Select Page

Pickleball features a variety of different techniques and unique shots, however, there aren’t many that are as crucial as the drop shot.

This move is renowned for being pretty tough to learn. However, it is especially crucial whenever the level of play is enhanced.

So, what is a drop-shot, and why is it so important in pickleball?

Drop shots are gentle shots that are precise. They are intended to bounce into the opposing team’s no-volley zone.

This allows for your own team to advance towards the net while equalizing any advantage that your opponent has. It is otherwise known as the third shot drop.

This is arguably the most advanced technique in pickleball.

This article will outline what drop shots are in detail and why they are so incredibly important in regard to pickleball strategy.

Executing this shot alongside numerous drills is the best means of perfecting it.

It is worth noting that this shot has the ability to turn a beginner player into an advanced tournament competitor (see also ‘Pickleball Tournament Prizes – Everything You Need To Know‘).

The Drop Shot In Depth

The drop shot is an imperative skill to learn if you are serious about playing pickleball.

Although it is usually implemented from the baseline as the third shot during a rally, it can help many players gain more time to cover more ground and move towards the kitchen line.

Irrespective of where you are positioned on the court, if you are able to take the pace from a fast ball hit and drop it into your opponent’s non-volley zone, you will have executed one of the most lethal moves in the game.

The ultimate aim of any drop shot in pickleball is to execute it with the utmost force while capitalizing on any errors that your opponent has made.

You can also set yourself up to capitalize on an attackable ball played by your opponent.

What Is The Purpose Of Landing A Drop Shot?

Drop shots often target an opponent’s non-volley zone, which is often referred to as the ‘kitchen’.

By doing this, you will accomplish two vital things that give you a competitive edge over your opponent: control of the net and setting up a return shot to the advantage of your team.

An accurate drop shot will provide your team with the utmost net control as it is a slow path that allows for your team to travel towards the non-volley zone line.

You will normally want to play at this position on the court as this will give you the best chance of scoring.

Pickleball is both lost and won at the net, so moving towards this line is imperative.

No other shot in the game will allow the serving team the appropriate amount of time in order to move towards the net like an accurate drop shot.

Also, placing an accurate drop shot will ensure that your opponent’s return shot is also a prime opportunity for your team to capitalize on.

The lack of power behind a drop shot results in it bouncing at a low level.

Thus, the low height will force your opponent to return the ball in an upwards motion close to the net itself.

Upward-shot balls usually travel higher, slower, and directed towards you.

As a result, they will provide you with a plethora of opportunities for you to score with a solid downward hit.

This is otherwise known as an “attackable ball”.

Drop shots are often used to set these shots up.

In essence, an accurate and appropriately timed drop shot in pickleball always forces your opponent to have to hit upwards on the ball.

Because of this, you will have more opportunities to capitalize on your next shot and place it with more authority by proxy.

Pros will often use a drop shot in order to set themselves up and land points using an overhead smash.

However, it is worth noting that this shot takes an abundance of patience and precision to set up accurately.

Thus, it may be helpful to think of a drop shot as a pickleball equalizer.

These can also be used to neutralize an opponent’s advantage of being close to the net while providing your team with the opportunity to move into a better strategic position.

When Should I Land A Drop Shot?

The best time for you to land a drop shot is when you and your partner are positioned towards the baseline, as this will allow you to move towards the net by proxy.

This shot is most commonly landed during the third shot of a point after the serve and the return of the serve.

Because of this, the drop shot is more common for the serving team to land.

In this sense, if the returning team keeps the serving team back toward the baseline with deep return shots, then the serving team may be required to wait longer until they are able to land a drop shot into the kitchen.

Specifically speaking, serving teams will normally use drop shots on the third shot in order to compensate for the positional disadvantage that their team may have.

Remember, this is not the same as tennis as the return team will have an advantage as they will be able to move towards the net faster.


To conclude, a drop shot is one of the most technically advanced shots that you can learn and land during a game of pickleball.

This article has outlined the numerous ways and methods in which you can land a drop shot.

The beauty of doing so is that you will be able to move towards the net reposition yourselves accordingly.

These shots also require the opposing team to move the ball in an upwards motion which provides you with the advantage of an attacking shot.

I hope that you have found this article to be insightful and informative. Thank you for reading.

Pickleball In The News

Pickleball In The News

Originally Published on March 11, 2021 by Staff 1. Pickleball- the Fastest Growing Sport in the USA Though originated in 1965, the game of pickleball did not get much popularity until the recent years. It is one of the fastest growing sports in the country as people...

read more

Best Pickleball Lessons Online

It should be no surprise that everything is moving online, and finding pickleball lessons online are not unique. In fact they are gaining popularity. What I love about receiving pickleball lessons online is that I can access LIVE coaching, video analysis, email and...

read more

Pickleball for Parkinsons Disease

In my physical therapy clinic I use pickleball drills and training to help patients with Parkinson's disease all the time. Parkinson's disease is a progressive, neurodegenerative disease that affets movement. Patients will present with different symptoms from rigidity...

read more

How to Avoid Falling in Pickleball

The reality is, that people will fall. Fall prevention is kind of a silly concept to me. I try to focus more on being able to fall without getting hurt. Yes, we want pickleball players to improve their balance and coordination, but falls will happen and the goal of...

read more
How To Play Pickleball Singles

How To Play Pickleball Singles

Pickleball is a paddle sport that incorporates elements of tennis, badminton, and ping-pong. It was created on Bainbridge Island, Washington, US, in 1965. Pickleball’s popularity has grown around the world, but in the Pacific Northwest in particular - so much so that...

read more
What Does A Pickleball Look Like?

What Does A Pickleball Look Like?

Pickleball is a lot like tennis, and is also similar to ping pong (table tennis) too, however, you can’t use a tennis ball or a ping pong ball to play this game. Pickleball has its own ball that is used to play it. A majority of net based games will have balls that...

read more