Second-Best Third Shot
As you know, the best pickleball strategy is to serve long, return long, and drop the third shot into the kitchen. But there are times when you can’t drop that third ball into the kitchen. It might be because you are not yet sufficiently skilled, or maybe it’s windy out, or the ball may have hit something on the floor and taken a weird bounce. So what is the second-best alternative?
You can use a hard, low passing shot that ideally lands on the centerline, just ahead of the baseline. This may cause some confusion as to which opponent will return the ball, but the best part is that it keeps them back, while you and your partner can run to the non-volley line.
There is also a third-best alternative. That’s a lob to the same place, the centerline near the baseline. The problem with lobs is that they are harder to control, and they give your opponents more time to react.
What if someone does that to you? If you were expecting a dropshot, but instead you get something that’s centered and deep, the best response is to do on the fourth shot of the rally what you would do on the third: Drop it into the center of the kitchen.