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5 of the Best Pickleball Shots Every Player Needs to Know

Introduction To The Best Pickleball Shots

Pickleball is a fast-paced and exciting sport that combines elements of tennis, badminton, and table tennis. To excel in pickleball, players must develop a diverse arsenal of shots that allow them to control the game and outmaneuver their opponents. In this article, we will explore five of the best pickleball shots that every player should master. These shots will enhance your offensive and defensive capabilities, enabling you to take your pickleball skills to the next level.

1. The Dink Shot

The dink shot is a fundamental pickleball technique that can be a game-changer in your gameplay. This shot involves hitting the ball softly and placing it just over the net, near the non-volley zone (NVZ). Let’s explore some key aspects of the dink shot:

Understanding the Importance of the Dink Shot

The dink shot is an essential shot in pickleball because it allows you to control the pace of the game. By hitting the ball softly and placing it strategically close to the net, you force your opponents to react quickly and make precise shots. The dink shot can disrupt their rhythm and put them on the defensive, giving you an opportunity to take control of the point.

Benefits of Mastering the Dink Shot

Mastering the dink shot offers several advantages on the pickleball court. It allows you to create opportunities for offensive plays by setting up your shots and forcing your opponents out of position. The dink shot can also be used as a defensive tool, neutralizing powerful shots from your opponents and giving you time to recover and regroup. With consistent practice, you can develop the finesse and touch required to execute the dink shot effectively.

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2. The Third Shot Drop

The third shot drop is another essential shot that can give you an edge in pickleball. Let’s dive into the details of this strategic shot:

Understanding the Third Shot Drop

The third shot drop is played after the serve and return. It involves hitting the ball softly and dropping it into the non-volley zone (NVZ) near the opponent’s baseline. The purpose of this shot is to create time for you and your partner to move forward to the NVZ, while forcing your opponents to hit from the baseline. By executing a well-placed third shot drop, you can gain a positional advantage and put pressure on your opponents.

Keys to a Successful Third Shot Drop

To execute an effective third shot drop, focus on accuracy, control, and placement. You want to aim for the NVZ, close to the opponent’s baseline, to limit their options and force them into a defensive position. Practice your touch and finesse to ensure the ball clears the net and lands softly in the desired location. Developing consistency with your third shot drop will enhance your ability to control the tempo of the game and create opportunities for offensive plays.

3. The Drive

The drive is a powerful offensive shot that can help you take control of the game. Let’s explore the drive and its key elements:

Understanding the Drive Shot

The drive is a shot played with speed and pace, usually from the baseline or mid-court. It is intended to put pressure on your opponents by hitting the ball forcefully and with precision. The drive can be a powerful weapon in your arsenal, allowing you to dictate the pace and rhythm of the game while setting up opportunities for winners.

Developing the Drive Shot

To develop a strong drive, focus on technique, timing, and footwork. Generate power through a combination of a well-timed swing, a firm grip on the paddle, and a weight transfer from your back foot to your front foot. Practice your footwork to position yourself properly and ensure a solid contact with the ball. With consistent practice, you can develop a reliable drive that adds power and aggression to your game.

By mastering these essential shots – the dink shot, the third shot drop, and the drive – you will have a well-rounded arsenal to dominate the pickleball court. Stay tuned for the next section, where we will explore two more crucial shots that every player should know: the lob and the Erne.

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4. The Lob

The lob is a valuable defensive shot that can turn the tide of a pickleball game. Let’s delve into the details of this shot:

Understanding the Lob Shot

The lob is played as a defensive tactic to neutralize an opponent’s aggressive play or create space on the court. It involves hitting the ball high and deep into the opponent’s backcourt, forcing them to move backward and giving you time to recover. The lob can be a game-changer, allowing you to regain control, change the momentum, and set up your next shot.

Mastering the Lob Shot

To execute a successful lob, focus on timing, trajectory, and court positioning. Gauge the incoming shot and choose the right moment to hit the ball high into the air, aiming for the deep areas of the opponent’s court. Proper court positioning and footwork are essential to give yourself enough time and space to execute the lob effectively. Practice your lob shots to develop consistency and accuracy, allowing you to strategically use this defensive weapon when needed.

5. The Erne

The Erne shot is an advanced and unconventional shot that can catch opponents off guard. Let’s explore the key elements of this unique shot:

Understanding the Erne Shot

The Erne shot involves hitting the ball while jumping or stepping sideways near the sideline. It is typically played near the non-volley zone (NVZ) and is used to surprise opponents by quickly changing the angle of the shot. The Erne shot can disrupt the opponent’s rhythm, force them into defensive positions, and create opportunities for winners.

Mastering the Erne Shot

Executing the Erne shot requires excellent footwork, timing, and coordination. Practice your footwork to position yourself near the sideline and prepare for the shot. Time your jump or sidestep perfectly to make contact with the ball at the desired angle. Keep in mind that the Erne shot is an advanced technique, so it requires dedicated practice and a good understanding of court positioning.

By incorporating the lob and the Erne shot into your repertoire, you add versatility and surprise elements to your pickleball game. These shots can help you regain control, disrupt your opponent’s rhythm, and create opportunities for winning plays. Practice these shots diligently to develop the skills and confidence needed to execute them effectively in competitive matches.

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By mastering these five essential pickleball shots – the dink shot, the third shot drop, the drive, the lob, and the Erne – you will have a versatile arsenal that allows you to adapt to different game situations and opponents. Each shot serves a specific purpose, whether it’s controlling the pace, creating opportunities, defending, or surprising your opponents. Practice these shots regularly to develop consistency, control, and accuracy.

Remember to use shot selection wisely and adapt them to different game scenarios. By incorporating these shots into your game, you will enhance your overall performance and elevate your pickleball skills to new heights. So, get out on the court, practice these shots, and enjoy the thrill of mastering the best pickleball shots every player needs to know!


To hit a better pickleball shot, focus on improving your technique, footwork, and timing. Practice regularly to develop consistency and control. Additionally, pay attention to shot selection, court positioning, and understanding your opponent’s weaknesses. Seek feedback and guidance from experienced players or coaches to refine your skills.

Three types of shots commonly used in pickleball are the dink shot, the drive, and the lob. The dink shot is a soft, precise shot played close to the net. The drive is a powerful, aggressive shot hit with pace. The lob is a high-arching shot that clears the net and lands deep in the opponent’s court.

To hit a perfect pickleball shot, follow these seven steps:

  • Position yourself correctly on the court.
  • Watch the ball closely and anticipate its trajectory.
  • Prepare your paddle with the right grip and positioning.
  • Time your shot by adjusting your body and paddle position.
  • Use the correct technique for the specific shot you’re attempting.
  • Make clean contact with the ball using the center of your paddle.
  • Follow through smoothly and maintain balance after the shot.

To reach a 4.0 skill level in pickleball, focus on improving your overall game. Work on shot consistency, court positioning, shot selection, strategy, and understanding the flow of the game. Play regularly against challenging opponents, seek feedback from experienced players, and participate in competitive play or tournaments. Dedication, practice, and a growth mindset will help you progress to a 4.0 level in pickleball.

Dustin DeTorres

Dustin has been a Pickleball enthusiast for years and dedicated this blog to providing the best information out there about this fun game.

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