Basic Pickleball Strategies

Basic Pickleball Strategies

When you first get started playing pickleball, just getting the ball back over the net is your primary goal. As long as the ball clears the net and lands in the court, you are happy. That’s a great starting point – but you’ll soon find that it doesn’t serve you well in terms of actually winning some matches. 

The next step in your growth is to learn some pickleball strategies that you can employ to put more pressure on your opponents. This article is going to highlight some basic strategies that you can try out in upcoming matches. Good luck!

Doubles Strategy 

Since the doubles format in pickleball is far more popular than singles, we’ll start here. The points below touch on some useful strategies to employ with your partner –

  • Moving forward. It’s hard to win points from the back of the court in doubles. After the serve and return, make it a point to get up to the non-volley line as quickly as possible. This will put pressure on your opposition and force them to play a good shot. 
  • Play the ball deep. So, if being up in the court is an advantage, it’s obviously a good idea to keep your opponents back if you can. When given the chance, play a deep return to force the other team to stay near their baseline. 
  • Communicate. You don’t want to swing for the same ball as your partner, so talk throughout each point and let the other player know where you are and what you are doing. 
  • Accurate serving. Another way to keep your opponent deep in the court is to land your serve as far back as possible. To do this, don’t worry so much about serving with a lot of pace – a soft serve is fine as long as it lands way back in the court and prevents the opposition from rushing up to the non-volley line quickly. 

Singles Strategy

If you like to play singles matches in pickleball, you’ll need just as much strategy as you need in doubles – but those strategies might change a bit. Consider the following –

  • Explore the backhand. Without a partner to use, your opponent will have to hit every shot on their own – and that means hitting backhands. This can be a challenge for many pickleball players, so play shots to that side and see how your opponent fares. 
  • Avoid patterns. If you have the ability to hit a variety of shots, use that skill to your advantage to avoid predictability. Hit some hard shots, some soft shots, and everything in between. 
  • Deep corners are vital. The best place to put the ball, when possible, is into the deep corners on either side of the court. That’s a tough place to play from and your opponent will have limited options on those kinds of balls. It’s not easy to get the ball back there consistently, of course, so plenty of practice will be called for to dial in this ability.