How To Play Pickleball Well – List Of Tips

Top Pickleball Stretches To Refine Your Game

Apart from learning the rules and the moves, it’s important to be aware of how to prepare your body for pickleball. With that in mind, this pickleball stretches guide will go over the best techniques you need to learn in order to refine your game. Explosively fun and delightfully challenging, pickleball has been steadily gaining popularity in the world over the last few decades. Without a doubt, many people enjoy the accessibility of the sport. However accessible, though, pickleball requires a certain amount of know-how.

Why It Is Important To Stretch And Warm up Before Pickleball

Before going over our list of helpful pickleball stretches and warm-up techniques, it may be worthwhile to talk about the importance of doing these simple exercises before each game. Basically, there are two main benefits to warming up and stretching before each pickleball game.

The first benefit of stretching and warming up has to do with your performance throughout the match. When you properly stretch and warm up before a game, you are preparing your body for the intense physical activity that is about to come.

As a result, your reactions will be faster and more precise. At the same time, your movements will be faster and more powerful. Furthermore, you will be able to push your muscles to their limit without risking injuries.

Speaking of injuries, the second main benefits of warming up and stretching before each game is preventing them. When your body is prepared and ready for intense action, it is less likely that you will strain a muscle during the game. As an added bonus, stretching and warming up before each pickleball game may reduce muscle soreness after the game.

1. How To Loosen Up Your Body

The first set of pickleball stretches you should perform are those designed to loosen up your body, getting it ready for what is to come. In particular, you need to focus on loosening up your muscles and joints.

First, while standing perfectly straight, stretch your arms directly above your head as if you were reaching to touch the sky. As you perform this action, you should feel a tension in your whole body. Don’t forget to raise up on the tip of your toes.

After a few times of doing this, you should be ready to perform some twists, lunges, and bends to stretch your back. Finally, move your arms around and rotate your wrists.

2. Getting Your Heart Ready

After loosening up your body, you are ready to go on to the next phase. Get your heart ready for exercise by getting your heart rate up. This will prevent sudden changes in your heart rate during the game.

As anyone with experience in sports know, altering your heart rate too suddenly may result in performance issues as well as energy depletion. A perfect way to get your heart rate up and your blood flowing is by jogging lightly for around five minutes.

3. Stretch Your Muscles Dynamically

At this point in the pickleball stretches process, the muscles in your body should be warmed up and almost ready for action. The following step is to perform a few dynamic stretches that are more specific to the game of pickleball.

The difference between static stretching and dynamic stretching is that the latter does not require you to hold the position for extended periods of time. Instead, dynamic stretching relies on big arm circles, leg kicks, body weight squats, core twists, and knees to the chest (while you are on your back). Switch from touching your toes to stretching up to the sky.

4. Refine Your Balance

Losing your balance can be a great problem during a game of pickleball. In order to prevent this issue from arising, you may refine your balance by performing specific exercises. You can do this by balancing on one leg.

At first, this may be difficult. You can hold on to something sturdy in order to begin balancing yourself. However, at some point, you should let go of the object and begin balancing by yourself. Once you have accomplished this, you should try to walk backward around the court. This will help you when you are backing up for a lob.

5. Stretch And Warm Up With Your Partner

At this point in the pickleball stretches process, your body should be ready for an intense and challenging game. However, it can be very useful to run through a few stretching and warming up exercises with your partner.

This part of the process tends to be more fun as it should incorporate the ball and rackets. Standing across the court from each other, hit the ball back and forth for a while. Additionally, try a few lobs and above-head shots.

6. Be Aware Of Your Limits

During the stretching process, you should try to listen to your body in order to be clear on what its limits are. As a result of this analysis, you will know how far you can push yourself without risking injuries and other problems.

This will allow you to make the right decision when it is time either to give up on a point or go out of your way to answer it. Remember that listening to your body and knowing your own limits will only help you improve your game in the long run.

7. Know When To Sit One Out

The final tip in this list is to know when not to play. Most injuries take place when you ignore the warnings given to you by your body. If the pickleball stretches you are performing are unusually painful, it may be a sign that you should sit the next game out.

Top Pickleball Beginner Strategies

Pickleball is a fun and challenging sport that is becoming more popular each year. With that in mind, this guide will provide a few important tips on how to play pickleball. Because they are listed in order of importance, applying them in the order they are presented will help you gradually improve your game.

9. Serve In The Middle

Although it may not be easily noticed by people who don’t know how to play pickleball, it’s a fact that the net is 2 inches lower in the middle. As a result, it’s always a good strategy to serve near this area and as close to the net as possible. Apart from being a lot more difficult for them to answer, a serve this low and well-centered may confuse opponents regarding who should go after the ball.

8. Learn How To Spin The Ball

Without a doubt, top-spinning the ball is one of the most useful techniques a pickleball player can learn. Apart from making it change direction in mid-air, this technique will cause the ball to bounce low. As a result, perplexed opponents will have a more difficult time reaching the ball, let alone answering it properly.

7. Allow The Ball To Go Out Of Bounds

Another great tip for learning how to play pickleball is refraining from hitting the ball every time it heads your way. Due to its strict line rules and the specifications of its court, pickleball is a sport that requires a great deal of precision when hitting the ball.

For that reason, it would not be rare for your opponent to hit a ball that is destined to go out of bound. In that case, simply refraining from touching the ball is the easiest and most beneficial choice. Dodge the ball whenever you are sure you can score a point without hitting it.

6. Mind Your Stance

In order to react quickly and efficiently to the hits of your opponents, it’s vital to have an appropriate stance at all times during the game. You can do that by following these tips:

Maintain your feet as far apart from each other as the width of your shoulders.

Keep your knees slightly bent.

Try to put most of your weight on the front part of your feet instead of the heels.

Maintain your shoulders and upper body as relaxed and limber as possible.

Maintain your arms out in front of you in a stand-by position.

5. Be A Moderate Slammer

In the beginning, it may be tempting to slam every ball you hit hoping that the force of the shot will be enough to overpower your opponent. However, slams may not always be the most effective way to score a point in pickleball. As a matter of fact, a precise dink or a well-placed volley may be much more effective when it comes to defeating your opponent.

4. Learn How To Dink

As previously mentioned, the type of hit that is known as a dink can provide a powerful upper hand when learning how to play pickleball. A dink is a soft, short drop shot. Typically, a dink shot comes from near the non-volley line, elevating over the net and then dropping into the opposing non-volley zone.

Even though this type of shot requires much more patience than regular slams or volleys, it has been proven to be incredibly effective as a way to slowly gain possession of the court. This slow and soft pickleball playing can be a fantastic tool against a powerful opponent as it gradually erodes their strategy. In the end, it is the combination of both power shots and soft dinks that result in the most dynamic and effective type of play.

3. Practice Your Third Shot

As its name implies, a third shot refers to the third time the ball is hit within the frame of a single point. In other words, a third shot is when, after a serve and its response, the server hits the ball again. Because it is the first hit that does not need to bounce before being answered, the third shot sets the tone and pace of the point.

In simple terms, the third shot is a transition shot that can help you get closer to the net, setting up a slow game or drawing your opponent in for a slam. As a result, during your training, you can start practicing directly for this moment only.

2. Communicate With Your Partner

No matter how good you and your partner are, if you don’t communicate properly, your team is destined to fail. To achieve a healthy communication on the court, take into account the following tips:

Call the shot: Partners that don’t communicate often go after the same shot. As a result, there will be confusion, lost points, and sometimes even injury. To avoid this, get used to calling out shots as “mine” or “yours.” This is especially important for answering mid-court shots.

Help with line calls: A great way in which you can help your partner while they are answering a ball is helping them with line calls. By taking that responsibility off their shoulders, you can help your partners focus on answering the ball to the best of their abilities.

Establish signals: If you play with the same partner for a long-enough period of time, you will probably develop body language and other types of signals. This will help you communicate in a more efficient way during the game. However, if you are not that familiar with your partner, it is always a good idea to agree on a few signals beforehand. Such prep will ensure you are on the same page during the game and avoid confusion.

1. Avoid The No Man’s Land

Anyone who knows how to play pickleball well is aware of the area commonly referred to as no man’s land. This sector is located halfway between the no-volley line and the baseline. It represents a huge disadvantage to anyone who dares to cross it. That’s because it opens all angles for your opponent to score using a dink or a well-placed volley.

Top Pickleball Offensive Strategies

At first, pickleball can be a daunting sport to play. However, it gets easier (and more fun) as you pick up moves, techniques, and strategies that make you a better player. Initially, you should only worry about learning how to perform all the beginner moves and refine your core techniques. Once you have mastered all the basics, it is time to start learning how to use your abilities in smart pre-planned ways to help you defeat your opponent. With that in mind, this guide will go over some of the most useful pickleball offensive strategies you can try the next time you step on the pickleball court.

8. Hitting Drop Volleys

Experienced pickleball players know that there are few things more aggravating than an opponent that stays away from the net at all times. In this kind of situation, one of the most advisable pickleball offensive strategies is connecting a drop volley. If you are not familiar with the slang yet, head over to our pickleball terminology guide for a quick lesson.

By performing this shot, you will have a good opportunity at catching your opponent off guard, making it very difficult for them to respond. Typically, this shot is placed near the post that is on the side of the opponent who is farther back in the court. However, you may also consider a drop volley that goes across sides (from left to right or vice-versa).

7. Offensive Lobbing

Despite being a very simple and somewhat passive shot, a lob is one of the best pickleball offensive strategies in certain situations. In particular, lobs are very useful when both your opponents are inside the non-volley zone. When you manage to connect a proper lob shot, however, it’s important to know what to do next.

If you have enough time to run back to the baseline, do it as it gives you the best chance to respond to your opponent’s overshot. However, if you don’t have the time to run back to the baseline, the best bet is to maintain your position at the net.

6. Shooting Overhead

If done correctly, hitting an overhead shot can be a quick and efficient way to win a point. However, it is important to know exactly how and when to do it. The main thing is to hit it when the ball is high enough. Additionally, when trying to take the following into account:

If possible, use the palm of your other hand to block the sun.

Maintain the face of your paddle as vertically straight as possible.

Try not to backpedal. Instead, try turning sideways and side-stepping to reach the ball.

5. Footworking

Even though it may sound very basic, the right type of footwork can be one of the most effective pickleball offensive strategies you can use. Mainly, the right kind of footwork will help you hit the ball without stepping in the non-volley zone. This will allow you to hit volleys and drop volleys without being too far away from the net.

For example, you may step into the non-volley zone with one foot, stretching to hit the ball much like a swordsman stretches to stab the enemy. Additionally, it is important to have a clear grasp on how to footwork around the court. Most of the time, side-stepping is the most effective way to do so.

4. Hitting Down The Sideline

One of the most popular strategies for winning an easy point in pickleball is hitting down the sideline. However, it’s also one of the riskiest. Place the ball a few inches too far, and you will have effectively ruined yourself. For that reason, it is only advisable to try hitting down the sideline in the following situations:

Your opponent is a poacher.

You have a solid advantage and are favored to win.

The ball is very easy to hit.

Your opponent is standing near the net covering all angles but the sideline.

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3. Hitting Low Returns

Due to its explosiveness and efficiency, the low return is one of the classic pickleball offensive strategies that is preferred by the most high-octane professional players. The basic concept behind this move is the following:

The lower you hit the ball, the higher your opponent will have to hit it back in order to keep the point going. Apart from making the shot harder to answer, a low return can be confusing to opponents. This is particularly true when the shot is placed near the middle of the court as teammates will often have doubts regarding who should answer the ball, resulting in an effortless point.

2. Anticipating Out Balls

Speaking about effortless points, one of the most energy-conserving pickleball offensive strategies available is simply anticipating out balls. In order to do this, you need to be capable of reading your opponent’s body language while calculating the odds of the ball actually going out of bounds. If it sounds difficult, it’s because it is. However, it’s a great way to get ahead while conserving energy and frustrating your opponent.

1. Poaching Effectively

Poaching is a specialized term that refers to answering a shot that goes over to your partner’s side of the court. There is a certain amount of controversy regarding this strategy. Some people consider it rude, while others expect it as a natural progression during a doubles game.

At any rate, because it increases the dynamism of the game, this move is expected during professional pickleball games. At its core, this strategy depends upon communication between you and your partner. If there is confusion regarding a poach, things can get chaotic really fast. For that reason, it’s important to develop a system of communication that will allow your team to poach effectively.

Top Pickleball Advanced Strategies

To help you improve your pickleball game, this guide will go over 5 of the best pickleball advanced strategies. Pickleball is a fun and challenging cross between tennis, table tennis, and badminton. Due to its dynamic gameplay and interesting rules, the sport has been gaining popularity among people of all ages.

5. The One-third, Two-thirds Strategy

One of the most underrated pickleball advanced strategies available is the one-third, two-thirds strategy. Basically, this strategy consists of only covering two-thirds of the court at any time.

At this point, it is easy to see why so many people are reluctant to implement this strategy: It implies leaving one-third of the court open and vulnerable. However, when implemented correctly, the one-third, two-thirds plan can be incredibly effective. In order to do it, follow these steps:

Whenever you are covering your line, your partner needs to be covering the middle. Likewise, when you are covering the center, your partner should cover their own line.

You and your partner should position yourselves between six and seven inches apart from each other.

Maintaining this distance, make sure the middle-third is always being covered.

When on the attack, get closer to your partner in order to form a wall on the second third of the court.

If your opponent goes for a low-percentage shot to the area that remains uncovered, either you or your partner should be prepared to run back and get it.

As soon as your opponent gets out of position, get back on the attack.

4. Advanced Covering Strategies

Speaking of the line and the middle of the court, one of the most important pickleball advanced strategies has to do with knowing when to cover either one. Luckily, if you know how to do it, this strategy is fairly simple.

When the opponent directly opposite you is hitting the ball, you should cover your line, leaving your partner to cover the middle. Conversely, if the opponent that is directly opposing your partner hits the ball, cover the middle and leave your partner to cover their own line.

The reason this strategy works so well is that it restricts the answering possibilities of the opposing team. In other words, your team should be effectively covering both the line and the middle at all times. This way, the only shot left to your opponent will be a low percentage cross-shot that is very difficult to pull off. It should also be mentioned that this strategy grows in importance as the ball gets closer to the outside of the court.

3. Shadowing

There are some pickleball advanced strategies that you can implement to improve the efficiency of your team’s defense. One such strategy is shadowing.

There are some instances in which your partner may have to move to the side to the court in order to answer a wide ball. In moments such as these, you may want to shadow them by moving closer to them than you normally would. Make sure you cover a portion of the space that they would normally cover. This may sound obvious, but it is only half of the strategy. The other half of it relies on what you and your teammate do next.

First of all, your teammate should hit back the ball towards the opponent that is directly in front of them. While they do this, you should be regaining your position on the other side of the court. If you do this correctly, you will cover most of the court. In the end, you’ll leave no room for your opponents to pull off a high percentage shot that would be very difficult to answer.

2. Poaching

Without a doubt, one of the most well-known pickleball advanced strategies is poaching. This term refers to the practice of a player stepping into their partner’s side of the court to return a ball. As you guessed it, under normal conditions, the ball that the poaching player returns would have to be dealt with by their teammate. However, poaching is still perfectly legal within the rules of pickleball. As a result, whether it’s correct to poach a ball is more a matter of ethics and communication between partners.

Poaching is an essential strategy that can be used to surprise and destabilize your opponent. Additionally, it can be used to fill a hole that was left by your teammate, saving an otherwise lost point. More precisely, however, it can be said that poaching is a useful strategy in two different situations.

The first situation in which poaching can be used effectively is when one player is much better than his or her partner. In competitive games, opponent teams will often try to exploit the weaknesses of a less-experienced player. When this happens, most shots will go directly to the weaker player. To prevent failing to answer those shots, the strongest player may intervene, moving over to the weaker player’s side of the court and answering the ball.

The other situation in which poaching should be used is when a pattern is revealed. As a result, it can be anticipated and beaten. Often, this involves the use of the poaching strategy. One clear example is when your partner is back at the baseline for any reason. The opponent may take advantage of this, either by shooting low balls in the non-volley zone or returning the third shot with force to keep your teammate back.

1. Spinning The Ball

The last entry in this list of pickleball advanced strategies may also be the simplest. Learning how to spin the ball can result in nightmarish shots for your opponents. Whether it is a topspin or a backspin, this kind of move will have your opponent scrambling to answer the ball.

Top Pickleball Strategies For Doubles

This pickleball strategy doubles guide will provide important information that will help elevate your game. Playing a game of pickleball doubles is incredibly fun. However, it’s also very challenging. In order to be effective, both players in a team need to have a clear vision of the strategy that will be used to, hopefully, overpower the opponents.

6. Get To The Net

Without a doubt, getting to the net as quickly as possible is a key pickleball strategy doubles. As a matter of fact, it has been calculated that around 70% of teams that get both players to the net first end up getting the point.

There are various ways in which you can get to the net first. However, one of the most efficient ways to do so is during the return of serve. By connecting a hit that is both high and deep, you will force the opposing team to let the ball bounce once before answering the shot.

Such a move will give you and your partner enough time to get to the net before the return. To the contrary, if the return of serve is short, the serving team will have an easier time beating you to the non-volley zone.

5. Third Hit Strategy

In pickleball, it is important to know what to do during the third hit. Most players that are knowledgeable in pickleball strategy doubles consider this hit to be the one that will set the tone for the rest of the point.

This is largely due to the fact that the third hit is the first one where the ball does not need to bounce before being answered. In other words, there are three ways in which you can effectively connect the third hit:

Lob the ball over your opponent’s head, aiming at the back of the court.

Hit a direct, powerful shot directly at your opponent.

Connect a soft shot that lands inside the opponent’s non-volley zone.

4. Mastering The Dinking Phase

If a point goes on for a long enough period of time, it is inevitable that both teams will get to the net. At this point, the ball will go back and forth until one team makes a mistake. This is known as the dinking phase.

The moment you find yourself in this position, planning an efficient pickleball strategy doubles can make the difference between winning and losing the point. Many expert players will simply wait until their opponent makes the mistake of returning a ball too high. When this happens, it is possible to perform a smash hit. This move will likely cause your opponent to lose the point.

3. Positioning And Coordination

Communicating with your partner before and during the game can help you coordinate your positioning better. This is important as acting as a single entity (rather than two separate people moving independently) will increase the efficiency of a team to an astounding amount.

As previously mentioned, it is desirable that both teammates get to the net as soon as possible. For that reason, both players should coordinate when it’s time to move forward. This will prevent the creation of unguarded space that their opponents are likely to use to their advantage.

2. Poaching

Without a doubt, one of the most popular pickleball strategies for doubles is poaching. Simply put, poaching is when you move over to your partner’s side of the court to intercept a ball.

This can be advantageous as it allows you to undermine your opponent’s intentions. As such, you’ll prevent your partner from making a mistake such as a soft return. Various factors are important to consider when attempting to poach, including the following:

DON’T STRETCH. MOVE

Often, inexperienced players make the mistake of trying to poach by stretching. Invariably, the result of doing this will be a weak, poorly aimed and ineffective answer that may do more harm than good.

For that reason, it’s important to position yourself properly in order to poach the ball. Effective footwork is, without a doubt, the most important tool you can use in order to achieve a correct positioning before attempting to poach.

COMMUNICATE WITH YOUR PARTNER

Poaching is a somewhat controversial pickleball strategy doubles that some players do not like to use. For that reason, it’s important to be on the same page with your partner before attempting to poach. If poaching has been approved as a possibility, it is then necessary to establish a simple system of signals.

ANTICIPATE

Anticipating the shots of your opponent is key to poach effectively. Due to it, you can begin moving to a poaching position before your opponent even hits the ball. As a result, you will get a couple of valuable extra seconds. This will allow you to get in the best position to comfortably take the shot.

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1. Stacking

Stacking is a term that refers to the strategy that sees players re-arranging their positioning on the court in order to get an edge over the opponent team. Sometimes, this strategy is also used to compensate for a weakness. Some specific situations that call for a stacking strategy are:

Users can stack right-left combinations to maintain forehands in the middle of the court at all times, preventing a hole from existing.

Teams may stack to allow a player with a particularly strong forehand or backhand to take more shots.

Often, teams will stack to cover the backhand of a weaker player.

Advanced players will often stack in order to make poaching easier and more effective.

5 Faults In Pickleball Explained

This guide will go over 5 faults in pickleball that you should take very much into account. Pickleball is a fun and challenging sport with a very particular set of rules. Learning how to play it implies becoming familiar not only with the ways in which you can win. It’s also important to become intimate with the moves that you should avoid in order not to lose.

5 faults in pickleball

5. The Receiving Team Touches The Ball Before It Hits The Court

One of the most important and essential rules of pickleball is that the ball needs to clear the net before the opposing team can answer it. Another important rule is that, after a serve, the ball needs to bounce on the opposing team’s court before they can answer it.

Players are at risk undermining both these rules whenever a member of the receiving team touches the ball after it cleared the net and before it bounced on their side of the court. As a matter of fact, in order for players to take one as a legal serve, the ball must clearly land on the court surface.

For that reason, interfering with the ball in any way before it completes both steps is clearly a fault. Whenever this happens, the receiving team is at fault. In other words, a point goes to the serving team, no questions asked.

4. Having The Ball Touch Any Permanent Object Before The Court

Out of the 5 faults in pickleball discussed in this guide, this may be the most contentious. Similarly to the last fault explained, this one happens when, during a serve, the ball touches something it is not supposed to before touching the court.

In this particular case, however, what the ball touches is not another player. Instead, this fault happens when the ball touches a permanent object or fixture before hitting the surface of the court. Typically, the objects that the ball can hit to cause this type of fault are things like the ceiling, light fixtures, basketball rims or other gym equipment. For that reason, this fault is most likely to take place when the pickleball game takes place indoors rather than outdoors.

3. Volleying The Ball In The Non-volley Zone

Without a doubt, volleying the ball in the non-volley zone is the most common of all the 5 faults in pickleball described in this guide. As the name clearly describes, this fault takes place whenever a player hits a volley hit while his or her feet are on the non-volley zone of the court.

To be clear, a volley shot is what happens when a player hits a ball before it has bounced once on their side of the court. After each serve, the ball needs to bounce once on each side of the court before it can be volleyed. After that, the volley shot becomes legal.

However, it can only be performed when the player is not standing in the non-volley zone of the court. Nonetheless, this fault is not limited to the player’s feet. If anything the player is wearing or carrying touches the non-volley zone while performing a volley shot, others are safe to call the fault.

2. Volleying The Ball Before It Is Allowed

Quite simply, this type of fault is referred to as breaking the two-bounce rule. As was just mentioned in this guide of the most common 5 faults in pickleball, there are some conditions that need to be met for a player to produce a volley shot legally.

First of all, everyone has to be standing outside the non-volley zone of the court. Secondly, any player that attempts to hit a volley shot needs to wait until the right time comes for him or her to do so. This time arrives when the ball has bounced at least once on each side of the court after a serve.

If a player hits a volley shot before this has happened, he or she is considered to be at fault. As a result, either the serving team gets a point, or the point is lost and the ball goes to the other team for serving.

1. The Wrong Team Member Making Or Returning A Serve

The last of the 5 faults in pickleball described in this article has to do with failing to enact the correct service sequence during a point. The rules of pickleball clearly state the order in which the players on a team should serve or answer serves.

During the first hits of every point, each of the two teams has to take responsibility for the positioning of its teammates as well as the order in which they answer balls. As a result, a fault ensues whenever the wrong player in a team serves the ball.

As if that wasn’t enough, a fault is also called whenever the wrong player in a team answers a serve. In the first case, the serve is lost and it goes to the other team (an action that is also referred to as a side-out). In the second case, however, the fault results in the loss of the point for the team that made the mistake.

Often, it happens that various rallies unravel (and teams earn points) before players recognize a mistake of this kind. However, it is not possible to call out the mistakes made by a team before the last rally. If an error of this type is called out, a fault is given to the offending team regardless of who won the last rally.

At that point, the players on both teams should re-position themselves and regain the correct hitting order. All the prior rallies and points remain just as they were.

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