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8 Pickleball Mistakes Holding You Back

Pickleball is a rapidly growing sport that combines elements of tennis, badminton, and ping-pong. It is enjoyed by players of all ages and skill levels, making it a popular choice for recreational and competitive play. However, as with any sport, common mistakes can hinder your progress and prevent you from reaching your full potential on the court. 

This article will discuss eight common pickleball mistakes that could hold you back and offer practical solutions to help you overcome these obstacles and elevate your game.

 8 Pickleball Mistakes Holding You Back

1. Poor Paddle Positioning

One common mistake made by pickleball players is poor paddle positioning. Proper paddle positioning is essential for executing effective shots and maintaining game control. Many players either hold their paddle too low or too close to their body, limiting their range of motion and compromising their ability to hit various shots.


Practice holding your paddle in a "ready position" with the paddle face perpendicular to the ground and in front of your body. This allows you to react quickly to incoming shots and maintain control over the ball.

2. Inadequate Court Positioning

Another common pickleball mistake is poor court positioning. Many players tend to stand too far back from the non-volley zone, also known as the "kitchen," making it difficult to pressure your opponents and force you to hit more complex shots.


Work on positioning yourself closer to the non-volley zone while maintaining a balanced stance. This will allow you to apply pressure on your opponents, take advantage of opportunities to hit winning shots and cover more of the court effectively.

3. Overhitting the Ball

Overhitting the ball is a common mistake made by pickleball players eager to generate power and put their opponents on the defensive. Unfortunately, this often leads to unforced errors and a loss of control over the game.


Focus on developing a smooth, controlled swing that prioritizes placement and accuracy over power. Incorporate topspin or backspin into your shots to create a more challenging trajectory for your opponents to handle without sacrificing control.

4. Neglecting the Dink Shot

The dink shot, a soft and controlled shot just over the net, is an essential weapon in the pickleball arsenal. However, many players neglect to incorporate the dink shot into their game, opting for more aggressive shots.


Make a conscious effort to practice and utilize the dink shot during your games. By incorporating this strategic shot, you will force your opponents to move and create opportunities for you to capitalize on their mistakes.

5. Failing to Communicate with Your Partner

In doubles pickleball, communication is key. Many players must communicate effectively with their partners, leading to clarity, missed opportunities, and unforced errors.


Develop clear communication strategies with your partner, including verbal cues and hand signals. Discuss your game plan before each match and continuously communicate throughout the game to ensure you work together effectively.

6. Ignoring the Importance of Footwork

Footwork is crucial to success in pickleball, yet many players overlook its importance. Proper footwork allows you to quickly move into position to hit the ball and maintain balance during play.


Incorporate footwork drills into your practice routine, focusing on agility, balance, and quickness. Pay attention to your footwork during games, ensuring proper positioning and balance while moving around the court.

7. Inconsistent Serve

The service is a critical component of pickleball, as it sets the tone for the point. An inconsistent serve can put you at a disadvantage, allowing your opponent' to seize control of the game from the outset. Many players need help achieving a consistent, accurate, and effective serve.


Dedicate time to practicing your serve, focusing on consistency, placement, and power. Experiment with different serving techniques and find the best one for you. Remember, a consistent and well-placed serve is more valuable than a powerful one that sacrifices accuracy.

8. Not Developing a Balanced Game

A well-rounded game is essential for success in pickleball. Some players focus solely on their strengths while neglecting to address their weaknesses. This can lead to a predictable playing style that savvy opponents easily exploit.


Identify your weaknesses and work on them in your practice sessions. Strive to develop a balanced game with a strong serve, effective groundstrokes, accurate volleys, and strategic dink shots. Becoming a more versatile player will prepare you to face various opponents and adapt to different game situations.


By recognizing and addressing these eight common pickleball mistakes, you will be well on your way to improving your overall game and achieving greater success on the court. Remember, developing new skills and breaking old habits takes time and practice. Stay patient, focused, and committed to your improvement; you will see progress in your pickleball journey. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced player, there is always room for growth and learning in this exciting and dynamic sport. Embrace the challenge and enjoy the journey as you strive to become your best pickleball player.

Frequently Asked Questions 

What is the basic scoring system in pickleball?

In pickleball, points are scored only by the serving team. The game is typically played to 11 points, but it must be won by a margin of at least 2 points. In doubles play, each player on the serving team gets a chance to serve before the serve switches to the opposing team, except for the first service sequence of a new game, where only one partner serves.

How do you properly serve in pickleball?

To execute a good serve in pickleball, stand behind the baseline and ensure both feet are within the service area. The serve must be underhand, with the paddle contacting the ball below the server's waist. The ball must be hit diagonally across the court into the opponent's service box, clearing the non-volley zone, also known as the "kitchen."

What is the "two bounce rule" in pickleball?

The "two bounce rule" in pickleball states that after the serve, the receiving team must let the ball bounce once before returning it, and then the serving team must also let the ball bounce once before hitting their first volley. After these initial two bounces, the ball can be volleyed (hit before it bounces) or played off the bounce.

Can you play pickleball singles, or is it only for doubles?

Pickleball can be played both as singles and doubles. While doubles are more popular due to their social aspect and the reduced physical demands compared to dollars, singles play provides a more rigorous workout. It can help players develop individual skills and strategies.

What kind of paddle and ball should I use for pickleball?

Pickleball paddles are made from composite materials like graphite, fiberglass, or aluminum. Your choice of paddle depends on your skill level, playing style, and budget. Beginners may opt for a less expensive, lightweight paddle, while more advanced players might prefer a paddle with a more prominent sweet spot and power. 
As for the ball, there are two main types: indoor and outdoor balls. Indoor balls are softer and have larger holes, while outdoor balls are harder and smaller. Choose the ball type based on the playing conditions and court surface you'll be using.
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