Upgrade Your Pickleball Skills with These 10 Simple Tips

Do you want to improve your Pickleball skills? If so, then you've come to the right place! Here at The Big Dink, we'll discuss 10 simple tips that you can use to upgrade your Pickleball game. From proper footwork to mastering the spin serve, these tips will help you take your game to the next level. Whether you're a beginner or an experienced player, you'll find something here that can help you become a better Pickleball player. So read on to discover the best ways to boost your game!

1) Get the Right Equipment

Before you start playing Pickleball, as you  might expect, having the right equipment is important. You should look for a pickleball paddle that feels comfortable and suits your style of play. For beginners, it's better to choose a paddle that's lightweight and easy to control. More experienced players might prefer a heavier paddle with more power.

When it comes to shoes, you should choose a pair that offers good traction on the court. Court shoes are a great option, as they are specifically designed for indoor sports and will give you the grip you need to move quickly and make quick changes of direction.

Finally, you should also consider your attire. Pickleball is a fast-paced sport, so you'll want to wear lightweight clothing that doesn't restrict your movement. Breathable fabrics are also important, as they will help to keep you cool and dry during long matches. With the right equipment, you'll be well on your way to improving your Pickleball game.

2) Learn the Proper Footwork

Footwork is an essential part of any sport, and Pickleball is no exception. It's important when you start playing pickleball that the position of your feet is super important. The right footwork will enable you to move around the court quickly, reach shots that are far away, and stay balanced during rallies.

One of the essential footwork tips in Pickleball is to stay on the balls of your feet. This position enables you to pivot easily and change direction when you need to move. Additionally, you should always try to maintain a low center of gravity. It will help you move smoothly around the court and react more quickly to shots.

Another tip is to stay balanced. If you're not balanced, you're more likely to miss a shot or lose your footing, leading to a fall. When hitting shots, it's essential to have a good foundation by bending your knees, which will help keep you balanced and improve your control over your shots.

Finally, it's important to keep your body square to the net as much as possible. Turning sideways makes it harder to hit the ball with the correct angle and can lead to weaker shots. Staying square allows you to hit a more powerful and accurate shot.

3) Use the Correct Grip

One of the most important aspects of pickleball is the grip you use to hold your paddle. There are several different grips to choose from, but the most common ones are the Continental Grip and the Eastern Backhand Grip.

The Continental Grip involves holding the paddle with the knuckles of your dominant hand facing up towards the sky. This grip is ideal for serving and hitting forehand shots, and is recommended for beginners.

The Eastern Backhand Grip, on the other hand, involves holding the paddle with the knuckles of your dominant hand facing towards the net. This grip is better suited for hitting backhand shots, and can be more challenging for beginners to master.

When choosing your grip, it's important to consider your own strengths and weaknesses on the court. If you find that your backhand is your weakest shot, then you may want to focus on mastering the Eastern Backhand Grip. Similarly, if you struggle with serving, the Continental Grip may be a better option.

No matter which grip you choose, it's important to make sure that you're holding your paddle correctly. This means gripping the handle with your fingers and not your palm, and keeping a relaxed but firm grip at all times. With practice, your grip will become second nature. 

4) Improve Your serve

In Pickleball, the serve is one of the most important shots. It sets the tone for the entire game and can determine who wins or loses. If you want to improve your Pickleball game, you must work on your serve. Here are a few tips that will help you improve your serve.

  1. Practice, Practice, Practice: The key to improving your serve is to practice as much as possible. Spend at least 15-20 minutes every day practicing your serve. The more you practice, the better you will become.
  2. Work on Your Toss: A good toss is crucial to a good serve. Make sure your toss is consistent and high enough so that you can hit the ball with your paddle at its highest point.
  3. Use Your Legs: Use your legs to generate power and momentum when serving. Bend your knees and push up with your legs when serving to add more power to your serve.
  4. Focus on Accuracy: Aim for the corners of the court when serving. The best serves are those that are aimed at the opponent's feet or out wide, making it difficult for them to return.
  5. Change It Up: Mix up your serves by varying the speed, spin, and placement. This will keep your opponent guessing and make it more challenging for them to return your serve.

5) Practice Your Backhand

In any sport, it's important to be able to hit the ball from both your dominant and non-dominant side. Pickleball is no exception. To become a well-rounded player, it's essential to practice your backhand.

The backhand is a shot that requires a player to hit the ball on the opposite side of their body from their dominant hand. While it may not be as comfortable as hitting with your dominant hand, practicing your backhand can greatly improve your overall game.

To start practicing your backhand, begin by hitting the ball against a wall or backboard with your non-dominant hand. Focus on hitting the ball cleanly and accurately, even if it takes a few attempts. Once you've gotten comfortable hitting the ball with your non-dominant hand, try practicing your backhand on the court.

When practicing on the court, it's important to remember to keep your eye on the ball and follow through with your swing. Focus on hitting the ball in the center of your paddle and aiming for your target. Be patient with yourself and don't get discouraged if it takes some time to get the hang of it.

Another way to improve your backhand is by taking lessons or playing with more experienced players who can offer tips and advice. You can also watch instructional videos online or attend clinics to improve your technique.

By practicing your backhand regularly, you'll become a more versatile player and be able to handle shots that come from different angles. This will ultimately lead to a stronger overall game and better chances of winning matches.

6) Stay Low

Pickleball is a fast-paced game that requires quick reactions and agility. One way to improve your game is by staying low to the ground. This will not only help you move quickly but also give you better control over the ball.

To stay low, bend your knees and keep your weight forward. This will give you a solid base and improve your balance. You can also try lunging forward with one leg while keeping the other leg back. This will help you move quickly and make rapid changes in direction.

It's important to note that staying low does not mean crouching down like a catcher in baseball. Rather, it means keeping your center of gravity low and your body in an athletic stance. This will allow you to move more easily and quickly.

Staying low also gives you a better perspective of the court. You can see more of the court and anticipate your opponent's moves. This will help you react quickly and make strategic shots.

Finally, staying low will reduce the strain on your legs and lower back. It will help you conserve your energy and stay in the game longer.

7) Use Your Non-Dominant Hand

When playing pickleball, it's important to be able to use both hands effectively. Many players rely too heavily on their dominant hand, which can limit their abilities on the court. By training your non-dominant hand, you can improve your overall skills and become a more well-rounded player.

One of the simplest ways to work on your non-dominant hand is to practice hitting with it during warm-up or drills. Start by hitting softly, then gradually increase your intensity and speed. It may take some time to get comfortable with your non-dominant hand, but the effort will pay off in the long run.

Another way to improve your non-dominant hand is to use it for specific shots. For example, if you typically use your dominant hand for backhand shots, try using your non-dominant hand instead. This will force you to develop more control and coordination with that hand.

Additionally, you can try playing with a partner who is also working on their non-dominant hand. This can create a more even playing field and give you both an opportunity to improve your weaker sides.

Remember, the goal is not to become equally proficient with both hands, but rather to develop a level of comfort and proficiency with your non-dominant hand. By doing so, you can expand your abilities on the court and become a more versatile player.

8) Improve Your Volleys

One of the most important skills in Pickleball is the ability to hit volleys consistently. A good volley can put your opponents on the back foot and give you an edge in the game. Here are some tips to help you improve your volleys.

  1. Keep Your Paddle Up

When you're at the net waiting for a volley, make sure to keep your paddle up and ready. This will help you react quickly to any shots that come your way.

  1. Focus on Contact

The key to a good volley is getting the right contact with the ball. Aim to hit the ball in the center of your paddle and use a gentle tapping motion to guide the ball back over the net.

  1. Move Your Feet

To improve your volleys, it's important to stay light on your feet and be ready to move in any direction. This will help you react quickly to any shots that come your way.

  1. Practice, Practice, Practice

Like any skill in Pickleball, the key to improving your volleys is practice. Spend time practicing your volleys with a partner or against a wall, and try to vary the speed and direction of your shots.

  1. Learn to Anticipate Shots

Another key to improving your volleys is learning to anticipate where your opponents are going to hit the ball. Watch their body language and be ready to move quickly to intercept any shots that come your way.

With these tips, you'll be well on your way to improving your volleys and taking your Pickleball game to the next level. Remember to stay focused, stay light on your feet, and most importantly, have fun!

9) Move Quickly

One of the most essential skills you need to master in Pickleball is speed. You should always aim to move as quickly and efficiently as possible during gameplay. Being quick on your feet will help you anticipate shots, respond faster to the ball, and make the necessary adjustments.

To improve your speed, it's crucial to focus on footwork drills and exercises. One effective way to develop agility is by performing lateral shuffles. This footwork drill involves quickly moving from side to side in a semi-squatting position, using quick and explosive movements.

Another important tip is to stay light on your feet, rather than pounding the court with heavy footsteps. Always try to maintain a slight bend in your knees, so you can react faster and move more effortlessly.

Moreover, you should practice pivoting on your feet as this is an essential move in Pickleball. When you pivot, make sure to keep your knees bent and weight evenly distributed on both feet to make quick changes of direction.

Lastly, never forget to warm up and stretch before a game or practice session. Adequate stretching will help prepare your muscles and joints for quick movements, reducing the risk of injuries and enhancing your overall performance.

10) Get Plenty of Rest

While it may seem counterintuitive, one of the best things you can do to improve your pickleball game is to get plenty of rest. When your body is well-rested, you're more alert, focused, and able to react quickly on the court. Additionally, getting enough rest can help prevent injury, which is especially important when you're engaging in physical activities like pickleball.

Make sure to get at least seven to eight hours of sleep each night and try to avoid playing too many matches or practicing for extended periods without taking breaks. You may also find that incorporating other forms of rest and relaxation into your routine, such as meditation or yoga, can help you feel more refreshed and energized on the court.

By taking the time to prioritize rest and recovery, you'll not only improve your performance on the court but also reduce the risk of burnout or injury over time. So make sure to give yourself.