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Singles Pickleball Strategy: Tips and Tricks For Beginners

If you have been playing doubles and would like to enter your first singles tournament, or you simply want to start playing pickleball but as singles, know you aren’t alone.

Many players find themselves in such a situation and most of them don’t know where to start.

But not you! Because we got your back with these quick pickleball strategy singles tips, which you will find helpful not only in your first game but throughout your professional career.

Let’s get right into it!

Serving Singles Pickleball Strategy

As in other racquet sports, serving in pickleball singles sets the tone of the entire game.

Therefore, you should plan your serve well as a proper one increases your chances of scoring by almost 100%.

Here are some incredible serving tips that you should apply;

  • Whenever you’re serving, ensure you move as close as possible to the middle line. This will place you in a good receiving position when your opponent returns the ball.

But this doesn’t mean you run towards the net. Rather, aim at achieving the correct position to avoid faulting.

And there’s no better way to guarantee that than a hard and deep return.

If you decide to follow your weak volley to the net, chances are that, with sufficient time, your opponents will have sufficient time to pass you on either side. And that’s the last thing you want.

Note; remember, tall players often have a wide wingspan, which helps them to easily find their way at the net, thanks to their reach advantage.

However, if you’re small, there’s a greater possibility that your reach is also shorter, so it acts to your disadvantage at the net. Hence the reason why you have to approach the net smartly.

  • Also, remember in singles, you have to serve hard as you don’t want to give your opponent a chance to smash you with a powerful return.

The last thing you want is to find yourself in the defensive

Below is a video on Pickleball Singles Strategy -Net Control / Anticipation

Pickleball Passing Shots Strategies For Singles

As already mentioned above, players should always be careful when approaching the net.

Remember your opponent is waiting for only one chance to hit that winning shot and you don’t want to give it to them on a silver platter.

Always be aware of the movements of your opponent as they approach the net.

Give them a quick search to identify any weak position. And immediately you identify it, hit that passing shot in a way that they can’t return.

However, to use this strategy against your opponent, you should be great at maximizing the full playing court dimensions.

Also, your ability to effectively hit the ball down the line and out of reach of their large paddles will come in handy.

For this, take the time to practice your shots. Focus more on getting them inside the lines.

And while at it, learn the concept of straight hitting drives from the baseline and controlling the ball within a range of 12’ of the line.

The great thing about this is that you can practice this drill by yourself or with an accountability partner.

There’re always people willing to practice with others, so it shouldn’t be hard to partner with one.

Soft Game Strategy

Yes, we know we have already pointed out that singles are best played with speed and power.

But a good player will know how to mix slowness and speed to achieve a mind-blowing game.

The soft game strategy will help keep your opponent guessing. But if you always play a fast game, they can easily predict your next move and that won’t bring you the results you want.

Rather, know when to downplay and maximize on using slower, but well-paced shots to get your opponent sweating.

Here’s a video on the soft side of singles to help you understand that the soft game has its place too in pickleball;

Shots Selection

Your shot selection will definitely determine the type of game you’re going to play.

Therefore, you need to master several shots.

It will be very unfortunate if you keep relying on 102 shots throughout the game.

If you find yourself doing this, then chances of losing are high. Why?

Because you’re more likely to expose your weakness to your opponent within the shortest time possible.

And that could place you in a dire position.

Why not try mixing them up?

You can easily master this by first studying your opponent. Understand their tactics and with the time you can readily anticipate their shots before you return.

Doing this will help you to try various shots and from different angles.

Mix that with the correct amount of strength and you will start smelling victory.

Some of the shots to try out include; the volleys, forehand, backhand and of course the dinks.

The secret is to choose them carefully and put your best shots forward.

The Power of Mobility

While it’s true that pickleball, be it singles or doubles, has little to no running taking place, you have to be active. And that means flexible and mobile.

As you will require that when sprinting.

Remember, a smart combination of great positioning and mobility can leave your opponent off balance. And you get to maximize their confusion!

Avoid staying flat-footed, but rather purpose on moving on your foot’s ball as this gives you more mobility.

Pickleball Strategy Singles Tips

  1. Upgrade Your Paddle

Yes, we just said it!

We know and understand that it’s pretty easy for players to get used to their equipment.

And so we totally understand if you’re already used to your paddle and can’t imagine your life without it.

But sometimes it’s good to admit that getting used to a subpar paddle is also common.

And sometimes, if you objectively examine your paddle, you might end up realizing that it doesn’t compliment you, anymore.

Solution? Buy a new one and give an instant upgrade to your game!

  1. Indulge in a Pre-serve routine

While many players might not consider this important, it actually is, if you do it well.

It will not only help you to get your body in rhythm but also spike the activation of your muscles’ memory.

Why is this good? Because sometimes your conscious mind might take a little bit longer to act and that means delayed results.

At the end of it, you will gain confidence and your serving will achieve consistency, which will allow your body to automatically go with the flow.

  1. Feed on Information

Be hungry for information and always be on the lookout for content that can build your professional playing.

The great news is that the internet has made it easy for everyone to find information on whatever they want and at whatever time and place.

Visit YouTube and feed on as many beginner pickleball videos as possible.

Remember, you can only apply what you know in the courts. So the more you know, the more skills you have to exhibit and the higher your chances of winning.

  1. Accept Criticism

Most individuals can’t deal with criticism no matter how genuine it’s.

Dare to be different. Let other people air their criticism about your pickleball game and use it to learn.

Admitting errors and mistakes will get you far in competitive playing.


Before heading to a Singles game, it’s important to have the right mindset.

And although it’s normal to think about your performance and how you’re going to improve it, don’t overthink it.

Remember, you can get all the confidence you need to win if you strategize smartly.

So, take your time to learn about how to perfect your serve, pass shots and of course not forgetting to feed on information and accepting criticism.

This article has all you need to move from the beginner label to a pro. It only depends on how you use the information you have just received.

What’s your plan?

Arthur Delucia
Experienced sports writer and a semi-professional ultimate frisbee player. When I am not training, you will find me writing new articles for SportyGen.

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