponent, it is imperative you familiarize yourself with the basic rules. A fault is committed when:
- The ball is hit out of bounds
- When the ball does not pass over the net
- When the ball is volleyed from the no-volley zone
- When the ball is volleyed before a bounce has occurred on each side
- When the ball touches any part of the no-volley zone
The Bottom Line
Similar to any other sport, mastering pickleball takes practice. Find somebody to practice with and learn all the basic pickleball tips and strategies. Abide by the rules as best as you can and encourage others to do so as well.
If you are having trouble finding someone to practice your best shots with, invest in a pickleball tutor machine if you want to play the sport at a competitive level. Good luck!