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Two-Part Strategy

2-Part Pickleball Strategy


In textbook pickleball, the serve is long, the return is long, and the third shot is a dink into the kitchen. And where in the kitchen? Near the middle is considered best, to avoid unforced errors. But if you can control the ball fairly well, you can drop that third shot in the kitchen way over to your right, so it forces your opponent to step out, often past the sideline to return it. This works better if your opponent is a right-hander, which is the case 89% of the time. Interestingly, many left-handers will have trouble with it also. That return would be the fourth shot. Your opponet has stepped out of the court, and has left a large swath of the right half of the court unprotected. So, you drive the ball hard and fast toward the back right corner, and there’s no way the opposing team can return it. Well, there is the possibility that the opponent’s partner has moved toward the middle to cover your return. But, in almost every case, that partner hasn’t moved over far enough, or has moved so far, that you can change your strategy, and offer them a fun diagonal to their right, since now, no one is there to cover it.

Keep in mind that this doesn’t have to start on the third shot and be executed on the fourth, or fifth. You can do it at any point in a rally, but it does tend to work best when started on the third shot, because the players have not yet settled into position behind the kitchen line. However, the third shot is also harder to place sufficiently diagonally, unless the return of serve was short.

By the way, if someone does this to you, consider a low fast passing shot on the outside of the net post. It’s totally legal, and only the best players will be ready for this.

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