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skinny pickleball

What is Skinny Singles Pickleball?


Skinny Singles is a fun and engaging variation of the classic pickleball game. It was inspired by the desire to offer a less strenuous alternative to traditional singles pickleball, focusing on strategy over stamina. This variation of the game gets its name from the fact that it narrows the court size down (hence “skinny”) while maintaining the head-to-head nature of singles play.

The concept of skinny singles pickleball has seen a rise in popularity, especially among players who want to improve their shot accuracy, control, and strategic play. It was popularized by seasoned players looking for a way to hone specific skills while enjoying a less physically demanding game. 

In essence, skinny singles pickleball offers a unique blend of physical activity and mental strategy, making it an appealing alternative to traditional singles pickleball.


What’s the Difference Between Skinny Singles and Singles in Pickleball?

The primary difference between skinny singles and regular singles pickleball lies in the court size. In singles pickleball, players still get full use of the entire court. They can move between the left and right sides of the court during a rally.

what is skiny pickleball

But in skinny singles, players use only half their playable court surface, specifically one of the two rectangles created by the kitchen or non-volley zone line. 

The court is basically halved two ways:

  1. diagonally 
  2. same-side court (straight line, face-to-face)

This means players can play in a straight line, facing each other directly on the right side of the court only, or on the left-right of the court only. Or, they can play diagonally on their respective right or left court sides. This configuration effectively narrows down the playing area, leading to a significant reduction in the physical intensity of the game.

How to Play Skinny Singles Pickleball?

Playing skinny singles pickleball is straightforward. Apart from the court size, the game rules for skinny singles differ slightly from traditional singles play. These game rules can also be slightly adjusted, depending on how the two players agree to play. 

For example, if serving right in front of you feels weird, you can always modify the rules of skinny singles pickleball a bit. You can try serving diagonally, and then have your opponent move to your side to play across the line. 

Despite these differences, the essence of pickleball—the volleying, the strategy, the shot placement—remains very much a part of skinny singles. The main distinction is that skinny singles emphasize control and precision over physical stamina, given the reduced court size and modified rules.

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NOTE: Remember, the idea of skinny singles is to hone your accuracy and strategy, not just to win. So, take advantage of this narrowed playing field to work on your shot placement and control.


Why Do People Play Skinny Singles Pickleball?

People play skinny singles pickleball for a variety of reasons. Here are the most notable:

playing skinny single pickleball

  1. This variation of the game places a high value on strategy, precision, and control. 
  2. The narrowed court size means there’s less ground to cover, which can be a relief for those seeking a less physically demanding form of pickleball. However, don’t let the reduced court size fool you into thinking it’s going to be an easy ride. 
  3. It requires and helps develop excellent shot accuracy, decision-making, and anticipation, elements critical in the traditional game as well.

Of course, there are also many benefits associated with skinny singles pickleball, which make it even more appealing. We’re going to delve into some of these benefits and how they can positively influence your pickleball game.


The Benefits of Playing Skinny Singles Pickleball

You can say skinny singles is the Swiss army knife of pickleball—it’s versatile and packed with potential benefits that can greatly enhance your performance. Here are some of the key advantages:

Great Warm Up

Skinny singles pickleball serves as an excellent warm-up before you dive into a regular game. It helps you get in the zone by loosening your muscles and fine-tuning your swings and shots. It can even take the place of those warm-up jogs. The trick is to keep it relaxed. Concentrate on your technique rather than the competitive aspect. That way, you and your opponent can ease into the game without getting too caught up in the competition.

Improve Your Reaction Time

Playing on a smaller court as in Skinny Singles, means that shots are returned quicker, often leading to a game with a faster pace. This naturally puts your reaction speed to the test, particularly when you’re faced with swift, direct shots.

Having quick reflexes is an invaluable asset in pickleball. It allows you to return shots that come at you unexpectedly, keeping you in the game despite your opponent pulling a fast one on you. Not to mention it gives you the ability to seize opportunities for aggressive plays when they present themselves. 

By playing Skinny Singles, you’re not just having fun—you’re also honing a crucial skill that will serve you well in traditional games.

Perfect for Practicing Shots and Getting Used to The Game

Skinny singles pickleball can be an excellent way to introduce newcomers to the game. It’s less daunting than diving straight into a full-court game. The smaller court size helps beginners focus on understanding the basic rules, the scoring system, and the rhythm of the game without being overwhelmed. 

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PRO TIP: For newcomers trying out skinny singles, concentrate more on getting the feel of the game and less on winning points.

Moreover, skinny singles pickleball provides a fantastic platform for practicing shots. With less ground to cover, players can devote more time and energy to their swings and strokes, as opposed to running around. The extended rallies that typically characterize skinny singles games allow players to hit more balls in a shorter time period, meaning more opportunities to work on shot technique and placement. 

To be deliberate about using skinny singles for shot practice, players can focus on trying different types of shots and refining their technique for each.

The Best Way to Play Pickleball Against the Elderly or Physically Unfit

Skinny singles pickleball is a great variation for older or physically unfit players. It’s more accessible and easier because of the reduced court size, which means less running and less strain on the body. 

Remember, pickleball is not always about competition and winning. It was created as a fantastic way to bond with loved ones in a relaxed, casual setting, while also affording physical exercise. You can focus on having a leisurely hit and a chat without getting too winded.

Interestingly, skinny singles relies more on mental skills and focus rather than on physical prowess. The game stimulates mental agility as players need to think more about shot selection, swing technique, and game strategy without the added pressure of extensive running. This makes it not just a fun pastime but also a beneficial brain exercise, particularly for older players.

Levels the Playing Field when Playing Against Better Players

Playing skinny singles pickleball can help level the playing field when you’re up against stronger or faster opponents. Because the game is played on a smaller court, physical advantages like speed, strength, or endurance become less of a factor. Instead, strategic shot placement, control, and precision come to the forefront. This means you get a fair shot at winning, even if your opponent is physically more fit.

Up Your Pickleball Doubles Gameplay

Skinny singles can be an effective training tool for players who mostly engage in doubles. If you’re one of those players who rarely venture out of the doubles realm, skinny singles is a great way to slowly push you out of your comfort zone. This game format will make you responsible for every shot in a rally, which can be a whole new ball game for doubles players.

Being accountable for every shot sharpens your skills and endurance. As a result, your doubles gameplay can see significant improvements. You’ll be less reliant on your partner and more capable of handling longer rallies that don’t land on your partner’s side. Essentially, skinny singles can help you become a more self-reliant and versatile player.

Skinny Singles Fits in Most Driveways

One of the practical advantages of skinny singles pickleball is that it can easily fit into most driveways. 

A traditional pickleball court is the same size as a badminton court, which means it measures 20 by 44 feet. However, a skinny singles court is effectively half the width of a regular pickleball court. This makes it a perfect fit for most driveways, allowing you to set up and get a game going without needing a full-sized court. 

So, whether you’re looking to practice your shots or just want a quick game with a friend, skinny singles pickleball could be your driveway’s new best friend.


How to Use Skinny Singles Pickleball to Improve

To make the most of your skinny singles pickleball experience, you should approach the game with a clear focus on what you want to improve. Because you’re playing on a smaller court, you’ll have more time to concentrate on your technique. This allows you to work on specific areas of your gameplay such as shot placement, accuracy, or volleys.

improving using skinny pickleball

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PRO TIP Skinny singles in Pickleball is a very simple way to decrease your workload while increasing success. You have a smaller court, so everything becomes easier. An easier game and a longer rally mean a more enjoyable game that feels more fun to play.

Take full advantage of this format to push your limits. Run faster, hit stronger shots, and be intentional about what you’re practicing. Want to perfect your serve? Practice it here. Need to work on your backhand? Skinny singles pickleball is the perfect setting. The skills you develop during these focused practice sessions will seamlessly translate to full-court games, enhancing your overall performance.