How Do You Hit In Pickleball? | Paddle2Racket

If you’re interested in pickleball, you are not alone. To learn to play this sport, the first thing you need to understand is how to hit in pickleball.

As the fastest-growing sport in the 21st century, several thousands of people pick up pickleball paddles and learn the game. It might seem similar to tennis and table tennis, but every shot hit in a pickleball game has different weights that decide your opponent's next move and so on.

There are several shots in pickleball that count in the basics and are recognized by the sports’ governing body. These include drop shots, groundstrokes, dinks, volleys, serve, lob, drive, etc. You must know the rules of hitting shots in pickleball, including the no-valley zone, service line, etc.

New players are often fascinated by unorthodox and cheeky shots, and there is no doubt that they make the game more interesting. These shots include the dink fake, centerline ace, backspin return serve, backhand spin dink, etc. However, the basic shots are your arsenal, and you should master them before being innovative.

As pickleball lovers, who’ve been playing the game for several years now, we are well aware of all the ways to hit the ball in pickleball. This article will talk about the rules of hitting the ball in pickleball and its different shots.

Table of contents


The Rules

Serve Rules

The serve rule states that a player must stand behind the backline to serve in pickleball. It will be a fault if even a part of their foot is on the line when they hit the ball. The second serve rule is that a player must hit the ball with an underhand when serving. This means that the hand should come from underneath to hit the ball. The ball must also be below the waistline.

The ball should land in the opponent’s court, going over the net for a serve to count. If the ball tumbles upon the net before falling into the opponent’s court, the player gets another chance to do the serve correctly before handing it to their opponent. However, if the ball does not cross the net and falls only into the server’s court, it is counted as a fault, and the opponent shall make the serve.

Rally Rules

A rally is the play after the serve and until someone makes a fault. A rally only starts when the opponent player returns the serve successfully. The serve return is also known as the second shot. Before the second shot lands on the serving player’s side of the court, neither player can enter the no-volley zone. But more on that later.

During a rally, players are free to hit the ball with their choice of shot. The goal is to make it harder for the opponent to return the ball so you can win the rally.

Kitchen Rules

The Pickleball court has a no-volley zone, also known as the kitchen area. It starts seven feet from the backline and lies beside the net. Simply put, a player can not hit the ball with a volley (hitting the ball before it lands) in the kitchen area. If the player is standing outside of the kitchen area with both feet behind the line, only then can they hit a volley.

Shots of Pickleball


The drop shot is one of the more difficult shots in pickleball. It is hit with a soft brushing way off the ball, so the ball drops as near to the net as possible. Play it with an underhand and with less power, so the ball arcs just over the net.


This is the most powerful shot and is often played from the farthest extends of the court. To play this shot, place the opposite side foot of your strong arm ahead of the other foot and swing your arm from behind to hit the ball. Your body should face the direction you want the ball to go.


A volley means any shot hit before letting the ball bounce on the court. You can hit a volley from any height near your feet or over the head.


A dink is very similar to a drop shot, except the shot is only intended to drop in the no-volley zone. An effective dink has a downward arc after it crosses the net. This shot makes it difficult for the opponent to return the ball if they are not positioned appropriately.


Serve is to only start the play and not used to make the opponent miss the return shot. A serve can only be hit with an underarm and contact point of the paddle, and the ball should be beneath the waist. The highest paddle point should be below the wrist line. A new rule states that the server can bounce the ball before hitting it.


A lob shot is when the ball is hit over the head of the opponent. This shot catches the opponent off guard if they are standing too near the net. A Lob shot either makes the opponent miss the return or gives you time to prepare as the opponent is forced back to the baseline.

Overhead Smash

Overhead is a shot when the player extends the paddle straight over the head. The shot is hit downwards with power, with the ball intended to hit the opponent’s court with speed. It is usually played in response to a high bounce return from the opponent.

Other popular shots to hit in a pickleball include:

  • Cross-Court Dink
  • Drive
  • Deep Return Service
  • Third Drop Shot


Michael Stevens

Michael Stevens

Since initially playing at the collegiate level, I have amassed several decades of experience playing racquetball, tennis, and pickleball. I have played thousands of matches and games, and won medals and awards in multiple tourantments. I am constantly improving my game and enjoy mentoring and coaching other players in strategy and technique. I have authored dozens of articles on the sport.

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