Pickleball Hitting Techniques You Need to Learn to Play Like a Pro
Are you wondering how you can learn the tactics and techniques pro players use in their game? Do you want to know why they change their stance, paddle grip, and hitting techniques?
If you want to know some basic hits and cool shots to improve your pickleball game. These pickleball hitting techniques are for you. These tips and hitting techniques will help you learn basic and advanced shots.
How to stand and hold the paddle? When to use power or control and when to let the ball go? These are just some questions we’ll answer below.
Let’s not wait any longer and share these pickleball hitting techniques.
Table of Contents
- Hitting and Receiving Serve
- Tips on Hitting the Serve and Return of Serve
- How to Master the Different Pickleball Shots?
- Pickleball Hitting Techniques
- When to Use Control vs. Power
- When to Let the Ball Go?
- The Bottom Line
Hitting and Receiving Serve
To become a skillful pickleball player, you have to play often. However, you can’t ignore the posture, the paddle’s position, your grip, and some tricky shots to become a pro. You can also see our guide to becoming a pro. The serve is the basic shot and starting point of your game.
In a pickleball game, serve is the only shot you can control. You only get one chance to deliver the ball to the correct service area. Therefore, it is crucial to master this shot. Also, it is unique as it is an underhand serve, unlike tennis or badminton
Tips on Hitting the Serve and Return of Serve
Always target the weaker side of your opponent. It is, in most cases backhand side, rather than the forehand.
Hit the ball deep and far to keep your opponent at the base. It will also give you time to reach the non-volley zone faster.
Stand in a Ready Position
In pickleball, you need to be careful about how you stand. How you angle yourself and receive a serve is essential in your game. You must be ready for any shot as your opponent can throw forehand or backhand shots at you.
- Keep your shoulders straight and your body relaxed.
- Bend your knees a little and keep your feet at shoulder width and weight on the balls of the feet, not the heels.
- Keep your paddle in front of you, slightly facing the net.
- Stay focused and keep your eyes on the ball to know where it will land. Also, keep your head high for headshots.
Practice all this so much that it becomes second nature.
How to Grip the Pickleball Paddle?
Another important technique is how you hold the paddle. We are talking about your grip and the pressure on it. Don’t hold the paddle very tight. Many beginner players hold it so tight that they get exhausted after a few games.
Your grip shouldn’t be too light that the paddle swings away from your hand. Let’s say the tight grip is at point 10 on a 1-10 scale. Then the ideal grip is if you are holding it at level 4 or 5.
Some players keep their index fingers on the paddle surface. It gives them support and the ability to hit hard.
Tips for the Return of Serve
Returning the serve is also a critical shot. So it is crucial to play it wisely and technically. First, get in position, and always stay ready to strike. Stand a few feet from the baseline and give yourself space to return the ball according to the serve.
If you are returning the serve, you have the advantage of reaching the NVZ first. To get there faster, use these techniques.
- Don’t hit very hard. The harder you hit the ball, the faster it will come back, and the lesser time you will have to move forward.
- After returning the serve, run to the non-volley zone.
- Hit the serve deep and in the center of the court. It will give you time to reach to the kitchen.
How to Master the Different Pickleball Shots?
These basic shots are important for all-level players to learn. However, you should practice a lot to master them. These techniques will help you master these shots and have more fun in this game.
1. Perfect 3rd Drop Shot
The most strategic and hard-to-master shot is a third shot drop, or drop shot in pickleball. The majority of the players don’t even try it. Only a few can execute it with perfection.
The third shot drop shot is played after the return of the serve, from near the baseline. You will hit hard enough that the ball goes over the net, but lands softly in your opponent’s kitchen.
This shot helps you reach closer to the non-volley zone where the actual game happens. To learn pickleball dropshot, you need to practice profusely.
2. Dink Shot
Dink is an essential technique you must know whether you’re a beginner or a professional. It is a groundstroke played when all players are near the net. You will hit the ball very slowly and calmly, so it will land in your opponent’s kitchen.
The opponents will have to wait for the bounce, and the bounce won’t be high, as the dink is a very soft hit. As a result, the other team cannot hit it hard and have to lift the ball slowly.
To make it a successful shot, you must be precise and careful and stay just inches away from the kitchen line. You need to practice a lot to hit it as softly as possible.
3. Pickleball Volley
A very versatile shot played in various situations and styles is the volley. Volley is any shot you pick from the air before it hits the ground. It is mainly played near the NVZ.
This shot can be a game-changer if you know how to hit it. Your response time should be quick, and you hit the ball without hesitation.
The best place to hit the volley is your opponent’s feet, on the side of his hip or shoulder. This shot is like a spontaneous reaction-whatever seems right at that time.
Once again, you can train yourself for this shot with lots of practice.
Pickleball Hitting Techniques
Learning pickleball is fun. Yet, developing the winning techniques is something that comes with practice.
These are some shots you should learn to become a better player.
1. Punching Volley
Among all the types of volleys, punch volley is very common. You catch your opponent by surprise when you use a punch volley.
In this form of volley, you extend your arm and put force through the elbow instead of using the wrist. You can use backhand and forehand to literary punch the ball.
2. The Drive
Drive is the complete opposite of the dink shot. In drive, you hit the ball as hard as you possibly can. Drive is a hard and forceful shot. Players with good upper-body strength can ace this shot.
You should not use drive very often. It is an opportunity shot, use it when the court is clear or your opponent is moving fast.
3. Lobbing Shot
You send a ball over your opponent’s head and back of the court in a lob shot. Learning when to use this shot can help you reset the game’s tempo.
Sometimes when your opponent is smashing balls at you, you can use a lob shot to make them run for the ball. It will give you time to get in position and take your opponent away from the non-volley zone and near the baseline.
The offensive lob is an excellent shot if you can hit it perfectly. The best technique to beat it is to observe your opponent, their height, and their ability to put off a lob shot.
4. Around the Post
Around the post or ATP is one of those shots you don’t see very often. The only time this shot is possible is if your opponent hits the cross-court shot or dink that bounces away from your side of the baseline.
Your anticipation and quick reaction are key to returning the ball around the pole. It is a tough shot and can be a huge point if returned correctly.
5. Blocking When Needed
Not every shot is for hard-hit like a drive and volley. Sometimes blocking a drive shot of your opponent is the best strategy. Often new players don’t comprehend that the opponent player will get the point if they react.
So, move a couple of steps back and give yourself some time to react. Use your backhand and block the ball in front of your body.
This is a great shot to slow down the game.
6. How to Spin the Ball?
There are three types of spins in pickleball games.
- Top Spin
- Under Spin
- Side Spin
It is a fundamental technique and shot that can bring you a winning point. You have to slice the ball. Don’t use too much of your wrist. Instead, entire arm action is a great way to start.
Spin actually confuses your opponent about how and where to hit the shot. It often earns you a point or forces your opponent to make a mistake.
When to Use Control vs. Power
Using all your force to hit every ball will not get you points.
It is not always important to swing hard at the power shot. When you block and let it bounce back, that is harder than a swing. You must teach your body to go against its natural reaction and block the power shot.
Use power shots only when needed. You can surprise your opponent with a power shot while standing at the baseline or returning the volley.
Don’t let the opponent team control you. You keep calm and handle the ball with a soft, controlled hit. Knowing when you should reset the game and control the ball’s movement is essential in a pickleball game.
A lot of practice is the key to blocking, using power, and controlling the ball.
When to Let the Ball Go?
If it’s shoulder-high, let it fly. You must have heard this phrase in pickleball. Letting the ball go is one of the most crucial skills in pickleball. It will bring you many points if you learn not to hit every ball.
So, how can you know when to let the ball go? Check where your opponent is standing if he is close to the baseline, there is a high chance that the ball will remain in the court. But if he is standing near the non-volley zone, then look at his body and posture.
If he hits the ball near the ground and lifts it from low to high, it’s likely that the ball will go out of the court. Another case is how he is swinging his paddle. You have to pre-empt his shot. A small backswing means you can hit the ball. But a long backswing is an indicator for you to move out of the way.
Also, see how your opponent is holding the paddle and hitting. If he is hitting diagonally and cross-court, it’s likely that the ball will leave the court.
While playing, it is not easy to remember so many points. So if you want to be quick on your feet, practice this in court. Any ball that is higher than your shoulder, it’s better to let it go. It doesn’t matter where your opponent is standing.
If you play doubles, make sure to have a code word to let your partner know if you want to let the ball go.
The Bottom Line
After reading all these pickleball hitting techniques, you might be feeling overwhelmed. Without any doubt, learning these techniques is not an easy task. However, to become a 4.0 or 5.0 level player , you must know these hitting techniques.
In pickleball, you must play to exploit your opponent’s weaknesses and use your strengths. Your opponent might be weak in his backhand shot or not good at hitting the lob shot. You can use this to win the point.
Always use your entire body to play pickleball, not only your arm and wrist. It will enhance your experience and help you avoid any medical issues.
If you practice these techniques every day, they will become your second nature. Only then can you play with professional players and have a fantastic match.