Being a player who has always been playing the doubles, I know the struggles of switching it to the singles. While both of the games have the same rules, the format of these two is far different and can present quite a challenge for the players. Hence, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that strategies in pickleball singles are all about speed and power, specifically if you are new to this format and are exploring the gameplay.
If you are switching your double game to this physically demanding single-play, you most probably are wondering what tactics and strategies can give you a lead. However, you need not worry as I have brought some tips and tricks for you based on my personal experience of exploring the singles gameplay. So, to save your day, here are some pickleball singles strategies that can help you during the play. So, let’s get in for more.
6 Basics Pickleball Singles Strategies for Any Level
Whether you are a beginner or an advanced player, you need to follow these six basics and compulsory Pickleball singles Strategies to ace your singles game.
1. Serving in Singles
While it is easy to get away with your serving over the net and within it easily in double games, it is pretty tricky in singles to achieve improved services over the net. Hence, you have to serve in an offensive manner, hard and deep. For this technique, the player should hit the ball hard on the opponent’s side and then hit it down in the middle to get an offensive to serve on the corner side of the opponent.
Therefore, this provides you with a better and stronger placement of the ball. In simple words, the key to success in single matches is hard and fast serving. So that your opponent is standing on the weakest side and is defensive. lastly, it will take some time for him to recover, and here, you can immediately get in the ready position that will provide you with better mobility and technique advantage.
2. Return of Serve
Likewise, here, you have to hit the ball hard and deep so that you are able to take over the position of your opponent. One of the primary pieces of advice is to hit at a certain angle so that you can get the ball in the corner position of your opponent, making him defensive in posture and a strong opponent. Furthermore, this will provide you with the strength and position, not to mention the required speed for the passing hit.
3. Simplify the Game
Single games are all about power and energy, where the player with improved speed and posture is able to win the match. So, if you are a beginner and in the initial stages of your single games, I recommend you not to flex your skills and use fancy finesse to counter-hit your opponent. Here, you will have to simplify the game by moving crosscuts to your opponent. These crosscut shots will provide you with a better placement that will get all the shots passed by the opponent, providing you with better gaps.
4. Approaching the Net
Similarly, if you are playing a single offensive game, it is ideal that you know strategically when to move to the net wisely. For this, you don’t just have to run to the net after your return but should strategically plan the return after having a good, challenging, and deep shot. This will excuse your opponent and will give you time to place your shot after the return.
If you are a tall player, you already have an edge in using the wingspan. A large wingspan provides users with a little bit more time (at an advantage) to strategically place their shot after returning to the net. Hence, in a short time, you can easily choose which tactic you want to approach while serving. All in all, if you are a tall player, you are good to go for this approach.
5. Passing Shot
Here comes another quality pickleball single strategy that can save you from the mess. It is quite the opposite of the previous strategy, where you are on the opposing side of the net. Hence, while your opponent has served you a shot and is in a weak position, you can play a winning shot hard and deep, driving past them. So, this will provide you with better power, speed, and an offensive posture throughout the gameplay. Thus, you are clearly at an advantage, and one passing shot can make you win the game.
6. Getting the Soft Game Right
If you have clearly spent some time playing singles games, you most probably know that it is not all hard and speedy. For this, you must know when to downshift your gear and achieve that slow yet suitable pace of the ball to your advantage. This will provide you with a sound and deep shot that can get your opponent confused and make them defensive for the most part. Hence, if you keep your game all fast, speedy, and quick throughout, it will become predictable for your opponent and can make you weak.
Other Advanced Strategies
Here are some other basic and advanced strategies that can help you win your singles pickleball matches with power and speed ensured;
- Keep the serving deep with a well-paced shot. This can provide you with a straight direction and track while you are in the bound.
- Try always to keep the shots deep and directed in the corners.
- Always make sure you have an upper backhand tactic, as this will help you confront the opponent quickly.
- Try to hit deep and fast when your opponent is on the weak side of their shot. This will provide you with a better-passing shot and can keep your opponent on the back foot, considering they will not have the time to set up a shot.
- Always keep your game simple and adopt a defensive position while the opponent is quick and aggressive, as it can keep you on the field for the longest time. Here, you will have to take your time to hit a passing shot, as it can make or break the game for you.
- Always keep on changing your shots, and don’t make your game predictable, as otherwise, your opponent is at an advantage and can ruin the game for you in one single.
- Likewise, start from the left and make your way to the right, yet maintain closer proximity to the centerline to respond to passing shots ideally and wisely.
If, by any means, your opponent has managed to get the non-valley line and you are lagging, here is how you can save yourself;
- By approaching an intricate passing shot.
- Going for a drop shot as it hits the ground on the opponent’s feet.
Likewise, it is equally important to consider your skill level. For instance, if you are a professional and know when to give a slow-paced or fast shot, you are good to go. In contrast, if you are new and in the initial stages of your single game, we will recommend you to keep the corner position and not try to pass shot an offensive opponent as it can land you in some trouble.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can we play pickleball in singles?
Yes, pickleball can be played in doubles as well as singles. The same rules are designed for both games; however, it is played between two players. Single pickleball matches are quick and short and keep the players engaged throughout. All in all, the gameplay is about speed and power, and the one with the quick passing shots is clearly at an advantage.
Can you bounce the ball before you serve in pickleball?
Yes, you are absolutely allowed to bounce the ball before the serving. Here, you are clearly allowed to bounce the ball as many times as you want (within the range of 10 seconds). Likewise, the receiving team also let it bounce for quite some teams. Thereby, while the ball is being served, both the serving and receiving team are allowed to bounce the ball, providing you with two bounces.
Do you serve twice in singles pickleball?
No, a player cannot serve twice in singles as it only includes two players who are on a face-off. Although it is similar to that of double matches, the key is to go with speed and power. Also, because the match is short and quick, USAPA does not allow to serve twice. Finally, as the name suggests, you are not provided with a double serving chance.
In the end, if you are currently switching from pickleball doubles matches to singles, it can be quite struggling and challenging, considering the different formats followed in the games. Here, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that singles are all about speed and power, specifically if you are new to this format and are exploring the gameplay. Hence, it becomes ideal that you have a clear understanding of what tactics to use in which game.
Finally, I hope that this comprehensive and in-depth guide on pickleball single strategies can help you understand the game better and achieve tactical superiority throughout.
Also, see our articles