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Pickleball Doubles Strategy Tips for a Better Game


Millions of people enjoy playing pickleball with their friends and family because of its fun gameplay and simple rules

But when you are playing doubles, the game can get a bit complex. This is because the game involves so many strategies that you can enjoy when you’re playing as a doubles team. 

In this guide, we’re going to take a look at a couple of pickleball doubles strategy tips that can help you improve your gameplay.

The Top Pickleball Doubles Strategy Types to Try

Using pickleball strategies when playing doubles can make a huge difference in your gameplay. These many different strategies can give you some form of leverage over your opponents. 

Here’s a quick look at the ten best and simple doubles strategies in pickleball.

Pickleball partner strategy

The Get-To-The-Kitchen-Line Strategy

This is one of the first strategies you’ll learn when playing pickleball. It’s also our number-one tip for a competitive doubles match.

The idea of this pickleball strategy is to return to the non-volley zone as quickly as you can after every return-of-serve, which is the moment right after the serve has been made. Make your way to this area close to the net while your opponent is still trying to respond to your serve.

In this position, the odds are usually in your favor, since it increases your chances of making an accurate return.

The Drop Shot Strategy

A drop shot, also referred to as the third shot drop, is a pretty tough shot to perfect, but is considered a fundamental shot in pickleball. This type of shot is an excellent counter if your team is positioned far from the non-volley line, while your opponents are close to it.

The drop shot is designed to get you and your partner close to the kitchen so you can eliminate the advantage your opponents have at this point. It is usually executed by the serving team after the return-of-serve is conducted by the opponent.

Try to Keep Opponents at the Baseline

The closer you are to the non-volley zone line on the pickleball court, the higher your advantage is. Conversely, the closer you are to the baseline, the lower your advantage becomes. A great strategy is to keep your opponents as close to the baseline as you can.

To do this, you need to create longer shots that will keep your opponents moving back, deep down the court. If you keep hitting shorter shots, the opponents will be drawn in towards the kitchen, where you don’t want them to be. 

Aim for the Feet

It’s very difficult to deflect a pickleball that’s positioned low to the ground. Aiming your shots at your opponent’s feet is an excellent strategy to use when they’re positioned between the no-volley line and baseline, or when they’re positioned near the baseline.

By aiming the ball at their feet, you’ll keep them pinned back and it’ll be much harder for them to move closer to the kitchen. You will definitely improve as a doubles pickleball player if you adhere to this simple strategy.

Create Deeper Serves

When you’re serving, your main goal should be to serve big and hit the ball deep. There are several advantages to doing so. Usually, the goal of your opponent or opposing team is to move closer to the non-volley line after making a return serve. So, keeping the serve deep will prevent them from reaching the line.

Most professionals strive to create a hit that sends the ball on a huge curve. This is a much better strategy compared to creating a straight-speed shot that only lands a couple of feet beyond the no-volley line.

Steer Clear of the Baseline

When you’re playing pickleball, your opponent will try all sorts of strategies to keep pushing you back. It’s good practice to move forward when returning serves. 

The bigger the distance between you and the baseline, the further your ball will travel into your opponent’s side. Then, it will be much more difficult for opponents to gain points for deep serves.

It’s also a good idea to position the weaker player closer to the baseline while the dominant player stays close to the non-volley area.

Create Deeper Returns

It’s always best to give it your all when making return serves. A deeper return serve offers numerous benefits. This type of strategy will give you more time to advance to the non-volley line, and also gives you more time to plan your third shot so you can make a more accurate hit.

Plan Around Middle Shots

When the pickleball game becomes heated, a lot of confusion can erupt between you and your partner regarding who should make the difficult shot in pickleball. This confusion especially tends to occur around mid-court shots.

A great way to eliminate confusion is by discussing with your partner beforehand regarding who should get the middle shots. Create a general rule-of-thumb regarding different parts of the court and who should make these hits.

If you can’t agree on who should get the middle ball, then you should at least communicate with your partner during the game. A good way to do this is by yelling out “mine” when you’re going for a deep return shot, or “yours” when you’re passing it off to your partner.

Move as One

Pickleball teammates should always move together. There should be an 8 – 10 foot distance between the two of you at all times. If your partner moves forward or backward up the court, you should do so also. The same goes for side-by-side movements.

If you fail to keep the gap between the two of you tight, it’ll create more opportunities for the opposing team to gain points.


By definition, stacking means arranging things into a neat pile. The stacking strategy is just as it sounds, where you and your teammate stand in a line, one in front of the other, during service or returns. This strategy capitalizes on your strengths and weaknesses as a team. 

To learn how to stack during pickleball doubles, check out this article.

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NOTE: Stay calm and patient. Pickleball is a quick-paced game that can raise your heart rate and your anger levels within minutes. It is, however, very important to remain as calm and patient as possible. It’s much better to wait for an opportune moment to incorporate a strategy than to force a strategy when it isn’t functional.

Final Thoughts

We hope this pickleball doubles strategy tricks will help you gain more success when playing as a serving team. There are, of course, many more advanced strategies for a doubles pickleball player that you can learn and incorporate into your competitive game. As your skill level improves, so will your pickleball journey.

If you’re looking for more strategies and tips, or want to improve your skills in other areas, have a look at some of the other guides we have on The Volley. Our guides will give you information on all the best pickleball strategies and accessories to make your games better.