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Tips for Return of Serve in Pickleball

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By Jacob Jackson

Are you tired of constantly losing points on your return of serve in pickleball? Look no further! We’ve gathered the best tips and tricks to help improve your game and dominate the court. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced player, these strategies will have you returning serves like a pro in no time.

So grab your paddle, and let’s dive into our top picks for mastering the art of return of serve in pickleball!


Strategies for Return of Serve

Patience and anticipation are key when returning serve in pickleball. Monitor the other player’s movements and be ready to act quickly when they make their move. Anticipate the ball’s direction and use that to inform your response.

Some people prefer to hit the ball hard away from their opponents, hoping they won’t be able to make a good return. Others opt for quick shots over the net to gain points. Regardless of your style, it would be best if you keep your opponent guessing so you can stay on top.

Dinking: A Soft, Controlled Shot

There are two primary ways to hit the ball in pickleball: dinking and smacking. Dinking is a soft, controlled shot that uses a quick backhand motion and relies on good touch and court positioning. Smacking is a complex, point-blank shot that uses more power and depends on good speed.

Keep your hand close to the ball to dink successfully and make a quick backhand motion. To smack successfully, use more power with your arm and keep your hand away from the ball. Remember to take care of your opponent’s returns by consistently positioning yourself in the best possible spot on the court.

Drives: Aimed Toward Weak Points in the Opponent’s Court

Pickleball is becoming increasingly popular in the US. It involves using a smaller ball and paddle to hit a small rubber ball against a wall or an opponent’s court. Playing aims to get the ball across the net into your competitor’s zone for scoring points.

Targeting your rival’s weak spots on the court is an effective strategy in Pickleball. For example, aiming for their front-hand side may be wise if they could be better at hitting the ball off their backhand side. Also, if they hit too softly, you could increase the power of your strikes with greater force.

By utilizing targeted strategies against them, you can gain an advantage over them in matches of Pickleball.

Lobbing: When an Overhead Smash is Expected

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In pickleball, when anticipating an overhead smash, you must prepare to hit the ball over your rival’s head. To ensure that this move is successful, there are several strategies you can employ.

First, ensure the right timing and placement when driving the ball over your adversary’s head. Second, use your stature and strength to move the ball past your opponent’s head. Lastly, keep your body steady when serving by keeping your shoulder parallel to the court and firmly gripping the paddle.

Poaching: Taking Advantage of Open Space in Doubles Play

Playing doubles pickleball can be an enjoyable and demanding activity but can also be subject to poaching. It is when one competitor takes advantage of an open area on the court by deliberately holding up the game. There are some valuable hints for keeping away from poaching while playing doubles.

It’s essential to be conscious of your adversary’s whereabouts continually. If they are heading towards an open region, get into that area yourself so you can speed up the game.

Staying alert and aware of your opponent is a great way to thwart potential poaching. The ball and monitor where they are headed and try to anticipate their next move before they can act on it, and keep an eye on it. Being able to predict their plans in advance will make defending against them much more superficial.


Ultimately, don’t surrender your position without a justifiable cause. If someone takes too long to give the ball back, they’re likely attempting to slow down the play to exploit a gap. Don’t permit them to do this! Keep your spot and fight for the ball until it’s returned securely.

Placement: Moving Your Opponent Around The Court

When engaging in pickleball, it is essential to cultivate the ability to move your adversary across the court. This article will review some strategies for maneuvering your opponent around the court while playing pickleball.

The initial step is gaining knowledge of your rival’s regular spot on the court. After that, you can strive to strike them with a delivered serve.

One of the most effective methods to make your adversary shift across the court is to strike them with a passing shot. It will compel them toward the net and away from your drop shots, giving you a more accessible opportunity to fire back a return serve.

A great way to make your rival shift around the court is by dishing out quick backhand shots. These shots put pressure on their backhand and tend to result in them making a mistake with their return serve, thus allowing you to gain an advantage.

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Spin Shots: Adding Variety To Your Returns

At this point, we will show you how to add variety and interest to your return of serve in pickleball. By incorporating spin shots into your repertoire, you can surprise your opponent and keep them on their toes.

To begin, you need to grasp the fundamental principles of pickleball return of service. First, always watch the ball and be prepared to react quickly when your opponent sends it your way. Secondly, try varying your stroke and footwork, making it difficult for your opponent to predict what you will do next. Finally, sparingly use spin shots – they are a powerful weapon that can completely upset your opponent’s rhythm.

Now, look at some example spin shots you can use in your return of service game. The first is a backhand slice using a quick wrist snap followed by a reverse pivot on the heel of the hand. This shot can be used as an opening volley or as part of a more complex play sequence. The next shot is a forehand topspin with plenty of speed and authority. This shot can be used as an all-purpose hitting tool or as part of a more complex play sequence.

Finally, we have a backhand downswing spin shot that uses both hands to create extra power and speed on the ball. You can use this shot as an attacking option or combine it with other strokes to develop new patterns in your return of service game.

By incorporating spin shots into your return of service game, you can create more variety and interest for your opponents. They will never know what to expect next, keeping them on their toes and challenged at every turn.

Hitting Down The Line or Crosscourt: Exploiting Open Spaces

You can exploit open spaces in pickleball by striking the ball down the line or across the court. It lets you hit a quick shot before your competitor can return it. Additionally, hitting in these directions can throw off your rival’s tempo and make them second-guess their next move, possibly resulting in an error.


Benefits of Return of Serve

Improving your pickleball return of serve has several advantages. It can, first and foremost, provide you with a head start in terms of points. You can put your adversaries at a disadvantage by keeping them guessing.

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Second, developing your return of serve technique can help you become a better player overall. You’ll be able to take advantage of any openings that may arise if you develop various hitting techniques.

Finally, enhancing your return of serve might help you become a better partner. Matches are more likely to be won by a partner who can consistently put the other in trying circumstances.


Can the return of serve in pickleball land in the kitchen?

Indeed, it is permissible for the return of serve to go into the kitchen. The only requirement is that the initial serve goes beyond the non-volley zone. Strategically speaking, however, it would be most effective to hit a deep return of serve to make the serving team’s shot more demanding and keep them from getting near the non-volley line – considered a good area on a pickleball court.

Does the return of serve have to bounce in pickleball?

Indeed, the return team must let the ball hit the ground before striking it in mid-air. The “double-bounce” rule requires that the ball contacts both sides before the players can shoot it out of the sky, granting the receiving side a strategic advantage as they can reach the non-volley line quicker than their opponents.

Can either player return the serve in pickleball?

Yes, both players can return the serve in pickleball. A serve begins each point, and volleys follow until one team commits a fault. Both players can hit the ball back and forth until one makes an error. The ball must be served diagonally across the net and on alternate sides each time. The only time that the serve cannot be returned is when it is illegal. If a player commits a fault on the serve, the serve cannot be returned.

Wrap Up

In tennis, the return of serve is a crucial part of the game. It’s one of the few opportunities to make your opponent miss and score points. In Pickleball, a similar concept applies – returning your partner’s ball allows you to score points or even put them into a challenging position. The above following tips will help you improve your return of serve in Pickleball.

We hope these tips are helpful. Do you have any tips for returning the serve that you found most beneficial? Please let us know what you think.

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