A lot of new players are coming to the pickleball sport due to its immense popularity and easy-going playability. Playing pickleball is a lot of fun. It is a fast game to pick up easily, but becoming a master is an enduring time.
Like other racquet sports, pickleball has its own rules. But just knowing the rules and other important things won’t help you be a better player in this game. You have no option but to learn different techniques to uplift your skills over time.
That’s why we have come up with some effective pickleball tips for beginner players to enrich their playability by implementing these techniques. Let’s start out!
Warm-Up Yourself Before Every Play Session
Regardless of any engaging sport you play, warming up yourself is necessary. Just because a pickleball game is easy to play doesn’t mean you don’t need to warm up yourself.
Slightly exercising your whole body will reduce the risk of injury and muscle tension. More importantly, it will ensure increased blood flow, which will boost your pickleball performance by preparing your body for the gameplay.
Never think this is only applicable for beginners. Even intermediate and pro players always warm up themselves to make their bodies ready for the gameplay.
Give More Priority To Accuracy Over Power When Serving
Have you recently come to a pickleball game from a tennis background? If yes, you may have a habit of playing hard-hitting, powerful shots for serve.
It is true that hitting a powerful serve will reduce the risk of missing the ball for tennis. But it doesn’t go with pickleball.
A new pickleball player should focus on serving the ball over the net and avoid hitting the ball out of the service box. You should try maintaining accuracy and consistency while serving or serving back the ball.
Serving is important for pickleball because it will determine whether you will be able to play the next shot or not.
A wrong serve will lead to losing the chance of winning a point. Thus, fewer errors on serve will give more advantage on winning points.
Read Your Opponent Minds On How Will React
Your pickleball skills alone will not help you win the game if your opponent plays better than you. But reading your opponent’s mind can help you better learn how he will react for the next game.
It is not an easy job, though. You will take at least several serving sessions to figure out his playing habit. Try playing various pickleball shots from different court spots to know how he reacts to a particular shot.
If he responds the same way for the same shot every time, you should surprise him by playing a completely different shot that he is not expecting to have.
Always Ready To Come to Close The Net
The competition of a pickleball game mainly depends on rallies. Controlling rallies will be hard if you stay too far from the net. That’s why it is a solid rule of thumb to come close to the net after serving the ball instantly.
You should not have any problem rushing to the net area because there are a few milliseconds/seconds time gaps to reach the rival player and hit back the served ball.
But you have first to determine whether your rival player will hit the ball deeply or close to the net. If he gives a deep return, staying in the middle of the court is better to hit the ball easily. Otherwise, you will struggle to hit the ball since you are standing too close to the net.
Don’t Come To The Kitchen Zone
Make sure you keep yourself away from the non-volley zone. Don’t think it’s just a rule to stay out of the kitchen area.
Instead, staying inside the non-volley zone will prevent you play a volley shot. This will give your rival player better control for the particular rally.
You should maintain a small distance from the kitchen line to yourself. This will give you better playability in various shots, especially for the third shot drop.
Aim At Keeping The Rival Player At The Baseline
Apart from keeping yourself close to the net, don’t let your rival player rush to the net often. Whenever you have the opportunity, aim at hitting deep shots so that the rival player is busy returning shots from the baseline area.
In addition, you can also practice hitting the ball in the middle of the court. This will confuse your opponent about whether to rush to the net or come to the baseline area.
Play Long And Hard Shots When Necessary
When returning a serve, you should focus on tricking your rival player by putting him in a difficult situation.
For example, if your opponent expects a volley shot close to the net area, you should return the serve with a long and hard shot.
This will prevent him from returning an accurate shot. The reason is that he will have a reduced time to react to the ball, or the ball will be too fast to respond as he is standing close to the net.
Try Aiming At The Backhand Of The Rival Player
As a beginner, consistently playing is a good rule of thumb. But that doesn’t mean you should stick with the same old habit. Making some adjustments is necessary to uplift your playability and gain points in matches.
When hitting a return, you should focus on the backhand of your rival player instead of the forehand. Though this slight adjustment might not appear as a stonker, its outcome will benefit you for sure.
Now, you may ask what the benefit of doing this is. The reason is that players take some to get used to the strong forehand and the backhand.
Thus, they will be in an uncomfortable situation to hit back the ball precisely, and you will be able to earn more points till such time.
Instead Of Hitting Winners, Play Smart Rallies
Regardless of the racquet sport you love, we all are fond of hitting winners. But pickleball is not a game where you will only show power. After all, impressive delicacy and skill are more important for a racquet sport like pickleball.
Many beginners and even intermediate players think powerful shots will help them gain points when playing rallies. Unfortunately, the ball often hits the net or move out of the court.
That’s why a beginner should aim at hitting smart rallies to trick the rival player. Your main focus should be not missing the ball. And misleadingly hit the ball, so the opponent struggles to return the ball comfortably.
If you continue playing hard or deep shots, your opponent will lure you for that, and you will be more likely to make unforced errors. Making early errors will give your rival player more advantages for winning the match.
Focus More On The Drop Shots
One of the most popular shots is the drop shot in pickleball, and many beginners often try imitating the playing technique of pros to play drop shots. However, it is an easy-peasy job to implement this shot during the matches.
It is hard to play this shot perfectly unless you practice a lot. After all, it is more associated with control. Your position is important too. Keeping yourself away from the non-volley zone but close to the net is essential when playing this shot.
Thus, you can’t implement this shot in all situations. Knowing the right time to play this shot is crucial. Otherwise, you won’t be very effective. That’s why you have to practice a lot during the training to master this shot.
Play Drop Shots During The Game
Now, you might wonder why we are mentioning the same drop shot, which we have already discussed in the previous point.
The reason is that when you have already played enough training sessions to master drop shots, it is better to implement this shot.
Though newbies will struggle to play drop shots, it is one of the most effective shots for pickleball.
However, even after practicing a lot, many beginners are often unwilling to play this shot due to a lack of confidence. Sometimes, they don’t utilize this shot for a single time.
So, what is the solution, right? The best approach is implementing the shot when you can naturally hit it during the training session.
You may make some mistakes during the matches due to a lack of accuracy. After all, the scenario for training sessions and on-live matches are not fully the same.
However, repeated mistakes will give you a better idea to adjust the shot accuracy and help you figure out easily what mistakes you are making.
Once you learned the right way of playing drop shots in various critical situations, consistently play the shot on and off the court. Uplift your skills by practicing more often.
Evaluate Your Rival Player Weakness
Though it seems awkward for beginners, knowing your rival player’s weakness can help you play the game more effectively.
Initially, you should start playing with similar skill-level players. This allows you to learn in which shots the opponent plays better and in which one does not.
You will be able to gain more winning points by playing through shots for the opponents. However, it will take some time to learn his strengths and weaknesses.
You may need to play several days with him if he realizes that you are tracking his play style. But once you figure it out, it is easy to implement your technique.
Learn The “Dink” Shot
It is not possible for the rival player to land into the non-volley zone when the ball is in the air.
However, trickily hitting the ball over the net will force the opponent close to the kitchen area. And he will have to return the ball with a bounce in an upward motion of the paddle.
When you perfectly play a dink shot at the right spot, the opponent will struggle to return it with a deep shot.
Now, how to play a decent dink? Using a proper stroke and loosely holding the paddle handle will help you play a good dink. But make sure you keep your hand in a full arm motion while hitting the ball.
Aim At The Rival Player Positioning
Regardless of the playing conditions, most pickleball players either stay at the kitchen line or on the baseline. However, a spot exists between these places, often called the “No Man’s Land.”
We generally play deep shots while standing on the baseline and soft shots while standing on the kitchen line. If a player is not in either of these two places, you will struggle to return the ball precisely. Unfortunately, beginners often make this mistake.
As a beginner, you should track your rival player positioning. Once they come in poor positioning, you will instantly utilize the situation to win more points.
For instance, if your rival player positioning is at the baseline for the most shots, you will get most shots below your waist level when the ball gets one bounce. However, you will get a volley shot when your position is in the non-volley zone.
But standing in the No Man’s land will allow your rival player to play more tough shots and win over you. Generally, they won’t struggle to return the ball that comes close to their feet.
However, you will find it difficult to hit back that particular shot. Even if you return the shot somehow, it won’t be very accurate. Most probably, a loopy return!
Additionally, if your rival player is standing in the No Man’s land while playing cross-court dink, he will struggle to return the ball in angle. Hence, tracking your rival player positioning will help you grab the opportunity when the chance comes.
Practice Playing The Soft Game
Shots that come naturally from your paddle give you more convenience to improve your gameplay. As a newbie, your job is getting used to various shots.
Since newbies are less likely to play dinks and volleys at the beginning stage, they should practice developing soft touches and rely on the power game.
However, make sure your soft touches are consistent that go over the net within the court surface. Playing soft games are more effective against beginner opponents since they are likely to make mistakes.
Even if your rival player is playing hard stroke shots, soft shots can play a key role in controlling opponent overpower. Your focus will be on neutralizing the hard shots and controlling the ball more efficiently.
Include Spin To The Pickleball Shots
Poor positioning and extravagant shots are the two common mistakes most beginners make. Spinning the ball is one of the most practical methods to cope with this issue.
However, it takes a lot of practice to spin the ball, and recreational players mostly face difficulty. After all, you have first to determine the spin direction and to what extent the spin will be effective.
Learning and taking the ball pace is not simple that anyone can master. Also, dealing with the spin power, intensity, and direction is important. Many players know about it but fail to implement it during the gameplay.
However, once you learn the effective way to spin the ball, you can easily earn points. This approach is more practical when your rival player is a recreational player.
Drain Your Opponent Energy
Regardless of your sport, energy is important to stay active throughout the play session. Dominating for the first few shots and then can’t even reach the ball is not something an experienced player will do.
Sometimes, you may have a chance to end a serve with a quick shot. Instead of terminating the serve, you should lure your opponent into reaching the ball as much as he can.
This will drain his energy. He may hit the ball for the first few shots but won’t play better later as effectively as he is doing now. He won’t have sufficient energy to hit the back ball properly.
It is not something uncommon among many advanced players. If your opponent tries to implement this technique, you should not fall for it.
Aim at playing in a relaxed manner without being too excited. Maintain consistent rallies and avoid missing the shot.
Lure The Rival Player With High Lobs
If your opponent is a beginner, try luring him with high lobs. Inspect how excited he is to return the ball and see whether his return is good or not.
When the rival player is more tempted to deal with high lobs, he may end up hitting up the ball either directly on the net or out of the court. You should figure out your comfortable situation to lure him and earn some good points.
When it comes to uplifting your skills, practice is a must. But blindly practicing on the training session won’t give much effective result when playing against smart players. You have to implement different techniques to win over opponents.
Hopefully, our above-mentioned pickleball tips for beginner players will help you improve your pickleball skills and dominate over opponents.