Pickleball Doubles Strategy 101 & 102 from Joe Baker

In October of last year, I blogged about Joe Baker’s video – Doubles Pickleball Strategy 101-How to Play Smart Pickleball, Ten Tips

If you haven’t watched it and you are interested in raising the level of your doubles play, I suggest you read the post and review the video. It is an excellent video and Joe Baker teaches the strategies in a very understandable and deliberate manner. Diagrams and game footage are interspersed to make the concepts clear.

You can find this blog post, including Pickleball Strategy 101, at the link below – [Video is at the Bottom of the Page]:

Pickleball Strategy – 10 Tips to Help Win the Point

For those who have already watched the 101 series of tips, here is the follow up:

Joe Baker’s Tips for Doubles Strategy in Pickleball – 102 (Below)

Joe starts out by emphasizing that smart play that often leads to winning points and not necessarily strokes or shots.

As Joe points out, most pickleball points are lost and not won. The improper use of force causes many balls to go errant. That is to say, players often hit the ball hard when they should hit it soft and hit it soft when they should hit it hard and thus lose the point.

As Joe Baker points out, power and control are opposites:

  • Hitting the ball harder reduces control – increases errors
  • Hitting the ball softer increases control – reduces errors

Two Rules of Thumb:

  • When you must hit up on the ball, hit softly
  • When you hit down on the ball, hit harder

Watch the video for complete explanations of the above ideas! I hope you learn some great points as I did!

Are You Ready for Some Pickleball? – Free Strategy Guide

Many of my friends and acquaintances have given me some strange looks over the past year because I have developed a passion for Pickleball (PB). I am a relatively new player. I started playing because I was seeking an exercise regimen that would be more fun than my customary 15 minutes of calisthenics followed by 45 minutes of aerobics.

I began playing PB with a group of beginners and as I developed a few very fundamental skills some of my “muscle memory” from my racquetball days started to kick in and pretty soon I wasn’t making as many mistakes as I was making earlier in my development.

Because the poplularity PB was so new (even though it is celebrating its 50th anniversary!), it was hard to find good books and videos about the sport. I was delighted to find Coach Mo’s strategy guide and I think it will be helpful for any beginning to intermediate player. One of the best parts about Coach Mo’s guide is that it is free. Anyone can download it and use it.

Here is an outline of his Guide in Review section from the publication which will give you an idea of what you will learn:

1: Be in ready position early! Stopped with feet parallel to each other at the point of contact of ball on your opponents paddle.

2: Placement is more important than power. Hit at your opponents feet or bounce the ball beside them. Do not sacrifice placement for power.

3: Hit to your opponents’ weakest players weakest shot.

4: Play steady – Do not over hit or make unforced errors. Never miss your serve or return of serve. Have patience.

5: Try and anticipate your opponents out balls.

6: Punch your volleys and swing at your ground strokes.

7: When hitting a ball step toward your target. Point your front shoulder towards your target, follow through towards your target, and watch closely at the point of contact of the ball on your paddle.

8: 80% of all your hits should be volleys at the NVZ line if you are playing to win.

The guide gives more details and more ideas about HOW to accomplish the items noted above. If I had this guide earlier, I think I would have made progress much faster. I recommend this as an excellent starting point for any new Pickleball player or anyone who wants to refresh their PB skills and strategies. You can download the guide at this link:

Coach Mo’s Pickleball Guide – Print Version (Recommended)
Coach Mo’s Pickleball Guide – Web Version

For those with a more visual learning style, Coach Mo has a DVD that is very reasonably priced. With shipping and handling it is approximately the same price as some books about Pickleball, but the benefit is that you get to watch the techniques as they are explained. Read more about the video at Coach Mo’s website – http://pickleballcoach.com/coach/

Here are the topics covered in the FREE Strategy Guide:

Pickleball Strategies

  • Grip
  • Ready Position
  • Return of Serve
  • Volley
  • Drop Volley
  • Lob – Defensive & Offensive
  • Overhead
  • Footwork
  • Hitting Down Sideline
  • How to Practice
  • Poaching
  • Reduce Unforced Errors
  • Know Your Opponents
  • Mental Errors
  • Hitting Fast Balls
  • Anticipate Out Balls
  • Play the Wind

Pickleball Techniques

  • Ground Stroke Stances
  • Serving Techniques
  • Forehand Groundstroke
  • Backhand Groundstroke
  • Overhead Technique
  • Drop Volley Technique

Additional Information

  • Extra Strategies
  • Guide In-Review
  • Definitions

Coach Mo’s website – http://pickleballcoach.com/coach/

Pickleball: Earn the Net

When I first began to play Pickleball a year ago or so, one of the points that was emphasized to me over and over again was to get up to the net. Some proclaimed this edict with a near religious fervor. I watched those around me and they were running helter-skelter to the net as soon as they could.

After a while, I realized this isn’t always the best strategy. As Deb Harrison remarks in the video below and as others who coach have noted, you have to “earn the net.” By this they mean that you need to make a good shot in order to approach or work your way into the net.

You can’t return a serve midway into the opponent’s court directly to their powerful forehand and expect to have an advantage while running to the net. In many cases, the ball will get to you before you are ready, or it will go flying by you at a fast clip.

To win consistently, you must make an “approach” shot. That is, a drop volley or angled shot that causes the player go make a weak return, etc. which facilitates an approach to the net without the odds of an even better shot coming back at you.

Now that I have realized this, I am a bit more selective when working my way to the net with my partners and it has paid off.

Watch Deb Harrison as she demonstrates the best ways to “earn the net.”

Pickleball: Earning the Net, Deb Harrison

Do you think “earning the net” will help your game? Are you purposeful in using this strategy? Leave a comment below!

Pickleball Stacking: Winning Strategy or Mass Confusion?

I wrote about Pickleball stacking here, but the Pickleball Guru has much more to say about it on his website. Some players might find this advantageous while others will certainly view it skeptically. The fact that the 2014 Tournament Rules were revised to accommodate those who want to use this strategy might give some indication that it is not for everyone.

NOTE: In explaining the advantages and disadvantages of stacking, the article below uses no less than a dozen diagrams; get the idea?!

Find out in more detail exactly what it is and whether or not this might be something that would help your doubles play. Click the link below to learn more:

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Stacking (a.k.a. That Weird Switch-a-Roo Thing Some Teams Do…)