Essential Pickleball Tips for Intermediate Players

Pickleball is a fast-paced and exciting sport that combines elements of tennis, badminton, and ping pong. As an intermediate player, you have already grasped the basics of the game and are looking to take your skills to the next level. In this article, I will share essential tips and strategies to help you improve your game and become a more competitive pickleball player. So, let’s dive into pickleball tips for intermediate players.

Understanding the Game of Pickleball

Before diving into the specific techniques and strategies, it is crucial to have a solid understanding of the game of pickleball. Pickleball is played on a court divided into two halves by a net. The objective is to hit a perforated plastic ball over the net and into the opponent’s court while avoiding their shots. The game can be played in singles or doubles, and the first team to reach 11 points, with a two-point advantage, wins the game.

Mastering the Basic Techniques

To become an intermediate player, it is essential to have a strong foundation in the basic techniques of pickleball. This includes mastering the serve, the return, and the groundstroke. The serve is your opportunity to start the point, so it is crucial to develop a consistent and effective serve. Practice different types of serves, such as the lob serve, the drive serve, and the spin serve, to keep your opponents guessing.

Once the ball is in play, the return becomes crucial. Aim to return the ball deep and low, forcing your opponent to make a difficult shot. Practice your return by focusing on footwork, timing, and racket control. Additionally, work on your groundstrokes, which include forehand and backhand shots. Focus on hitting the ball with precision and power, while maintaining control and placement.

Transitioning from Beginner to Intermediate Level

As you transition from a beginner to an intermediate player, it is important to focus on refining your skills and expanding your knowledge of the game. Take advantage of opportunities to play with more experienced players and observe their strategies and techniques. Pay attention to your positioning on the court and work on your shot selection.

Additionally, consider participating in clinics or workshops specifically designed for intermediate players. These sessions can provide valuable insights and allow you to practice against players of similar skill levels. Seek feedback from coaches or more experienced players to identify areas for improvement and set specific goals to measure your progress.

Improving Your Serve and Return

The serve and return are two critical aspects of pickleball that can significantly impact the outcome of a game. As an intermediate player, you should focus on improving your serve and return to gain an advantage over your opponents.

To improve your serve, work on developing different types of serves. Experiment with the speed, spin, and placement of your serves to keep your opponents off balance. Practice serving specific areas of the court, such as the corners or the middle, to create opportunities for yourself and your partner.

When it comes to the return, aim for consistency and placement. Focus on returning the ball deep and low, forcing your opponents into a defensive position. Work on your footwork and racket control to ensure a solid and accurate return. Additionally, practice returning different types of serves to become comfortable with a variety of scenarios.

Developing Effective Strategies

As an intermediate player, it is important to develop effective strategies to outsmart your opponents and gain a competitive edge. One effective strategy is to vary the pace and placement of your shots. Mix up your shots by hitting hard and deep, followed by soft and short shots. This will keep your opponents guessing and make it more challenging for them to anticipate your next move.

Another strategy is to target your opponent’s weaknesses. Observe their playing style and identify their vulnerabilities. If they have a weaker backhand, focus your shots on that side of the court. Exploit their weaknesses to gain an advantage and force them into making errors.

Furthermore, communication and teamwork are crucial in doubles play. Develop a strong partnership with your teammate by communicating your intentions and strategies. Coordinate your movements on the court to cover each other’s weaknesses and capitalize on your strengths.

Enhancing Your Footwork and Agility

Footwork and agility are vital in pickleball, as they allow you to move quickly and efficiently around the court. As an intermediate player, dedicate time to improving your footwork and agility to enhance your overall game.

Practice drills that focus on quick directional changes and lateral movements. Improve your explosiveness by incorporating plyometric exercises into your training routine. Additionally, work on your balance and stability to maintain control during fast-paced rallies.

Furthermore, pay attention to your positioning on the court. Anticipate your opponent’s shots and adjust your position accordingly. By being in the right place at the right time, you can maximize your chances of returning shots and maintaining control of the game.

You should also check: Pickleball Strategy: 13 Tips to Win Big

Mastering the Art of Dinking

Dinking is a crucial technique in pickleball that involves hitting soft shots close to the net. Mastering the art of dinking can give you a significant advantage over your opponents, as it allows you to control the pace of the game and force your opponents into difficult positions.

To improve your dinking skills, focus on your grip and paddle control. Use a continental grip, which allows for better control and maneuverability. Practice hitting soft shots just over the net, aiming for the kitchen or non-volley zone. Work on your touch and feel, as well as your ability to vary the placement and angle of your dinks.

Utilizing Spin Shots to Your Advantage

Adding spin to your shots can be a game-changer in pickleball. Spin shots can confuse your opponents and make it challenging for them to return the ball effectively. As an intermediate player, learn to utilize spin shots to your advantage.

Experiment with different types of spins, such as topspin, backspin, and sidespin. Practice generating spin by brushing the ball with your racket in specific directions. Utilize spin shots to change the trajectory of the ball, making it more challenging for your opponents to anticipate and return.

Playing Smart and Anticipating Your Opponent’s Moves

In addition to mastering the technical aspects of the game, playing smart and anticipating your opponent’s moves are key factors in becoming a successful pickleball player. As an intermediate player, focus on reading your opponent’s body language and shot patterns to gain a competitive edge.

Observe how your opponent positions themselves on the court and anticipate their shots. Look for patterns in their shot selection and adjust your positioning accordingly. By anticipating their moves, you can be one step ahead and increase your chances of returning their shots effectively.

Furthermore, be mindful of your shot selection and avoid taking unnecessary risks. Play to your strengths and exploit your opponent’s weaknesses. Make strategic decisions based on the current state of the game and adjust your tactics as needed.

Staying Mentally Focused and Confident

Pickleball is not only a physically demanding sport but also a mentally challenging one. As an intermediate player, it is crucial to stay mentally focused and confident throughout the game.

Develop a pre-game routine that helps you get into the right mindset. This could include visualization exercises, deep breathing techniques, or positive affirmations. Stay present and focused on each point, avoiding distractions and negative self-talk.

Additionally, build your confidence by celebrating your successes and learning from your mistakes. Maintain a positive attitude and believe in your abilities. Use each game as an opportunity to grow and improve, rather than being discouraged by setbacks.

Practicing Drills to Improve Your Skills

Regular practice is essential for improving your pickleball skills. As an intermediate player, incorporate drills into your training routine to target specific areas of your game that need improvement.

Work on drills that focus on specific techniques, such as serving, returning, or dinking. Set specific goals for each drill and measure your progress over time. Additionally, practice drills that simulate game-like situations, such as practicing volleys or defending against fast-paced shots.

Furthermore, challenge yourself by playing against players of different skill levels. This will expose you to different playing styles and force you to adapt your strategies and techniques. Seek feedback from more experienced players or coaches to identify areas for improvement and refine your skills.

Participating in Tournaments and Leagues

To truly test your skills and measure your progress, consider participating in pickleball tournaments and leagues. Tournaments provide a competitive environment and an opportunity to play against players of similar skill levels.

Participating in tournaments can enhance your game by exposing you to different playing styles and strategies. It can also provide valuable opportunities for networking and learning from more experienced players. Embrace the challenges and use each tournament as a learning experience to improve your skills.

Furthermore, consider joining pickleball leagues in your local community. Leagues offer a consistent playing schedule and the chance to compete against a variety of opponents. Playing in a league can help you develop consistency, improve your match endurance, and build your confidence as a player.

Seeking Advice from Experienced Players

Never underestimate the power of seeking advice from experienced players. As an intermediate player, reach out to more seasoned players for guidance, tips, and strategies.

Engage in conversations with experienced players and ask for their insights. Observe their techniques and playing style. Be open to feedback and constructive criticism. Learning from those who have already mastered the game can provide you with valuable knowledge and accelerate your progress.

Additionally, consider finding a mentor or a coach who can provide personalized guidance and support. A mentor can help you identify areas for improvement, set goals, and create a training plan tailored to your needs. They can offer valuable advice and motivation to help you reach your full potential as a pickleball player.


As an intermediate pickleball player, you have already laid the foundation for success. By focusing on mastering the basic techniques, developing effective strategies, enhancing your footwork, and staying mentally focused, you can take your game to the next level. Embrace challenges, seek guidance from experienced players, and never stop practicing. With dedication and perseverance, you will continue to grow and excel in the exciting world of pickleball.


How can I improve my serve as an intermediate pickleball player?

To improve your serve, practice different types of serves, such as the lob serve, the drive serve, and the spin serve. Experiment with speed, spin, and placement to keep your opponents off balance.

What is dinking in pickleball, and how can I master it?

Dinking is hitting soft shots close to the net. To master dinking, focus on your grip and paddle control. Use a continental grip and practice hitting soft shots just over the net, aiming for the kitchen or non-volley zone.

How can I anticipate my opponent’s moves in pickleball?

Observe your opponent’s positioning on the court and look for patterns in their shot selection. Anticipate their moves by reading their body language and adjust your positioning accordingly.

Should I participate in tournaments and leagues as an intermediate player?

Participating in tournaments and leagues can provide valuable competitive experience and opportunities for growth. Embrace the challenges and use each tournament or league game as a learning experience.

How can I stay mentally focused and confident during pickleball games?

Develop a pre-game routine that helps you get into the right mindset. Stay present and focused on each point, avoid distractions, and maintain a positive attitude. Celebrate your successes and learn from your mistakes to build confidence.

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