Top Pickleball Tips for Intermediate Players

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Hey there, seasoned pickleball players! You’ve mastered the basics of the game and are ready to take things to the next level. But where do you go from here? With so many advanced techniques to learn, it can be overwhelming to figure out where to focus your efforts.

These tips will help you refine your skills, improve your strategy, and dominate on the court. Whether you’re looking to up your spin game, perfect your footwork, or develop a killer serve, we’ve got you covered. So grab your paddles and let’s dive in!

Pickleball tips for intermediate players

  1. Focus on Consistency: Work on delivering consistent shots to keep the ball in play and maintain control during rallies.
  2. Master the Third Shot Drop: Develop your third shot drop technique to initiate the dinking game and gain control of the point.
  3. Improve Footwork: Enhance your footwork to be in the best position for each shot and move efficiently around the court.
  4. Practice Volleys: Work on your volley skills to take advantage of opportunities at the non-volley zone and keep your opponents on the defensive.
  5. Learn to Dink: Hone your dinking technique for soft, precise shots close to the net, creating more opportunities for strategic plays.

Mastering the Dink Shot

If you’re an intermediate pickleball player looking to up your game, mastering the dink shot is a must. The dink shot is a soft shot that is used to drop the ball over the net, just barely clearing it and forcing your opponents to run up and try to return it. This shot can be very effective, especially when played correctly.

To execute the dink shot, start by getting into position with your paddle out in front of you. Take a small swing and hit the ball softly, allowing it to go just over the net. Practice the shot until you are able to consistently get the ball right where you want it.

Remember to stay patient, and don’t rush the shot, as this can cause you to make errors. By mastering the dink shot, you’ll be able to keep your opponents off-balance and gain an edge on the court. So keep practicing and incorporating this shot into your game.

Practice with Mini-Courts

If you’re looking to master the dink shot in pickleball, mini-courts are a great place to practice. Mini-courts offer a smaller playing area, making it easier to work on your placement and control. When it comes to the dink shot, it’s all about finesse and precision.

You want to be able to softly tap the ball over the net and place it in just the right spot to throw off your opponent’s positioning. With the mini-court’s smaller playing area, you can really focus on perfecting your dinks without worrying about hitting the ball out of bounds. So next time you hit the courts, try using a mini-court to hone your dink shot skills and dominate the court.


Use Your Wrist

The dink shot is an essential skill for any pickleball player looking to improve their finesse at the net. A crucial part of mastering the dink shot is learning to use your wrist to create the perfect touch and angle on the shot. The power should come from your wrist, not your arm.

A common mistake players make is using too much force, resulting in the ball flying out of bounds or giving their opponent an easy put-away shot. To avoid this, focus on using quick, controlled wrist movements to direct the ball over the net and land it in the desired spot on the court. Practicing wrist exercises, such as wrist curls with weights or using a wrist roller, can also improve wrist strength and control, leading to better dink shots.

Remember, the key to mastering the dink shot is in the finesse of your wrist movements, not the force of your swing. Keep practicing and perfecting your dink shot, and you’ll be winning points at the net in no time!

Perfecting the Lob Shot

If you’re an intermediate player looking to improve your pickleball game, mastering the lob shot is a great way to gain an edge over your opponents. The lob shot is a technique used to hit the ball high and deep, creating a larger angle for your opponent to cover. To execute a successful lob shot, start by positioning yourself correctly behind the ball.

When hitting the ball, aim to hit it at a slight upward angle, with enough force to get it over the net, but not so much that it goes out of bounds. Practice your lob shot in various situations, such as from the baseline or when on the defense, to perfect your technique. Implementing the lob shot into your game can catch your opponents off guard and give you the upper hand in the match.

So, give it a try and level up your pickleball game!

Get Proper Footwork

When it comes to perfecting the lob shot, having proper footwork is essential. The lob shot is a high, arcing shot that can be extremely effective in pushing your opponent back and gaining control of the court. To execute the lob shot correctly, you need to have your body in the right position, as well as the correct timing and technique.

One of the most important aspects of proper footwork is making sure you have a solid base to work from. This means staying on the balls of your feet, with your knees slightly bent and your weight distributed evenly between both legs. By having a stable stance, you’ll be able to move more quickly and efficiently when it comes time to hit the lob shot.

Additionally, you need to make sure you’re stepping forward and planting your front foot before you hit the ball. This will help you generate power and control in your shot, while also helping you maintain your balance. With the right footwork, you’ll be well on your way to mastering the lob shot and taking your game to the next level.

Read Your Opponent’s Position

Perfecting the lob shot in tennis requires not only skill but also the ability to read your opponent’s position accurately. The lob shot is an effective way to catch your opponent off guard by sending the ball high and deep into their court, forcing them to defend from an uncomfortable position. To execute the perfect lob shot, observe your opponent’s position on the court and aim for the area furthest away from them.

This shot also requires great timing and technique to achieve the right height and distance. Practicing this shot regularly will help you develop the necessary skills and confidence to execute it effectively during a game. With persistence and determination, you can master the lob shot and use it as a weapon to win matches.

Maintain a Solid Grip on Your Paddle

Maintaining a solid grip on your paddle is crucial when trying to perfect the lob shot. To execute this shot, you need to hold the paddle firmly without squeezing too hard, allowing you to control the ball’s trajectory. As you make contact with the ball, use a delicate flick of the wrist to create the needed spin.

Your aim should be to keep the ball low and close to the net, making it difficult for your opponent to return. Don’t forget to follow through with your swing, extending your arm to generate the needed power and accuracy. Remember, like any other shot, the lob shot takes practice to perfect.

Keep practicing, and with time, you’ll find the right grip, spin, and angle to execute a flawless lob shot every time.

Improving Your Serve

As an intermediate pickleball player, it’s important to work on improving your serve. A great serve can give you the advantage you need to win the game. Start by practicing consistency in your serve.

Aim for a spot on the court and try to hit that spot consistently. Once you have your consistency down, work on adding spin or power to your serve. Use your body to generate power, but be careful not to sacrifice accuracy.

Another helpful tip is to mix up your serve. Don’t let your opponent get too comfortable with your serve. Try using different types of spins and variations in speed to keep them guessing.

Lastly, focus on watching your opponent’s return. Use their positioning and body language to strategize your next move. With practice and these tips in mind, you’ll be serving like a pro in no time.

Add Variations to Your Serve

Improving Your Serve – Add Variations to Your Serve A strong serve is essential in any tennis game, and mastering your serve can give you a significant advantage over your opponent. To improve your serve, it is crucial to add variations to it. By varying your serve, you can keep your opponent guessing, making it harder for them to anticipate the ball’s trajectory.

Some variations you can add to your serve include changing the speed or spin of the ball or altering the placement of your serve. You can also try different types of serves, such as the slice, kick, or flat serve. Be creative and experiment with different variations to see what works best for you.

Incorporating variations into your serve will not only make it more challenging for your opponent to return but also give you greater confidence in your game.

Focus on Consistency and Placement

Improving your serve in tennis can be a challenging task. However, focusing on consistency and placement can greatly improve your accuracy and effectiveness on the court. Consistency is key when it comes to your serve, striving for the same motion and technique with every attempt.

This not only improves your overall accuracy but also allows your opponent to have a harder time anticipating your serve. Placement is just as important, aiming for specific areas of the court and keeping your opponent on their toes. Practicing and honing in on these two aspects of your serve can give you a significant advantage over your opponent.

Don’t be afraid to seek out guidance from a coach or experienced player, as they can provide valuable tips and feedback to help you improve. With consistent practice and a focus on placement, your serve can become a formidable weapon on the court.

Strategies for Playing Doubles

If you’re an intermediate player looking to improve your doubles game in pickleball, there are a few key strategies to keep in mind. First, communication with your partner is essential. Make sure you establish a system for calling shots and movements on the court.

This will help avoid confusion and ensure that both players are covering the appropriate areas of the court. Secondly, focus on placement over power. While power can be impressive, it’s more important to strategically place your shots in areas that force your opponents into difficult positions.

Finally, don’t forget to work on your footwork. Agility and quickness are key in doubles, as you’ll need to be able to move quickly around the court and get into position for shots. By following these tips and practicing regularly with your partner, you’ll be well on your way to improving your doubles game in pickleball.

Master the Cross-Court Shot

If you want to improve your doubles game, mastering the cross-court shot is key. This shot allows you to keep your opponents on their toes and create offensive opportunities. To execute a successful cross-court shot, focus on positioning yourself correctly and hitting the ball at the right angle.

Aim for the area between your opponents, and be sure to follow through with your swing. Don’t forget to communicate with your partner and be aware of their positioning on the court. Additionally, vary the speed and spin of your cross-court shots to keep your opponents guessing.

With practice, the cross-court shot can become a powerful weapon in your doubles game.

Stay Aware of Your Partner’s Position

When playing doubles in tennis, it’s important to stay aware of your partner’s position on the court. This can help you both cover more ground and communicate better, ultimately leading to a stronger team dynamic. One strategy to consider is the “two up, two back” approach, where both players stay towards the middle of the court when their opponents are both at the baseline.

This ensures that both players are in position to cover shots and return them successfully. However, if your opponents are playing at the net, it may be better to have one player up and one player back. This way, you have both the opportunity to hit a strong return and to cover the back court.

Keeping your partner’s position in mind can also help with shot selection and setting up effective plays. By communicating and staying aware of each other’s movements, you can become a formidable force on the doubles court.

Use the Middle of the Court to Your Advantage

When it comes to playing doubles, one key strategy that can greatly benefit your game is using the middle of the court to your advantage. The middle of the court is the area between the two players on the opposing team, and it’s often referred to as the “no man’s land” because it can be tricky to defend. By hitting shots that land in the middle, you force your opponents to make a decision and communicate with each other, which can lead to confusion and mistakes.

For example, hitting a well-placed lob or drop shot that lands in the middle can often result in your opponents running into each other or not being able to reach the ball in time. Additionally, positioning yourself in the middle of the court can give you more options for returning shots, allowing you to hit the ball to either side of the court. Overall, using the middle of the court strategically can be a game-changer and give you a competitive edge in doubles.

Staying Agile on the Court

If you’re an intermediate pickleball player, staying agile on the court is crucial. One tip to improve your agility is to practice your footwork. Start with small steps and build up to larger steps to improve your speed and reaction time.

Another tip is to stay on your toes, as it allows for quick directional changes. It’s also important to anticipate your opponent’s moves and be ready to move in any direction. Remember to keep your paddle in front of you and your knees slightly bent to maintain a strong, balanced stance.

By incorporating these tips into your game, you’ll be able to move swiftly and smoothly on the court, giving you a competitive edge.

Maintain a Neutral Stance

As a tennis player, it’s important to maintain a neutral stance and stay agile on the court. This means keeping your weight evenly distributed so that you can move quickly in any direction. When you’re in a neutral stance, you’re ready to react to whatever your opponent throws your way.

You can shift your weight from side to side easily, which allows you to move more quickly when you need to. It’s like being a cat waiting to pounce on its prey. You want to be ready to strike at any moment.

So, practice your neutral stance and stay ready to move at all times. It’ll help you stay one step ahead of your opponent and win more matches.

Use Quick, Small Steps to Move Around the Court

Agility In a game of tennis, agility can mean the difference between a missed shot and a winning point. To stay nimble and quick on the court, it’s important to use quick, small steps to move around. Instead of taking big strides, try to stay light on your feet and keep your movements small and controlled.

This will not only help you move more efficiently but also allow you to change directions quickly. By staying agile, you can react faster to your opponent’s shots and improve your overall performance on the court. Remember, it’s all about making those small adjustments and staying in control of your movements.

So, practice those quick steps and watch your agility soar.

Stay in a Crouched Position

Staying agile on the court is crucial for any basketball player. One important technique to master is staying in a crouched position. This not only helps improve your balance and stability but also allows you to move quickly and smoothly.

When crouched, your center of gravity is lower, making it easier for you to make sudden changes in direction and react to your opponent’s movements. Additionally, crouching helps protect your knees and lower back from injury, as the weight is distributed more evenly throughout your body. So, the next time you’re on the court, remember to stay in a crouched position and watch how much more agile and dynamic your game becomes.

The Mental Side of Pickleball

As an intermediate pickleball player, it’s essential to understand the mental aspect of the game. While physical ability and technique are necessary, mental toughness and strategy are just as critical. One helpful tip is to stay focused on the present moment and not dwelling on past mistakes or future outcomes.

This practice keeps you in the game and helps you make better shot selections. Another aspect to consider is developing a pre-game ritual to help get into the right mindset for playing. This could be anything from meditation to a funny routine to help shake off nerves.

Finally, it’s crucial to stay positive and have confidence in your abilities. Believing in yourself will help you stay calm under pressure and make crucial decisions during the game. Remember, pickleball is a mental game just as much as it is physical, so having a strong mental game can make all the difference.

Stay Positive and Confident

Pickleball is not just a physical game; it’s also a mental one. That’s why it’s essential to stay positive and confident while playing. It’s easy to get discouraged after making a mistake or losing a point, but it’s crucial to remember that mistakes happen, and you can learn from them.

To stay positive, focus on your strengths and what you’re doing well instead of dwelling on your weaknesses. Keep a positive attitude, and remember that every point is a new opportunity to do better. Confidence is also key to playing pickleball well.

Believe in yourself and your abilities, and don’t be afraid to take risks and go after the shots you want. A lack of confidence can lead to hesitation and missed opportunities. To build your confidence, practice regularly and master the basics before moving on to more advanced techniques.

Remember, having a positive and confident mindset can make all the difference in your pickleball game.


Congratulations! You’ve made it to the intermediate level of pickleball. You’ve now graduated from just dinking and playing safe shots, to having some serious power and strategy in your game. As an intermediate player, you’re no longer a novice, but you’re not quite a pro yet either.

It’s imperative that you keep honing your skills and work on new techniques to take your game to the next level. Remember, practice makes perfect. So go out there, play like a champion, and your pickleball game is sure to be a ‘dillightful’ experience!”


What are some advanced techniques that intermediate pickleball players should learn?
Advanced techniques that intermediate pickleball players should learn include the third shot drop, topspin, and the dink shot. These shots will help you control the pace of the game and outmaneuver your opponents.

How can I improve my footwork on the pickleball court?
To improve your footwork on the pickleball court, practice shadowing your shots, which means moving your feet as if you were hitting the ball even if you’re not actually hitting. You should also work on your lateral movements, or side-to-side shuffles, to quickly move to different areas of the court.

What is a good strategy for playing against stronger opponents in pickleball?
A good strategy for playing against stronger opponents in pickleball is to focus on your placement and accuracy over power. Aim to place your shots in areas where your opponent is not, rather than trying to hit the ball hard every time. You should also be prepared to defend the kitchen and play more defensively when needed.

How can I increase my consistency when serving in pickleball?
To increase your consistency when serving in pickleball, focus on hitting a consistent spot on the court rather than trying to hit the ball hard. Find a spot on the opposite court where you want the ball to land, and aim for that spot every time you serve. With practice, you’ll be able to hit that spot consistently.

I'm Dave Ogden, a professional pickleball player from Ogden, Utah. When I'm not dominating the court, I pour my passion into writing a blog, sharing pickleball trips and tricks. Join me as I take you on an exciting journey through the world of pickleball. Let's improve our game together!

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