If you’re like our Paddle Experts, you get stuck in your pickleball ways. You rarely stray from a set “strategy” and get stuck in a rut of repetition. We all hear how important the third shot drop is, and it would be wrong if we didn’t agree with the importance of that shot, but getting stuck in a rut of always third shot dropping might just be making it easier on your opponents. Being able to change the speed of not only your third shot drops but also mid-rally will improve your game and keep your opponent on their toes.
Continuously hitting the same shot can do two things that might negatively impact your game.
- It will allow your opponent to know your tendencies and drop their guard. Whether it’s always driving, or always dropping in your third shot, your opponent knowing what’s coming will prepare them for your next move and allow them to strategize against your game plan.
- It can leave you susceptible to big runs by your opponent if you’re unsuccessful with what you’re trying to do. If your opponent is handling what you’re throwing at them, and you don’t have a backup plan, this could lead to a lopsided match of two equally-talented pickleballers.
Changing your third shot and mid-rally strategies is always a good idea to keep your opponent guessing what your next shot will be. We’ve all been in the middle of a dink rally when after a handful of dinks, your opponent flicks their wrist and snaps one directly at you, or performs the perfect lob, sending you scrambling to the backcourt. Having an array of different ways to slow the game down or speed the game up is necessary if your plan is to improve as a player. The same goes for hitting a third shot drop. We’ve all battled the bangers that never seem to drop in a third shot, but bring the heat every time. A player with good defense is going to keep the banger in the backcourt, hopefully, long enough to set themselves up for a winning put-away while their opponent is stuck at the baseline. An effective, defensive (but still offensive) third shot drop can get you to the kitchen line and into a chess match, where the pickleball fun really begins.
Whether it’s driving the third shot, dropping the third shot, or snapping the occasional dink return at your opponent, versatility in your shot selection is key to becoming a better pickleball player. The next time you’re at your local courts playing for fun, give some new shots a “shot.” Use your picklebuddies to improve your game and use your practice matches as tune-ups for your next grudge match against your biggest rivals. Dink, drive, snap, lob - just widen your shot selection and your collection of podium visits will start to stack up!
We hope that this article was helpful and we’d love to be a part of your pickleball journey and growth! If you have any additional pickleball paddle questions for the Paddle Experts at JustPaddles they can be reached via phone at 866-382-3465, email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or you can click here to live chat. Don't forget, we're JustPaddles and we'll be here for you from Click To Court!