Different Game Plan
Tennis players who are new to pickleball can make a few common mistakes. Here are seven tips to help tennis players transition to pickleball more successfully:
- Move into the Non-Volley Zone (NVZ) line and hold your position. This will give you a better chance of winning points while at the front part of the court!
- Use topspin when volleying. This will make pickleball more difficult for your opponents to return.
- Stay compact and use a short backswing. This will help you react more quickly and hit more consistent shots.
- Get comfortable in the dink. This is a key shot in pickleball.
- Use a ready position to maximize reaction time. This will help you be more efficient in your movements. The next shot could be to you!
- Master lateral movement. This is important because of pickleball’s unique NVZ “Kitchen” rules. A tennis player’s footwork for the volley is step and punch. No stepping into the NVZ before, during, or after the volley or it is a fault.
- The offense in pickleball is the return of serve and the defense is the serving side. This is the opposite in tennis. Thus the 2-bounce rule can be a hard one to follow. Stay back after the serve and come in off the return!
The Basics Matter
By following these tips, tennis players can quickly learn the basics of pickleball and start enjoying the game.
Here are some additional details about each tip:
- Move into the NVZ line and hold your ground. This is a key difference between tennis and pickleball. In tennis, it is common for one player to stay back and hit groundstrokes from the baseline, while the other player stays at the net and attacks with volleys. In pickleball, however, it is generally more advantageous for both players to move into the NVZ line and hold the line. This is because the court and paddles are smaller, so it is easier to hit winners from the NVZ line. And the team that gets to the NVZ line first has the advantage.
- Use topspin when volleying. When volleying in tennis, it is common to hit with a slice. This is because a slice helps to keep the ball in the court and makes it difficult for opponents to attack. In pickleball, however, it is generally more advantageous to hit with topspin. This is because topspin helps to keep the ball in the court and also makes it difficult for opponents to return.
- Stay compact and use a short backswing. This is important because the paddles in pickleball are smaller than tennis racquets. If you use a big backswing, you will be more likely to miss the ball. Using a short backswing and hitting the ball with a controlled swing is better.
- Get comfortable in the dink. The dink is a key shot in pickleball. It is a short, soft shot that is used to keep the ball in play and to force opponents to make mistakes. Tennis players who are new to pickleball often have a hard time with the dink. However, it is an important shot to learn if you want to be successful in pickleball.
- Use a ready position to maximize reaction time. This is important because the game of pickleball is played at a much faster pace than tennis. If you are not in a ready position, you will be more likely to be late on your shots. It is important to be prepared to hit the ball at all times.
- Master lateral movement. This is important because of pickleball’s unique Kitchen rules. In the Kitchen, players are not allowed to volley. This means that players need to be able to move quickly laterally in order to stay out of the Kitchen and to be able to hit volleys.
- 2 Bounce Rule. On the serve, the receiving team must let the ball bounce once before returning it. The serving team must let the return bounce once before hitting it back. After that, either team can volley. A good way to remember the 2 bounce rule is to follow the “serve and stay” idea. Even count one and two when the bounces occur in pickleball. Then proceed to the net and volley!
New to pickleball?
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