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Pickleball Corner | Pickleball Schweiz

3 tips for the return of serves in the pickleball

The key to a successful serve-return in pickleball.

In pickleball, the returning player has the advantage of being able to advance to the kitchen zone after the return while the serving team stays behind. To maintain this advantage, effective serve return is critical. Three key strategies can help:

1. positioning before the serve.

Proper positioning before the serve is critical. Anticipate your best shot (forehand or backhand) and show your readiness for a quick response, even to surprise serves. Adjust your position to cover the entire service box and favor the side that matches your preferred stroke. Be ready to adjust quickly if your opponent's serve calls for it.

2. hit the return low to force a difficult shot.

Try to hit the return low to prevent your opponent from confidently going to the net. If you keep the return in the back third of the service court, it will be difficult for the opponent to react effectively. The goal is to create a situation where your opponent has to make difficult shots under pressure while you maintain control of the point.

3. serve high to buy yourself time to get to the net.

An underused technique is to raise the backstroke. This is a controlled, slightly lifted shot with an arc. This way you buy yourself extra time to get to the pickleball net. If you are at the net when your opponent hits the ball, you have a better defensive position and put psychological pressure on your opponent, which increases your strategic advantage.


By combining these strategies, you can not only ensure a consistent return of serve, but also take advantage of the benefits that the rules of the game offer you. These strategies include:

  • Positioning yourself for your preferred stroke.
  • Deep returns to maintain control.
  • Elevated backstrokes for better positioning.

When you use these tactics, you keep control of the point and speed up your chance to win the serve back.

As always, if you have any further questions about pickleball, don't hesitate to contact our Pickleball Corner experts at

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