Pickleball’s Best Winning Strategies


Once you learn the basics of pickleball, you’ll need to start considering strategies to improve your chances of beating your opponent. Pickleball is as much a mental game as it is a physical game.

Regardless of whether you’re playing singles or doubles, these tips will help you win the mental side of the game to become a better player.

Winning Strategies for Pickleball

Find creative ways to outsmart your opponent on the court with these winning pickleball strategies.

1. Serve Deep

Pickleball uses underhand serves. You should practice your serves regularly to master precision accuracy for where the ball will land. When planning where your serve will land, aim for the deep side of the court.

This technique ensures your opponent must hit the ball backhanded, which is more difficult. Study your opponent before your serve to place the ball on their non-dominant side. Putting the ball at the backside of the court means that your opponent has to hustle to get back to mid-court, which opens up room for you to hit the ball closer to the net while your opponent is farther back.

The challenge of serving deep is you risk the ball going out of bounds. That’s why practicing your serve is essential for this strategy.

2. Return Serves Deep

When your opponent serves, plan to return the ball deep to the opponent’s non-dominant side. Returning the ball to this location will also make it more challenging for your opponent to drive their third shot. This also gives you and your partner more time to react to a driving shot.

Avoid hitting the ball out of bounds by giving yourself some margin for error. When hitting balls to the back of the court, imagine the court is slightly smaller than it really is to target several inches away from the line. An out-of-bounds shot is an easy point for your opponent.

3. Bend Your Knees

It might sound and look a little silly, but standing with your knees bent and your body lower will help you hit lower balls with greater accuracy and will help you pivot and move quickly to respond to balls that are outside your reach. Your legs are your most powerful muscles. By starting low, you enable yourself to spring off your legs to increase the speed and accuracy of your hits.

4. Eye on the Ball

You’ve heard it your whole life since the days you learned to play catch or engaged in your first elementary school sport: eye on the ball. At this point, you might be tuning the recommendation out. But not so fast!

When you’re hitting the ball, watch it hit your paddle. Don’t get so focused on where you’re hitting the ball or what your opponents are doing that you get distracted and miss the ball or hit it with the edge of your paddle, which will affect its trajectory.

5. Reset Your Stance After Every Hit

After returning the ball to your opponent, you might think you have a few seconds to rest. Don’t get lulled into that. Instead, immediately reset your stance with your paddle up and ready. Resetting your stance includes:

  • Standing with feet shoulder-width apart
  • A gentle bend in your knees that helps place more weight on the balls of your feet
  • Paddle facing out at 10 or 11 o’clock for righties and 1 or 2 o’clock for lefties so that the paddle head is slightly tilted instead of up and down

6. Play to Your Strengths

You know what types of hits you’re best at. For example, some players are great drivers. Others are better skilled at the soft game.

The other side of this is playing to your opponent’s weaknesses, but that isn’t as easy as playing to your strengths because it might require awkward or otherwise unnatural play based on your skill set.

7. Keep the Ball Low

Low balls prevent your opponent from going on the offensive and hitting an aggressive shot. The challenge with low balls is that they can sometimes fail to make it over the net.

Practice makes perfect when it comes to effective low balls and ensuring they have enough height to make it to the other side without giving your opponent the strategic advantage.

Gearing Up for the Sport

Being comfortable with your gear will also help you play your best and allow you to be more strategic in your play.

Play It Again Sports ~ Brentwood & Hendersonville are your pickleball headquarters! From paddles to balls to nets, they carry everything you need to play! And, they will buy your pickleball gear that you no longer use or if you want to upgrade. Bring your pickleball gear in for CASH or trade them in toward your next pickleball or sports purchase.

And from June 1 – 18, 2023, you can save 10% off* pickleball gear & equipment. Hurry in to improve your pickleball game or get started in the sport!

*Sale cannot be combined with any other sale, discount, promotion or 5 Star points or promotion.

Play It Again Sports ~ Brentwood
1701 Mallory Lane, Suite 350
Brentwood, TN 37027
[email protected]
Hours: Monday – Friday: 10 – 8; Saturday: 10 – 6; Sunday: 12 – 5

Play It Again Sports ~ Hendersonville
201 North Anderson Lane, Suite 300
Hendersonville, TN 37075
[email protected]
Hours: Monday – Friday: 10 – 8; Saturday: 10 – 6; Sunday: 12 – 5

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