When you first started playing pickleball, you found yourself in the kitchen an awful lot. Sometimes it feels like you spend the whole game just trying to get the ball back over the net. But you don’t have to! I went through my first season with a >50% return rate against players of varying skill levels.
If you’re like me, you love to play pickleball. But if you’re like most people who don’t play it regularly, your skills start to deteriorate after a while. The good news is that there are plenty of strategies and tactics that can help any player improve their game! Here are five common targets I use when trying to win more points:
1. Short Drop Shots
Short drop shots are one of the most common ways to win points. They are also very easy to learn and execute.
To do this shot, you need to be in a position where you can hit your opponent’s ball with your own ball (i.e., on the weak side). Then, when they return their serve, just hit it back over their head so that it lands on their side of the court instead of yours! This can be done with either hand or foot—it doesn’t matter which one because they’ll both go somewhere else anyway!
Third shot drop shots are a great way to create a short volley. This can be done by using the third shot drop when you have an open service line, or even when there is no option at all. If you are in this position, try dropping your ball over the net so that it lands directly on top of the other player’s ball. It may seem like it would not work, but if done correctly and carefully enough, this will result in a short volley being set up for your opponent.
If all else fails and you do not want to use an active shot with an opponent close by (or if they are too far), then try setting up another drop shot instead!
2. Dinking Short to the Net
Dinking short to the net is a great way to win pickleball points. You can win the point by hitting the ball deep into your opponent’s court, or you can also win it by hitting it short and close to the net.
For example: if you’re playing with a partner and they’re setting up their backhand shot (right-handed), then you may want to go for a backhand loop if there’s room in front of your opponent’s backhand side. Or maybe they’ll be setting up both sides of their forehand—you could try an inside-out forehand loop instead!
Dinking short to the net is a maneuver in pickleball that can help you put many balls back into play. When it’s done right, it’s quite effective and can pressure your opponent because they’re now fighting over half of the court or less. It’s both strategic and a great way to maintain a rally.
Dinking is a fun, highly challenging, and very effective pickleball strategy with which to manipulate the way that your opponents think about their moves. I learned “dinking short” from a childhood neighbor who was the pickleball guru in those days. This move has helped me many times for getting the ball into some hard-to-get areas.
3. Drop at Your Opponents’ Feet
The most common targets when playing pickleball are your opponents’ feet. Particularly the foot that is on their weak side. Knowing how to hit your opponent’s feet will add a completely new level to your game.
The best places to sink the ball on opposing sides are in front (if you are tall), behind (if your opponent is tall), high and back of the foot (if your opponent has a strong kick), or on your opponent’s weak side.
When I first heard this, I assumed that it was just an old saying and didn’t really mean much of anything. However, after playing more competitively and watching professional pickleball, I began to see a pattern: drops from the weak side always seem to drop at our opponents’ feet.
Drop shot is one of the most effective plays when you are playing pickleball. It’s easy to learn and you can use it in almost all court situations.
4. Consistently Serving Deep, to Backhands & in the Court
I believe getting consistent is more important than getting power on your serve. So today I’m going to give you the best tips for consistently serving deep, to backhands, and on the court when playing pickleball.
Serve to your opponents’ backhand :
The weakest part of your opponent’s game is their backhand. Their forehands are usually more powerful than their backhands, which means they can hit hard on their forehand. But not on their backhand side. Their topspin and slice (in the doubles game) is weak on their backhand side because the serve always comes over their backhand shoulder. So if you’re playing a double, aim for an angle where it hits your partner when it bounces towards him or her at the net; and then serve so it will land about 1′ or 2′ behind your partner in the court, just inside of the singles sideline.
Serve to their backhand side :
Serve so that it lands just inside of the singles sideline. That spot is about 1′ or 2′ deep in the court on a singles sideline (inner doubles line).
Serve deep, but not too deep :
You want to serve deep but you don’t want to serve so deep that your opponent has plenty of time to crush it with a ridiculous power forehand or backhand. Aim for just inside of the singles sideline (about 1′ or 2′ behind your partner in the court/ singles sideline). Remember to serve in the court, and not too far from it.
When you’re driving deep, it’s important that you go deep enough to your opponents’ backhand side so they have trouble getting in position for a shot or rally. Also, you need to be consistently doing deep drives as they are a great way to increase your pickleball point total.
If they stand in front of you and try to hit the ball back across their body, make sure that if they get close enough for one more shot or rally they’re going to have trouble hitting it because there’s no way they can see what’s coming at them!
5. Drop Volley to the Area that is Hard for Your Opponent to Reach
Did you know that the drop volley is one of the most efficient and easiest shots to perform during a pickleball game? In fact, there’s no arguing about it — it’s a great shot! One that can win you points and even games. So why don’t more players know how to do it?
When playing pickleball, you must master your drop volley. A great drop volley is a very effective pickleball shot for keeping an offensive possession alive or for gaining two or three points on your opponent when in a defensive position. To perform a good drop volley, you need to be able to judge the angle correctly and be able to provide an accurate, well-timed drop.
Getting the drop volley in pickleball is one of those skills that only comes with practice. The drop volley is where you hit a shot that your opponent can’t easily recover well from. You might have had a mixture of success and failure playing pickleball. It is likely that most of the mistakes made come not just from what was done, but from how the other player responded to it. This means that most of the time the mistake you made wasn’t so much the shot itself, but what followed as a result of it.
Regardless of the kind, it could be hard to know how much a pickleball target is worth in points. Is it just like hitting a ball into the net? There are different kinds and types of targets you will probably come across during pickleball games. These targets are either naturally created or the result of human efforts. You will have an easy time and play smoothly with such targets because there is no problem when it comes to spotting one and hitting the ball toward it.