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Pickleball Insights: 13 Essential Principles for Every Player

Pickleball is much more than just having the right equipment or understanding the basic rules—it’s about the shared wisdom among players that shapes strategies and hones skills. Whether you’re up against a young prodigy or seasoned veterans, certain principles can significantly enhance your game.

Here’s a compilation of key guidelines that all pickleball enthusiasts should keep in mind:

  • Serve and Move; Return and Advance

After serving or returning, always shift into a strategic position to maintain an advantage.

  • Avoid the Forehand Drop

Steer clear of giving your opponent an easy forehand drop shot to prevent them from gaining the upper hand.

  • Low Shots Win, High Shots Lose

Keep your shots low to make it challenging for opponents to attack, as high shots can be easily smashed back.

  • Aim for the Middle

Hitting towards the center can disrupt your opponents’ coordination and create opportunities for you.

  • Focus on Your Opponent

Instead of watching the ball, pay attention to your opponent’s position and body language to anticipate their next move.

  • Purposeful Dinking

Use dinks not just to keep the ball in play, but to set up offensive opportunities.

  • Mix Up Your Shots

Develop a rhythm in your play by alternating between a 3rd shot drive and a 5th shot drop to keep opponents guessing.

  • Clear Communication in Doubles

In doubles, effective communication is crucial. Use phrases like “I’ve got line, you’ve got middle” to cover all areas efficiently.

  • Quality Practice

What you practice is what you will perform, so focus on quality and consistency in your training sessions.

  • Play It Out

If you’re unsure whether a ball is going out, play it to maintain the rally and avoid unnecessary mistakes.

  • Target the Toes

Aiming for your opponent’s toes makes it more difficult for them to return the shot as it forces them to hit upward.

  • Precision and Strategy

A well-placed shot can be more effective and harder to return than a powerful one. Prioritize precision and strategic play over sheer speed.

  • Control the Game Pace

Control the pace of the game to disrupt your opponent’s timing and game plan, especially if they thrive under a different speed of play.

Sharing Pickleball Wisdom During Gameplay

Offering tips and advice during gameplay can be beneficial, especially for beginners or less experienced players who are eager to improve. It fosters a positive and supportive atmosphere on the court.

However, it’s important to be mindful of your fellow players’ preferences. Some might not appreciate unsolicited advice during gameplay, as it can be distracting or perceived as condescending.

If you’re unsure whether to share pickleball wisdom during a game, it’s usually best to err on the side of caution. Offer guidance and insights during breaks or after the game if the other players seem receptive. If someone specifically asks for advice, then feel free to share your knowledge.

Handling Unwanted Advice

If you’re tired of receiving unsolicited advice or smack talk:

  • Acknowledge and Focus: Respond with a simple “Thank you for the tip” to acknowledge the advice without committing to following it.
  • Politely Decline: Say something like, “I appreciate your advice, but I’m trying to figure things out on my own right now.”
  • Change the Subject: Shift the focus away from your gameplay by asking them about their own experiences or interests.
  • Use a Signal: A simple hand gesture or nod can communicate your preference without interrupting the game.
  • Set Boundaries: Have a friendly conversation outside of gameplay to politely but firmly express your feelings and request that they respect your boundaries.

Remember, Pickleball is About Fun

One of the best aspects of pickleball is how it brings people together for a good time. It’s not just about the game; it’s about the camaraderie, the laughs, and the shared moments on the court.

While improving skills is important, the primary focus should be on enjoying each other’s company rather than winning every point. When playing, keep in mind that pickleball is a social game meant for fun. Cheer each other on, share a few jokes, and soak in the joy of playing together. That’s what makes this sport truly special.


Embracing these principles can significantly enhance your pickleball experience. By focusing on strategic movement, effective communication, and quality practice, you can elevate your game while enjoying the social and fun aspects of the sport. Remember, the essence of pickleball lies in the shared joy and camaraderie on the court. Happy playing!


Q. Why is it important to move into a strategic position after serving or returning?

Moving into a strategic position after serving or returning helps maintain an advantage and prepares you for the next shot, increasing your chances of winning the rally.

Q. How can I make my drop shots more effective?

To improve your drop shots, focus on hitting the ball “in front and inside” your body. Practice using a bean bag on your paddle to get accustomed to pushing without relying on wrist action. Adding a slight curve to the paddle can also introduce top/side spin for more effective drops.

Q. What is the significance of aiming for the middle in pickleball?

Aiming for the middle can disrupt your opponents’ coordination, making it harder for them to decide who should take the shot. This strategy can create confusion and open up opportunities for you to gain the upper hand.

Q. How can I politely decline unsolicited advice during a game?

You can politely decline unsolicited advice by saying something like, “I appreciate your advice, but I’m trying to figure things out on my own right now.” This response acknowledges the advice without committing to following it and sets a boundary.

Q. Why is it important to focus on having fun in pickleball?

Focusing on fun in pickleball is important because the sport is meant to bring people together and create enjoyable, shared experiences. While improving skills is valuable, the primary goal should be to enjoy the game and the camaraderie it fosters.

What do you think?

Written by Billy Pickles

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