Pickleball Done Right

1. Capture the net! This is the most critical strategy (number 2, below is a close second). Join your partner at the NVZ (no volley zone) line after returning serve.
2. Stay beside partner; move forward and back together, side by side.
3. Stay behind baseline until ‘2nd bounce’ shot is hit, then rush to NVZ line.
4. Slow down: placement trumps power. Full power serve returns may not allow adequate time to join partner at NVZ line.
5. R partner returns lobs behind L partner and vice versa; switch sides, holler ‘switch!’
6. Aim for opponents’ feet.
7. Vary serve types but avoid unforced errors.
8. Use lobs to get opponents away from NVZ line.
9. Watch opponents play, note weaknesses and lefties, share info with partner.
10. If both partners are R handed, L partner returns balls hit 8-12” to R of center.
11. Poaching is fine – if you have a good shot and partner isn’t in the way.
12. Identify weakest opponent and hit to him/her.
13. Use dink shots whenever possible.
14. Be patient, play safe, let opponents make the errors.
15. The overall best shot is deep, low and just left of center.
16. Watch opponents’ paddles and bodies to predict speed, spin and direction.
17. Spin returns are tricky: hit slower and allow more net clearance.
18. Practice. Perfect your dinks and lobs, work on weaknesses.
19. When the ball is hit to your partner, your job is watching the lines and informing your partner if the ball appears to be going out (see 4 below).
20. Watch and learn from better players; heed their helpful tips.

1. “Got it!” when either partner could take it but you have better shot.
2. “Yours!” when either partner could take it but partner has better shot.
3. “Switch!” when running back to return a lob behind your partner.
4. “No!” to alert partner that ball appears to be headed out of bounds.

Helpful Links
1. http://www.pro-litesports.com/ Click on Newsletter and Tips.
2. http://usapa.org/. Videos of national tournaments. Click on Training Room in left hand column for good tips and videos.
3. http://www.pickleballcoach.com/forums/. Coaching videos and strategies.

Mike Delaney