Pickleball Shots – Top 5 Shots Every Pickleball Player Should Master

There are 5 Pickleball shots you need to master to be a winner.  Find out what to focus on…

When you are new to Pickleball, learning the basics will definitely take a lot of your time.  You have to learn the basic rules and regulations and then focus on your shots to increase your chances of making the big wins.  However, you need to realize that to become a successful pickleball player, you need to focus on the basic strokes and shots.

You can’t expect to master every shot right out of the box. Everything takes time, especially when we are talking about a skillful game like pickleball.

We will focus on the most common yet important pickleball shots that you probably will want to master as you play the game more and more.

Pickleball Shots

Pickleball Backhand

Firstly, there are a couple of different shot styles when it comes to Pickleball backhand.

Pickleball two handed backhand

As the name suggests, this style uses two hands on the handle of the Pickleball paddle when hitting the ball.  What is good about the Pickleball two handed backhand is the power and control you get, which is good for baseline ground strokes or volleys.

This Pickleball shot requires you to get into position and have your weight on your back foot.  Your hips will be in line with the way the ball will travel.  If your hips are parallel to the side line the ball will go straight down the court.  If your hips are on an angle, the ball will go diagonally across the court.  Generally, your paddle will be around waist height and needs to get to the side of your body quickly.  Hit the ball in front of your body and as you make contact with the ball, follow through with your arms while transferring the weight to your front foot.  Your paddle will likely finish just above your opposite shoulders.

Our recommendation for the best Pickleball paddle for two handed backhand is Prince Quantum Pro Pickleball Paddle.

Pickleball top spin or slice

Creating a top spin or slice (underspin) in Pickleball needs a lot of control.    Having a paddle with a textured surface also helps.  Basically, the ball stays on your paddle slightly longer than a power return shot.  For a top spin, you then need to flick your wrist quickly in an upward stroke so the ball spins off the face.   A slice, or underspin, means you need to flick your wrist in a downward stroke mention.  Both of these shots are not power shots but rather placement shots.

When it comes to a backhand, the continental grip works the best. It offers more friction, allowing you to have control over the shot.  A continental grip is formed by the thumb and forefinger resting in a V shape on top of the paddle.

During a backhand, your feet position plays an important part in how the ball is delivered.   One foot needs to be behind the other and your weight must transfer from the back foot to the front.  Don’t forget to follow through with your arms.

Pickleball backhand requires a lot of practice to be able to master without everything falling through.

Pickleball forehand

Next on the list of Pickleball shots o focus on is the Forehand shot. During this shot, you have to hold onto the grip of the paddle and then rotate your body so that the non-dominant side shoulder is faced towards the target.

You then have to swing your paddle, starting at waist level and then transfer your weight from the back to the front foot while swinging with the paddle vertically.   Once the ball makes contact with the paddle, flick your wrist slightly forward and then step forward with the back foot.

This is one of the fundamental pickleball shots that every player should master with more practice over time.  The forehand shot is generally the most used shot in a game.

Pickleball third shot drop

While the backhand and forehand are common pickleball shots, the Pickleball third shot drop is quite a difficult one to master. The third shot drop, as the name suggests, is the shot that comes after the serve and the return of serve. During this shot, the pickleball ball should arch upwards and then drop into the kitchen area of your opponent. Playing the third shot drop will bring your opponent closer to the net.  This leaves their court wide open for your strategic return shot.

The dropping effect of the pickleball makes it close to impossible for your opponents to lift and hit back the ball to the serving team.  It is often called a long dink.

If you can master the third shot drop, you will probably win the point.  However, mastering this shot is not an easy task as you need a lot of control.

Pickleball drop shot

When it comes to the Pickleball drop shot, there are a few styles to choose from.

You have the flat drop shot, slice drop shot and finally, the topspin drop shot.  It is very important to follow through with all these shots to get the full effect.

If you want the drop shot to be successful and one that buys you time, there are several factors that you need to be mindful of…

Here are some of the important factors that can help you master your pickleball drop shots:

  • Make sure that you hit the ball just before the second bounce. You need to wait for the ball to have passed the top of the arch before you hit it back to your opponent. Generally, this is what most players often miss out on.  The longer you wait, the better the shot is.
  • Instead of using your core, band and lift with your knees.
  • Scoop the ball instead of hitting it. Make sure that the motion of the paddle during this is in an upward direction. The reason why this works better is that the less the swinging motion, the less variability to the shot.
  • Always aim for an arch with your drop shots. It should peak over the kitchen line and bring your opponent forward, leaving the back of the court open.

This is another shot that requires a lot of practice to get the control and placement just right.

Pickleball dink shot

Last on the list of pickleball shots is the dink shot. There are no two ways about it, this is hands down the most important shot that every player should master.

It requires a lot of strategy and skill during gameplay, something that most players often miss out on.

A dink shot is executed from the server’s kitchen and lands in the opponent’s non-volley zone.  A well-executed dink will prevent your opponent from being able to hit the ball back, giving you the opportunity to take the point.

However, if they can revert the dink, be assured that their next shot will be a dink back to you as well.  Make sure you land your dink shot!

To execute a good dink, you want your court positioning to be ideal.  You want to stand around 1-2 inches behind the kitchen line and with a soft but controlled pop, place the ball just over the net.

Find out more detail about the perfect dink shot here.


There is an abundance of Pickleball shots.  It is recommended that you focus on these fundamental five shots to start with.  Using a Pickleball machine can help perfect your shot.   Like anything, the more you practice the better you get.  It is better to do five shots a thousand times than to do a thousand shots five times.
Find a wall, find a friend or get a machine but these are the Pickleball shots you need to master before you get into the really fancy shots.