How to Play Pickleball Like a Pro – Helpful Pointers & Techniques

Are you a new pickleball player that has just begun playing the sport? Do you also want to quickly improve your game? Well! There are a lot of techniques that one can utilize in order to take your game to the next level. In order to get some sort of idea of how to play pickleball like a pro, you have come to the right place.

How To Play Pickleball Like a Pro - Helpful Pointers & Techniques

Improving your pickleball game does not necessarily mean purchasing top-notch premium equipment, losing weight to get to the ball quickly, etc. Yes! All these things do factor in for a better pickleball experience overall. But there are a few simple tricks that you can execute to level up your pickleball game.

How to Play Pickleball Like a Pro?

Always stay on your guard. Don’t be afraid to smash hard. Never lose sight of the ball. Practice! Practice! and Practice! There are numerous strategies one can opt for to enhance their game plan.

Even though these tips can significantly accelerate your pickleball game a lot quicker but that does not necessarily mean that you are bound to these techniques only. You can go for the strategies that are comfortable for you and suits you best. So without wasting any more of our time. Let us get started!

Continental Grip For The Win
Continental Grip For The Win

Tip #1 – Continental Grip for the Win:

We can’t really stress this enough. In the game of pickleball, the court is a lot smaller than the tennis court. Meaning you have a lot less time to react. Especially if you are in the non-volley zone. We really recommend the continental grip (also known as the ready position) because you can pretty much strike any shot that you need to.

In addition to that, you don’t have a lot of time between the shots so having one universal grip that you can use up in the non-volley zone is the most beneficial to you. So get used to having that continental grip and playing with that.

Tip #2 – Don’t Hold your Power Shot:

If you are someone who likes to drive the ball or you have some kind of paddle sports background that you prefer to hit the ball hard, there is nothing wrong with that. You might have been labeled as a “banger” but the matter of the fact is that’s a prominent skill to speeding up the ball and smashing the ball hard.

Don’t Hold Your Power Shot
Don’t Hold Your Power Shot

Now, with that said. Realize that you want to be able to do it at a high percentage. So if you are not making those drives at a higher rate then it is probably not a good play for you. When driving the ball, make sure that you keep it very low at the net. And sometimes takes a little bit of pace off the ball trying to force your opponent to get a lower contact.


Additional Tip: Make sure that you keep the ball as far away from the torso of your opponent as possible when driving the ball. If you can do that and make them stretch and reach to their forehand or to their backhand. That’s a much better shot.
Develop A Soft Game
Develop A Soft Game

Tip #3 – Develop a Soft Game:

It is pretty crucial to understand why and how a soft game can influence your game. If you are continuously hitting the ball hard and speeding up the ball all the time, you can get away with that at certain levels and against certain players. 

But you will soon find out as you move up to the higher levels that you are going to have to develop a soft game when hitting third shot drops, hitting resets, and hitting neutral balls into your opponent’s non-volley zone. Developing a soft game is a key element to playing pickleball and you’re going to have to learn it sooner or later.

Tip #4 – Attack Down:

 Attack Down
Attack Down

We believe that this tip can really transform your game if implemented correctly. Some people take a while, maybe even years, to comprehend how vital the technique to attack down your opponent actually is. What it means is that you don’t always have to attack and aim right at the body of your opponent. Because usually, your opponents have their paddles ready out at the front for the attack.

If it is possible, you want to take your attacks and hit them low and more away from the body so you’re having them stretch and reach so it is just not going right at their body. Plus, you will also see at the highest level of play, many players pick good spots and locations when they are attacking their opponent.

They’re not always striking the ball right at their torso all the time. It could be really easy to have that as a target when you’re a beginner. But as you progress through higher levels, you’ll see how effective it is when you’re volleying the ball down, getting at their feet, or hitting away from their body.

Tip #5 – Paddle Position:

There are a lot of nuances regarding how to position your pickleball paddle and what is your ready position. But in this tip, we’re going to talk about when you’re up at the non-volley zone. Generally, there are three ways to hold a paddle. Firstly, it is the traditional ready position where the paddle is facing towards 12 o’clock. 

Paddle Position
Paddle Position

Secondly, there is the 9 o’clock position to protect your body from the shots. This position is ideal when it comes to blocking the oncoming shots. What we prefer is to hold the paddle in such a way that the paddle is facing towards either the 10 o’clock or 11 o’clock direction. The reason is that when you are playing pickleball especially up at the non-volley zone line.

You are going to hit the majority of your volleys and shots with your backhand specifically on the defense. So when we’re talking about paddle position and ready position, we’re actually talking about a high percentage. Since you’re going to face most shots with your backhand because you can block everything below the waist. It only makes sense that it favors the backhand slightly.

Tip #6 – Short Swings & Strokes:

If you have a tennis background, you are used to bigger courts and have this huge swings with forehands, backhands, and also with volleys coming across. Now the problem is when you play the game pickleball, everything is a lot faster. The court is smaller and the ball is coming to get back at you at a faster and quicker rate.  For this reason, we advise you to make sure your strokes and swings are compact. 

Short Swings & Strokes
Short Swings & Strokes

Because what’s going to happen when you swing the paddle in this way, you don’t have a lot of time to get back into the ready position. Because no matter what shot you hit, that ball can be coming back at you a split second later. So it is useful to have smaller and compact swings so you can get back to defend your side of the net.

Tip #7 – Be Wary Of The Fast Shots:

In pickleball, no matter where your opponent is at, what kind of position they are in or where they’re hitting the ball, or even how low their contact is. We suggest the players to always be prepared to answer the sped balls.

Be Wary Of The Fast Shots
Be Wary Of The Fast Shots

Why? Because you never know when they are going to do it and if you are always ready for a fastball, you will be able to handle that short without a problem. You don’t want to get caught off-guard, so always be on the lookout for that menacing shot.


Bonus Tip: When you’re striking the ball at full speed, stay alert for their reaction. We have observed quite a couple of times that when a player hits the ball with sped-up shots. They think that they have won the point and relax themselves. They are then caught by surprise when their opponent returns the shot with the same speed and watches the ball fly right past them. Which eventually results in them losing a point..

Tip #8 – Have Patience:

When the incoming ball is moving towards you, you really don’t have the advantage to strike the ball when the ball is still off the rise or in the air from the bounce. Wait for the moment until the ball is at its peak and then swing your paddle to strike the ball. Let the ball bounce as high as it can get so you can get a better contact to strike the ball without any issue. Patience is literally the key to pulling off phenomenal shots when playing pickleball.

Shots, you need to get the Hang of it ASAP!

Getting better at pickleball without knowing what shot to play and at what time, is just like a ship without a rudder. The competition is getting tougher day by day, so if you’re looking forward to moving up in the pickleball ranks. Don’t waste another second and go through these shots that you need to master.

Groundstroke: Refers to the shots made once the ball has bounced off the ground. Dink is one of the most common examples of groundstrokes.

Groundstroke
Groundstroke

Volley: When the ball makes contact with the paddle, without bouncing off the ground is called a volley. Most of the time, volleys pack a lot of punch.

Volley
Volley

Dink: A soft shot made near the kitchen line is called a Dink. The prime objective of executing a dinking shot is to make sure that your opponent faces a hard time while returning the shot.

Dink
Dink

Serve: One of the most fundamental shots of pickleball. Serves are made at the baseline to start each point of the game.

Serve
Serve

Lob: It is the shot made with the intention of forcing your opponent to move backward. This shot is made in such a way that it goes over the head of your foe.

Lob
Lob

Cross-Court Dink: A dinking shot containing more power so that it goes from one side of the court to the opponent’s side of the court. The Cross-Court Dink is probably one of the toughest shots to master.

Cross-Court Dink

Smash: Also called the “drive”. It is a shot made by mustering up all the strength in every muscle of your body. Players usually execute this shot when there is an opening on the court for the purpose of winning the game.

Block shot: Block Shot is used to stop the incoming smashes and drives. Just face the paddle with your backhand at the ball. Allow the ball to come in contact with the paddle and do not apply any extra force. Let nature take its course.

Deep Return Serve: This shot refers to striking the ball with such power that it lands all the way back of the court. Pulling the perfect deep return serve is easier said than done. It is pretty difficult to estimate the distance to the spot you’re targeting.

Backhand Punch: A backhand punch is the one in which you return the high dink with a literal punch. This move sends the ball flying right past your opponent.

Overhead Smash: This one here is a classic! The overhead smash, undoubtedly, is a joy to learn. Just wait for the right moment to get the ball in the air and then swing your paddle with all your might with every fiber in your body and watch the ball end up at the back of your opponent’s side of the court.

Third Shot Drop: The third shot drop is an essential shot of the game. These are the shots in which the ball moves upward and then lands smoothly in NVZ. Since the ball drops in the kitchen, your opponent has to return the ball with a dink.

Dink Fake: This right here is my all-time favorite shot in pickleball. The dink fake can be executed to trick the opponent. They might think that you’re going for the traditional dink and then BAM! You hit them with the dink fake by adding sufficient topspin. This surely does catch your opponent by surprise.

Final Thoughts:

When you put these strategies and tricks to use we shared in this blog. We are confident that it will definitely up your game. As helpful as these tips are, they are only part of the story when it comes to winning pickleball matches and bagging more points on the field. We hope that these tips will surely make you help in understanding how to play pickleball like a pro.

HARRY ANDERSON

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