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Pickleball Playing Tips


Wear good quality non-marking court shoes. Do not use running shoes, which are not designed for side-to-side movement. Clean your shoes often, as dirty shoes will cause slips.

If you or your partners are not sure if the ball is in or out, the call is always in favor of your opponent.
Pickleball is a game of placement, not power. Beginners use power but better players use placement.
Learn from the better players and ask for advice and assistance. Listen to and try suggestions, and adjust to your own style of playing.  Keep the things that work and eliminate the things that just do not work for you. 

Look on the USAPA site on the internet for tips and lessons. Books and DVD’s are available as well as video matches on You-Tube.

Call out the score every time you serve so that your opponents can hear the score. Call out your score first, then the opponent’s score and, finally, if you are the first server or the second server. Example: 3-1 on 2 (second server)

Make sure your opponent is ready before you serve. Remember that you have 10 seconds to serve after you announce the score.

If there is a disagreement on the score, either play a let or give your opponent the benefit of the doubt.

Call out “I’ve got it” or “mine” when you want to take the shot.

Do not wear offensive or distracting clothing. You can be forced to change in a tournament setting.

Be gentle with beginners or lesser players. Remember that at one time you, too, were a beginner.

If you are not ready to return the serve, hold up your hand or turn your back to the server. Do not attempt to return the serve when you are not ready. If you do try to return the serve and miss, you cannot claim that you were not ready.

Learn to judge out balls. Know the rules regarding out balls.

Balls that are climbing at shoulder level with speed usually go out.

Listen and look for balls that sound funny or bounce funny. They may be cracked.

As the better player, you will hit fewer shots in match play than your partner. Be patient and make sure that you are ready for your opportunity. Support your partner, as he or she will be under more pressure and taking more shots than you. With more shots going his or her way, try to poach more and fake poaching more than usual.

When you lose, try to figure out why. Was it your fault? Did you have too many unforced errors? Did you pop up too many shots?  Were you adding extra pressure onto your partner? Were you not ready when you had the opportunity to put the ball away? Did you lose focus? Were you thinking about the last shot versus focusing on the current shot?

When you win, ask why? What did you or your partner do that made the difference?

Did you congratulate your opponents on their effort?

Drink lots of water. Hydrate. Adrenalin drives up your thirst and the need for water.

If you are trying your best on every shot, you never have to apologize for your performance.

Sometimes when your partner is a much better player, they will tend to take many of “your shots.” Talk to them and make them aware that by missing your own shots you have the opportunity to learn.

It’s not always about winning, but it is about improving. Be open to constructive criticism.

Remember that 75% of all shots are won on errors! Keep the ball in play. If you hit the ball over one more time, there is a 75% chance that you could win the point.

When possible, hit at the opponent’s feet, or slightly behind them. This is one of the hardest shots to return.

Always assume that the ball is going to come to you next. Be ready!  Watch the ball contact the paddle, not where it is going to go.

Keep the paddle up in the ready position, not below your waist or by your knees.

When given the opportunity, return the shot using the forehand stroke. It is usually the stronger side for power, touch and control.

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Edmonton Pickleball Club is a registered non-profit organization in Alberta.
Postal address: c/o 304 Caldwell Close NW, Edmonton AB, Canada T6M 2W9

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