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What Are Pickleball Strokes & Shots?

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By Jacob Jackson

If you’re a pickleball enthusiast, you know that the game is about much more than just hitting the ball back and forth over the net. It’s about mastering various strokes and shots to outplay your opponents and improve your gameplay. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned player looking to sharpen your skills, this blog entry is for you!

We’ll explore all aspects of pickleball strokes and shots, from forehands to backhands, volleys to dinks, and everything in between. Get ready to elevate your game with these essential tips and tricks!


Overview of Pickleball Strokes & Shots

A fundamental aspect of pickleball is mastering different strokes and shots. The game consists of four primary strokes: the serve, forehand, backhand, and volley. Each stroke serves a distinct purpose and can yield specific outcomes.

The most common stroke in pickleball is the forehand. Use this stroke to hit the ball diagonally across the court from one side to the other. The backhand comes into play when you need to hit the ball from behind or from the opposite side of the court. The volley, typically played near the net, adds excitement to the game before the ball bounces. And every point starts with a serve, delivered from any position behind the baseline.

In addition to strokes, pickleball offers a variety of shots. Some of the most well-known include driving, lobbing, smashing, and dinking.

Types of Pickleball Shots

Pickleball has gained popularity over the years as a sport that combines elements of tennis, badminton, and table tennis. To score points, players must utilize a range of shots, each with its advantages and disadvantages.

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Dink Shot

The dink shot is the most basic type of shot in pickleball. It involves softly hitting the ball over the net with an underhand stroke at around knee height, either just above or below the net. The purpose of this shot is not to overpower your opponent but to keep them guessing as you strategically plan your next offensive move.

Drop Shot

The drop shot requires precision and finesse. It involves delicately hitting the ball so that it barely clears the net before dropping into your opponent’s court. This shot can catch experienced players off guard as they are not expecting such a low shot from you.


Overhead or Drive Stroke

The overhead or drive stroke is one of the most popular and forceful pickleball strokes. Swing with power and accuracy at waist height or higher, using either your forehand or backhand depending on your position on the court. This stroke allows more control over ball placement and often produces more powerful shots.

Lob Shot

The lob shot involves hitting the ball high and deep into your opponent’s court, causing it to bounce before reaching the latter half of the court. Lobs are excellent defensive moves, limiting your opponents’ options and forcing them to scramble to reach the ball. If executed correctly, lobs can also be effective offensive moves.

These shots are just a few examples of how pickleball players can strategically use different techniques to gain an edge in the game. With practice and mastery of each type of shot, players can elevate their gameplay and outplay their opponents.

Types of Pickleball Strokes

Pickleball is a unique sport that incorporates elements from badminton, tennis, and table tennis. Played on a court similar to a doubles badminton court, it requires players to possess good hand-eye coordination and a variety of strokes.

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Forehand Stroke

The forehand stroke is the go-to stroke for most players. It allows for powerful shots and greater control over ball placement compared to other strokes. Swing your arm forward while keeping it straight, maximizing power transfer from your body to the ball. This stroke works best when the shot is near or slightly away from you.

Backhand Stroke

The backhand stroke provides less power but offers better control over ball placement. With a slower motion and shorter hitting arc than forehands, it allows for precise placement. To execute a backhand stroke effectively, keep your elbow bent for accuracy and use your wrist at contact for added control over spin.

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Drop Shot

The drop shot involves striking the ball downward to create an arcing trajectory toward your opponent’s court. This shot aims to catch your opponent off guard or force them further behind the baseline. However, it requires precise timing to ensure the ball bounces twice on their side of the court before they can return it.

Lob Shot

Lob shots require lifting the ball high to give it enough trajectory and travel distance before reaching the opponent’s side. These shots demand great timing to avoid going out of bounds and can be effective in catching opponents off guard or forcing them to scramble.

Spike Shot

Spike shots are powerful shots used to get around defenders in defensive positions near the sidelines. These shots require accurate timing and incredible power to prevent the defense from blocking the attempt once the ball reaches the net. Spike shots are best used occasionally and strategically in competitive play.

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By understanding the characteristics of each stroke and shot, players can use them effectively in gameplay to outsmart their opponents. Practice and dedication are key to mastering the various pickleball strokes and shots.

FAQs: Pickleball Strokes & Shots

What is the difference between a stroke and a shot?

A stroke involves a constant, flowing movement used to strike the ball. In contrast, a shot is a jerky, stop-and-start action utilized to hit the ball.

What is the most common stroke in pickleball?

The most popular stroke in pickleball is the forehand. This stroke is made with your main hand, starting from the same side of your body as this hand. It provides power and control when hitting the ball.

What is the most common shot in pickleball?

The most common shot in pickleball is the dink shot. This shot keeps the ball low over the net and away from your opponent’s reach. It requires finesse and control to execute effectively.

Wrap-Up: Pickleball Strokes & Shots

Pickleball is a thrilling sport that offers hours of entertainment for players of all skill levels. Mastering the different strokes and shots will not only make you a better pickleball player but also enhance your enjoyment of the game.

With the correct technique, practice, and dedication, anyone can become proficient in pickleball in no time! So grab your paddle, head to the courts, and let the fun begin!

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