Top Tips for Advanced Pickleball Play Action
While beginners are learning the rules of play and intermediate players are perfecting their skills, advanced play is all in the head. Whether you are playing a game of singles or doubles, when it comes to more advanced playing, you want to approach the game with a unique strategy that fits you or your team and best equips you against your competition. Here are some tips to start really thinking through your game instead of reacting to what comes your way during the game. That is a key difference between beginner, recreational and advanced play.
Warm up - get your head in the game
Most think of warming up as doing some stretching or bouncing to get yourself ready for the physical demands of play. While we make no argument that physical warm-up is important to condition your body and prevent injury, the advanced play is as much mental as it is physical.
Keep yourself engaged by not sitting idle for more than 10 minutes. Allowing your mind to wander too long between matches dulls your response time. You don't have to play hard, but a relaxed match keeps your mind sharp between tournament matches. If playing partners, you can just find open space if not a court and hit the ball back and forth to each other.
Now, to really get your reaction juices flowing, you and a partner can engage in aggressive play against each other. Play with the intention of trying to hit each other. We're not talking trying to injure one another, but definitely banging the ball at your partner. This does a couple of things. First, it wakes your brain up reacting to a ball coming at you. Next, it conditions your mind to react with your paddle at an oncoming ball instead of ducking or lunging away from it. This kind of reaction can get you points rather than injury and really throw your opponents off their game if trying to intimidate you with more power plays.
Strategy: master yours and kill theirs
More than serving and returning and different hits, the strategy of the game involves much anticipation of your opponent's actions while blocking them from anticipating yours. There is also much to be said about working harder than smarter.
Wear them down
Keep your opponent moving and tire them out. In singles games, it's common and even recommended to stay in the center of the court. Control your opponent by hitting to the sides of the court, alternating each side to keep them chasing the ball. The same works in a doubles game, only the teams are on the sides, so aim the ball right down the center to keep them moving. As you learn your control, you can not only tire them, but you learn the most likely returns of these hits and not only anticipate, but control their reactions.
Location on the court also helps you maintain control and wear down your opponents. The team at the net has a huge advantage over the team in the backcourt so keep your opponent in back as long as possible. Hit deep shots into their back-court. Try to keep them at the baseline and prevent them from advancing to the net. As soon as you have an opportunity to move towards the net, move up to the net quickly with your partner to take the upper hand on the point. The team that dominates the net is generally the team that will win the point.
Be the wildcard
As you see the arguments of those who favor different kinds of hits, be it dinking, slamming, lobbing, don't identify with any of them. Once you are known for your hitting style, your opponents will start to strategize how to play against it. Instead, practice and master it all. Being hard to predict makes you one of the hardest players to compete against.
New level - new challenges - new perspectives
Putting your head in the game at the advanced level, you may find yourself working against the muscle memory you developed during intermediate play to identify and develop a strategy. While this is a new challenge, you also start to notice and identify what improves and impedes your performance, such as different gear such as your shoes, balls or paddles.
Pickleball players of all skill levels must have reliable paddles. An athlete is only as good as their equipment. Take your game to the next level with Apollo Pickleball paddles. If you need help choosing a pickleball paddle, we can help you there too. Apollo Pickleball has everything you need to become a skilled pickleball player. For more information, or for inquiries regarding product specifics, message us through our contact page. Good luck on the court!