How to Get Better at Pickleball: Expert Tips for Instant Improvement

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how to get better at pickleball

Whether you’re just starting out or have been playing for years, there’s always something new to learn.

how to get better at pickleball

Diving into the world of pickleball, it’s clear from the get-go that nailing down the essentials, like how to stand right and grip your paddle, is your ticket to rockin’ the game. But wait, there’s more! To really amp up your play, you’ve gotta get the hang of those snazzy shots, sharpen your game plan, and get chatty with your doubles buddy.

Stick to regular practice sessions and don’t shy away from picking the brains of the pickleball pros. It’s your golden ticket to upping your game on the court. Keep at it, and you’ll see your efforts transform into some seriously cool pickleball prowess. Here’s to fueling your passion for a sport that’s as fun as it is fierce!

Key Takeaways

  • Building a solid foundation in pickleball involves mastering the basics and developing advanced shots.
  • To enhance your game further, focus on improving strategy, communication, and practicing effectively.
  • Seek advice from experienced players and professionals to accelerate your growth and achieve success.

Understanding Pickleball

Video source: The Pickleball Channel

Pickleball is now a fastest-growing sport in America. The objective is the same as any racquet sport: hit the ball over the net so the opponent cannot return it. We will discuss some essential pickleball tips, strategies, and drills to help you become better at pickleball.

One fundamental aspect of pickleball is understanding the non-volley zone, also known as the kitchen. This area, extending seven feet on both sides of the net, is where players cannot hit the ball in the air (volley). Instead, you must let the ball bounce once before hitting it. Being aware of the non-volley zone line is crucial to avoiding faults and positioning yourself correctly on the court.

To improve your game, focus on these pickleball tips:

  1. Maintain a low stance, with knees bent and paddle up.
  2. Use proper footwork to move quickly and change directions.
  3. Work on your dinks, groundstrokes, and volleys.

In addition, consider incorporating pickleball drills into your practice sessions to hone specific skills. For instance, drills that focus on ball control, shot accuracy, and footwork can be beneficial in elevating your game.

Another critical aspect of pickleball is developing a winning strategy. By employing effective tactics, you can significantly increase your chances of success. Some strategies include:

  • Keeping your serves and returns deep in the opponent’s court.
  • Targeting your opponent’s backhand whenever possible.
  • Forcing your opponent to move with well-placed dinks and lobs.

Remember, consistent practice and dedication to learning pickleball tips and strategies will ultimately help you become a better player. Incorporate these elements into your training routine, and you’ll see improvement in your game in no time.

Mastering The Basics: How to Get Better at Pickleball

To get better at pickleball, it’s essential that we focus on mastering the basics. This includes the serve, move, return, volley, grip, backhand, ready position, non-volley zone, and footwork. By developing a solid foundation in these areas, we can effectively improve our overall performance on the court.

First, let’s tackle the serve. The server should stand behind the baseline and use an underhand motion to hit the ball into the opponent’s service court without bouncing. It’s important to have a consistent and accurate serve to start each point off in our favor. Experiment with different grip pressure and ball placement for a more comfortable and effective serve.

Next, movement and footwork are essential for quick and efficient positioning on the court. Stay on the balls of our feet and maintain a bend in our knees, which allows for quicker reactions and smooth transitions between shots. Good footwork helps prevent injuries and ensures that we can cover the court effectively.

Now, let’s focus on the return. An effective return puts pressure on the server, increasing our chances to stay in control of the point. Develop a strong forehand and backhand return, focusing on accuracy and keeping the ball low to the net. When returning the serve, take a ready position, gripping the paddle with both hands and keeping our eyes on the ball.

In pickleball, the volley is a crucial skill. This involves hitting the ball out of the air before it bounces, typically close to the net. Stay light on our feet and maintain a firm, secure grip on the paddle to execute an effective volley. When playing doubles, communication with our partner is also vital for a successful volley strategy.

Mastering the backhand can be a game-changer. Keep our grip firm and stable, but not too tight, to allow for control and finesse. Engage our whole body in the swing and follow through for a powerful and accurate backhand shot.

The ready position is another essential aspect of pickleball mastery. This position involves having knees bent slightly and paddle held up in front of our body with both hands on the handle. Maintaining this stance allows us to quickly react to any shot the opponent may make.

Lastly, being aware of and respecting the non-volley zone or “kitchen” is crucial for effective play. This 7-foot area on each side of the net, prohibits the execution of volleys. Make sure we are not stepping into the non-volley zone while hitting a volley to avoid faults.

By focusing on these fundamental techniques, we can improve our pickleball skills and enjoy the game even more. Practice makes perfect, so dedicate time to honing these basics and watch our game elevate to new heights.

Developing Advanced Shots

How to get better at pickleball

As pickleball players, it’s crucial for us to refine our skills and learn advanced shots to elevate our game. In this section, we will discuss a few advanced shots that can be highly effective when executed correctly.

Dink shot: The dink shot is a soft touch shot that goes just over the net and into the opponent’s non-volley zone or “kitchen.” It’s an excellent strategy to gain control and keep opponents off balance. Practice varying your dink angles and depths to catch your opponents off guard.

Drop shot: A well-executed drop shot clears the net with a downward trajectory and lands inside the kitchen. This shot forces your opponent to move up to the net, giving you and your teammate an opportunity to establish a more advantageous position on the court.

Power and throwing: Sometimes, we need to unleash our power to surprise the opponents. Hitting a ball with power can be very effective, especially when your opponents are not expecting it. Remember, power should be used strategically and selectively.

Lob shot: The lob shot is a high-arcing shot aimed to soar over your opponent and land near the back of the court. It’s a good tactic to disrupt the rhythm of opponents who are dominating the net, forcing them to move back and lose their offensive position.

Third shot options: The third shot is a crucial part of the game, as it sets the tone for the rally. Here are the two types of third shots to consider:

  • Third shot drop: It’s a delicate shot that lands softly in the kitchen, pulling your opponents forward while you approach the net. The aim is to achieve a neutral or advantageous position, engaging in dink volleys until an opportunity arises to attack.
  • Third shot drive: In contrast to the drop shot, the third shot drive is a powerful, flat shot aimed at your opponents, forcing them to respond defensively. The goal is to create an opening for you and your teammate to move into an offensive position near the net.

Improving Strategy and Communication

how to get better at picleball

We believe it’s essential for any pickleball player to improve their strategy and communication, especially in doubles play. Here, we’ll guide you through some important aspects that can help you elevate your gameplay.

In doubles pickleballcommunication is key. Make sure you and your partner are always on the same page. Discuss and establish who will take shots in the middle, call out “yours” or “mine” when the ball comes between you, and signal to each other for lob serves or other specific shots. Maintaining a strong bond with your partner will help you both thrive on the court.

As for pickleball strategy, there are several areas to focus on, such as dinkingerne shots, and rally control. Dinking is a crucial skill to learn, as it allows players to hit soft shots that drop just over the net. By mastering dinking, you can maintain control of the rally and force your opponents to make difficult shots close to the net. To improve your dinking skills, practice hitting low, controlled shots and aim for your opponent’s backhand.

Erne shots are executed when a player steps out of bounds to hit the ball before it crosses the sideline. This skill can help you avoid hitting the non-volley zone and surprise your opponents. Spend time practicing ernie shots, making sure to anticipate your opponent’s shot placement to catch them off guard.

Controlling rallies is another aspect of pickleball strategy that’s essential to improve. Here are some tips:

  1. Serve deep and target your opponent’s backhand.
  2. Anticipate your opponent’s shots and position yourself accordingly.
  3. Maintain consistent pressure by returning shots and avoiding unforced errors.

For doubles play, poaching is a skill that experienced players use to take advantage of their opponents’ weak shots. To poach, a player moves to intercept a shot targeted at their partner, enabling them to hit a more offensive or challenging shot. Practice and communicate with your partner to identify the right time to poach, taking cues from your opponents’ shot placements or when your partner signals for assistance.

By applying these strategies and maintaining clear communication with your partner, you’ll see a significant improvement in your pickleball gameplay. Remember, practice makes perfect – so invest time honing your skills and understanding the nuances of the game.

Practicing Effectively

Video source: The Pickleball Channel

In order to improve our pickleball skills, it’s essential to practice effectively and focus on specific aspects of the game. By incorporating a variety of pickleball drills into our routine, we can target different areas of our game and make steady progress.

First, let’s work on our muscle memory by repeating key movements. For instance, practice our serves and returns with a continuous loop – this helps to develop consistency and accuracy. Additionally, we can improve our dinking technique by hitting soft shots close to the net, focusing on placement and touch.

Another essential element of effective practice is to identify and correct errors. Be mindful of our mistakes during gameplay, such as hitting the ball out of bounds or into the net. To address these issues, we can isolate specific shots that we struggle with, and practice them repeatedly to build confidence.

Creating a structured practice routine can also be highly beneficial. Here’s an example of a well-rounded pickleball practice session:

  1. Warm-up exercises
  2. Serve and return drill
  3. Dinking practice
  4. Third shot drop practice
  5. Cross-court passing shots
  6. Cool-down and stretching

Remember, consistency is key when practicing for improvement. Dedicate time to practice regularly and track our progress over time. With persistence and focused effort, our dedication to practicing effectively will lead to significant improvements in our pickleball skills.

Equipping for Success

how to get better at pickleball

When it comes to improving your pickleball game, having the right gear can make all the difference. In this section, we’ll cover the essential items you’ll need to equip yourself for success on the court.

A crucial part of your gear set is a high-quality paddle. Choosing the right paddle can significantly impact your performance. If you’re a beginner, it’s essential to find a paddle that suits your skill level, which can be found in the best pickleball paddles for beginners. On the other hand, advanced players should look into the pickleball paddles designed for advanced players to give them the edge they need.

Equally important are the shoes you wear on the court. Your footwear should provide adequate support, grip, and comfort to prevent injuries and ensure superior performance. Some of the best pickleball shoes for men and women can help you find the perfect pair that fits your needs.

Now, let’s talk about additional gear that can enhance your pickleball experience. It’s essential to invest in quality protective eyewear and proper athletic clothing to keep you comfortable during gameplay.

By equipping yourself with the right gear, we can significantly boost our skills and performance on the pickleball court. So, invest in quality gear, and enjoy the benefits that come with it in your game.

Learning from Pros

As pickleball enthusiasts, we understand the desire to constantly improve our game. One of the most effective ways to do that is by learning from professional pickleball players. Let’s dive into some tips and resources that can help you elevate your game.

Watch and analyze professional games: Many pro pickleball matches are available on YouTube for us to watch and study. Pay close attention to their form, footwork, and shot selection. Take notes on their tactics and try to incorporate them into your own game.

Video source: Pickleball Highlights

Identify your skill level: It’s crucial for us to know whether we are at an intermediate or advanced level before learning from the pros. This will help us to focus on appropriate strategies and techniques that suit our skill set. Here’s a quick breakdown of what you can learn from professionals at different stages:

  • Intermediate level: Focus on mastering the basics of the game, such as grip, ball control, and consistent groundstrokes. Take a look at the fundamentals shared by pros and implement their advice.
  • Advanced level: At this stage, we should start paying close attention to our opponents and adjusting our game accordingly. Professional players are great at adapting their strategies based on their opponents’ weaknesses. Learn more about pickleball tips from top players to improve your game even further.

Invest in coaching or clinics: Attending coaching sessions or clinics led by professional players can provide valuable insights to improve our skills. Hands-on guidance from the pros can be a game-changer for refining our techniques. Look for local workshops or coaching sessions in your area.

Physical conditioning and recovery: A strong and healthy body plays a vital role in our pickleball performance. Following a professional player’s fitness routine can provide us with an edge on the court. Moreover, focusing on proper recovery techniques helps prevent injuries and ensures that we stay fit for the long haul.

By learning from professional pickleball players and implementing their tips, our game will inevitably improve. From watching their matches on YouTube to seeking hands-on coaching, there are numerous ways for us to benefit from their experience.

The Path To Better Pickleball Success

In our pursuit of pickleball success, we focus on effective strategies and techniques to help players of all levels improve their game. Whether you play doubles pickleball or singles, our goal is to help you win more matches and enjoy the sport. To achieve this, we combine essential elements like skill development, practice drills, and game strategies.

One fundamental aspect of succeeding in pickleball is mastering the 10 essential skills outlined here:

  • Serve: Consistently serve deep and to the opponents’ backhands.
  • Return of serve: Aim for deep returns to put pressure on your opponent.
  • Third shot drop: Develop a soft drop shot to neutralize power hitters.
  • Dinking: Cultivate patience and finesse around the kitchen (non-volley) line.
  • Volley: Improve reflexes and hand-eye coordination for quick net play.
  • Overhead smash: Utilize this shot to finish points and capitalize on weak lobs.
  • Lob: Employ a well-placed lob to change the pace and move opponents out of position.
  • Footwork: Enhance movement efficiency and positioning on the court.
  • Mental toughness: Learn to stay focused and calm under pressure.
  • Communication: Develop clear and concise communication with your partner in doubles play.

To make significant improvements in your game, consider embarking on the Better Pickleball Success Path. This customized training program helps players identify areas for growth and offers personalized guidance. The success path incorporates skill-development drills and practical exercises to translate your knowledge into on-court results.

As part of our commitment to better pickleball, we recommend regularly practicing with a partner or using pickleball training machine to maintain sharpness in your shots. Drills like these can greatly benefit your game by refining your techniques and developing consistency.

Bottom Line

My journey through the world of pickleball has been filled with unforgettable moments, from nail-biting matches to post-game celebrations with new friends. Every court is a melting pot of stories, every player a character in this delightful sport’s narrative.

Sharing tips, gear reviews, and court locations has become more than a job; it’s a way to connect with fellow enthusiasts and spread the joy of pickleball. Each time I step onto the court, I’m reminded of why I fell in love with this game – it’s not just about playing; it’s about belonging to a community that welcomes everyone with open arms. So here’s to pickleball – a game that’s as much about the people as it is about the sport.


What are the most effective drills for improving pickleball skills?

There are several effective drills to help improve your pickleball skills. Key drills include practicing the dink shot, volleys, groundstrokes, and the use of pickleball machines. We also recommend focusing on communicating with your teammate to enhance teamwork, which is particularly crucial in doubles pickleball.

What techniques can be used to improve serving in pickleball?

To improve serving in pickleball, focus on consistency, placement, and power. Practice hitting various types of serves, such as the power serve, topspin serve, and slice serve. It’s essential to develop a reliable and accurate serve as it sets the tone for the rest of the rally.

How can I enhance my footwork and positioning on the pickleball court?

Working on footwork and positioning is critical to your overall performance in pickleball. Start by practicing side-to-side and forward-backward movements with quick, small steps. Ensure that you maintain a low, athletic stance during rallies. These techniques will help you move efficiently and effectively on the court.

What are the key strategies for playing better doubles pickleball?

In doubles pickleball, several strategies can help you and your partner play better. Focus on effective communication, since teamwork is vital in doubles. Develop a strong serve-and-return game, and try to keep your opponents on the defensive. Additionally, mastering the art of dinking can create opportunities for winning shots.

How can I practice pickleball alone to sharpen my skills?

Even when alone, you can still practice pickleball. Work on your serve consistency, targeting specific areas of the court. Wall drills are also helpful for refining your hand-eye coordination, reaction time, and shot accuracy. You can use a pickleball machine to simulate match conditions and train various strokes.

What are the essential mental aspects to focus on in pickleball?

Mental toughness is crucial when playing pickleball. Stay focused, patient, and confident throughout the match. Manage your emotions and maintain a positive attitude, even when faced with challenging situations. Visualization and relaxation techniques can also help you perform better on the court.

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Ken Kochman is the founder and chief editor at His aim? Very simple. Cut through all the hype and misleading advertisements so you can make the best decision for your pickleball needs based on your level of play.

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