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Pickleball Strategy: Doubles

Seeking out a partner can be the most intimidating aspect of pickleball, especially if you’re newer to the game and don’t know many other players. There are ways, however, to make it easier to find someone compatible with your particular skill level, strategies, personality, and style—and to make sure that you are a partner worth playing with.

After a serve in doubles pickleball, the aim is to get to the ‘kitchen’ line as quickly as possible. From there, you generally want to keep the ball low through well-placed dinks, and wait for your opponent to put too much loft or depth on their shot. That will give you the angle to hit a hard smash and get control of the point.

As you progress in pickleball, you can vary your shots, such as with a ‘speed-up’. This is a hard groundstroke hit from the kitchen when your opponents are expecting a dink.

Here are some basic strategy tips for doubles pickleball:

  • Hit serves and returns as deep as possible
  • If returning, rush the kitchen as soon as you hit your return
  • If serving, attempt a ‘3rd shot drop’. Due to the double-bounce rule, you can’t rush the net after serving. So by dropping your 3rd shot into the opponent’s kitchen, you buy time to get to the net and offset their advantage
  • Once at the kitchen, hit well-placed dinks until your opponents give you an opening for an aggressive shot

Learn more about doubles strategy in pickleball