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Deception in Pickleball: Mastering the Delicate Art

by The Dink Media Team on

Ready to add a little mystery to your game? Want to leave your opponent scratching their head? Then it's time to add some deception.

And we're not talking magic speedups that put your mind in a pretzel (we've got those too if you're looking).

This is a simple technique that requires you to pay a little extra attention.

It's all about moving at the right time. In very simple terms: their head goes down, you move.

This applies to some of the classics like the shake and bake and the erne, but it is also applicable on a smaller scale.

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Mastering pickleball deception

Say you're in the transition zone, 5-6 feet off the NVZ. You drop a ball in the kitchen.

The temptation and the high percentage play is to move in as soon as possible.

The deceptive move is to pause:

  • Wait for their head to drop
  • Let them think that you're deeper in the court
  • Then move in while they're not looking

With this technique, you can take a ball aimed at your feet and turn it into a waist-high volley.

It also applies when moving laterally. If you get pushed out wide, delay returning to cover the middle. Wait for them to drop their head. Then slide back in.

Hopefully, you can bait them into an errant speedup down the middle. With your ninja-level deception, you can answer with a counter and slap home a winner.

You won't find this in a beginner's guide and you might get burned from time to time. But when it works, oh baby when it works, you'll head back to baseline with a smirk and leave them puzzled.

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