As with all team sports, playing with a partner requires coordination and patience. In both singles play and doubles play, the biggest thing holding players back is not their skill at striking the ball, it’s not playing smart pickleball. There are many tips that will allow you to be in the right position to gain an advantage over your opponent and where to smartly place your shots to get the advantage.
Let’s take a look at a few of these tips.
- When serving, it is critical to avoid service faults. Aim for the center of the opposite service box.
- When returning a serve, you should hit your return deep to the center of the court preferably just on the left side of the center line. This makes a righthanded player hit a backhand shot and could also cause confusion with the partner as it is close to the line.
- Always try to avoid a short return as it gives your opponents a quick and easy path to the net.
- Immediately after returning the serve, get to the non-volley line at the net as quickly as possible and be ready for the 3rd
- The team at the net always has a huge advantage in controlling the game. It also:
- Allows your partner to see you and what you’re doing
- The net shields your feet. Opponents will try to hit at your feet
- Presence at the next makes your opponents next shot more difficult
- Allows you to be in position to smash any balls coming high over the net
- Partners should not “play sides” but should coordinate movements and “slide” as if tied together with an 8ft tether. Left and right and back and forth.
- Communication among partners is paramount. Always identify shots that may be in question as to who is going to hit the ball by yelling “mine” or “yours”.
- The ideal 3rd shot (especially if both of your opponents are at the net is a drop shot into the kitchen
- If one or both of your opponents fail to get to the net, the ideal shot is at the feet of the player farthest away from the net and at their backhand.
- Always try to keep the opponent back as far as possible.
- If everyone is now at the net, the best shot is the dink shot. A shot that lands in the non-volley zone and is low to the ground. Always try to keep the ball low and make your opponents “hit up” at the ball as it doesn’t allow them to make any type of offensive shot.
- These shots should be aimed at the backhand of either player. it’s a good idea to wait for them to make a mistake rather than force a difficult shot. If you can make them move apart and create a hole, that may give you an opportunity for a winning shot.
- Always try to face toward the net. This will keep you balanced and give you the best opportunity to return a shot on either side
- Don’t always play for a winning shot. Sometimes it’s best to wait for your opponent to make the mistake.
- When you have the opportunity for a slam, the goal is to beat their reaction time. Make sure you use power when necessary but master the soft shot for more control
- A rule of thumb is use a soft shot when “hitting up” and try use power when you can “hit down” on the ball!
I hope you enjoy these basic doubles tips! Now it’s time to enjoy the game with fiends!