5 Mistakes Newer Pickleball Players Make...

and How to Avoid Making these Mistakes

5 Mistakes Newer Pickleball Players Make Graphic

5 Mistakes Newer Pickleball Players Make... and How to Avoid Making these Mistakes

You probably heard this statement before: "You don't know what you don't know."  This statement rings true for pickleball...  Of course, as a new player you don't know what you don't know. And, that's understandable!  But, make sure you're not the player who still doesn't know after three years (unless you have a very thick skin)!

Pickleball Mistake No. 1 - Forgetting the Double-Bounce Rule

Some new players forget the "double-bounce" rule.  This means that the ball must bounce before the receiver returns the serve and the serving team must also hit the ball after the bounce.  

After these two bounces, you CAN hit the ball on the fly - as long as you are not in the non-volley zone (which is why it's called the non-volley zone instead of what's commonly known as "the kitchen").  

Just remember: serve, bounce, bounce, (almost) anything goes!  

More about fixing this error in Pickleball Mistake No. 2.

Pickleball Mistake No. 2 - Being a Court Creeper

Your partner probably won't appreciate it if you creep up into the court or stand in the court when the ball is about to be served or before the serve is about to be returned. If you find yourself hitting the ball on the fly before it has bounced on both sides of the net, all you need to do is make sure you are standing behind the baseline.  

Do not stand in the court in anticipation of a short ball and do not creep up in front of the baseline because the opponents will try to aim for your feet.  

When we patiently allow the ball to come to us, this reminds us that it must bounce.  

And, you and your partner will be able to better defend balls when you are standing side by side versus at a sharp angle. 

Pickleball Mistake No. 3 - Hitting Out Balls

Words commonly heard on the pickleball court: "If it's high, let it fly!"

An easy way to give the serve or points to your opponents is to hit their erratic balls.  

It's handy to remember pickleball is a team sport. This means communicate with your partner and ask them to communicate with you. If both of you get in the habit of saying, "Bounce it" before attempting to hit it, you'll end up with more points. Now is a good time to form a great habit of saying "bounce it" if you're not sure where it will land instead of "out."  

We try to reserve saying "out" once the ball actually lands out of the court.  

Pickleball Mistake No. 4 - Avoiding the Non-Volley Zone

There's no way around this one...  In order to feel comfortable with standing a few inches from the non-volley zone line (where most of the game is played), you have to stand near the non-volley zone line.  

You probably know now that you cannot step into the non-volley zone to volley a ball (hit it on the fly).  Good dinkers, however, will force you to step in and out of the non-volley zone by delivering shallow dinks.

Typically, your goal is to "come to the net" and force your opponents back; your opponents, however, want to come to the net and force you back. Don't make it easy for them to do this.  

So, stand a few inches from the non-volley zone line, bend your knees and have your paddle up and ready for whatever comes your way.   

Pickleball Mistake No. 5 - Standing Upright and Still

Many brand new players tend to stand upright in the transition zone (commonly known as "no-man's land" and mid-court).  They shy away from the non-volley zone as discussed in Pickleball Mistake No. 4 or they hang out near the baseline.

If you are playing with someone more experienced, you might take their cue on when to head up to the non-volley zone and when to retreat.

Again, usually you want to be parallel with your partner to prevent balls from getting through your human barrier.  

The real problem, however, is that you might not be light on your feet...  So, regardless of where you are on the court, make sure to stay light on your feet so you can physically follow the path of the ball.

Now that you've read these reminders, make it a point to integrate these tips into your next games.