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What is a good pickle ball strategy?

Posted by Josh K on

Some people play pickle ball just for the fun of it. Others simply use it as a form of physical activity and extra cardio. And yet others perceive it as a good chance to show off their competitive spirit. Whatever your motives for playing pickleball, you probably do enjoy winning and dislike losing. Just like in any other game, you need a good strategy if you really want to rule the pickle ball court. If you’re asking yourself what is the single best pickle ball strategy, you won’t find an easy answer. The outcome of the game depends on many factors that you need to take into consideration. For example, your physical condition, your opponent’s physical condition, and the court on which you are playing. All of these can have a huge impact on your success in the game.

Playing indoors

One of the first challenges in an indoor pickle ball game is to follow the movement of the ball. Indoor courts have different wall colors and lights, as well as shiny floors, so it’s a bit harder to see the ball. Therefore, always have in mind to take a high contrast ball for an indoor game. Another thing that you should have in mind when playing on an indoor court is the dead spots issue. Try to stay away from the side walls and take the ceiling into consideration. You should also try to ignore the sound level and echoes that are common for indoor courts, so that you won’t get distracted. 

Don’t forget that indoor courts flooring makes the ball spin out and slide. It has a tendency to travel horizontally on a bounce. Indoors, the ball moves slower and bounces higher, so it’s easier to recover and return the so-called put-away shots. While it will be easier for you to return the opponent's put-away shots, don’t forget that it will be equally easy for your opponent to return yours.

Playing outdoors

The crucial things that you have to keep in mind when playing outdoors are the features of the ball. The outdoor pickle ball bounces lower and moves faster than the indoor ball because it’s heavier, harder and has smaller holes which make it less air resistant. This means that you’ll have to bend your knees so you won’t miss a shot if the ball doesn’t bounce high enough. Bending your knees is one of the basics of pickle ball, and avoiding it will cost you points when playing outdoors. You will also have to react more quickly since you won’t have as much time to make your shots. The weather conditions are another challenge when playing pickle ball outdoors. Whatever you do, you have to avoid looking directly into the sun. Merely taking a glance at it will cause problems in an effort to keep your eyes on the ball. Try to position yourself so as to hit the ball off the bounce or make a strategy for switching sides with your partner if you’re playing in doubles. Make an agreement that the balls that get lost in the sun will be taken by the person who has a better sight on the ball. 

The wind can also make a game of pickle ball really hard, especially if it changes directions frequently. There are many situations in which you just can’t anticipate where the ball will end since it’s not moving in the direction that you expected. Be careful and alert when playing in the wind. Be prepared for fast reactions so you can return the ball wherever the wind takes it. When you’re playing into the wind, hit the ball much harder than usual, and give it a light touch if the wind is at your back.

Tips for a successful pickle ball game

Although there is no single best winning pickle ball strategy, following some good tips can significantly increase your chances of winning. You should start with both a physical and psychological preparation for the game. Do some stretching and conditioning exercises and keep in mind to stay calm at all times during the game because losing your temper will lead to losing the game. Make sure you have the proper equipment for pickle ball. Have comfortable clothes and sport shoes that fit the court that you’ll play on. It’s essential to pick a good pickle ball paddle that you will feel most comfortable playing with. You should also pick a ball that suits the terrain and conditions in which you are planning to play. 

Most points in pickle ball are lost due to hitting the ball out of bounds or into the net. Therefore, master your serve and hits, and always have in mind these simple but crucial rules that will help you win a game of pickle ball.

  • Never ever miss your serve! Serve to the middle of the box and from the side, favoring a return that will get the ball straight to your forehand.
  • Do not miss the return of the opponent’s serve.
  • When serving or returning a serve make your hit slow and deep so you will have time to move to the net.
  • Any time your opponent is not up at the net, hit the ball at their feet and hit it hard, so they can’t make it to the net.
  • Try to get to the net as soon as possible. It’s best if you stand 2” behind the no-volley line. You will step in when you need to hit the ball off the bounce.
  • Never hit up! If your opponent is at the net, hit soft dink shots that will fall down once they cross the net. It will force your opponent to let the ball bounce and hit up. This is when you hit the ball hard and at their feet which will most probably get you a point.
  • Never keep your opponent’s out balls in play.
  • Do not use spin until you master it – keep the ball on the paddle to increase your accuracy. If you have a strong opponent your spin can be used against you.
  • Always return fast shots with a defensive shot instead of a low sharp angled shot.
  • If you’re playing in doubles, always let your partner take the shots that are coming to their forehand, instead of you taking them with a backhand. And yes, work on your backhand.
  • Avoid sharp angle shots and go for high percentage shots down the middle of the court.

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  • Not related to article, but, do you all have any T-shirt (all colors) with your logo printed on the left breast area?? Or hats, polo shirts, etc. If not, it would be nice if you did ( might even be promotional if combined with rackets).

    J.M. (Chuy) Pena on

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