By Barry Ford
Sun City Grand Pickleball Club
The purpose of this article is to share with you the winning strategies that have helped me win in the game of Pickleball. I’m sure that there are many other approaches but these techniques seemed to work for me and perhaps may work for you as well. It is not intended to be a comprehensive tutorial on how to play the game.
How many times have you heard “just get the ball into the court”? Well, they’re right. Forget the spins and trick shots unless you’re very proficient. Instead focus on just getting the ball in play. Make them move if possible. If your opponent has a weak back hand then exploit that weakness, but always, always just get your serve in and preferably the deeper the better!
Returning the ball to the center is always good because it makes your opponents move and guess who’s going to hit the ball. If at all possible return the ball so it bounces within a foot of the baseline. Never hit a short return! Keep them back and follow your return to the net.
The Third Shot
In my opinion, the game really starts with the third shot. I believe the player returning the service return has five shot opportunities each with its own complexity, level of difficulty and benefits. They all have an advantage depending upon the level of skill of your opponent. Choose wisely.
“Down the Line”
A low probability of success and it’s the high point of the net.
“Drilling the net person”
Test your competition and you may just surprise them. Again, a low probability of success with higher skill level players.
I don’t recommend this shot with higher skill level players However, it works as a nice surprise shot. I would only use it when I’m significantly ahead in points. It’s a defensive shot and you need to be on the offense.
“Middle Drop Shot”
A low shot over the net and into the middle of the court. I would use this shot most of the time. If successful, follow it up to the net. Your partner should watch the return as well and, if it’s good, follow you up to the net and be ready for net play. He or she should not just run up to the net without watching the return. Always work your way up to the net together.
“Side Drop Shot”
A very tough shot to achieve—- but effective! You’re hitting the ball from the service return to the backhand side of your opponent where it just drops over the net. You’ll both need to follow it up to the net together to be successful.