Pickleball has been experiencing tremendous growth over the past several years. Much of it has come from the crossover of lifelong tennis players. There are many similarities between the sports. Here are a few strategy tips unique to pickleball that will help every tennis player when transitioning to the sport.
• Get to the net! In tennis, it is OK to rally from the baseline but in pickleball, 90% of points are won at the net.
• Learn how to dink. This is not a tennis shot but it is a fundamental shot for quality pickleball. Pickleball has a lot more finesse to it and you need to learn how to dink and keep the ball low when you are at the non-volley line so that your team doesn’t get attacked.
• Learn how to hit a drop shot. This is another fundamental shot in pickleball and allows you and your partner to work your way from the baseline to the net.
• There are no aces in pickleball. The court is smaller so there is no space to hit an ace and it really is a cardinal sin to miss your serve in pickleball since it is underhand. The main objective for a pickleball serve is to just get the ball deep.
• When your opponents are back, keep them back. In tennis, it is OK to drop shot your opponent when he is on the baseline and it is tempting to also do this in pickleball. However, in pickleball, you lose a huge advantage by inviting your opponents to the net. This goes back to the first tip that in pickleball, you win the majority of your points at the net so you definitely do not want to bring your opponents there.
• Do not lob from the baseline if your opponents are at the net. This is also a big tennis shot, but in pickleball this is bad because 1) you put your team on the defense; 2) if you are on the baseline, you want to get your team to the net and lobbing does not allow this to happen.
• A hard angle is not always a good shot. In tennis, angling a shot is usually great. However, in pickleball, you need to be careful with how sharp the angle is because your opponent is allowed to hit the ball around the post.
Singles in tennis and pickleball have a lot more similarities when compared to doubles. However, points
are usually much shorter in pickleball and there is a lot less baseline rallying. Here are a few tips for better singles.
• Get ready to grind. Singles in pickleball requires a lot more quick sprinting and trying to put the ball away as quickly as possible.
• Practice your passing shots. If your opponent is at the net, you can either pass him down the line or cross-court.
• It is easier to win points at the net. In tennis you can win a lot of points by having a baseline game, but in pickleball you will put more pressure on your opponent and do a lot less running by getting to the net.
• Practice your put-away volleys and overheads. This will be critical for winning points in singles pickleball.
Christine McGrath resides in Los Angeles, CA. She was the highest female prize money winner for pickleball in 2015. Christine is a 2016 US Open Pro Champion, 5x Tournament of Champions medalist, and 8x Nationals medalist. She also enjoys the outdoors, dirt biking, snowboarding, and spending time with family.