Basic Pickleball Strategy
Tips from the experts for your first game of pickleball.
Before you step onto the court, either indoors or out, make sure you are wearing the correct type of tennis shoes. Your shoes should have non-marking soles, provide stability for side-to-side movement, and have a flat, durable sole. Also, bring along some water to keep you hydrated.
The paddle you use should not be too heavy. Find one that gives you both touch/feel and power. The grip should feel comfortable in your hand with some cushion. You can always re-wrap your grip or add a thin over grip. Remember to put your name on your paddle right away.
You have a choice to play singles, doubles or mixed doubles. When playing with equally skilled players as yourself, you will have good competition and lots of fun. All ages play this sport.
A game of pickleball is played to 11 points; however, you must win by 2 points. A game can last anywhere from 10 – 25 minutes. Players can only score points when they are serving.
To start, the serve must be hit under hand and the contact of the paddle to the ball must be below your waist. Each team must play their first shot after the ball bounces, and after that then both teams can choose to move forward up to the non-volley line or stay back at the baseline. It is best to move up to the non-volley line as soon as possible and make sure your partner follows you up.
Partners should always move up or back and side to side together.
No volleying is permitted within the seven foot non-volley zone; this prevents players from closing the net since the court is so small. This promotes the drop volley or “dink” shot strategies where players skillfully hit shots over the net that land in the non-volley zone – or called “the kitchen”. If the balls bounces in the kitchen, then a player can step into the kitchen to hit it over.
Some tips: While waiting for the ball, keep your paddle high, centered to your chest – that way you’re ready for a shot on either side of you. Keep on your toes, anticipating the next shot. Keep the ball in play – let your opponent make the error.
You should always warm up before you get on the court – 5 minute quick walk to raise your body temperature, and always have a cool down – some stretches or a slow walk to lower your body temperature back to normal. Stay healthy so you can play more pickleball! When the game is over, all players come to the net and tap their paddles together, as a gesture of “good game”. Instead of handshakes, pickleballers like to tap paddles and give a few laughs.
Hope this helps you with a basic understanding of the game. Remember this is a simple yet special sport; please spread the word about the wonderful game of Pickleball. See you on the courts…..