Learning the basic technique is essential when you’re in the beginning stage of pickleball sport. But over time, you’ve become an intermediate player, and you need to implement more crucial pickleball tips to uplift your skill level.
Obviously, your performance will determine how good you’re on the pickleball court. But knowing various game-winning tips allows you to dominate over opponents in the game.
In this post, we’ll share some practical pickleball tips for intermediate players to instantly improve their pickleball game. Let’s dive!
18 Pickleball Tips For Intermediate Players
So, you have already learned how to play pickleball. But how about making your pickleball performance more advanced? Here’re 18 pickleball tips for mid-level players who always thrive in improving their gameplay.
Also, we recommend you use a good paddle. You can read our pickleball paddles for intermediate players article which can be helpful for you.
1. Don’t hit the ball to the net that is served or returned
Some intermediate players make mistakes while serving or returning the served ball to the net. This is a beginner-level mistake. You should always play the first two shots naturally without hitting the net or flying out of bounds.
2. Serve and Return the Serve Ball Deeply
Managing to keep your opponent from close to the net gives you more opportunities to win small points. This is especially possible when you hit the serve or hit back the served ball deeply.
While serving the ball, your primary focus should be keeping the competitor away from the net as much as possible. This is a crucial strategy for mid-level players.
You can also implement this strategy while returning the served ball. Since you have an opportunity to stay in the no-volley zone line before the opponent, you can make an approach that makes the opponent struggle to reach the kitchen line.
All you have to do is hit a baseline hugging return of serving deeply. So, the more time you manage to keep your opponent away from the net, the more advantage you’ll have. Deeply hitting the first two shots is a good rule of thumb.
3. Concrete and Track Down the Score
Does this appear chucklesome? Maybe! But Tracking down your current score helps you to realize the current condition of the game. Knowing who is for the next serve and the current score grabs your more attention for the match. Apart from advanced players, intermediate players should practice this approach.
However, if you’re only a recreational player whose main objective is to get fun from the game, you don’t need to implement this strategy. You can play wholeheartedly without worrying about the score and match condition.
But if you have a plan to become a professional player or want to become an advanced pickleball player, implementing this approach will give you some extra benefits such as a high level of focus, being more knowledgeable about the match, etc.
4. Always Engage in Movements
Since pickleball is an engaging game, you can’t stay in a steady position, not at least as an intermediate player. You’ve always to prepare yourself to hit the ball from a particular direction and angle.
Be a dynamic player, not a static player in pickleball games. Being a static player means you hit the ball lately, at least after a few milliseconds.
Keeping your body, eyes, hands, and paddle in a movement position makes you more active toward hitting the ball.
On the contrary, when you keep your body and feet in a stable position without any movement, you won’t get the optimum position to hit the ball. This makes you static. Thus, winning more points requires being more an active and dynamic player.
5. Keep Yourself in the “Pickleball Ready” Position
Wondering about the “Pickleball Ready” position? When you keep your pickleball paddle straight to the net direction and toward your chest center, it’s called the “Pickleball Ready” position. Intermediate players apply this strategy when they’re actively hitting the ball.
This ready position allows you to attack the opponent more effectively, whether you want to play a forehand or a backhand. By keeping your paddle in a center and upward position, you achieve the best position to hit the ball.
Some people may prefer to upward the pickleball position just before the ball comes. It may appear easy but hard to implement. You can compare playing shots between a ready position and an unready position.
6. Keep the Paddle Close to the Ball
You think you become champion after keeping your paddle in the ready position? NO! You have to practice tracking the ball with the racquet.
Keep the paddle close to the ball where it goes in any direction. You should think there’s a magnetic connection between the ball and your pickleball paddle.
Even if you’re not hitting the ball as much as your teammate, you should still track the ball and its pathways. Plus, this strategy makes you a more active player as you’re always ready to hit the ball at the right moment.
7. Be Cautious Before Hitting the Ball
As an intermediate player, you can’t hit the ball anonymously without determining where it should go. Your primary objective should not be only passing the ball over the net like a beginner.
You’ve first to understand your opponent’s mind and plan to hit a tricky shot that works best in that condition to dominate over them. Additionally, learning your own mind is important. Your focus should be playing a better shot than the previous shot. Only this way can you uplift your pickleball performance.
But it’s not an easy job to play your planned shot, especially when your opponent is an advanced or experienced player. But you’ve still opportunities to dominate over them.
For example, when playing against an aggressive hitter, you can hit soft, low dinks in the middle of the court to set him up. Hence, you’ve to implement shots based on your opponent’s playing style, playing condition, and position.
8. Trick Opponents to Play Backhand Shots
Pickleball game works immensely well with forehand shots. That’s why most intermediate players play a better forehand shot over backhand shots.
To win over opponents, you’ve to limit your competitor to play forehand shots as much as possible. You can achieve this strategy by forcing him to play backhand shots known as weaker shots.
This approach is more beneficial when your opponent is more expert than you. So regardless of the type of shot your opponent serves, you should always try to aim at the opponent’s backhand. Implementing this strategy even in the third shot is possible.
You’ll have more advantage if your opponent is a mid-level player. So, when your opponent is struggling to hit back the difficult shot, you can implement a forehand shot instantly and earn more points.
9. Hit at Your Opponent Feet
As a standard practice of the pickleball game, pickleball players keep their paddle in an upward direction. Hitting the ball at the opponent’s feet makes it difficult to return. You can implement this approach while playing a soft dinking shot or other pickleball shots.
But this intermediate-level pickleball tip is more beneficial when you’re standing close to the net. Why? Because players don’t have any choice but to back up the shot weakly when the ball is hit at their feet.
10. Focus On the Less Skilled Player
When playing doubles, a weaker opponent doesn’t play as effectively as his partner. So, hitting the ball toward the less skilled player allows you to dominate the match more. After all, he/she won’t return the ball as effectively as his partner would do.
Though many people think it’s an unfair approach, many professional and advanced players implement this approach regardless of their gender. Thus, you should give the ball more towards the less skilled play to win more points.
11. Get To the Non-Volley Line
Sometimes, you may not get your desired results after consistently playing backhand groundstrokes and crosscourt forehand shots. In such a case, getting into the kitchen zone line often is a general rule of thumb.
You can start moving up to the kitchen zone line by playing a drop shot in the third shot. Make sure you learn the right way to play drop shot. After coming to the line, keeping yourself in the ready position is crucial.
Try playing low shots. Figure out your opponent’s weakness. You should also focus on the angle you’re keeping the paddle while hitting the ball in a particular direction.
12. Hit To The Opponent That Is Further Back
When playing doubles, opponent players may not always stay in the same line parallel to each other. In such a condition, you should hit the ball toward the player standing further back.
This will keep them back and prevent them from coming close to the net. They’ll be in confusion to decide whether to play a volley or grounds stoke shot.
13. Move Together
Have you ever noticed how professional double players move on the court? When playing together, it’s a good rule of thumb to move together on the court as a team. This makes you balanced.
Whether you’re moving left, right, or in the non-volley zone, moving across the court as a team gives better control over the ball.
14. Mix In New Shots
Some intermediate players are always stuck in playing only volleys and groundstrokes. But they forget that there’re many shots to explore. For example, you can start practicing dink and pivotal shots.
Dink shots are generally soft shots to trick opponents. To become master on this shot, there’re no alternative but practice. Instead of power, it’s all about controlling the ball and earning points.
Dink shots are more appropriate when you’re playing against more skilled players while hitting the ball to the non-volley zone. Some people make the mistake of taking drop shots as dink shots. When playing from short-range rallies, dink shots appear ideal. But drop shots are perfect when you want to hit deep from the court.
Another notable shot is the lob. This shot is particularly useful when you’re in a defensive situation. You shift to this shot instantly so that your opponent doesn’t realize you’re going to play this shot. When playing this shot, focusing on your paddle length and angle is crucial to getting the shot’s best bet.
15. Don’t Overlook Your Hitting Accuracy
It’s crucial to examine your own playing style while playing various types of shots. You should always aim at improving your accuracy.
Differentiate how you’ve planned and how you’ve implemented. There should be a minimal gap between them.
16. Your Mental Condition Is Important
Considering your physical and mental challenges is also vital while measuring your performance. You should always play naturally instead of forcing yourself too much. Otherwise, you won’t see your best version in the game.
17. Practice, Practice, And Practice
Pickleball is easy to learn, but you’ve sweat a lot to become a master of this game. And to uphill your pickleball skills, you have to practice, practice, and practice.
Get a better pickleball opponent who can push you further to uphill your skill. You can play both singles and doubles games regularly to learn different techniques.
18. Focus on consistency and control
As a mid-level player, you should already leave the thought of keeping points alive. You should not only just improve your game but also maintain consistency while playing various shots.
Additionally, your controlling power should increase over time since you’re practicing more and more. It’s necessary to analyze various shots and plan when you use a particular shot to win the rally.
Intermediate players have many more things to learn in pickleball games. As we mentioned earlier, it takes a lot of time, effort, and practice to become an advanced pickleball player. You should always explore new ways to get familiar with new things.
We have already mentioned 18 pickleball tips for intermediate players, which can be effective if you understand them correctly and execute them in your gameplay. We understand you can’t implement all of them at a time. You just take time and exceed your performance gradually.