Keep Your Return of Serve Deep

The primary objective of your return is to force your opponent to hit a third shot drop, which is the most difficult shot in pickleball to execute effectively.  Many third shot drops are hit into the net or struck with too much power, resulting in an aggressive return that is hit for an outright winner or a weak return. 

If your return is hit deep, near your opponents’ baseline, and they do not attempt a third shot drop, they practically have two other options – both of which as even less desirable than the third shot drop.  They might decide to drive their return.  This can be a good choice for a return, but not from the back of the court.  A drive hit from the back of the court will give you plenty of time to prepare for your next shot, which could be drop shot, a medium drive shot targeting your opponent’s feet as they move toward you, or a sharply struck drive targeting a gap between your opponents. 

The third choice your opponent has for the third shot is a lob.  The lob can be an effective shot from the no-volley line, but from the back of the court, it typically has a very low probability of success. 

So you can see, none of the choices you have for a third shot that must be taken from the back of the court, near your baseline, are all fairly bad one.  This is why it’s important to keep your return of serve deep.

If you’re having trouble keeping your returns deep, within three feet of your opponent’s baseline, consider taking some pace off of your return while adding more “loop” to your shot.  Executing a return that softer but lands deeper, is typically better than blasting a short return.  As is the case with the serve, there are also advantages to adding some spin to your return of serve to make you the third shot of a point even more difficult for your opponent.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *