3 Tips to Improve Your Pickleball Game - For Beginners

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If you’re a beginner pickleball player, the best thing you can do for yourself is to master some fundamental basics as quickly as possible, rather than focusing your time and effort on fancy maneuvers and trick shots. (That will come later!)

To start out, make sure you’re practicing these three tips. And while they might sound simple, sometimes it can be an “easier said than done” situation. This is especially true in games, where the pressure is on, and you’re not in the relaxed environment of a practice session or even a lesson.

Two teams of two playing a game of pickleball

1) Always be moving

It’s easy when first starting out to have a tendency to expect the ball to bounce to you. Of course, a pickleball will stay fairly low, so you’ve got to be light on your feet. Don’t let the smaller court size lure you into complacency!

In addition to just moving, be purposeful with your movements! Try not to hang out in the back if the other team’s not forcing you to with powerful drives (and definitely don’t hang out in the middle/”no man’s land.”) Instead, move up to the net and gain the upper hand.

2) Keep an eye on the ball

You might be saying, “Duh,” to yourself, but this is one of those pieces of advice that can slip your mind when you’re in the middle of a game. Your pickleball paddle is an extension of you, so really have to be spatially aware of where you are in relation to the ball, your partner, the net and your opponents. That can be a lot to keep track of in the beginning, so make it easy and prioritize the ball!

3) Reel in the power

As much as you might love envisioning yourself delivering a game-winning slam, as any seasoned player will tell you, pickleball is not all about the power. In fact, more often than not, that just leads to an unforced error. Instead, be patient and keep hitting the ball slow and steady. Keep in mind that you still want to put some “umph” behind that, just not everything you’ve got. In the end, you’ll find that you can win more points just by letting your opponent make mistakes. On the other side of that coin, don’t give away free points by making risky, unnecessary plays.

If you focus on mastering these fundamentals, they’ll soon be second nature to you, and you’ll be able to put your energy into more complicated and varied techniques, strategies and pickleball moves!

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