Third Shot Drop

Three Keys to Go From 4.0 to 4.5

February 29 2024

Have you reached a plateau? Think your game is as good as it's going to get?

Here are the best tips for moving past the 4.0 plateau.

1. Use the drive as a situational third shot, not necessarily your “go-to”

Listen, I love to drive as much as the next guy. A player with a killer drive can be almost impossible to stop when they are hot, and the drive plays a much more prominent role in mixed than in gender doubles.

With that being said, driving is much riskier than a solid third shot drop, and should be used more as a change of pace than as a “go-to,” especially since your opponents’ fourth shot volleys will only get better as you move up in skill. Drop the ball the majority of the time, and use the drive as a good change-up.

2. Don’t be a hero on the serve and return

Pickleball is fun because almost every single point (at least in doubles) is a minimum of 3-5 shots, if not more.

As you develop a stronger serve and return, it can be tempting to risk more on these two shots to get free points or easier third or fourth shots. While this might be necessary if you and your partner need a spark in a lopsided game, I strongly advise against it.

Find a serve and return that is relatively high and deep that you can make 95-100 percent of the time, and hit it. Missing a serve or return — especially in a close game late — can be a killer. Consistency > power.

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