Pickleball—a popular paddle sport combining elements of badminton, tennis, and table tennis—is as much about understanding your opponents as it is about skill. While mastering specific moves like the middle drop shot can come in handy for keeping the ball in play, there are also some key strategies you can leverage to challenge your opponents—no matter your skill level. Discover some practical tips for improving your game below.
3 Strategies You Can Use in Pickleball Doubles
1. Get Your Serve in Play
First, when it’s your serve, start by getting the ball in play. Unless you’re an exceptionally proficient player, it’s better not to overthink the serve. If possible, aim for a spot where your opponents will be forced to move—the deeper, the better. Above all else, don’t give the other side extra time to prepare by hesitating on your serve.
2. Return the Ball to Center
If you can, place the ball close to the center upon the serve return. Doing so can put your opponents out of their comfort zone: one of them will certainly have to move for it, and the hesitation spurred by determining who will do so could cause them to miss the shot entirely. Don’t hit a short return, and keep the other time back. Especially skilled players may be able to return the ball in a way that it bounces just before the baseline, setting the other side up for a shot that’s tricky to hit.
3. Watch Your Opponents
After watching your opponents, it will be fairly easy for you to pick up on their weaknesses. They’ll often indicate where they’ll hit the ball in advance with their paddle position, so be prepared to cover corresponding areas. Watch how they react to your shots, too. If they rarely hit a backhand shot, it’s a key vulnerability, which you could incorporate into your play strategy.
If you live in the Beavercreek, OH, area and you’re seeking a place where you can play pickleball, turn to Beavercreek Clay Courts Tennis Club. Welcoming pickleball and tennis players of all ages, this club has five clay courts for tennis and three for pickleball. They are open for five months of the year, starting in May. Find out how to renew or sign up for a membership online, and call (937) 956-8864 with any questions.