Do you feel unsure what strategies or techniques will take your game to the next level?
I think I can help you.
When I am watching new players or players trying to improve their game, I see things that can be easily fixed, but I don’t want to be the guy giving unsolicited advice.
I want to give you some ideas and tips on things you can change that can significantly improve your pickleball game. I suggest you try to work on only one or two at a time to incorporate the skill into your game.
1. The biggest thing I see all is people moving up too fast after a third shot drop. I can’t count the number of times I have seen people run blindly to the NVZ line without looking at their partner’s third shot.
You usually want to move up a little, but you do not want to run up to the line unless you see how good of a drop your partner hits. You need patience! Don’t worry if it takes you a few shots to get up to the NVZ line. Work your way up slowly if the drops aren’t good. It is a lot easier to get a fastball back if it isn’t being crushed at your feet or face.
Check out this video to get even deeper into getting to the NVZ.
2. Do you feel like you hit your dinks too high and keep getting them smashed into you? Do you not know why? This tip changed my dinking life.
Watch a pro match closely when they are dinking. They hold their non-dominate elbow into the air. Think about swinging that elbow out to hit someone. Now keep it out there. The reason they do this is to keep their balance when they are getting low to dink. This will give you a lot more control when dinking.
Check out more advanced dinking tips here.
3. When you are at the NVZ line slide over on those cross court dinks. Watch the pros play and see how they both move over more towards where the ball lands. This helps fill space and helps them be ready to receive speed ups and be in position.
4. GET YOUR PADDLE UP! Have you ever felt like your reaction time is too slow in blocking a speed up? Take note of where you are holding your paddle when you are at the NVZ. Hold it up and ready as if you knew a speed up was coming and you needed to block.
You will have time to get low and dink if that is what is coming, but you won’t have as much time to bring your paddle up to block. You can do even more by staying in a backhand ready stance so you are flipping your paddle around. Staying ready with your backhand will give you a wider range of motion and have your reaction speed be even faster.
5. Hit in to the middle more. You don’t have to be fancy trying to blast the ball though your opponent, hitting down the line, and hitting insane angle dinks all of the time. If you start feeling more pressure try hitting your dinks middle.
This creates less angles for your opponent and can slow things down a bit. Hitting middle works great on third shot drops as well as the net is lower in the middle and you can create confusion amongst your opponents on who should hit the ball.
6. What do you do before you start playing games? If you want to play competitively just dinking slowly to warm up is not the way to do it. Sure, go ahead and dink a bit, but aim those dinks.
Think about moving your opponent around with the dinks. Be intentional. Hit third shot drops and throw in a few drives. Find your rhythm. Do some drills if everyone agrees to it. Think about situations you face in the game that give you trouble and warm up using those situations. Dinking slow is a good start, but it cannot be where you stop.
7. Stop hitting everything. We all know you are a beast at the net, but do you know what isn’t helping you? Hitting every single ball that is hit towards you. How many outballs have yout hit? How many outballs have I hit? TOO MANY! But how do I learn when a ball is going out?
Start letting balls go above your shoulders. Sometimes they will go in, but more often they will go out. This is a huge factor in getting your pickleball game to the next level. Think about how easy it is to win a point when all you have to do is duck or not move your paddle to the ball.
Yeah, that is a free point that you are getting when you let the ball go out. When it lands in, just say nice shot and keep going. A great way to drill this is shown by Shea Underwood. You can check it out below.