where to stand in pickleball

Where To Stand In Pickleball – A Helpful Guide For New Players

Last Updated on May 7, 2021 by Keith

Even though I’ve played pickleball now for over 5 years, I’m still learning the nuances of the game, even simple things like where to stand in pickleball can make a huge difference.   Here’s what I’ve learned about on-court position and improved my game. 

Wondering where to stand in pickleball?  The two most common places to stand during a game of pickleball, regardless of skill level, are the baseline and the no-volley-zone line.  These two spots represent where most points are won and lost during a game of pickleball.

But just being there is only half the battle.  Footwork is essential in pickleball.  So, how you’re standing in these two spots is absolutely fundamental to winning more points.  

Keep reading for a more detailed look into where to stand during a game of pickleball and the little nuances of footwork that can help any beginner win more matches!

We’re going to break up this article into four main sections based on the two most common places to stand in pickleball.  

We’ll get into standing at the baseline and discuss where to stand in a game of pickleball when you’re serving or receiving the serve and receiving the return of serve.

We’ll also cover proper footwork and where to stand at the kitchen line so that you can be in the right spot during dink play and maximize your opportunity to put away winners at the net.

Let’s get started.

where to stand in pickleball

Where To Stand In Pickleball – The Serving Team

Let’s start with the serving team.  Where should you stand if you’re serving?

First, pick a good diagonal cross court position that will allow for your serve to hit beyond the kitchen line and be in bounds.  You can line up beyond your baseline anywhere within your serving quadrant.  It can be in the middle, towards the left corner or the right corner. 

As long as you’re behind the baseline and not in your partners quadrant, you’re good to go.

Most players, myself included, tend to choose a serving spot somewhere in the middle without hugging the corners too much.  You rarely see an advanced player serving tightly in corner.

How close to the baseline should you get when serving?  Well that’s a player preference. 

I like to hug the baseline pretty good because I want every advantage I can get to blast a deep serve with a consistent swing and follow through every time.

If I’m a foot back from the baseline, that’s too far and I’ve left myself too much room and that makes it a little harder to hit a deep consistent serve to the other baseline with the same arm swing and oomph behind it.

If I’m too close, I risk a foot fault by crossing over the baseline and I’ve not even given my team a shot to score.  That’s an unforced error that is easy to avoid.

Let’s talk footwork for a moment.  

When serving it is not recommended that you stand with both feet parallel to each other and shoulders width apart.  

Instead, your dominant foot (same side as your serving hand) should be back.  and your other foot should be up at the baseline in a comfortable spot.

So for me, since I’m right handed, my right foot is back and my left foot is up towards the baseline.  See the pic above for a perfect example.

Where To Stand As The Server’s Partner

If I’m the servers partner, where should I be standing?  

In this situation, I’m also going to be standing on the baseline.  But since, I am not the server, I can have my feet right on the baseline – touching it or even a little beyond it into the court.  

I technically can be anywhere on my side of the court but it’s in my best interest to be back because the return of serve must bounce.  For more on the two-bounce rule, click here.

As the server’s partner, don’t cheat eat up too much.  Watch the return team’s return shots.  If they’re always deep, stay back with your partner and don’t creep up to the baseline too much.  

If the return team isn’t hitting deep returns, you can move up a little and have your feet standing on the baseline or even closer if it feels comfortable. 

Be careful here though.  If my partner serves, and I as the teammate am too close to the kitchen line, I’ve become a target for the return team because I haven’t given myself enough room for the shot to bounce.

If a shot is blasted at me, and I’ve not given it room to bounce, I’m already out of position and given my opponent the edge.  Again, eliminate those unforced errors.  

Either way, always give yourself enough room to move forward to attack a return of serve shot.  It’s always easier to move forward toward a ball than to have to move backward on it.  

If you’re having to backup to get to a return of serve, you’ve positioned yourself too far up the court.  Move back and allow yourself to time to charge the ball moving forward.  This allows for a much more natural swing mechanic and even gives you the opportunity to hit a ball more aggressively with some top spin behind it.

In short, the serving team should be standing back behind the baseline and adjust accordingly based on how deep the return team’s shots are.

Quick Tip:  If you’re on the serving team, regardless of whether you served or not…stay back.  Expect a deep return back to the baseline.  If your weight and momentum are propelling you forward to hit the third shot, you’re in position.  If you’re moving backwards, you’re out of position.

where to stand in pickleball

Where To Stand In Pickleball – The Return Team

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Where To Stand In Pickleball – Receiving the Return of Serve

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Where To Stand In Pickleball – At The No-Volley Zone And Dinking

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Advanced Strategies For Where To Stand In Pickleball – Stacking

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