15 Pickleball Tips to Improve Your Pickleball Game

How to be really good at pickleball: 15 Pickleball tips to improve your pickleball game

To improve your game in pickleball, it’s important to focus on key areas. Learning and practicing the 15 key pickleball tips can significantly enhance your performance on the pickleball court. Master the basics, for example, knowing how to serve properly and understanding the importance of positioning.

Focusing on the “kitchen line”—the non-volley zone that surrounds the net—is another significant tip, as controlling this area can provide opportunities to score. Develop suitable strategies, work on your footwork, and implement the right pace for your shots too. The tips to help vary in complexity, but they encompass all the crucial aspects of the game to aid your development into a proficient player.

How do you improve your pickleball game? 15 Pickleball Techniques and Practices

15 Pickleball Tips to Improve Your Pickleball Game

Like any game, getting better at pickleball requires learning skills and practicing regularly. There are many techniques and drills you can do to improve different aspects of your game. In this article, we will discuss 15 ways to help upgrade your pickleball skills.

Whether you want to work on your serve, returns, court coverage, or strategy, incorporating these practices into your routine is key. With consistent work, you will gain confidence and see your gameplay reach new levels. The satisfaction of honing your abilities and watching your progress is extremely rewarding.

Read on to discover 15 tips that any motivated player can apply to enhance their pickleball prowess and start dominating on the court!

1. Use Less Lobbing

Lobbing the ball high into the air can seem like a safe shot. However, it often gives your opponent time to get in a better position. When you lob the ball up, your opponent can move under it and smash it back down hard. Instead, try keeping the ball low when you hit it over the net.

Aim to just clear the net and keep it out of their reach. This more offensive, low-hitting approach applies constant pressure to your opponent. Use lobs selectively instead of defaulting to high lobs. Keeping the ball low is more likely to set you up for a winning shot.

3. Pick a Target to Become a Better Pickleball Player

When you hit the ball, pick a specific spot you want to aim for instead of just hitting it randomly. Unlike tennis, where long swings generate power on volleys, precision is key in pickleball. Visualize your target and make controlled shots to hit that backhand or forehand sweet spot. Stay focused and hit the ball accurately.

Also, don’t rush to the non-volley zone line too fast. Wait until the ball bounces before moving up. Picking strategic targets will make you a more accurate, controlled pickleball player.

4. Watch the Ball

Keep your eyes focused on the ball at all times. Watch it from the moment it leaves your opponent’s paddle through its bounce to make contact with your paddle. Tracking the ball helps you prepare to move and align your paddle properly. Don’t take your eyes off the ball!

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5. Use the Right Grip

Make sure you’re holding the paddle with the proper grip. Most players use the continental grip, which allows flexibility on forehand and backhand shots. Don’t choke up too high on the handle. Position your hand below the paddle’s midpoint for optimal control. Check your grip so it supports solid, accurate hits.

6. Get Low

Bend your knees and get in an athletic-ready position when waiting for a shot. Don’t be flat-footed. Getting low preloads your legs, so you can explode in any direction to reach the ball. Your legs will drive your movement, and being low to the ground makes you more stable. A good knee bend also gets your paddle lower to defend against low shots

7. How to get better at pickleball: Know The Rules

If you want to get better at pickleball, it’s essential to know the rules of the game inside and out. Understanding the key pickleball rules will not only help you play the game more effectively, but it will also give you a competitive edge over your opponents.

Knowing the rules will help you make better decisions on the court, improve your reaction time, and also reduce unforced errors. Many pickleball players overlook the importance of fully grasping the rules, but it can truly take your game to the next level.

Being familiar with the rules will also help you strategize and anticipate your opponent’s moves more effectively. So, take the time to study and understand the essential rules of pickleball, and you’ll see a significant improvement in your overall performance on the court. 

8. Get to the Kitchen 

In pickleball, getting to the kitchen line is crucial for a successful game. As the opponents hit the ball back and forth, getting to the kitchen line means getting closer to the net, where the action really heats up. It’s time to get strategic and start placing those delicate dinks just over the net.

This is where you’ll see the true skill of pro pickleball players as they expertly place their shots and set themselves up for a winning point. Getting to the kitchen line also means being poised and ready to intercept any quick shots from the opposing team.

It’s a game of quick reflexes and precise placement, and being in close proximity to the net is essential for mastering the art of dinking and setting up for a winning shot. So, when it’s time to get to the kitchen in pickleball, be prepared for some intense and exciting gameplay. 

9. Keep Your Opponents Back

Try to hit shots that force your opponents to move backward. When they are pushed back behind the non-volley zone line, it limits their attacking options. They can’t volley the ball out of the air and must wait for it to bounce first. If you don’t have a setup smash shot, Dink to backhand, or occasionally lob.

Use well-placed shots like drop shots to make them scramble backward. Keeping them on their heels defensive gives you control. Hitting behind them expands your ability to aim for open spaces. Master shots that relegate opponents to the backcourt.

10. Always be in a Ready Position to improve your pickleball game

Stay balanced, knees bent, and ready to move at all times. Don’t be flat-footed between shots. By staying in an athletic-ready position, you can react quicker to your opponent’s shots. Your legs will be engaged, so you can explode in any direction. Being ready puts you in a proactive stance to make plays vs. reacting late. Maintain good posture throughout the game.

11. Practice Your Third Shot Drop

The third shot drop is an effective offensive play. After the serve and return, try hitting a soft drop shot on the third shot. Let it just clear the net, forcing your opponent up. This controlled offensive shot can win points outright or put your opponent on their heels. Take time to practice the finesse, touch, and control needed for third-shot drops. It’s a key pickleball strategy to have in your repertoire.

12. Make Shot Selection Simple

If you want to improve your game in pickleball, it’s important to make shot selection simple. The best players know that simplicity is key when it comes to choosing the right shots during a match. With the right pickleball paddle and some pro tips from USA Pickleball, you can easily simplify your shot selection and see immediate improvements in your game.

Focus on the basics and choose shots that you are most comfortable and confident with. Don’t overcomplicate things by trying to pull off fancy shots that you haven’t mastered yet. Stick to what works for you and your skill level.

By keeping your shot selection simple, you can reduce errors and increase your chances of winning points during a match. So take the advice from the pros and simplify your shot selection to take your game to the next level. 

13. Keep Out of “No Man’s Land”

Try not to hit shots that land in the middle ground between the non-volley zone and baseline. This area is informally called “no man’s land” in pickleball because it leaves you stranded. Shots that bounce in this zone are hard to attack or defend.

Unless you catch your opponent off guard, avoid no man’s land. Keep shots deep or short, using the full court. Don’t get stuck choosing between moving up or back. Master placement to the corners and edges instead of the middle dead zone.

14. Progress to Deep Serves

As you progress to deep serves, it becomes essential in pickleball, especially at the professional level. Being able to serve the ball deep into the opposing court can give you a strategic advantage and put pressure on your opponents.

Deep serves not only give you more time to get into position for the next shot, but they also force your opponents to hit a weaker return, giving you the opportunity to take control of the point. Practicing deep serves can help you improve your game significantly and make you a more competitive player.

Additionally, mastering the technique of deep serves can add variety to your serving arsenal, keeping your opponents guessing and off balance. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced player, working on deep serves will undoubtedly elevate your pickleball skills to the next level. 

15. Mixing up your shots will improve your pickleball game

Don’t be predictable by doing the same shots over and over. Vary your shots to keep your opponents guessing. Mix in topspin and backspin on groundstrokes. Use different shot placement cross court, down the line, lobs, drops. Switch from forehands to backhands too. 

Changing pace and placements will disrupt their timing. An unpredictable, well-rounded offense is hard to defend. But don’t make changes randomly use shot variations strategically. Execute different shots purposefully to move your opponents out of position.


Pickleball tips for serving

If you’re looking to improve your serving in pickleball, there are a few key tips to keep in mind. First, make sure to stay in a ready position with your pickleball paddle in front of your body, allowing for quick reactions to return the ball. Additionally, working on your serving technique through pickleball lessons can help you develop a consistent and effective strategy. When serving, aim to mix up your placement and speed to keep your opponent guessing.

Utilize dinks and drop shots to throw off your opponent’s rhythm and create openings for a strong follow-up shot. Remember to stay relaxed and focused, and use your body positioning and footwork to generate power and accuracy in your serves. By following these tips, you can elevate your serving game and gain an advantage on the pickleball court. 

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Pickleball tips for beginners

Here are some pickleball tips for beginners:

  • Get proper equipment. Having the right paddle and balls suited to your skill level is important as a beginner. Talk to experienced players about the best gear for novices.
  • Learn basic rules and scoring. Understanding pickleball rules like the double bounce and non-volley zone will prevent confusion. Know the basics of game scoring as well.
  • Start with groundstrokes. Master hitting basic forehand and backhand groundstrokes before moving to volleys or overhead shots. Improve your groundstroke technique and accuracy.
  • Focus on control over power. Don’t try to smash hard right away. Develop control and placement. Keeping the ball in play is a win for a beginner.
  • Position wisely. Don’t crowd the non-volley zone early in points. Cover your quadrant of the court and communicate with your partner.
  • Have fun! Maintain a positive attitude and enjoy learning the sport. Don’t put pressure on yourself early on. Pickleball should be fun!

Following these tips will give beginners a great start on the fundamentals. Build your skills steadily over time.

Pickleball tips for intermediate players

Here are some pickleball tips for intermediate players:

  • Work on shot placement. Start aiming for corners, edges, and open spaces on the court instead of just keeping the ball in play. Use dinks, drops, lobs, and angles to move opponents.
  • Master the third-shot drop. The drop shot after the serve and return is an excellent offensive tactic to win points. Practice control and finesse on third-shot drops.
  • Increase shot variety: mix up spins, pace, placement, and stance. Don’t be predictable. Vary shots strategically to throw off timing.
  • Refine volleys: Move quickly to the NVZ and practice control volleys that set up put-away shots. Learn to punch volleys instead of blocking them back.
  • Improve court coverage: Enhance footwork, anticipation, and reaction time. Work on changing direction smoothly and explosively to extend reach.
  • Play better defence. Don’t attack everything. Work on patient exchanges using lobs, returns, and keeping the ball low. Defend the middle and force bad angles.
  • Develop strategies: Start playing more cerebrally using tactics like partner positioning, shot sequences, and exploiting weaknesses.

Sharpening these areas of your game will help intermediate players reach the next skill level. Build on the basics and add more tools do your pickleball repertoire.

Conclusion: How to be really good at pickleball?

In conclusion, improving your pickleball game is a continuous journey that requires dedication and practice. By refining your techniques and strategies, you can enhance your performance on the court. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced player, it is important to recognize your strengths and weaknesses and work on them to become a well-rounded pickleball pro.

 Utilizing various drills and practices can help you develop your skills and improve your overall game. Additionally, seeking guidance from a pickleball coach or experienced players can provide valuable insights and feedback to further enhance your gameplay.

The sport of pickleball is constantly evolving, so staying updated with the latest techniques and practices is essential in order to elevate your game. Overall, by remaining committed and consistently working on your pickleball skills, you can continue to progress and excel in this exciting and dynamic sport. 


Here are some frequently asked questions about improving at pickleball:

How do I get better at pickleball?

Take lessons, watch videos, practice key skills like serving and returning, play often, learn tactics from experienced players, train agility and reflexes, and don’t get discouraged! Steady improvement takes time and practice.

What are 3 skills needed to play pickleball?

The 3 main skills are serving, returning serve, and volleying. Mastering these basics along with groundstrokes will provide a solid pickleball foundation.

How can I get better at pickleball by myself?

Work on serving aim and consistency, volley and groundstroke form against a backboard, and do footwork/agility drills. Solo practice hones technique but lacks real-game dynamics.

How do you dominate at pickleball?

Move well, take control with strong serves and returns, be consistent, use strategies like the third-shot drop, maintain offensive pressure, place shots deliberately, and force opponents into weaknesses.

How do you hit with more power in pickleball?

Use your lower body to drive into the shot, rotate hips and shoulders, get full arm extension, follow through toward the target, and make solid contact out in front of you. Don’t muscle shots.

What is a key strategy in pickleball?

Control the net! Take early advantage of a winning serve or return. Move quickly to volley, keeping the ball out of the air. Then be aggressive, putting volleys away, not just blocking them back.

Can I practice pickleball by myself?

Absolutely! Solo practice lets you hone serving aim, return form, volleys against a wall, and footwork. Add a ball machine later to rehearse live shots. Alone time improves skills but lacks real-game dynamics.

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