This Third Shot Drop Strategy Will Make You a Pro Pickleball Player

Do you want to learn a brilliant pickleball technique that will take your performance to the next level? If so, be sure to read this article all the way through. In pickleball, the third shot drop is a crucial shot to master.

If you’ve been playing for a while, the annoying third short drop is probably the subject of more frustrating pickleball discussions than anything else. We are with you all the way.

You must make the third shot a reliable component of your arsenal if you want to get to the top of your local game or begin competing in tournaments. It needn’t be flawless, but it must function.

Welcome to The Comprehensive Minds, your go-to source for all things pickleball! In today’s article, we’ll discuss what the third shot drop is, why it’s significant, how to perform it, and how to grow better at it. So let’s get started.

So what is the third shot drop in pickleball?

man playing third shot drop

The third shot is a combination of a shot and a move that helps the team that is serving get to the kitchen line. Should be called the transition shot, though. But if you don’t use an otherwise great third-shot drive to get your team to the kitchen, you might as well not have done it at all.

For instance, say you make a great third shot drop, but you don’t get to the kitchen. What is the defender going to do at the line? It should come back to you at the baseline.

Now you’re trying your fifth shot, but you’re in the same position as before. This is why the move to the kitchen line and the shot itself are both called the third shot. If you don’t do both, you’re not really moving from one thing to another.

Like we said earlier, we don’t want to scare you, but it’s true that the most important shot to learn is the third shot drop. This is especially true as you get better and play at higher levels. If your third shot drops on fire, you’re much more likely to win games.

Let us tell you how to pull off this shot.

Get your feet set first. Start with your feet. Don’t jerk the paddle. Instead. Swing through the ball. Loosen your grip and use those soft hands. Don’t think of your third shot as a defensive shot. That’s the key to making it go in. It isn’t.

Many players make a big mistake when they try to hit the ball softly on purpose. The ball usually goes into the net. You don’t have to hit the ball softly if you don’t want to. You just need to swing slowly and loosely through the ball.

With a good arm, this will send the ball up and hopefully, it will land softly in the kitchen. You should work on your third shot drops more than once a week and you should do them as part of your warm-ups.

Have your partner stand in the kitchen and hit balls at you. Then, after you’ve taken the shot, ask how it went. Was it too deep, too far? Make sure that your partner tells you what you think.

two person playing pickleball

The third shot drive

The third shot drive is one of the most important shots you can use. Most of the time, the shot is used to catch an opponent who is out of a position quickly. It’s a shot that punishes a player for being in the wrong place and also makes the fifth shot, which we’ll talk about in a moment easier.

Below are some tips on how to drive the third shot

Don’t think you need to hit hard. The less control you have, the harder you swing.

Shoot for the gaps, not the player. When you drive it, squat down and get low to the ground. With the third shot drive, it’s easy to hit the ball in the wrong direction with the drive, control and positioning are more important than just having a lot of power.

Most of your third shot drives will work because your opponent made a mistake with their positioning or return of serve. If that is true, you have the upper hand. Don’t waste that chance by hitting the ball hard right into the net.

When to use it

Most of the time you’ll choose between a drop and a drive for your third shot. And as you get better at pickleball. You’ll probably see use the drop most of the time, but you’ll be able to sneak in a drive or two now and then. But this depends on what your opponent is doing.

This is why we sometimes rant about the third shot. We all know how important it is to pick the right shot, but the third shot makes it even more important. What you do.

For example, if your opponent makes a very short return of serve, a lot of players in the middle level would say, Well, of course, you do. The third shot drop. Everyone says the same thing, but it’s not true.

If your opponent hits a high return right into the middle of the court, you should drive that ball right down the middle. We always want to take advantage of the mistakes our opponents make, and this is no different.

You will almost always use the third shot drop, but there are times when you’ll take the drive out. Your opponent hasn’t yet gotten to the net. There is a big hole that is easy to take advantage of. Your opponent’s return of serve was short.

If any of the above is true, it’s time to pull out that drive. But if you can’t, you should be disciplined enough to use the third shot drop instead. Learning when to use either version of the third shot will help you a lot as you go on.

When not to go for a third shot drive

When you see players at the top levels, go for the third shot drive. There are a few things that they have in place which you may not have thought too much about.

Reflexes. First of all, teams that use this strategy well are usually athletic, quick on their feet, and have quick reactions. You shouldn’t go for the third shot drive if you aren’t athletic, quick on your feet, and have quick reflexes. The fact that you were quick on your feet 20 years ago doesn’t count.

Game plan. Also, these teams work well together and have the same game plan. They wouldn’t go for a third shot drive and they didn’t know for sure that their partner would be up at the net and ready to pounce on the opening.

If your partner is an athletic, quick on their feet, has quick reflexes, and a good understanding of the strategy behind the third shot drive. Then you shouldn’t use it.

Excellent Ball control. The third shot drive attack only works if your partner moves quickly to the net and is ready to put the ball away if it’s high or he hit a drop volley back if it’s low. If your partner can’t control the ball well, your plan might backfire.

When your partner pops the ball up and your opponent’s, you’re always at the net and put it away for the win. So don’t hit the third shot drive If your partner isn’t very fast or good at controlling the ball, you should also never hit a third shot drive, if you and your partner are going to hang out at the back of the court.

If he can’t help it, you should never hang out at the back of the court, and hitting a third shot drive is likely to keep your back there longer if you haven’t been able to get to the net quickly.

Third shot drop strategy and tips

Third shot drop strategy

The third shot drop is basically the shot you should play when you don’t have a good chance of driving it. Here are some tips to help you drop great third shots.

1. Think about where you want to put your third shot

men playing pickleball

If you hit your drop shots to the sidelines, it makes it hard for your opponent to hit a good attack, shot straight on, and force them to play a cross-court dink, which is easier for your team to handle.

2. Move forward as you hit your drop shots

man playing shot in pickleball game

After you shoot, use your forward momentum to move towards the net. When you hit with forwarding momentum, your body is always in a good place to make your shot more accurate and consistent.

3. After your team serves, don’t stand inside the baseline

man and woman playing pickleball

After the serve is hit, the server and his or her partner often take a step inside the baseline, making it hard for them to hit the third shot. We think it’s because your team just served and you’re moving forward, so you follow the ball a step inside the baseline without realizing it.

If you do this, you might get caught off guard and find it hard to make your third shot and then get to the net. Don’t let this simple mistake cause you to lose an event. The server steps in front of the baseline after he or she serves the ball, the return service is deep so he has to hit the ball while moving backward.

This makes it impossible for him to move to the net after his drop shot. He stays back and the other team wins the rally. If he had stayed behind the baseline after his serve, he could have used his great drop shot by shifting his weight forward and moving to the net.


Your default shot should be the third shot drop, but don’t be afraid to drive it if you see a good chance. Both the third shot drop and the third shot drive had their place and the teams that use them at the right times would get themselves the best chance to win.

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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