In today’s blog we’re going to talk about the top ten do’s and don’ts for pickleball.
These are not in any particular order.
Tip #1 – DO Give Yourself Margin For Error
Tip number one is to give yourself margin for error.
Whether you are a beginner player or an advanced player you really want to make sure you give yourself some room for error so that when you’re aiming for your target, and if you’re off a little bit, your ball will still be inbounds.
This goes for serves, returns, third shot drives and drops, dinks, overheads, etc.
Any shot that you hit in pickleball, you really want to make sure that your target is not right on the line or let’s say right in the corner of the court.
You really want to bring it in so that your skill set can handle that and then you can make sure that you hit that ball in the court nine out of ten times.
Tip #2 – DON’T Attack The Ball From Below Your Knees
Now let’s jump into number two and that is – don’t attack the ball from below your knees.
This happens in all levels of play. We see it all the time. If you can help yourself, try not to attack balls that are below your knee level.
When you contact the ball below your knees, hit a soft dink shot or hit a soft neutral shot from wherever you are on the court.
When you’re attacking the ball from below your knees, you are attacking from a low to high trajectory which means your opponent is going to be able to hit down on that next ball and counter-attack that ball. This is one reason, among several, that you don’t want to attack below your knees .
Tip #3 – DO Target Your Opponent’s Feet
Tip number three is that you should use your opponent’s feet as a target.
This is a really good general rule. If you’re in a point and you’re not sure where to hit the ball, a good place to hit it will be at your opponent’s feet.
One reason why it’s good strategically is because when you are hitting down at your opponent’s feet it forces them to reach down for that ball and they are going to have to hit that ball with and upward trajectory. This is exactly what you want.
This gives you the opportunity to hit that next ball down.
Tip #4 – DON’T Avoid Your Weaknesses
Tip number four is to not avoid your weaknesses.
No matter who you are, you are going to have some strengths and then some weaknesses. We encourage you, whatever your weakness is, to not avoid it.
Don’t run around it and try to not work on that shot. Those weaknesses could definitely be turned into strengths if you work on them.
Learn to practice them and learn to put hard work into developing them.
Tip #5 – DO Get Up To That NVZ Line
Tip number five is to get up to that non-volley zone line after your return.
We all know that strategically being two up with your partner up at the non-volley zone line is the best place to be and gives you the most opportunities to attack balls down at your opponent’s feet.
So, we want to make sure we hit a return in a way that is going to allow us to come all the way up to that non-volley zone line.
If you find yourself not being able to get all the way up to that non-volley zone after your return, try and float your returns a little bit higher or maybe just even try a lob return which will give yourself more time before your opponent hits that third shot.
Then, you can try to get up at the non-volley zone line.
Tip #6 – DON’T Just Get Your Serve In
Tip number six is to not just get your serve in.
You’ve probably heard it time and time again – “Just get your serve in and start the point and go from there”.
Now, if you just started the game of pickleball you definitely want to make sure that you are practicing the fundamentals and that you are just getting the serve in but if you are an intermediate player and you have hopes to being a very advanced player you really want to make your serve a weapon.
So, practice that serve and work on making it more and more of a threat. This means to practice it and learn to hit it with more spin and more pace.
Tip #7 – DO Work On Your 3rd Shot Drop
Tip number seven is to work on your third shot drop.
In lower levels of play you don’t see third shot drops that often because players just don’t have the control and the players at the net don’t have as strong volleys as more advanced players.
But, as you get better and you play better players, you’re definitely going to have to have that shot in your arsenal.There’s no way around it.
Having that consistent and solid third shot drop that is going to allow you and your partner to advance to that non-volley zone line is very important.
Make sure that you are not avoiding that for too long and that you really develop a strong shot.
Tip #8 – DON’T Hit To Your Opponent’s Strengths
Tip number eight is not to hit to your opponent’s strengths.
This is a little strategy tip that is going to help you out in competitive play. If your opponent has a really strong weapon, for example their forehand, and they’re constantly speeding it up straight at your body and you just can’t handle the pace, avoid that forehand and force them to hit their weaker shot.
Whatever your opponent’s stronger shot is or whatever their strengths may be, hit to the other side and avoid their strength.
This will make your game a lot easier.
Tip #9 – Do Take Advantage of High Balls
Tip number nine is to take advantage of high balls.
No matter what level you are, if you have a ball that you can hit with a downward trajectory you really want to take advantage of those opportunities.
The best place to hit these balls is down at your opponent’s feet or away from their body.
When you attack these balls that you have the opportunity to hit down on, you do not want to hit it straight at their body because they usually have their paddle ready right in front of them and they could counter attack or reset that ball.
So, whenever you get a ball that is up, you really want to take advantage of it and try to hit it at their feet or away from their body, low below the net.
Tip #10 – DON’T Forget To Have Fun
Now let’s get to the tenth and final tip and that is to not forget to have fun.
This may seem like a no-brainer but a lot of us can get caught up in our play, leagues, in improving, playing tournaments, etc. A lot of times it could get stressful or overwhelming or we could just seem to forget why we started this game in the beginning.
One thing you don’t want to forget is to just let loose and have fun.
Pickleball is such an addictive sport and has such a great community. Our encouragement for you to is to really make sure you are enjoying yourselves out there.