Use the continental grip. The point of the "V" between your thumb and index finger should be placed on top of the handle of the paddle when the face of the paddle is perpendicular to the ground.
The easiest grip to use is the Continental Grip (See "Volley Tips"). This grip is halfway between the Eastern Forehand Grip and the Eastern Backhand Grip. A player never has to change his grip on the paddle. The volley, serving, overhead and ground strokes are all the same using the Continental Grip.
Most Pickleball players only keep one hand on the paddle when making their shots. A player can have much greater control hitting the ball if he uses two hands to steady the paddle before hitting the ball.
If you have a wet grip problem on hot, humid days, wear a wrist band and buy some Pickleball over grips for your paddle handle. Engage grips are over-grips are about $4.00 each, plus shipping.
Get back to the ready position (See "Volley Tips") quickly after every round stroke and especially volleys with your paddle way out in front of your body.
A common mistake made while moving forward to net is not having your paddle in proper ready position. Many players have their paddles at their knees or below the net, not up and out in front of the body.
At the point when the ball contacts your opponents’ paddle, you should be in your ready position: elbows and paddle out in front of your body, feet at shoulder width apart, side by side on your toes, not your heals, ready to move left or right. Never be moving at the point of contact of your opponent’s paddle on the ball. No matter where you are on the court, stop and get into your ready position. Never sacrifice being ready, for positioning on the court. If you are not prepared early and properly to hit a ball, it doesn’t matter where you are on court. You probably won’t hit the ball properly.
Return of Serve
Never try for a pure winner. Do not make an unforced error. Make your target spot five feet from the baseline and eight inches to left of center. This will keep the ball closer to the backhand of the player whose backhand is toward the middle of the court. The ball will travel over the low part of the net and give you a lot of leeway. Hit the ball slow to give you plenty of time to set up at the no volley zone line.
Change spin occasionally (top or under spin). It will cause some opponents to make mistakes at times.
Once in a great while, when ahead, hit fast return of serve for a change up when you feel your opponents will least expect it.
Place the return down the middle, slightly closer to the back hand player. Both opponents may think the other will take the shot.
Wait for the serve 12" or more behind the baseline so that the ball will bounce in front of you, not at your feet for a difficult shot. If your opponent has a very fast and deep serve, you may have to wait about 3 feet behind baseline.
Have a mental note in your mind of players who do hit soft, short serves. Watch the face of the server’s paddle and be ready to sprint in and split your feet for the short return.
If one opponent is weaker than the other, hit the return to weakest opponent’s backhand until you get ahead a few points.
When the better of your two opponents least expects it, hit a shot to him deep to his backhand. The element of surprise can help.
When your serve is returned, try to place a soft shot in the no volley zone. Do not try to overpower your opponent with a very fast passing shot, unless you are an advanced player and you feel you can win more than 80% of points in this manner.
Both opponents are already at net, and it would be a very low percentage shot. A low soft shot is important because it gives you time to get to the net and not be on the defensive. More points are won when returning serve because the first team that gets to the net usually wins the point. If you can win 8 out of 10 points with any other strategy, go for it.
Never Miss Your Serve because you are hitting too hard, an especially important part of the game. Your opponents only need a pulse to win the point if you miss the serve. Give them a chance to lose. Also, your partner will lose confidence in you if you keep missing your serve.
After serving, step back one step behind the baseline. There are two reasons for this. (1) The ball must land in front of you not at your feet. (2) It will be easier to see if your opponents return is going to be out. If your opponent has the ability to hit a drop shot, be prepared to quickly run forward.
When serving the ball, give yourself leeway, aim for center of serving box 5 feet from baseline. Serve fast only if you never miss your serve.
When volleying, keep elbow out in front of your hip with paddle head above wrist for better ball control. Never drop the head of the paddle on low shots. You must keep skin wrinkles on your wrist at point of contact.
Try and keep your head and eyes behind ball at ball height when hitting a volley.
Bend your knees on all low shots. Your back knee should almost be touching the ground. Stay down all the way through your shot and keep your head down and eyes looking at ball contact point long after ball has been hit.
Do not swing at your volleys unless you are an advanced player and feel you can make 80% of your swinging volleys. Punch them unless your opponent hits a very fast volley or overhead at close range at you. Then just set the height and angle of your paddle and block the shot low to your opponent’s feet. Beginner Pickleball players have a tendency to swing at their volleys and punch the ground strokes which should be just the opposite. There is not enough time to swing at most volleys and you lose your consistency when you swing and not punch the shot by extending your arm from the elbow.
When you punch your ground strokes, you lose power and control. Stroke your ground strokes for better placement and power.
When you are waiting for the ball, you should be in the "ready position." Your elbows should be out in front of your body, your feet should be shoulder width apart, and you should be on your toes. The head of your paddle should be higher than your wrist. You should see wrinkles on your wrist. Never drop the head of your paddle and let those wrinkles disappear. The angle of the face of the paddle should be slightly open (1 o’clock to 7 o’clock).
When you strike the ball, you should point your front shoulder in the direction you want the ball to go and open or close the face of the paddle to set the angle of the paddle. Keep a firm wrist and extend your arm from only the elbow joint, using a jab motion. Setting the angle of the paddle and the jab motion are two completely separate motions. First aim the paddle early. Then jab from the elbow joint.
Keep the butt of the paddle level to the ground all the way through the jab. (Adjust only the angle of the face of the paddle).
Always make contact with the ball as far out in front of your body as you possibly can for more power and more control of placement.
At the exact point of contact with the ball make a sound to yourself. This will help prevent you from making one of the biggest mistakes made while playing Pickleball, not watching the ball hit the paddle.
After the point of contact, keep your eyes focused on the contact point during your follow through.
Return to the ready position quickly after each volley.
The harder you hit your volley the faster you must return to the ready position.
Never let the face of the paddle of your paddle drop below your wrist on low volleys. Bend your knees so that your back knee is almost touching the ground. Your fist or the butt of the paddle must almost touch the ground. Keep your head and body down all the way through the follow through. Stay down; don’t come up too soon.
If you don’t have time to step to the ball, at least turn your upper body and point your front shoulder in the direction you want the ball to go. If you don’t have time to turn your shoulders, then from the ready position keep a stationary wrist with paddle parallel to the net and block the fast shot over the net.
Keep your volley low to your opponent’s feet or bounce the ball on the court exactly beside him.
Hitting your right handed opponent’s right hip pocket is not as good as hitting his feet or hitting exactly beside him, but it is very effective.
After each volley move forward one step toward the no volley zone. Get as close to NVZ line as possible.
On the back hand volley keep your knuckles lined up with the paddle face in the direction you want the ball to go and keep the handle slightly ahead of the paddle.
You must use an aggressive jab when volleying a ball with a heavy spin.
The difference between an overhead and a volley the height at which the ball is when you make contact with it. If the ball is below the highest point at which you can reach it with the center of your paddle, you should use a volley shot. If it is above that point, you should hit an overhead shot. On too low a shot you will not be able to fully extend your arm and will probably put the ball in the net.
When at the net, turn toward your opponent before he hits the ball. When the ball travels straight toward your paddle it is easier to hit the ball.
If your opponent is moving away from the net near the baseline or your opponent never comes to the net, these are the times to try drop volleys if you have a good drop volley.
Most drop volleys are placed near the post on the side of the court from which your opponent had just retreated to the baseline to return your team’s lob shot. If you feel his partner has been anticipating your drop volley, don’t place your drop volley by the post, place it half way back from the net and baseline so that the net person must run away from the net to play the ball. It is much more difficult to hit a shot when moving quickly away from net than towards the net. Many times the player who just ran way back for the lob will
recover and get in the way of his partner trying to help him out Use a drop volley if your opponent stays at the baseline.
At the point of contact on a touch shot, squeeze your pinky, middle finger and ring finger. This will help you keep a firm wrist.
Lob - Defensive & offensive
When making a lob, lob over your opponent’s backhand side.
If you hit a very high short lob from up close to net and you are exceptionally fast on your feet, then the percentages play is to drop back to the baseline and play your opponent’s overhead. If you are not able to quickly retreat to the baseline, then hold your position at
the net with your paddle in the ready position and on your toes. If the ball is hit at your feet while you are backpedaling and only halfway to the baseline, it is almost impossible to return. Do not leave your position at the net unless you are 100% confident that you
can retreat to the baseline with enough time to prepare for your opponent’s overhead.
If the ball is lobbed over your head at the net, your partner should yell "I got it" and run behind you. At the same time, you should switch sides of the court. If you feel you can make an excellent overhead, call off your partner early.
If a ball is hit straight over your head and your partner isn’t running back to help you, then run back parallel to the ball so when you get to the ball, you can hit a deep forehand lob. Do not turn 180 degrees and run straight back after the ball, because you will not be in a
good position to hit the ball when you get to it.
Hit a few high lobs before game to evaluate direction of wind and speed. During every second of an important game, keep the wind direction in mind. It will give you points. Steady your game by playing the wind to your advantage. Beginner and intermediate players
would hit less out balls if they hit into the wind. Advanced players are better qualified to play the wind. It can help you and hurt you.
If the wind is 20mph, it is best to have it at your back.