master the third shot drop

The Third Shot Drop: The Pickleball Shot That Will Make You a Better Player

What in the world is the third shot drop?

The “Third Shot” strategy is an essential part of Pickleball. Often called the “Third Shot Drop” it’s a shot that lands in the Kitchen or the Non-Volley Zone (NVZ ) of your opponent, forcing the receiving team to dink or hit the ball up. If you execute this shot correctly it can make you a better player.

The third shot drop follows the two-bounce rule, which “requires the ball to bounce once on each side of the court after being served”. The pace of the shot is slow and will result in the ball falling into the kitchen at a steep angle.

The “Third Shot” allows the serving team to reach the NVZ and take an offensive position on the court.  Remember, as the serving team, you start the point with a disadvantage (two-bounce rule) thus the receiving team is usually the first to establish themselves at the NVZ.


  1. Use the continental grip so the paddle face is slightly open on each side.
  2. Stay down low to the ball. Wait for the ball to pass the high point of the arc right before the second bounce, hitting under the ball.
  3. Minimize the backswing 
  4. Lift your arm up from your shoulder, and keep your wrist and elbow straight.      
  5. Keep the apex of the arc of the ball you hit on your side of the net.

Watch These 3rd Shot Drop Videos

Here is a series of Third Shot Drop Videos by Z Sisters Pickleball that demonstrate how to do it! 

Youtube Shorts

Tools for Practice

This teaching aid has been a hit for Carrie’s pickleball students. It’s easy to set up, inexpensive to purchase, and will make you a better player.

3rd Shot Drop Teaching Aid

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The third shot drop is an essential skill for any pickleball player who wants to improve their game. It is a shot that is difficult to master, but it is well worth the effort. With a little practice, you can learn to hit the third shot drop consistently and accurately. This will allow you to take control of the point and put your opponents on the defensive. Hitting the third shot drop effectively will make you a better player!

You can also use the teaching aid and practice drills in the links provided above to help you improve your third shot drop.

The third shot drop is a powerful weapon in pickleball. By mastering this shot, you can become a more complete player and win more matches.

More Tips from Carrie’s Corner

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