13 Tricky Pickleball Shots to Scare Your Opponent

by Patrick Moore on Oct 11, 2023

13 Tricky Pickleball Shots to Scare Your Opponent

Winning With Strategy: 13 Unexpected Pickleball Shots To Learn

In honor of spooky season, we have compiled a list of tricky pickleball shots that will keep your opponent in the dark. If you can master these shots, you will be a monster on the court who constantly has people chasing ghosts.

In no particular order, let’s dive in! Who knows, one of these may become your signature shot.

1. Backhand Lob

Seemingly defensive and straightforward, the backhand lob is a shot that you hit from near the kitchen, on your backhand, high and deep into the court. This shot allows you to slow down the point and get back into position, while forcing your opponent to give up their spot at the net.

2. No-Look Shot

Good opponents will read your eyes throughout a match, keep them guessing by looking away as you hit a pass, smash, or dink. By looking away, you can get your opponent to move the wrong direction, leaving them stranded as you hit the very spot they just vacated.

4.Third Shot Drop

Often overlooked by newer players, a shot around the post keeps the ball low, making it very difficult to return. While opportunities for this shot do not present themselves very often, it is a great way to win a point.

1. Backhand Lob

Third shot strategy, especially in doubles play, is always a point of discussion amongst players. While a pass deep into the court will keep your opponent off the net, mixing in a surprise third shot drop that bounces softly in the kitchen, is an effective way to steal a point.

5. Backspin Return

Players of all skill levels expect to have the upper hand when they are serving. Hitting a service return with backspin instead of topspin is a great way to catch your opponent lacking. If they are on their heels after ripping a serve, this shot will force them to pass one back to you right in your wheelhouse.

6. Backhand Backspin Dink

Dinking is a huge aspect of the game, so it only makes sense that you would have a couple tricky dinks in your repertoire. To execute this shot, wait for a dink to your backhand side and then cut under the ball. While your opponent may see it coming, the backspin is sure to cause chaos—just don’t hit it too high.

7. Erne

Your best trick to beat the kitchen rule and surprise your opponent is the Erne. When your opponent hits a crosscourt dink that would run out over the sideline you either jump over the kitchen and hit the ball, landing out of bounds, or re establish your feet outside the court before hitting the ball. When mastered, you will be able to force errors from your opponent like your name is Erne Perry.

8. Dink Fake

While we personally think this shot deserves a better name, the dink fake or fake dink is a power player’s best friend. When engaged in a hand battle simply stay in a position to return a forehand dink and when your opponent leaves the dink a little too high, smash it past them for a statement point.

9. Centerline Ace

As well named as it is effective when well struck, the Centerline Ace is a great option for players with a powerful topspin serve. Simply change your aiming point and rip your hardest serve aiming for the center line, ideally your opponent won’t even have time to move.

10. Fake Out Shot

Probably a better choice in recreational play, the Fake Out Shot involves you swinging and missing when the ball is only halfway to you, before reloading and firing the ball in the opposite direction. With the right acting you can make your opponent look like a dummy, but be careful, it could just as easily be you fighting embarrassment.

11. Block Shot

Often a defensive last hope, the block shot is best used to counter powerful drives hit by your opponent. This shot involves putting your paddle in front of your chest in a backhand position and holding it there. No need to swing, the power of the shot coming your way will rebound past your opponent for a surprise point.

12. Backhand Punch

When your opponent lets a dink drift slightly high, take advantage with a Backhand Punch. From your backhand dink position, simply make a punching motion at the ball to add just enough speed to sneak it past your opponent. It needs less time to execute than a backhand drive and offers more power than a simple dink.

13. Play Your Game

Our favorite trick shot? Whatever you can come up with! Forehand, backhand, overhead or down by your laces, let your creativity help you win points and have fun on the court. 

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