Pickleball Kitchen Strategy-STOP Attacking!
By: CJ Johnson | November 2, 2019 |

Pickleball Kitchen Strategy-STOP Attacking!

If you want to play better pickleball, you need to stop trying to hit a winner every time. If you learn to stop attacking marginal shots and be more patient, you’ll win more points. Easier said than done?


How many times have you been at the NVZ and attacked a ball where the apex of the ball was just about net high? When it hits the net cord and lands back on your side, you think OH No! That wasn’t attackable! A sound pickleball kitchen strategy is not to attack marginal shots.

Patience is a separator. Better players tend to wait for the right shot to attack. Less skilled players tend to attack marginal shots.

I think there are a couple of reasons for that. The first is that players don’t always recognize the difference in trajectory between a marginal and attackable ball.


Learning to see the trajectory and applying the appropriate reaction is an advanced pickleball kitchen strategy.


The Attack Drill helps you identify when to begin your attack.

The object of this drill is to determine when the apex of the ball is clearly above the net.

Two players stand on opposite sides of the net at the non-volley zone on the same side of the court. Start a dinking rally. Continue dinking until you believe your practice partner has hit a ball where the apex of the shot is above the net. When you think it’s above the net, grab the ball with your non-paddle hand, and say attack.

If you dink one that you thought might have been attackable, say it out loud or stop the rally and ask your practice partner what they thought.


The second pickleball kitchen strategy is to become a consistent dinker.


I believe a lack of confidence in their dink game causes players to attack marginal balls. If you’re certain you can consistently hit, 10, 20, or more dinks in a row, it’s likely you’ll be patient enough to wait for a clearly attackable ball.

Here’s a game to reinforce patience and build your dinking skills.

Stand on opposite sides of the net at the non-volley zone with one player on the even side and the other on the odd. The first five shots must be dinks, landing in the NVZ. Count them out loud. After five anything goes, play the point out. Start over if you don’t get five dinks. If five is too easy, increase the number to ten — the first person to eleven wins.


Identifying an attackable ball and a consistent dink game are skills learned by practice. Once you learn to do both you’ll win more points.


CJ Johnson

Hey there — I’m a professional three-sport athlete and coach who has spent my entire adult life earning a living from playing and coaching sports. Since I started coaching more than three decades ago, one thing has remained the same: My commitment to see students not as they are but as what they can become and to move heaven and earth to help them realize their untapped potential. You should know that when it comes to helping pickleball players over 50 live their best lives on and off the courts, I'm an expert. Good pickleball is not just technique; it's the mind and body working holistically. That's why I'm also a personal trainer and weight management specialist. When I’m chillin', you'll find me watching Star Trek with my husband John and our two fur babies, Shirley and Ralph. (Yes, Happy Days)