Tips and Strategies

How to Beat Aggressive Pickleball Players? Strategies and 10 Proven Tips

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Facing an aggressive pickleball player? Learn how to beat aggressive players and turn their bold strategy into your victory. With focused techniques, you’ll be ready to outplay the aggressors and elevate your game.

Key Takeaways:

  • To counter aggressive pickleball players, utilize deep returns, maintain distance, and exploit their forward momentum.
  • Understand the difference between aggressive and normal play styles for effective strategy application.
  • Implement diverse strategies, including defensive play, to neutralize aggressive opponents’ strengths.
  • Practice and adaptability are crucial for mastering these techniques on the court.

How to Beat Aggressive Pickleball Players?

Counter aggressive pickleball players by hitting behind them, using deep baseline shots to push them away from the net, and mixing in soft shots to disrupt their rhythm. This approach breaks their pace and forces them to adapt to your game, giving you the upper hand.

Aggressive vs. Normal Pickleball Play Styles

aggressive vs normal pickleball player

What sets apart an aggressive pickleball player from the more traditional, ‘normal’ player? Understanding this distinction is like unlocking a secret playbook.

Aggressive players are all about the offense. They love to take charge with fast-paced drives and powerful smashes, often dictating the game’s rhythm. 

They’re the ones making bold moves, constantly pushing forward to dominate at the net. It’s a high-risk, high-reward style that can be awe-inspiring and daunting.

On the flip side, the normal play style is more about a balanced approach. These players mix up their shots, focusing on placement, strategy, and patience. 

They’re the chess players of pickleball, thinking several moves ahead. They might not have the flashiness of their aggressive counterparts, but their methodical approach can be equally effective.

So, why does this matter? By knowing the difference, you can tailor your tactics, anticipate moves, and find those key moments to strike. Whether you’re facing a storm of power plays or a strategic opponent, being prepared means you’re halfway to winning.

Pros and Cons of Aggressive Play in Pickleball

Ever wondered why some pickleball players go all-in with a Dynamic style? It’s a high-energy, high-impact approach that can be as effective as it is thrilling. But like everything, it comes with its own set of pros and cons.


  • These players command the game, often keeping their opponents on the defensive.
  • Their powerful shots can swiftly end rallies, racking up points efficiently.
  • The sheer force of their play can mentally rattle opponents, leading to mistakes.


  • With great power comes great responsibility, and in this case, a higher risk of errors. The player who hits the ball hard plays often has a lower margin for error.
  • This style demands a lot of stamina, leading to fatigue, especially in longer matches.
  • Aggressive patterns, while initially overwhelming, can become predictable, allowing adaptable opponents to strategize effectively.

Pro tip: These pros and cons aren’t just academic – it’s practical. It gives you a glimpse into the mind of a player who hit the ball hard and helps you craft strategies that use their strengths against them. in pickleball, knowledge is as powerful as a well-placed shot.

How to Play Against an Aggressive Pickleball Player

So, you’re up against an aggressive pickleball player. playing against aggressive players is like playing in windy pickleball conditions. It’s all about strategy and a cool head. Start by keeping your paddle up – this isn’t just good form, it’s your shield and sword in this battle. It prepares you for those quick volleys and smashes that forceful players love.

Next, balance is key. Use your non-dominant hand as a bystander and as a crucial part of your movement and stability. This extra support can make a world of difference in responding to fast-paced shots. Playing against aggressive pickleball players is also the same as playing against tall players but these are the most hard-to-handle players to beat.

Now, the real trick is to force the aggressive player to hit difficult shots (easy to say but hard to do). This means placing the ball in those hard-to-reach spots, making them stretch, twist, and turn. You’re essentially turning their aggression into a disadvantage. The more you disrupt their rhythm, the more you tilt the scales in your favor.

10 Proven Tips To Beat Aggressive Pickleball Players?

1. Deep Returns Against Aggressive Players

The first tip for beating an aggressive pickleball player is to make deep returns. Here’s why: when your return goes deep into their court, it pushes these players back. This movement is crucial because it takes them away from the net, where they love to dominate. 

Deep returns make it harder for them to unleash those powerful smashes or aggressive volleys that they’re so fond of.

So, what’s happening here? You’re essentially pulling them out of their comfort zone. Aggressive players prefer to be up close, dictating the game’s rhythm. 

By sending the ball deep, you’re forcing them to play from a position they’re not as comfortable with. This can lead to weaker returns from them, allowing you to take control of the rally.

The key is consistency. Keep those returns deep, and you’ll start to notice that the aggressive player’s impact diminishes. They can’t be as dominant from the back, and that’s exactly where you want them to be.

2. Maintain Distance from Aggressive Opponents

When you’re up against an aggressive player, distance is your friend. Here’s the thing: aggressive players thrive on quick, powerful plays. 

By maintaining a good distance, you give yourself more time to react to their shots. This extra time is invaluable; it allows you to read the play better and prepare your response.

Think of it as giving yourself a buffer zone. You’re not too close to getting overwhelmed by their power, yet you’re not too far to make effective plays yourself. 

It’s all about finding that sweet spot on the court where you have enough room to maneuver and counter their aggression.

This tactic also helps in managing the pace of the game. Aggressive players want to speed things up – by keeping your distance, you slow things down a bit, bringing the game back to a rhythm that’s more comfortable for you.

3. Hit Behind the Aggressive Player

Hitting behind an aggressive pickleball player is a brilliant strategy. These players often charge forward, trying to take control of the net. There are many pickleball tips for beginners and intermediate players but this one is my favorite especially to beat aggressive players.

By hitting the ball behind them, you’re exploiting this forward momentum. They have to stop, turn, and adjust their position – which is not only difficult but also throws them off their game.

What you’re doing here is creating a moment of hesitation and imbalance. Aggressive players are used to dictating the pace, so when you make them pause and change direction, you disrupt their rhythm. 

This can often lead to weaker returns or even errors, giving you an upper hand in the rally.

It’s a simple but effective tactic, while they move forward, you send the ball back where they just came from. It’s about being one step ahead, predicting their movement, and using it against them.

4. Strike at the Court’s Center

Targeting the center of the court is a clever tactic, especially against aggressive players in doubles. Hitting towards the middle can create confusion between the two opponents.

They might hesitate, wondering who should take the shot. Even a split-second of indecision can give you an edge.

What you’re doing here is playing with angles. By aiming at the center, you reduce the chances of aggressive returns. 

The players can’t use wide angles to their advantage, which often limits the power and effectiveness of their shots.

This strategy also works well because it keeps the ball in play, extending the rally. Aggressive players usually aim for quick points, so prolonging the rally can work to your advantage. It’s about patience and waiting for them to make a mistake or give you an opening.

5. Predict Opponent’s Shots

Predicting where an aggressive player will hit the ball next is key. It’s about observation and pattern recognition.  While this is under intermediate pickleball tips it works best when playing against aggressive players.

Watch how they position themselves, their paddle movement, and their body language. Over time, you’ll start to see patterns in their play.

Once you begin to predict their shots, you can position yourself better, making it easier to return their aggressive shots. 

This foresight also allows you to prepare your next move in advance, whether it’s a defensive block or setting up for a strategic shot.

The more you play against different aggressive players, the better you’ll become at reading their game. This skill is invaluable and can significantly improve your overall play.

6. Stay Calm and Collected

Keeping yourself cool against an aggressive player is crucial. They thrive on speed and power, and their style can be intimidating. 

However, if you remain calm and focused, you can turn the situation to your advantage.

Staying calm helps in two ways: firstly, it allows you to think clearly and make better decisions during the game. 

Secondly, it can unsettle your opponent. When they see that their aggression isn’t affecting you, they might start to doubt their strategy.

Focus on your breathing, maintain a steady pace, and stick to your game plan. Remember, pickleball is as much a mental game as it is a physical one. Try these mental strategies for pickleball and improve your mental game.

7. Defend and Neutralize Shots

Improving your defensive skills is essential when playing against aggressive opponents. Work on returning their powerful shots with soft, controlled hits. This tactic takes the pace off the ball and disrupts their rhythm.

Practicing different defensive shots, like blocks and soft volleys, will help you neutralize their aggression. The idea is to return the ball in a way that makes it difficult for them to launch another powerful attack.

By consistently neutralizing their shots, you can frustrate the aggressive player and force them to change their approach, which often leads to errors on their part.

8. Short, Low, and Distant Hits

Using a variety of short, low, and distant hits can be highly effective against aggressive players. These types of shots are challenging for them to attack with their usual power. Aim to place the ball just over the net, making it drop quickly, or deep into the corners of the court.

Short and low shots force the aggressive player to reach down, disrupting their power and rhythm. Distant hits push them back, making it hard for them to apply their usual pressure from the net. 

By varying these shots, you keep the aggressive player moving and guessing, which can lead to errors and less effective returns.

This strategy is about control and precision. It’s not just about hitting the ball hard; it’s about placing it where your opponent least expects it.

9. Focus on the Body and Weaker Shoulder

Directing shots towards the aggressive player’s body or weaker shoulder can be a strategic move. It’s a tactic that can limit their ability to swing freely or return with power.

Targeting the body can catch them off guard while aiming for the weaker shoulder can exploit a potential weak point in their game.

This approach requires observation and adaptation. Notice which side they struggle with more and use that to your advantage. Body shots, in particular, are difficult to handle and can force them into awkward returns.

The goal is to make each shot challenging for them to return effectively, thereby reducing their aggressiveness.

10. Implement Diverse Strategies

Varying your strategies is crucial when facing an aggressive opponent. Don’t stick to a predictable pattern. 

Mix up your shots – use lobs, dinks, drives, and anything else in your arsenal. The more unpredictable you are, the harder it is for them to anticipate your plays.

Adapting to the flow of the game is also important. Be ready to change your strategy based on how your opponent is playing. If something isn’t working, don’t be afraid to try something new.

The key is to keep the aggressive player off-balance. If they can’t predict your next move, they lose their advantage, giving you more opportunities to take control of the game.

My Suggestion: These tips are designed to help you counter aggressive pickleball players effectively. Remember, practice and experience are essential. The more you play, the better you’ll become at implementing these strategies in real-game situations. Keep playing, keep learning, and most importantly, enjoy the game!

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I hope now you understand how to beat aggressive pickleball players and also their nature of playing, It’s all about strategy, adaptation, and mental resilience. 

We’ve explored various tactics, from deep returns to targeting their weaker side, and the importance of staying unpredictable on the court. Each tip offers a way to counteract the high-energy, power-driven style of aggressive players.

As I mentioned Above: The key to success is not just understanding these strategies but practicing them consistently. The more you play against different styles, the more adept you’ll become at reading the game and adapting your tactics.


What’s the best strategy to beat an aggressive pickleball player?

The most effective strategy is a mix of deep returns, maintaining distance, and hitting behind the player. This disrupts their rhythm and forces them to adapt to your game.

How can I tell if my opponent is an aggressive pickleball player?

Aggressive players often dominate the net, use powerful smashes, and maintain a fast-paced game. They focus more on offense than strategic placement.

What are the main weaknesses of aggressive pickleball players?

Their main weaknesses include a higher risk of errors, predictability over time, and decreased effectiveness as stamina wanes during longer matches.

Can a defensive play style work against aggressive pickleball players?

Yes, a defensive play style that includes controlled, strategic shots and patience can effectively counter the high-energy approach of aggressive players.

What should I focus on during a match with an aggressive player?

Focus on reading their game, staying calm, and using varied shots. Predict their moves, keep a good distance, and use your shots to disrupt their aggressive play style.



When not dissecting opponents on the pickleball court with laser focus, Ethan wields words with equal precision. A dedicated competitor and insightful writer, he captures the sport's essence with sharp wit and unwavering dedication.

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