Get your first serve in. This takes away the big drive killer return and your partner will be most appreciative.
Serve to the T (middle) in the deuce service box and to the body in the add box. This takes away more shot selections (angles and alleys) from your opponent and sets up your partner at the net for easier poaching opportunities.
Return of serves should be hit low and away from the net man, high and cross court away from the net player, down the ally, at the net player (hard), or lobbed over the net man. Hit low and away against net rushing server while mixing in different returns to keep the server out of timing. You may also use the return of serve as an approach shot, chip and charge style or drive and charge. If you can make the server hit up the point will shift to your favor.
Make up your mind if you are going to serve and volley, serve and stay back, return and volley, return and stay back, poach, fake or stay at the net before the point begins! Your partner should also know by communication or tendencies.
Short high balls can be angled off or hit between your opponents. Deep high balls should be hit to the most open court with good depth! Slicing the overhead adds control and gives you time to recapture a net position.
When hitting a transition ball in mid court, position quickly inside of the service box. If you choose not to transition because it was not comfortable enough, retreat behind the baseline. This is where, “up or back,’ is often said by coaches and alpha partners.
When your partner crosses the middle of the net to poach (steal a shot with a volley), the partner behind should automatically switch to the other side of the court which was left open. The same is true if a lob is hit over the net player.
In general you should strive to balance the court together with a positional strategy that works best against your opponents, given strengths and weaknesses of both teams. The basic positions are: one up / one back, both up, both back. The way in which you strategize your positioning with your partner should be based upon the weapons each of you bring, matched against those of your opponents. It is in effect, moving chess. The positions you line up in will change as the point develops.
Using signals, talking between points, saying “you or me” during a point, keeps you and your partner on the same page to what your first shot and movement is. This will “catch” your opponent’s off guard and disrupt their timing. Team chemistry and communication become extremely important.
Doubles teams move together with the ball. A player moves diagonally, laterally, or vertically when playing at the net. This is when the phrase, “follow the ball’ or “stay together” is often discussed as bssic team fundamentals.
I've played tennis since the age of 10 and started pickleball three years ago. There's many commonalities to both games, the net, defined lines, a ball and a paddle or racquet. Thankfully a pickleball court is easier to cover because of the smaller distance. It's a great game and it's social, just like tennis. In a recreation setting the game is competitive like tennis and requires knowledge, skill, and conditioning to master. In time anyone can become "decent." I'll share with you as much as I can about how to improve and what to look out for in the game of pickleball.
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