Pickleball Fundamentals

How to get to the net after serving

The serving team is at a disadvantage  because the returning team will be at the net before the return of serve is touched by the serving team. The serving team must get to the net as fast and as safe as possible to level the playing field. The third hit is very important.

  • The serve
  • The return of serve
  • The serving team’s second hit.

There are three methods to get to the net:

  1. Blast the ball as low and hard as you can over the net. This is counter productive because it does not give you enough time to get all the way to the NO VOLLEY ZONE line and it is a low percentage shot against a good volleying team.
  2. Lob down the middle over the left players backhand which is not an easy shot.
  3. Dink the ball into the no volley zone. This slow soft shot will give you and your partner plenty of time to get to the net. It is not an easy shot. Practicing and mastering this strategy will quickly bring your game to the next level.

If you do not get all the way up to the no volley zone line before your opponent is about to hit the ball, you must stop in a split step position (both feet parallel to each other in your volley ready position).

Never ever be moving at the point of contact of your opponent touching the ball. It is better to stop in no man’s land balanced and ready to move in any direction than a little closer to the net and not balanced or ready.

Tips and advice on early preparation in pickleball

Early preparation is the most important part of the game. Players, in their quest to get to the NVZ line tend to be running out of control at the point of contact of the ball on their opponent’s paddle.

The proper technique is to split step (feet are parallel to each other and shoulder width apart) and hesitate for a split second in the proper ready position at the point of contact of your opponent touching the ball. Watch the face of your opponent’s paddle to be able to read if you will be hitting a forehand or backhand shot and be prepared to cross step to the ball. Using the slit step allows you to have a little forward motion and be in control to move quickly in either direction.

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