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Since a good portion of play in the game of pickleball is with a partner, it’s important to understand the general techniques and strategies for playing doubles. Doubles pickleball is a bit different than singles, since you share the court with a partner and need to understand how to work together with that partner in order to win points.

Here are some general techniques and strategies when playing doubles in pickleball.
  • Rather than moving independently, players need to move together on the court. When coming to the net, both players should advance forward. When retreating, both players should move together as well. And when moving side to side, the same should apply. Moving together will help eliminate gaps on the court that your opponents can take advantage of.
  • Getting to the net is a key strategy in doubles. Teams that get both players to the net first have about a 70% chance of winning the point. The return of serve is the key for the receiving team. The best return is one that is high and also deep. Since the serving team needs to let the ball bounce, you will have time to get to the net before the ball is returned. However, if the return of serve is short, the serving team may be able to beat you to the kitchen line and get the advantage.
  • The team that gets to the net first should try to hit a volley return if at all possible. A volley can keep the other team pinned farther back on the court and keep them from reaching the net, giving you a better chance to take the point.
  • For the serving team, the 3rd shot can be the key in allowing them to get to the net. If the third shot is hit too long or high, the receiving team can keep them pinned back with a volley or well placed shot. What the serving team should try to do is to hit a drop shot that is low and lands in the kitchen (or no-volley zone). This will give the serving team enough time to get both players up to the net and even out the odds of winning the point.
  • When both teams reach the net, the ball needs to stay low which creates what is called the “dinking” phase. If the ball gets too high, a smash or fastball hit occurs which can result in the point being either won or lost. Be careful during the dinking phase of play until you are confident you have a solid shot. When you do, hit the ball hard and at one of your opponents for the best results.
  • Lastly, always communicate with your partner on the court at all times. Make sure you are both on the same page about where you are on the court as well as your strategy. And above all else, have fun.
February 16, 2017 — Chase Leavitt