Like all other learning adventures, a pickleball learning journey also begins by acquiring competence and eventual mastery of fundamentals.
If you’re eager to get better at your game, you need to add some incredible shots to your arsenal. A shot is something your ball does after it hits your paddle and goes into the opponent’s court. It could be a dink, a volley, a drop, or lob, or any other shot.
Once you master these shots, you can get far ahead in the pickleball game.
While there are a lot of different shots in pickleball, today’s article discusses the most advanced pickleball shots you can learn that will elevate your game to the next level.
Types of Shots in Pickleball
There are different types of shots in pickleball you can pick along your journey of learning, but the basic ones are those which are most important to master. Let’s have a look at those best pickleball shots so you can play like Mark Renneson.
We’ve talked about volleys in detail, and you know how much we love them. They’re the shots where you hit a ball that hasn’t bounced or hit the ground, yet. And they’re the easiest ones to play as well.
You can play the shot near the ground or from over your head, it’s all up to you, but you need to hit it before it touches the ground.
Note: You can only play a volley outside the kitchen area or the non-volley zone.
Pickleball Drop Shot
A drop shot is so difficult, it even drives the most experienced players crazy, but with a few touches, you can master the shot.
A drop shot is a soft shot that lands in the kitchen area and lands as an attackable shot. If your opponent is near the baseline, you’ll have a competitive advantage, as they’ll have to move fast to play the shot.
To ace the drop shot, you need to tilt your open paddle face to the side. This way, it’s easier for you to control the trajectory of the shot.
You need to make sure that you keep the paddle swing short, and make the contact happen in front of your body. The longer the swing the more difficult it is to control the trajectory of the shot.
Pickleball Dink Shot
To take your pickleball game to the next level, you need to master the dink shot. The first key to perfecting your dinks is having a continental grip. Hold your paddle in a position where you play both the forehand and the backhand pretty quickly.
The second key to leveling up your dinking game is to be consistent with your strokes. Make sure you keep the paddle in front of your body to maintain the swing path of your shots. This way, it is also easier for you to time your shots.
Remember to keep the swing and follow-through of your shots short and compact.
Using your legs is also super important to hitting the perfect dinks. If you’re someone who doesn’t have a lot of experience playing racquet sports and using gears from dinkshot pickleball, then you need to know that using your legs will help you go a long way in pickleball.
Let us explain this more. If you receive a ball where you have to go low, don’t bend your back, instead, bend your knees to lower down and then play the shot. Don’t stay in one place, move your legs to get into a low position.
Another key to getting your dinks right is maintaining a good distance of the ball from the net. You need to have enough clearance. What you need to do is aim for depth and make sure your dinks land in the kitchen area. This is what makes them difficult to return.
3rd Shot Forehand Drive at Dominant Hip/Shoulder on a Short Ball
The pickleball forehand drive is a shot where you hit a ball that has touched the ground from the mid-court to the baseline. It is hit from the dominant side of your paddle.
The best way to get the forehand drive right is to make sure your swing and follow-through are nice and compact. You can play the forehand drive for a return shot or as a pickleball third shot — the choice is yours.
Experts recommend making a backward “C” motion, where you come around the ball with your paddle.
You have to keep it nice and compact. Do not take your hand high up in the air or far behind your body. A nice little backward swing is the key here.
Balance is also the key to crushing a forehand drive. When you hit a forehand, make sure you step in, keep the backswing short, and hit the ball. Or else, if you want to keep an open stance, then bend your legs and keep them wide to maintain balance while you hit the shot.
While you do all of this, make sure your follow-through and the point of contact are in front of you. No need to overdo the shots or go far behind your body to hit the shot. This way, you will miss the sweet spot and you won’t be able to get it right.
Once again, the key is to keep your backward swing compact and bring the follow-through in front of your body while maintaining balance. This is how you nail the forehand drive.
The 4th Shot in Pickleball
The 4th shot is considered to be the most difficult shot in pickleball. There are not a lot of times players talk about the 4th shot because they’re mostly interested in volleys, dinking, and return and serves.
However, this is a critical shot that players need to master to bring their A-game forward.
The 4th shot is the pickleball roll shot where the server runs forward to the kitchen line and hits the ball with force to keep the opponent close to the baseline. When you go close to the kitchen, it puts pressure on the opponent.
To make your opponent miss the ball, you can roll your paddle and go for a topspin. This way, even if they manage to bounce the ball back into the kitchen, you will be able to play it easily while keeping them near the baseline.
Even if you can’t do the top spin pickleball, go for an underspin with a backhand or a forehand and slice the ball near the opponent’s baseline.
The 4th shot is the server’s competitive edge over the receiver, so they better pull it off the right way. One of the best ways to nail the 4th shot is to go all aggressive on it. By doing so, you most likely make your opponent miss the ball.
You can be creative with the fourth shot. Either go for a top spin, a side spin, or stretch or go all aggressive, the choice is yours. The better you get at it, the easier it is for you to score a point.
Pickleball Lob Shot – Love it or Loathe it?
The lob is that one shot that puts you in an offensive position in pickleball. This shot works extremely well when all the players are up at the net having a dinking rally. The lob catches your opponents off guard and one-ups you.
One goal of the lob is to make your opponent/s run back to the baseline when they’re leaning close into the kitchen line.
Anywhere near four feet from the baseline is a good target for a tough lob. Make sure you aim that much and you’ll be in a good offensive position against your opponent/s.
You can even have more advantage with a lob if your opponents are shorter and less mobile than you.
This is a great way to keep your opponents on their toes and catch them by surprise when they’re up close to the net near the kitchen line.
Backhand Slice Return-of-Serve
A backhand slice return of serve is extremely crucial in pickleball to keep the serving team back. If you want to stop the serving team from slamming the ball on you, then you need to hit a good return. If the return is short or bad, then you’re probably going to let them win a point.
But, if you hit a good return with a low slice, then you potentially keep them from slamming it back in your court.
The key here is to slice the ball in a way to keep it deep and keep it low. This way it will be hard for the serving team to go for the pickleball 3rd shot.
The first thing you need to do after deciding that you’re going for a backhand slice is you’re going to turn the shoulder of your playing hand across your body, so you’re perpendicular to the net.
This is how you set up for a pickleball backhand slice return of a serve shot.
Once you’ve positioned yourself, raise the paddle to your ear, then step in with the right leg to slice the shot. With the non-hitting hand, you get to maintain the balance of your body and charge the paddle right in.
When you’re ready, watch the ball and make sure your contact point is always right on the front. Keep the paddle constant during the point of contact and to the follow-through as well.
Forehand Roll Volley
This shot is mostly suited for high-level players but this is, for sure, beneficial for beginner and intermediate-level players, too.
The forehand roll volley is an offensive hit where you keep the opponents defensively back in the midcourt or the baseline.
When you see the ball coming, you bend your knees and go a little low and tilt your paddle to the side. What you have to do is start in front and continue more toward the front as you slice the ball deep into the opponent’s shoelaces.
One of the mistakes rookie players make is they keep the one shot pickleball paddle wobbly and take it backward. This is the wrong approach. What you have to do is keep the paddle toward the front and keep it stable and drive it forward in the same stable manner with a continental grip.
Note: You need to keep the arm movement minimum.
Another point that you need to remember is to not let the ball bounce because this is a volley and you have to play it from behind the kitchen area or the non-volley zone.
In pickleball, the key is to play the shot with a forehand and punch the volley deep into the opponent’s court to keep them at the baseline.
Other Pickleball Shots
Here are some other pickleball shots you can master:
When your opponent strikes a sharp angle and pushes you wide — often after a dink — shoot the ball low and around the post into the open court. The ball is not required to pass through the net. This is around the post shot which makes you win a rally.
A block volley occurs when the opposing player smoothly squares up their paddle to the incoming blast and drops the ball limply over the net and out of their reach. This shot can be supremely frustrating for your opponents.
Backhand punch volleys are a terrific alternative for hitting volleys at your opponent’s feet or into a gap when the ball is around chest-high. This shot is wicked because it has no backswing and complete elbow extension.
When a player wishes to keep the ball in play and stop their opponent from using offensive tactics further, they will execute a pickleball reset shot.
Clubs like luckyshots pickleball can teach you a variety of shots during training.
These are the four shots in pickleball:
1. The serve
2. The return
3. The transition
4. Defensive shot
There are more than 15 shots in pickleball and some of them include:
1. Cross-court dink Volley
2. Dink escape shot
3. The dink shove surprise attack
4. 3rd shot forehand drive at the dominant Hip/Shoulder on a Short Ball.
5. Block volley.
6. A forehand roll volley.
7. A backhand punch volley pickleball.
The volley is meant to be the easiest shot in pickleball, however, it is frequently missed. During the volley, far too many players try to accomplish too much with the paddle head. The more you move the paddle head during the volley (for example, swinging, or downward chopping at the ball), the more difficult it is for the ball to make contact with the center of the paddle face.
Hey, fellow pickleball player!
My name is Ethan Josephson. I am a pickleball enthusiast who has been playing this fantastic game for more than 5 years. Before that I had almost 20-years-experience with tennis and table tennis, but pickleball fascinated me completely.