CJ Johnson Headshot
CJ Johnson
Tony Roig
Tony Roig

Playing Tip: Stay Back After Your Serve

The goal is to get to the kitchen line (non-volley zone) as quickly as you can but don’t be in too big of a rush.  When you were a novice, you didn’t stay back after your serve, and you lost a point or two by hitting a shot before letting the return of serve bounce. Ah well, hopefully, your partner forgave you because I think most of us have done it a time or two.

However, it doesn’t stop there. Novices, as well as experienced players, often jump the gun on moving forward. They hit a serve or watch their partner serve and then take a step or two inside the baseline.  If the player on the other side of the net is playing percentage pickleball, they are trying to land the return of serve deep in the court close to the baseline. If they execute and you’ve moved inside the baseline, the likely result is the return of serve lands at your feet and you are caught without room to execute the next shot.

If you notice your partner getting a head start, remind them to stay back. A distance of two feet or so behind the baseline is ideal for most of us. REMEMBER: It’s easier to move forward than backward.

On the other hand, if you see an opponent who has a habit of moving forward prematurely, think of hitting the ball deep to his fee.  Try to make him back up. If he does hit the shot it’s likely it will be a soft shot into midcourt which hopefully you’ll be ready to pounce!

Bev writes a weekly email blast for our pickleball club. She delivers the rules with clarity and a sense of humor. If you have a rules question post it in the comments below.


Leave a Comment

Like what you see?

Subscribe to the free newsletter today for more exclusive pickleball tips.