Mastering Pickleball

Pickleball Shots: Tips for Mastering Pickleball Serve and Return

Pickleball is fast becoming a popular sport.

If you’ve started playing you’ll no doubt want to improve your skills.

Read on for some tips to help master your serve and return shots.

Practice Before You Play

The trick to a good serve is consistently getting the serve in.

Mastering Pickleball


It doesn’t really matter how you hit your serve if your ball doesn’t go in and the other team gets the ball.

Before you play, practice just serving the ball so that you can develop a rhythm and style that works for you.

Your ball must land in the service box diagonal from your position.

Stay Underhanded

In tennis, you can serve overhand or underhand, but the official rules of pickleball state that all serves must be underhand.

If you’re transitioning from another racket sport make sure to remember to practice your serve underhand and below your waist.

Add Variety

As a beginner you may want to focus on one specific type of serve.

But as you play more and more you need to add variety.

If you do it the same every time your opponent will be able to predict what is coming and that gives her the advantage.

If you have several strong serves to choose from you can keep your opponents guessing.

This goes back to practicing and taking time outside of your game play to perfect skills.

Return Deep

When it comes to returning a serve, you want to remember to always hit the ball as deep as you can.

This will give you more time to get to the net and make it harder for your opponent to return the shot.

Aim for Center Court

It’s best to aim for the center of the court, when returning the ball.

When playing doubles, this can make it more difficult for your opponents to decide who will hit the ball and keep them guessing.

Choose a Forceful Swing

While accuracy is extremely important, force almost matters more.

After all, it doesn’t matter how accurate you are if you can’t get the ball past the net.

The best type of swing is the forehand swing to get force.

Move Quickly

One of the most important factors in pickleball play is how fast you move to the net.

The faster you move toward the ball the more likely you are to win.

Making sure to practice agility off the court will help you on the court.


Pickleball Terms You Need to Know

Pickleball terminology can be quite foreign to a new player.

The following is a list of terms you need to know that will help you get started – and at least be able to identify what is going on.

Ace.  A serve that the opposing player isn’t able to return.

Backcourt.  This is the area near the baseline and is just a few feet inside the court.

Backswing.  Moving the paddle backward to prepare for the next shot.

Bounce It.  This term is important for doubles play.

Your partner will say this when they think the ball will fall out of bounds so that you don’t try to hit it.

Cross-court.  The area on the opposite side of your court and diagonal from you.

Dead Paddle.  This is when the ball is hit with not enough force and is extremely short.

Some people also call this a falafel.

Dink.  A soft shot that barely goes over the net, making it difficult for the opponent to return.

Doubles.  A pickleball game played with four people, two on each side of the court.

Drive.  A low shot that lands in the opponent’s backcourt.

Kitchen.  This is a slang term for the non-volley zone close to the net.

Lob.  This is a shot that is very high and over the heads of the opponent.

This requires your opponent to move back to the baseline.

Mid-court.  The area of the court between the non-volley zone and the baseline.

Paddle.  In pickleball this is equivalent to a racket in tennis.

Paddles are smaller than tennis rackets.

Pickle.  This is the term you shout before you serve to alert everyone you are about to serve.

Pickled.  This term applies when you lose the game having scored zero points.

If the final score is 11-0 you have been pickled.

Poach. The term used for a member playing doubles who crosses into their partner’s area.

Serve.  In pickleball this is an underhand stroke that is made below the waist and that puts the ball into play.

Shadowing.  This is when doubles partners move in unison staying about six feet apart at all times.

This prevents large gaps on the court.

Singles.  A pickleball game played with two people, one on each side of the court.

Smash.  This is a shot that is performed overhand when the ball is over the hitter’s head.

This shot lands with a lot of force.

Volley.  When you hit the ball in the air before it has a chance to bounce, it is called a volley.

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