Doubles Pickleball Strategy

Pickleball doubles strategy
Sana Sabir
November 19, 2022
Read Time:7 Minute, 20 Second
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Are you new to doubles pickleball? When you search “pickleball strategy doubles” on the internet, you’ll get a list of detailed guides and methods which you can follow to improve your game. But wait… Being a beginner in this game, it’s hard for you to learn everything at once. I understand!

In this blog, I’ll share the 9 best pickleball mixed doubles strategy tips that will be extremely beneficial for those of you who are just starting out with this game.  There are undoubtedly several more approaches to master, however, these pickleball doubles tactics can help anyone become a good player in general. 

So why wait? Let’s start learning!

Key Takeaways

  • Stand two to three feet behind the baseline. This will allow you enough time and room to move into the ball when you return it.
  • You should always focus on returning the serve as deep as possible. Because it lengthens and significantly increases the difficulty of the third shot for the serving side.
  • Any serve that is handled, regardless of how slow or how quickly it is delivered, is preferable to a mistake.
  • The player who stands on the forehand side should go for the middle shots.
  • While targeting the center of the court, you must also target to hit your opponent’s foot with a backhand shot.

Get to the Non-Volley Line after the Return-of-Serve

Doubles Pickleball Strategy - a player is standing near the non volley line in pickleball court

The first pickleball doubles positioning strategy tip is to always go to the non-volley zone. What I mean to say you should always take return-of-serve to the non-volley line in pickleball doubles. Do you know why? This is because winning points and rallies is considerably more possible when your team is just 7 feet from the net rather than 22 feet away. And if you do, your chances of winning the rally will improve. So why not?

Learn to Hit Drop Shots

Even though it’s challenging to master, a drop shot is the best pickleball doubles strategy you must consider. If you lack the right shot approach, it will be hard to achieve stability.  

A gently executed shot from the baseline is a great drop shot. Even though your opponent may be able to attack the ball (if it’s above the net), you don’t want to hit it into the net and make a mistake. 

Drop shots that land in or close to the kitchen are ideal. The ideal drop shot falls in the kitchen after bouncing once near the net with the apex, or highest point of the bounce, below the net. When the ball lands below the net, your opponents must hit the ball upward to get it over—greatly decreasing their chances of attacking the strike and enabling you & your partner to come closer to the non-volley line.

To execute a fantastic drop shot, you must control both the paddle face and the shot speed.

Paddle Face Open

A paddle with an open face assists in lifting the ball upward and across the net.

The angle of the Paddle

The angle of the paddle should be toward the side rather than directly below your arm. It’s harder to control the direction when it’s directly below your arm.

Short Backswing

The faster the swing, the more challenging it is to manage the ball’s speed.

Pushing Sensation

A well-played drop hit seems as if you’re pushing the ball off the paddle rather than hitting it.

Try to Keep Your Opponents at the Baseline

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It is advantageous to hold your opponents trapped back when you and your mate are in the non-volley zone, but the opponents aren’t. If you hit a shorter shot, your opponents will come up to the no-volley line, where you will lose your advantage. Instead, you should try to keep your opponents as far away from you as possible in order to maintain your advantage.

Serve with More Depth

Although it may seem obvious, you need to ensure that your serve enters the service box. Instead of attempting an edge, concentrate on bringing the shot over the net. To get better results, you should practice this during your free time and when you’re away from competitive play.

You must be capable of serving the ball consistently. Remember that you only receive one serving attempt in this game, therefore you need to reduce service errors.

Pro Tip:

You should target the middle of the service box.  It is your biggest opportunity to get the serve in bounds. Any serve that is handled, regardless of how slow or how quickly it is delivered, is preferable to a mistake.

As you become better, you can train to serve more forcefully, quickly, and with spin, but until then, simply get it in!

Step Away from the Baseline when Returning

When returning serve, I frequently see players standing one or two feet inside the baseline. Unless you are certain the serve will be hit short, you should stand two to three feet behind the baseline. This will allow you enough time and room to move into the ball when you return it. When you serve the ball deeply, you won’t get stuck anymore and hand your opponents an easy strike.

Return the Serve as Deep as Possible

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There are several benefits to a deeper return of serve.

One benefit is that it offers the returner more time to go toward the non-volley zone and chase the return-of-serve.

Additionally, it lengthens and significantly increases the difficulty of the third shot for the serving side.

Communication when Returning Middle Shots is Key

Hits that are made down the center of the court usually lead to confusion as to which opponent should make the shot. Hence, as a team, you should together decide who will play the middle hits at the start of the game.

You can still decide to follow the conventional rule that the person who will stand on the forehand side will go for the middle shots. For better cooperation, Say “my” or “yours” to each other while playing your game.

Move Together

The doubles game should always be played as a team— moving up and back together or side-to-side together with your mate. If you and your partner are not working together, your opponents will have an easier time finishing shots.

Patience is a Virtue

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This is undoubtedly another difficult doubles pickleball strategy to grasp. Patience is the most challenging of all.

When selecting shots, you must be selective.

If you are unable to cross the net with a descending blow, consider taking a safer shot. Because you may lose rallies due to your poor mistakes. 

So be patient and selective while playing the winning game.


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What are two different strategies when playing doubles in pickleball?

Following are the two pickleball mixed doubles strategy tips you should consider:
• While targeting the center of the court, you must also target to hit your opponent’s foot with a backhand shot.
• Effective communication is the key to a pickleball doubles game. Therefore, the team should collaborate with each other by saying “yours” “mine” “let go” etc. to help each other decide what to do next.  

Where is the safest place to hit a ball in doubles pickleball?

In doubles, the best spot to strike the ball is deep into the middle. This reduces the possibilities of striking wide and can create confusion about which competitor would return the ball.

What are the 5 key strategies to help you in becoming a better pickleball player?

• Take and maintain a suitable position.
• Just after the third shot, hurry toward the non-volley zone line.
• Improve your serving technique.
• Enhance your return of serving skills.
• Attempt the third shot as a drop shot.


These are only a few of the pickleball strategies for doubles that will assist you in becoming a good player & companion. Try your best to incorporate as many of these principles and approaches into your own game as possible. These approaches might not come easy to you. In reality, they may seem difficult at first. But with a little practice, you’ll see clear improvements in your game.

For additional information and more advanced pickleball doubles strategy tips, you can read our detailed Pickleball strategy doubles guide.

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Sana Sabir

Hi, I’m Sana Sabir. I’m a freelance content writer from Pakistan. I am passionate about fitness and sports, so much so that it’s the reason my career has taken off. My background is in business studies and I love to write about fitness and sports-related topics.

I also write articles on other niches like healthcare, fashion, and lifestyle. Being a fitness lover who has always been fascinated by the human body and how it works, I had always wanted to be a fitness writer since an early age. I enjoy trying new sports, one of my favorites of which is pickleball. 

I’ve been writing for 3 years now, and my work has been published on many fitness, health, and lifestyle blogs. I always entertain my readers with some interesting and informational articles. To ensure my articles are genuine and relevant, I perform in-depth research, explore case studies, and read books on the topic before writing. Besides writing, I love painting, cooking, and gardening.