Play Smart Pickleball!
Get your team to the net ASAP!
The team at the net has a huge advantage over the team in the back court so keep your opponent in back as long as possible. Hit deep shots into their back-court. Try to keep them at the baseline and prevent them from advancing to the net.
Improve your Pickleball Serve:
This sounds obvious, but make sure your serve gets inside the service box. Concentrate on getting the ball over the net rather than trying to ace it.
Aim for the center of the service box. When you are serving, your partner should be at at the non-volley (kitchen) with their toes just a few inches back from the line and in “ready position”.
The Return of Serve:
Avoid return of serve faults. Again, this sounds too simple but that is the idea. Keep it simple, avoid unforced errors and keep pushing the opponents back. Aim for the middle of the service area. Get the return over the net and longer is better, keep your opponents back at their baseline.
Beginner Tip: Do not attempt a short drop shot. Unless you are an advanced player with a killer drop shot, trying this shot will more often put the other team at the advantage. You’ll pay dearly for a weakly played drop shot.
Immediately after the return of serve –charge up to the No Volley Zone (NVZ) and be ready for next shot. Don’t Hang Back on Defense, you need to try to take control of the net before your opponents do.
Play smarter, NOT harder.
Don’t leave hole in the middle between you and your teammate, that gap is an easy target for your opponents. Move with your partner from left to right (imagine you have an 8 foot piece of rope connecting you to your partner and move in sync to cover all of the court.) Constantly re-position in close coordination with your partner.
Communication is key! Mine, Yours, “NO” (if ball going out of bounds). Good teams talk to each other out loud throughout the entire game.
3rd Shot: Ideally a drop shot into NVZ (“Kitchen”). Serve to opponents backhand. For beginners, if you can’t execute drop shot, hit low and hard down the middle. Advance to the net. If your opponents don’t make it to the NVZ- hit at their feet!
Unless they are standing right up to the kitchen line, you should see a gap at their feet, this is a perfect target, they’ll have a harder time returning balls hit at their feet. Protect yourself from this weakness by keeping your toes at the NVZ line, don’t give them the chance to hit at your feet.
Take advantage if opponent is caught in No Man’s Land. Again, hit at their feet whenever possible, at their backhand if possible.If your opponents are fast and at the net already- DINK. Let them commit error, do not give them a smashable shot. Keep them short they can’t hit down…patience is key…resist hitting high shot.
For a full look at Pickleball Doubles Strategy check out this detailed video by Joe Baker with other very useful tips. Keep it simple and follow this advice and you should quickly see your game improve!
If you like the video, you should check out Joe’s book: At the Line Pickleball: The Winning Doubles Pickleball Strategy.
We review the book, along with other top selling pickleball books here that you may find useful to improve your game.