This One Pickleball Tip Will Transform Your Game Completely

pickleball player hitting the ball

This one Pickleball tip will transform your game literally. Do you want to know the most underutilized opportunity in pickleball that can transform your game completely? We’re talking about pickleball return of serve.

Hitting an effective return of serve and pickleball is critical to your game’s ability to earn side-outs and as a result, get the serve back so you can once again score points. But how can you master this serve? Well, let’s figure it out in today’s article.

Hello and welcome to The Comprehensive Minds, your number-one spot for all pickleball content. In this article, we’re going to explain the basics of pickleball return of serve along with tips and tricks to improve your game.

The return of serve

The return of serve and pickleball is just as important as the serve, as the same purpose as a serve. Your game strategy should be to get to the net and a reliable good return of serve would be deep and ideally to the weakest point of the receiver or best-considered position on the court.

A good way for a beginner to return a serve is to hit a soft looping shot that lands close to the T on the backhand side of the server. This can and often does make it hard for the player to figure out who will take the shot.

It also keeps the other team from taking a quick shot. A good serve is a great way to score a lot of points in pickleball, but the return of serve is almost as important.

Return of serve rules

There aren’t too many rules about the return of serve, but a serve that lands in the right service box must be returned by the right return of server after one bounce.

This return of server can pretty much be put anywhere. But how do you hit the return of serve? Below are five tips for hitting an effective return of serve in pickleball that will tilt the advantage in your favor.

1. Position yourself when returning a serve

Stand 2 to 3 feet behind the baseline. This is one of the most common mistakes we see, especially when we watch people who are just starting out or are in the middle of their learning.

The person who returns to serve usually stands just behind the baseline, maybe an inch or two back. So a deep serve will jam the return of server and forced him to hit the return as their weight moves backwards. Instead, you want your weight to move forward for a good return.

2. Return and run

We also see players make an error when they don’t get the nonvolley line after the return of serve, and rallies are one at the line where you can’t hit the ball. Don’t let the team that is serving gain this advantage by not following a return to a nonvolley line.

If you can’t get all the way to the nonvolley line after the return and before the serving team hits your next shot, the third shot. Remember to split step just before your opponent hits the ball.

3. Slow down your return

To give yourself more time to get to the non-volleyed line. The faster the ball comes back, the harder you hit it. So if you hit a return with a lot of speed, you probably won’t be able to get all the way through the transition zone before the serving team hits the ball. So you’ll probably be stuck in the transition zone, which makes it harder to make shots.

4. Cut your return so it stays low

When you hit the ball with different spins, you give your opponents different challenges. Nothing is different about the slice return. When you slice the ball back, it stays low to the court, making it harder for your opponent to get their paddle under the ball enough to drop or drive it.

5. Put the ball deep in the court and in the middle of the court

It makes the serving team shot longer and harder and it keeps them farther from the nonvolley line, where they will be able to get a better position on the court.

When you hit the ball to the middle, you reduce the chance of making a mistake on the return serve and the two players on the serving team may not know who would hit the third shot. It also cuts down on the angles that the team serving can use to their advantage.

a woman serving in pickleball

Now let’s cover some more tips.

Tip 1. Learn the different serves so you know how to return to them

Sun Tzu says Know Thy Enemy in his book The Art of War. Since pickleball wasn’t invented until 1965, An Art of War was written about 2400 years ago. It’s safe to say he wasn’t talking about returning serves, but the idea is still the same.

If you want to get better at pickleball, you need to know what you’re up against. In pickleball, there are three main types of serves.

  • First high-quality soft serve.
  • Second, serve with power.
  • Third, serve with a soft angle.

The goal of the high soft serve is to hit the ball that curves high and deep into your opponent’s court, making them move and possibly lose their position. This should set up a third shot that lets the team serving score. The power serve is fast, deep, and on the ground.

It’s harder to pull off, but it can force your opponent to act quickly and make them more likely to make a mistake. The goal of these soft angles serves to get your opponent off the baseline and make a path for your third shot.

Now that you know what each of the three main serves is trying to do. Well, let’s talk about how to return them.

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Tip 2. Return the ball deep

No matter what happens in the first few shots and volleys, most points are scored when everyone is near the net. So when you return to serve, you should try to get it close to the baseline of your opponent. This makes your opponent stay back longer than they want to, and it also gives you a chance to move up to the kitchen.

Tip 3. Returns that are both high and low

At first glance, it might seem like a mistake to return the ball high and soft, but if you give the ball enough curve and send it deep, your opponent will lose any edge or forward momentum they had. Also, as tip number two said, the goal is to get to the kitchen. Getting a high arching serve back gives you plenty of time to do that.

Tip 4. Put yourself in a strong spot

For a strong pickleball position you and your partner, if you’re playing doubles, should stand on the nonvolley line with your feet even and ready to move. If you follow the tips above, it shouldn’t be hard to get into a strong position.

As you get better at the game and learn your own strengths and weaknesses. You can change what a strong position means to you.

Tip 5. Use the corners

Whether you hit the ball back hard, soft, deep, or short. Shooting at the angles is the best way to throw your opponent off balance and put them in a position to make a mistake.

If you return your opponent, serve right back to them. You might be able to use a strong forehand on their third shot, which doesn’t help you or your team score goals very much. Instead, look for the corners of the court and practice aiming at them over and over again.

Tip 6. Make the other player use their backhand

Most pickleball players, if not all, like to use a forehand shot. The backhand is harder because it’s harder to control where the ball goes. To use this to your advantage, practice returning your opponent’s serve to their weak side. For a person who is right-handed, that is to their left. For a person who is left-handed, it’s to their right.

Tip 7. Learn how to do topspin and backspin

To get to the next level of pickleball, you need to learn how to change where your ball will go or how it will act when it hits the ground or another paddle. You can do both of these by giving your shot some spin.

When the paddle goes over the ball and spins it forward as it goes back to your opponent. This is called topspin. The spinning on the ball makes it fall faster so it’ll bounce lower or hit your opponent’s paddle in an odd way.

Backspin is the other way around. For this shot, you put your paddle under the ball and make it spin back toward you. This makes the ball curve higher, making your opponent reach forward and lose their balance.

Tip 8. Try not to be too predictable

It’s important not always return serves the same way. Even if you are good at the high, slow, and deep arc. There will come a time in the match when you need to try something different. When your opponent is taking too long to go to the kitchen after their serve is the best time to do this.

You could also watch to see if your opponent stands on the balls of his or her feet. You can make your power in distance stronger or weaker or change the angle you’re aiming at.

Tip 9. Don’t forget to have fun

Okay Okay. It’s not really a tip to help you get more money back, but you shouldn’t forget that pickleball is a fun and competitive game. Many people want to go outside and stay active. Remember why you started playing the sport that we all love.

So what do you think about the third shot drop? Tell us in the comments. Also, don’t forget to share this article with your fellow pickers.

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