Pickleball strategy

Pickleball Strategy and 3 Strategical Golden Rules

Pickleball Strategy: Learn to dominate the court with concise, effective tactics. Master the game with essential principles as Learn, Master, and Win.

You’re able to learn the golden rules of pickleball strategy on Land of Pickleball. Enhance your game skills and learn winning strategies to dominate the court.

However, three fundamental rules, further tips, and tricks assist you in learning about Pickleball Tournament strategies. 

Pickleball Strategy Rule 1

“Make a plan – Be proactive – Don’t reactive.”

The most important rule for success is to create a good plan. Many people start playing without a plan or with limited plans. This happens when players react without a plan on the court. Your opponent can use advanced strategies to win if you don’t have a plan. Following their lead and saying, ‘I am just seeing what will happen in the tournament and dealing with what’s going on’ is a big mistake.

If you understand what’s happening in the match and how your opponent is playing, you can improve your skills and create winning strategies. If you’re new to the game and don’t know about strategies, check our webpage for upcoming ideas. Test different shots, like Reset Shots, observe how your opponent plays, and create your plan for the next match.

When playing against someone else, think about your gameplay and how you want to lead the game. Plan your shots and scores like, ‘If I get this shot, I’ll do this.’ You should spend time discussing game rules, shots, court dimensions, and tournament format before the match. This preparation is essential for success on the court.

Pickleball Strategy Rule 1
"Make a plan – Be Proactive – Don't Reactive."

How to Handle the Game?

In addition to planning, it’s essential to know how to deal with various situations during a game, whether it’s competitive or just for fun. When your opponent sends a shot your way, you automatically respond with a return shot. No need for a specific plan; both players understand what’s happening.

Our advice is to be proactive in handling your match. Focus on the game, analyze the incoming shot, and decide where to send your return. Hence, your organized plan with your partner works better than just talking about Pickleball Court Dimensions during court time.

While you want to play like an expert, don’t rely too much on what’s happening on the court. Pay attention to what’s coming your way and how to make specific shots. Assess, analyze, and then develop your planned strategy for a professional tournament. This way, you’ll become a skilled player in playing a successful Pickleball match.

Pickleball Strategy Rule 2

“Buy time for yourself – Take time from Your Partner player.”

The second major rule in Pickleball strategy revolves around gaining time for yourself while disrupting your opponent. Let’s break it down with specific examples:

Pickleball Strategy Rule 2

"Buy time for yourself – Take time from Your Partner player."
  • Returning Shots: Move quickly to the NVZ line after your return shot. If you have more time, aim for a deep return to set up the third shot.
  • Maintain Position: Transition from the baseline to the net on your return, giving yourself more time to meet your partner at the net. Be ready for the fourth shot.
  • Serving Team Tactic: Use the third shot drop for a slow approach, buying more time to come up and make a strong, unassailable shot.
  • Reacting to Attacks: If your partner attacks, reset your position and buy time with slower shots to get to the net.
  • Aggressive Dinking: Push deeper dinks to your opponent’s feet or behind them to force them to react. This is an effective way of ‘Taking Away Time.’
  • Topspin Shots: Add topspin to your shots or press your opponents without attacking to control points and create winning opportunities.

In Pickleball, success is about buying your time and pressuring opponents to take time away from them. Mastering these strategies keeps points in your control, increasing your chances of winning.

Pickleball Strategy Rule 3

“Ready to Drive-First”

Pickleball Strategy Rule 3

"Ready to Drive-First"

The third crucial strategy focuses on preparing for a drive shot. When shots come back from your partner player, whether soft or drive, the most damaging is the drive shot.

If you receive a soft shot, take the extra time to set your position and prepare to defend against the opponent’s drive. Evaluate their contact point and driving probability. Then, position your team in the middle to defend all possible angles and hit a powerful, accurate drive.

However, perfect chances for your team come from accurate drives. Minimize gaps between you and opponents, be in good shape, and defend yourself effectively. If opponents hit a dink or soft hit, it’s an opportunity for a damaging drive for you.

In a dink war, go for the drive. Evolve perfect ways in a Pickleball match by driving from different positions and shots. So, always be ready to defend and position yourself for the drive first, aiming to outplay your opponent.

Pickleball Strategy – Additional Tips

deep serve
  • Lob Less: High, arcing shots called lobs can disrupt your opponent’s rhythm. When you send a lob over your opponents near the net, it forces them to move away from the non-volley zone line. Lobs are helpful defensively, these shots provide you time to reposition while the ball is in the air. But be cautious, as they can also expose you to aggressive returns from your opponent. So, to keep your game strong, mix in drives, drop shots, and dinks.
  • Dink between your opponents: A dink is a shot that happens after the ball bounces in the non-volley zone. It’s meant to go just above the net and land in the opponent’s non-volley zone. When you dink between your opponents, it keeps the ball low, they may both move toward the middle, exposing weaknesses on their sides.
  • Serve deep: You may upgrade your serve with more power and aim deep into your opponent’s court. A deep serve keeps them back, giving you extra time to get ready.
  • Take the dink out of the air: New players often wait for dinks to bounce before hitting them back, but you can change that. Your hit a dink in mid-air can surprise your opponent and mess with their timing.
  • Hit a Third Shot Drop: The third shot drop is a popular and effective pickleball strategy. It’s a soft, high shot from deep in the court, bouncing in the opponent’s non-volley zone. They can’t attack it, and you get time to move forward to the NVZ line. For best results, aim it towards your opponent’s backhand.
  • Keep Opponents Back: The kitchen line is a great scoring spot. Keep opponents away by making them move back in the court. Hit to the player at the back, forcing side-to-side movement. If they get too close, consider a lob, but be cautious not to set them up for an overhand smash.
  • Target the Opponent’s Feet: You should aim at your opponent’s feet for some advantages. It makes them use quick footwork while returning the shot. If they manage to return, they might pop it up high, setting you up for an aggressive follow-up.
  • Force Opponent to Move Behind: Making your opponent move backward is a smart move in pickleball. Lobs, cross-court dinks, or low shots to the backhand side are effective ways to do this. The harder it is for your opponent to return the ball, the less control they have, making their shots less precise and strategic.
  • Deep Return Serve: When returning serves, aim for high, deep shots. This makes it difficult for your opponent to move forward to the non-volley zone line. Keeping them back forces a higher ball, giving you an advantage.
  • Play Low: Keep the ball low whenever possible. A shot just over the net is tough to return and makes it more likely for your opponent to return with a high, defensive shot.
  • Compact Stroke: Efficiency is key on the court. A compact stroke technique makes you quicker and saves energy. Keep your strokes short by minimizing backswing and follow-through. Think of your follow-through as ‘tossing’ or ‘pushing’ the ball instead of smacking it.
  • Follow your Partner: In a Pickleball doubles match, teamwork is key to winning the game. Stay in sync with your partner, keeping a consistent distance apart. Moving together is important to avoid exposing weaknesses. If one stays in the ready position and the other moves towards the sideline, it creates a gap for opponents to target.
  • Patience: As your skill grows in pickleball, remember it’s a game of strategy and precision. Avoid simple mistakes; instead, outplay opponents with patience and technique. You can control the rally’s momentum, keep opponents moving, and aim shots strategically. Hence, you may wait for scoring opportunities before making your move.

follow your partner

Differences between Pickleball Doubles and Singles Strategies

  • Court Coverage
  • Doubles: Players cover less territory, making it easier to reach the ball.
  • Singles: More challenging court coverage, requiring strategic shots to move opponents.

Read More: Doubles Pickleball Strategy

  • Serving
  • Doubles: Vary serves and placements for more flexibility.
  • Singles: Emphasize big, deep serve to the baseline.
Pickleball Sport Strategies
  • Hitting
  • Doubles: Focus on varying shot selection, hitting to different angles, exploiting opponents’ weaknesses.
  • Singles: Aim to hit shots away from opponents and keep them moving.

Learn More: Pickleball Strategy Singles

  • Return-of-Serve
  • Doubles: Hit returns between opponents for confusion and momentum disruption.
  • Singles: Players must go for deep return shots for better reaction time.
  • Middle shots are effective in doubles, while singles benefit from sideline and corner shots.

How does Pickleball Strategy Matter for Beginners?

3 Pickleball Strategies For Beginners

If you’re a beginner and want to play a smarter match, then you need to follow the Pickleball strategy to win. However, the new players make some unforced errors, including losing rallies. They need to learn more about the strategies than an experienced player.

Why it’s essential to know the Pickleball Strategy for beginners?

To take your pickleball gameplay to the next level, you take a step towards a good sense of strategies. Those players who are just focused on the Pickleball rules might lose the game by making simple mistakes. Therefore, they must learn strategic shot placement, superior footwork, and opponents’ smart shot selection. These deep concepts can be cleared via the Pickleball strategy. 

There are three foremost strategies for Pickleball beginning players:

Monitor the ball
Foot Positioning
Paddle in the front
  • Monitor the ball: Keep your focus on the pickleball. Beginners sometimes look at the ground or their opponents’ feet, but staying locked onto the ball helps you track its path better. This approach makes you capable of missing fewer shots.
  • Foot Positioning during the Hitting: Set your feet firmly for better control and power when hitting a shot. Be mindful of your body’s movement and position. Move with control and steadiness to stay balanced and transition efficiently to your next position.
  • Paddle in the front: Keep the ball in front for better control. Beginners often follow the ball with their arms and flick their wrists, losing control. Instead, keep the ball, paddle, and contact point in front of you. Train yourself to do this for an instant improvement in your game.

Common Mistakes in Pickleball Sport for Beginners

Beginner pickleball players often make certain mistakes that are quite common. Let’s examine our beginner couple:

  • Using an Incompatible Paddle

Most beginners go for a cheap paddle and other playing equipment. Your paddle should match your style, hand size, and preferred weight. Consider materials, core thickness, and sweet spot size. So you must research to find the perfect pickleball paddle for you.

View More: Where to Buy Pickleball Paddles

  • Stay in ‘No-Man’s-Land’

This area, between the kitchen line and baseline, hinders effective play. Avoid lingering there and use it only as you move towards the net or baseline

  • Hit Every Shot Hard

While powerful drives are handy, it’s essential to mix up your shots. Outplay your opponent with a variety of strategic shot choices and different paces.


The most significant points are utilizing different Pickleball strategies, body positioning, outplaying your opponents and shooting accuracy.

“10 Second Rule” states when the scorecard is announced, the server player has only 10 seconds to serve. If he takes more time than 10 seconds, it’ll consider his fault. Well, this rule aims to make consistent gameplay. 

Ask 10 pickleball coaches about crucial skills. Get diverse answers. Revise your rules. Our recommendation: The key skill is keeping the ball in front, and paddle ahead of your body. Fundamental for beginners in pickleball strategy.

Final Thoughts

You learn the three major rules of Pickleball Strategy and how you can win your game by applying these tips. Hence, by following these simple strategies, you can level up your expertise in the gameplay. Once you start your gameplay strategically, the game complexity will be eliminated and look more entertaining. You will even enjoy the competitive tournaments of Pickleball.

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