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Stacking and Other Pickleball Strategies to Ensure Victory

12/27/2020 - Jami Lewin - Racquets & Paddles


Stacking is a strategic set up that you and your partner might put into use in order to gain an edge over your opponent. Instead of both players being centered on the left and right sides of the court, stacking is when one player is near the centerline and the other is on the edge of their side.

This strategy is usually put into use for one of three reasons:

1. If one player has a weak backhand, then the players can stack towards their side of the court. In this way, the stronger player is responsible for a wider area for their backhand and for the other player’s backhand area with their forehand swings; the other player is then able to focus on just their strong forehand and a smaller area of the court.

2. Also, if one player is more agile than the other, then the players can stack towards the side of the less swift individual. In this way, the more agile player who has a little more hustle is responsible for a larger area of the court while the slower player is required to move around less.

3. The third reason to stack is slightly different than the first two. In the first two scenarios, the team is playing in this stacked position, but stacking for just the serve can also be advantageous. If you and your partner both have a preferred side that you like to be on, stacking might be utilized just before the serve. Instead of serving and then both players darting across the court past one another, both players stack to one side at the start to minimize this movement and confusion. For example, if the player who likes the right side of the courts is serving on the left, then they will set up to serve and their teammate will stand to their left, stacked to the sideline. After the serve, the server moves to the right side of the court without having to cross in front of their teammate and their teammate is already on their preferred side of the court.

Whether you are utilizing stacking throughout play or just for the serve, this advanced technique can give you that edge over your competition and make all the difference in a close match.

Other key strategies include getting your team to the net as quickly as possible and employing some advanced dinking techniques to ensure victory.

1. Cross-court dinking reduces your margin for error by hitting the ball over the lowest part of the net, improving your chances of clearing the net. It also gives you a longer distance between yourself and your opponent, reducing the margin of error when it comes to giving them the opportunity to make an aggressive return.

2. Up on the net, you have the option for a “step back” dink, a versatile and advanced move that provides you with the option to return a straightforward dink or the option to surprise your opponents with an off speed roll or a flick drive. Stepping your dominant foot back to bring you into a closed position for the return is the key to the step back dink.

Pickleball can take a day to learn but a lifetime to master. We hope these strategies get you started on your way to perfecting your game.


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