Pickleball Strategy - Singles

Pickleball Singles Strategies:
  • Ensure serves are strong and deep. It is best to keep your opponents guessing by varying the location of your serve but ensure the serve land in bounds. It is better to get your serve in play than go for a low percentage 'hero' serve
  • Serve within close proximity to center line so you'll have optimal court placement and be able to get to most returns
  • Put your returns deep and into the corners (however, when faced with a difficult shot from your opponent, prioritize the high percentage shot versus a hero winner to the deep corner)
  • In general, stay near the back third of the court. This way you can reach the majority of your opponent's returns
  • Hit at your opponent's 'off hand' - most players are weaker on their backhand
  • When possible, hit a deep pressuring shot into the corners. It is best when your opponent doesn’t have time to properly set up for their shot. In the event they can make the return, it provides you a chance to come to the non-volley line and hit a winning passing shot
  • Position your body facing your opponent as opposed to being angled sideways. You’ll be in a better position to return a shot that comes to either side of you
  • Rarely hit a drop shot when your opponent is deep. Smart and competent players will get to it quickly and be in position to hit a passing shot
  • Don't become predictable - it is critical to mix up your attack so opponents can’t anticipate you 
  • Maintain positioning awareness by moving left or right as your opponent moves but remain reasonably close to the center line
  • Use lobs only when necessary and your opponent is at the net or non-volley line. In general lobs should be used sparingly 
  • If your opponent has managed to come to the net and you are still back, you have 3 choices:
    • hit a hard passing shot
    • hit a dipping shot that hits the ground at your opponents feet
    • hit a lob
  • The best choice depends upon your skill level with each type of shot and your opponent's skill level. Top players rarely hit lobs because it’s a relatively difficult shot to hit deep enough to keep a strong player from putting it away
  • Respect your opponent and play with class. It is great to be competitive but remember the wonderful game of pickleball is an excellent way to foster friendship and community, encourage physical activity, and test your skills. Remember it is just a game!
  • Have fun and be safe! It is important to properly warm up, stretch, hydrate, and not push yourself beyond your limits! Live to play another day!