I play Singles just as much as I play Doubles.
Especially now with there being virtually nobody at the court, I often find myself playing Singles against whoever came with me. I definitely feel like my Singles game helps me get those great, hard-to-reach balls, some that I have to run for.
The biggest thing I’ve been focusing on recently is “If I’m serving and my opponent comes to the kitchen, how do I respond…?” I like to control the kitchen when I play Singles, since it allows me to get deadly shots both powerfully and softly, and from that, here’s what I’ve found…
Third Shot Drops are tricky to pull off without getting caught in a tricky position, but if you do an angled one near the corner, you can position yourself to get any response they hit at you.
Third Shot Drives I typically use to make them hit back a simple, under-powered return, which allows me to hit a shot into the kitchen from inside the court and move the rally there.
Lobs can have two outcomes; either 1.) They hit overheads that I continue to controllably feed until I get one that bounces just too high where I can drive a low, just-above-the-net shot at them, making them either hit it into the net or hit upwards where I play the point from there; or 2.) I wait until they turn around to move back, sprint up to the kitchen line, and hit volley returns.
Sometimes, however, I’ll try for a tricky approach: Hitting a fast, deep shot near the lines. I either rip a shot just along a side-line, or try to use spin to curve it from just off the court to landing in. These are very hit-or-miss, so whether I try to rip one, spin one, or try this option at all completely depends on me and my opponent’s positions on the court.
I’m going to a pickleball camp hosted by Engage Pickleball next weekend, so can’t wait to see what it does to my game…!