Optimizing Performance

Doubles play in pickleball is an exciting and dynamic way to enjoy the sport. To succeed in this format, you need a unique set of strategies and skills. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore Pickleball Doubles Play Strategies that will help you become a formidable team player. Whether you’re new to doubles or seeking to refine your skills, this guide has you covered.

Let’s dive into the world of pickleball doubles play and uncover the strategies that will elevate your game.

The Dynamic Duo: Partner Selection

The foundation of a successful pickleball doubles team begins with choosing the right partner. Consider these strategies:

  • Complementary Playing Styles Find a partner whose playing style complements yours. For instance, if you are aggressive at the net, a partner who excels at baseline defense can be an ideal match.
  • Communication Skills Effective communication is key in doubles play. Select a partner with whom you can communicate well on the court, making quick decisions and coordinating strategies.
  • Consistency and Reliability Look for a partner who is consistent and reliable. You want someone who can hold their ground during crucial points.

The Serve and Return: Starting Strong

The serve and return are pivotal in setting the tone for the game. Learn these strategies:


  • Serve Placement Develop the ability to serve to specific areas, putting pressure on your opponents. Vary your serves to keep them guessing.
  • Return Placement Focus on returning the serve accurately. A well-placed return can put your team in control of the point.
  • Communication on Serves Coordinate with your partner on where you plan to serve and where they should be positioned for the return.

Net Play: Dominating the Kitchen

Success at the net is crucial in doubles play. These strategies will help you master the net game:

  • Volley Skills Improve your volley skills to effectively put away shots at the net. Practice controlled and precise volleys.
  • Kitchen Dominance Control the non-volley zone (the kitchen) to limit your opponents’ options. Stay close to the net and be ready to intercept shots.
  • Switching Sides Strategically switch sides with your partner during the point, ensuring you’re in the best position to return shots.

Poaching: A Tactical Advantage

Poaching is a smart strategy in doubles play, where you move to intercept a ball that was likely headed for your partner. Learn the ins and outs:

  • Timing and Anticipation Poaching requires excellent timing and anticipation. Practice reading your opponents’ shots to make successful interceptions.
  • Clear Communication Communicate your intention to poach with your partner. A clear signal can prevent confusion and lead to successful poaches.
  • Risk Management While poaching can be highly effective, it involves some risk. Know when to poach and when to stay put to avoid errors.

Dealing with Lob Shots

Lob shots can be a game-changer in doubles play. Here’s how to handle them:

  • Positioning Move quickly to get under the lob shot. Communication with your partner is crucial to avoid collisions.
  • Overhead Smash Develop a strong overhead smash to put away lobs. Practice your timing and shot placement.
  • Teamwork Coordinate with your partner to ensure one of you is always ready to handle lobs, preventing them from becoming winners.


Can I switch sides with my partner during a point?

Yes, switching sides is allowed in doubles play. It’s a strategic move to ensure you’re in the best position to return shots effectively.

What’s the best way to communicate with my partner on the court?

Clear and concise communication is key. Use hand signals or verbal cues to coordinate your movements and strategies.

Is it essential for both players to be at the net during a point?

While both players are often at the net, you can strategically position yourselves to cover the court effectively. Sometimes, one player may stay back to defend against lobs.

How can I improve my volley skills for net play?

Regular practice is essential. Work on your reflexes, hand-eye coordination, and soft touch to excel in volleys.

When should I poach in doubles play?

You should poach when you anticipate that the ball is likely headed for your side of the court and that intercepting it will give your team an advantage.

How can I handle lob shots effectively?

Practice positioning and timing to handle lob shots. Develop a strong overhead smash to put away lobs and coordinate with your partner to prevent lobs from becoming winners.


Pickleball doubles play offers a unique and exhilarating experience, where teamwork and strategic play are paramount. By implementing these Pickleball Doubles Play Strategies, you and your partner can achieve success on the court. Remember, communication, coordination, and a shared understanding of these strategies will make your doubles team unbeatable.

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