Playing singles in pickleball is, unquestionably, a different animal than the traditional doubles game. Singles requires physical stamina, anticipation and a different strategy than that in doubles. Be prepared to sprint, split step, stop, change directions — and do it all over again. And again. And again. Not that doubles doesn’t have it, but singles has a seemingly never-end supply of it! And if you’re playing a really quick and fast person it can be demoralizing to see them race from one side of the court to the other and return all your shots that have been made to the once “open court.”
Use your Opponent’s Speed & Quickness Against Them by Hitting Behind Them!
While the speedy player may have an inherent advantage during the course of a match, there is a strategy that you can exploit from time-to-time to end the point more quickly — and in your favor! And if properly executed (that’s always the caveat), it’ll work brilliantly. When you hit a groundstroke or volley with a sharp angle out wide to your opponent, he (or she) will likely race back to the center of the court to anticipate your next shot into the “open” court. Instead of hitting that shot into the “open” court, however, an effective strategy is to hit “behind” your opponent and wrong-foot them. They will likely be unable to overcome their momentum (law of physics, I think!) generated from attempting to cover the “open” court. The ball will go whizzing behind them — and a point for you! Score!
Obviously, this strategy can’t be used all the time. Your opponent will catch on. But it can work several times a match. It’s all about being unpredictable.
Late in the Match? Hitting to the Open Court is Likely the Better Strategy!
I do recommend ditching that strategy, however, late in the match if your opponent is tiring and is physically exhausted from the grind of the long match. In this case, I recommend always hitting your next shot to the “open” court. Don’t hit behind them. Make them run some more! You’ve got them on the ropes! Chances are your opponent isn’t interested in chasing the ball into the open court because of the fatigue and exhaustion. And if your opponent is tired, gassed and has, in essence, “given up” on a point because you have a wide open court to hit into, hitting behind them will simply result in hitting the ball right to them because they haven’t moved to cover that open court.
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