Pickleball Singles Strategy – Top 8 Tips to Follow

Want to know our top Pickleball Singles Strategies for that winning edge?

It doesn’t matter whether you are a new player or someone who is playing with the big guns, these Pickleball singles strategies should help you be a winner in your next game.

When you are just starting out with any new game, your focus is learning the rules and just trying to keep up with your opponent.  Stepping on lines, standing in the wrong areas, was it this side or that.  Just trying to return the ball and learning the rules can seem overwhelming when you’re a beginner.

Then, things start to click.

Your opponent is standing on the left and you actually hit the ball where you planned on the right.  You win the point!

Maybe your opponent is on the baseline and you drop a dink over the net.  Perfect!

Once you start to focus on more than just returning the shot, strategy becomes important.

Having a good strategy means the paddle and ball do all the work – not your feet.  You don’t have to run as much as you learn how and where to place the ball.  The game becomes more competitive as you try to outwit your opponent – rather than outrun.

Here are some of our Pickleball Singles Strategies that might help you win your next game.  How sweet that is!

Pickleball singles strategies


Our top Pickleball Singles Strategies

Serve deep consistently

You may be reading this and thinking, “Isn’t deep serve for doubles pickleball?” While that is true, it is also true that mastering the concept of a deep serve can be applicable for singles too. The reason why you do this is this.  By pushing your opponent towards the baseline of the court you can control the next shot so that they miss the chance of hitting it back to you. A big and deep serve offers a lot of benefits by also giving you time to adjust your position to your advantage.

Are you good at forehand or backhand?

Stay near the T zone

The middle of the pickleball court is known as the T-zone.  This is where the lines on the court form a “T” shape.

The reason why you want to keep the game around the T-zone is to reduce your need to run around the court. It also puts you in a good position to return the next shot.  However, many players often make the mistake of ONLY staying at the T-zone, which is wrong. You need to mix up your positions and shots.

Your opponent may have a few shots and positions they play often.  Try and quickly identify what shots they do from where.

Focus on deep return of serve

Much like the deep serve concept, this applies the same with the deep return of service too. When it comes to the return of serve, you need to ensure that it lands deep on your opponent’s court.

The reason why this works is that it keeps your opponent around the baseline and prevents them from mixing up their shots. They have to hit the ball with force to get it back over the net.  Soft shots aren’t an option.  The deep return of serve also reduces the risks of the third shot for your opponent, further giving you an upper hand.

You should be able to position yourself around the T-zone and strategize your next shot (if it makes it over the net!)

Be on your toes

Despite trying your best, you will be faced with times when you hit a bad return of serve. This is very common and something that every beginner and even some professional players experience. The very first strategy that you can implement if you hit a bad return of serve is by playing defensively.  Play from just behind the no-volley zone, which enables you to have leverage on the opponent’s third shots.

Focus on the momentum

Momentum and open space in the court are two correlated factors.  However, you can play in a confined area if you understand the concept of momentum well.

You need to keep up the momentum because this is what helps with a great shot from the get-go. Open areas in a pickleball court is important to have and manage, however, it is also equally important that you keep up your pace.  Fitness is the key!

Follow the angle of  your shot

It doesn’t matter if you are in singles or doubles, you need to follow the angle of your shot.

Your opponent is ready to act, so when the ball lands on their side of the court, they are already contemplating the next shot.  So, always follow the shot that you make.  Whatever direction it is in, keep in mind that your opponent’s next shot will be based on that.   Keep an eye on the flight of the ball across the court and check where your opponent could be hitting back.

The kitchen line

Many players don’t fully understand the kitchen line.  Your opponent will generally try to draw you into the area around the kitchen zone to get you to foul. Also, when you are standing on the kitchen line, you are cutting out your opponent’s angles of shots to your side of the court.

Wait for your opponent to make a mistake

Sometimes, the best strategy for singles pickleball is to do absolutely nothing.  This strategy depends entirely on the level of skill of your opponent.  😉


Getting your Pickleball singles strategies to a point that they become a natural part of your game takes practice.

Once you have mastered your strokes you will find that each opponent responds to them differently.  Learning how to play this to your advantage adds another competitive level to this great game.