pickleball shot

Pickleball Shots To Master: 10 Fundamental Ones

If you have been playing pickleball for some time, you might already know which pickleball shots you should master. Many shots are screamed out loud while playing. On the other hand, some are tricky shots you’ll see only pro players using.

The only thing that can help you to become an expert player is to learn and master these shots. If you want to know more about these shots and how to master them, we have you covered. Here is a list of pickleball shots you should master to play like a pro.

Let’s not waste any more time and get into it.

10 Pickleball Shots to Master

These are the 10 best shots every player should master to become a 4.0 player. Once you know what these shots are, how they will improve your game, and how to master them, the only thing left will be a lot of practice before you become an expert.

  1. Volley
  2. Third shot drop
  3. Dink shot
  4. Serve or deep return serve
  5. Topspin serve
  6. The groundstroke
  7. Overhead smash
  8. Cross court dink
  9. The Lob shot
  10. The Drive


It is one of the trickiest and most important shots in pickleball. Volley is when you hit the ball out of the air without letting it bounce first. This shot needs fast reflexes and quick hands if you want to master it.

You play volleys near the kitchen but can’t enter the kitchen as that is a non-volley zone. As long as you can keep the ball in the air, it doesn’t matter if you hit backhand or forehand, headshot, or catch a ball near the ground.

In this shot, the ball comes to you at various speeds. If you are not prepared or let the ball come very close to your body, the point will likely go to your opponent. Do not lose your focus or pace while hitting the ball rapidly.

While hitting a volley, you must hold your ground. Both moving back or coming forward are not good. Most importantly, understand and analyze the speed of the ball so that you can return it accordingly.

Third Shot Drop

The third shot drop is considered the most crucial in pickleball. In this shot, you hit the ball softly, in an upward trajectory, so that it lands in the kitchen or NVZ of your opponent.

In pickleball, all the shots that drop gently in the kitchen are “drop shots.” However, a third drop shot is played from the baseline as the third shot, and its sole purpose is to bring you near the net, where the actual game happens.

It is hard to master because you must be consistent with your third drop shot. The ability to hit the ball with enough force and trajectory that every time it lands on the other side of the net comes with much practice.

We have discussed the third drop shot in detail. Read that if you want to know more about it.

Dink Shot

Dink is a shot that requires a lot of concentration and precision. It is a groundstroke that you play only near the kitchen line. In dink, you hit the ball so gently that it barely crosses the net and lands in the NVZ of your opponent.

The only purpose of this shot is to create a situation where your opponent makes a mistake. You hit the ball so effortlessly back and forth and don’t allow your opponent to hit a hard stroke. But what if your opponent is better with his forehand and backhand? This situation can backfire, so hit your opponent’s weakest point.

Stand a few inches away from the kitchen line and hit very softly. Some players even play a fake dink and try to trick their opponents. Whatever you do, always remember nothing can be achieved without practice.

Serve or Deep Return Serve

Serve is the starting shot of the game. In short, the very first hit by you or your opponent is a serve. You are either serving or returning the serve. In both cases, it is a basic shot that one should master.

As a server, you aim to hit the ball deep in your opponent’s court to the one diagonally opposite you. Remember that, unlike tennis, the serve shot in pickleball is underhand. Your foot can’t touch the baseline, so stand behind the line.

Return serve is the best when it is deep court. So far the ball lands, and the better it is for the serving team. Don’t try to run and hit if you are returning the serve. Let the ball come to you.

Always serve on the weak hand of your opponent. It depends on if his forehand is weak or his backhand, use his weakness.

The Topspin Serve

Most players can do it naturally. Yet, their serves often fail to reach the other side of the court due to the lack of proper technique and power. Topspin serve is when you hit the ball high and fast, but it still lands in.

When hitting, a paddle is perpendicular to the court and moves up toward the ball in the topspin. After hitting the ball, your arm moves towards your shoulder, near your ear.

You should learn it because the topspin shot’s drop time is quick, so it falls swiftly to the ground after going high. Secondly, the ball’s bounce is not like every other bounce. It bounces and moves toward the player. This way, your opponent has less time to react.

The Ground Stroke

Ground stroke is the most frequently used shot in pickleball. Every time you hit the ball after it bounces once is a groundstroke. It can be dink, slice, or dive.

You can play forehand or backhand ground strokes to return the ball from the baseline deep into the court. To master this shot, one should be very attentive to the trajectory of the ball and its speed.

Stand in the ready position with your feet apart. And instead of using your arm or wrist, use your body weight to hit the ball. Many players don’t wait for the ball and run toward it, don’t do that. Let the ball bounce, and then go for it.

The Lob

This shot is not casual or used more often. In the lob, you hit the ball over your opponent’s head. To get the desired results, ensure it’s their weak paddle shoulder.

This shot is not common. Usually, you use a lob shot when you want to break the game flow and reset it. That sudden change disorient your opponent, and he might make some mistakes. But you must ensure you can get the upper hand, and it will not backfire. If not, the smash you will get back will be hard to return.

Secondly, this shot will slow down the fast pacing game, particularly if you cannot keep up with it.

Cross Court Dink

As you already know, that perfect dink is a must for every player. In dinking, you have two options: dink across from you or diagonally. Cross-court dink is a diagonal shot that goes softly and lands on the other side of the court.

The primary reason why you should master this shot is that it helps you determine what are the weak spots of your opponent and to force them to make a mistake. The continuous hit to the sideline and kitchen line will confuse your opponent and tire them.

In cross-court dink, you have more distance than you have from across the court—more space to hit a better shot. You can hit a cross-court dink in any way if you learn complete control.

Overhead Smash

What if you can hit the ball fast and hard at your opponent’s feet? With the sole purpose of not allowing him to return. You can use overhead smash for this. Overhead smash is used by players with a lot of upper body power because you use full force and energy to smash the ball down.

Most players don’t like to lob; instead, they smash overhead. But for this shot, accuracy is essential, or you may hit the ball in the net.

The Drive

A drive is a hard and fast shot. You need to have a strong upper body, so you can use full force for a drive. If executed correctly, this shot can earn you a point because you put your opponent in a difficult place to return the ball in a hurry.

It’s important to stand in a ready position and hit the ball when it is still high, with all your body force. Don’t hit the ball very high, or your opponent will return it. The ball should fall into your opponent’s feet, giving no room for return.

You can practice driving the ball in different positions and lengths to get the maximum result.

The Bottom Line

Here you go! You should try to learn these 10 pickeball shots to master with all your might. If you are serious about pickleball, also get serious about practicing these shots.

If you master these pickleball shots, you will become a powerful opponent and make winning a challenge for the other players. But remember, these shots are the fundamentals. If you want an edge over your opponents, you should learn advanced strategies, like pickleball stacking.

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