Many players new to the game of pickleball do not realize the strategies behind playing this super fun game. For those who love to understand strategies and want to learn better game play, here are five reasons why playing pickleball at the non-volley zone line is a great strategy for your doubles game:
1) You have less area to cover - By playing right at or an inch or two away from the non-volley zone line you cut out over half the court for your opponents to hit the ball to versus staying in the back court. Visualize the number of shots your opponents have on you when you play at the line compared to staying back at the base line. You are better equipped to handle those pesky drop shots at the net! You also have fewer steps to get to the ball, so save yourself some work and get to the line.
2) Will help improve your variety of pickleball skills and shots - Playing at the non-volley zone line means more balls may be coming at you at a faster pace. This will improve your reflexes, body awareness and hand-eye coordination making your overall pickleball game even stronger. Also, this will help with your finesse game and how to control the ball better, your volley and dink game, adding more shots to your pickleball "tool belt."
3) Conquer your fear, build confidence and win more - Many times I hear people state that they are fearful of playing at the net because they don't want to get hit by the ball. Thank goodness the ball is so lightweight and relatively soft, that it only stings a little if you get hit! By gradually moving towards the net and getting comfortable there, this is a great way to build confidence in yourself and conquer that fear. With drills, practice and time I guarantee you will become more comfortable at the net and begin to learn why it is so fun to play there and most likely win more often. Who doesn't love to win every once in awhile?!
4) Take control of the game - By playing pickleball at the non-volley zone line you are in a better position to control the game. You have the ability to make more shots and be more successful at them, whether a lob, dink, volley or a deep drive to your opponents back court. You also have the ability to take pace off the game easier or speed it up. It is easier to make more precise shots at the non-volley zone line.
5) Less gaps to cover when you both play at the line - It is best to play at the non-volley zone line with your doubles partner for all the reasons stated above. Once one of you moves up to the non-volley zone line, try to join your partner there soon. It is best if you can move together to the line at the same time. If you leave you partner at the base line, they will most likely get all the balls from your opponents, leaving more gaps and angles open between you for your opponents to hit, and more court for your partner to cover.
As you play more strategic opponents you may have to adjust your game a little based on their high percentage shots. In the mean time, these five reasons will hopefully get you to play more at the non-volley zone line, increase your game winning percentage and make playing pickleball more fun!