3 Pickleball Tips That Will Upgrade Your 3rd Shot Drop Instantly

Written by Adam (HV)

June 1, 2023

pickleball tips, 3rd shot drop

Knowing how to hit a third shot drop is what separates the good players from the great ones. But what if you’re struggling with your drops? For some reason, the ball ends up in the net or it’s too high and you’re constantly getting attacked. 

In this video we’ll cover some simple pickleball tips to not only fix your third shot drop problems, but turn you into a drop shot machine.

Watch the full video here.

What are the goals of a 3rd shot drop?

Your goals with the third shot drop should be two fold:

1. Hit a ball that is unattackable that bounces in your opponent’s non volley zone that they can’t hit down on or attack.

2. Hit a drop that gives you time to get to your non volley zone.

When should you hit a 3rd shot drop?

I do want to leave a disclaimer/pickleball tip that you’re not always going to drop the ball or drive the ball. A large part of the success of your third shot is your decision making. We won’t be covering that in full today, but a good rule of thumb of when to drop your third shot is when the ball is deep and low. There are always exceptions to the rule but that is one occasion.

Pickleball Tip 1: Perfection is the enemy of progress.

The first mindset pickleball tip is to understand that perfection is the enemy to progress with this shot. I know that may sound strange. Striving for perfection is good but in game situations, it’s impossible to be perfect on every shot. This kind of pressure can actually have a negative effect on your game and can make you tense which is bad for overall movement and decision making. Even pros make mistakes. (shots getting too close to the net) and hit shots into the net but they move on. 

Pickleball Tip 2: Focus on smart, repeatable mechanics.

Instead of trying to be perfect, you want to focus on smart, repeatable mechanics and decisions that will help you get the ball over the net, keep it unattackable, and keep you in the point. This is one of the best, most overlooked pickleball tips to help your game.

Pickleball Tip 3: Over the net is better than in the net.

Lastly, if you’re struggling with getting your drop shots dialed in, just remember that over the net is always better than in the net. It is always better to make your opponent hit one more ball because this could turn out beneficial for you. Your opponent could hit it into the net or hit the ball out of bounds. Survive!

Pickleball Tip 4: Anticipate + move your feet

The first practical pickleball tip and reason for inconsistency with this shot is poor Anticipation and footwork – One area where I see many players getting in trouble with their 3rd shot drops starts with their foot work and really their ability to anticipate. Because they’re not anticipating, their feet are delayed, and they’re hitting the ball in a bad position. Don’t wait for the ball to get to you to decide what to do, instead, begin deciding when you see the ball off the paddle and begin moving your feet as it crosses the net so you’re ready at the bounce.

Pickleball Tip 5: Get your timing right.

The next pickleball tip is related to the previous but it’s all about timing. Many players make recurring mistakes with their thirds because they get used to hitting the ball too close to their body. Instead, you want to position yourself where the ball is out front. It’s not a short hop, but you’re hitting the ball out front from low to high (showing it in slow motion) – i’ve found for me personally, that if I’m standing straight up, my feet are at 6 o’clock, normally I’m hitting the ball in my optimal contact zone when it’s between 4 and 5.

Pickleball Tip 6: Eliminate unnecessary swing movement.

The last pickleball tip and common source of inconsistency with the 3rd shot drop is the swing – many errors come with a big back swing, or lots of wrist motion – when players are trying to do too much with their motions. The tip here is to keep your swing compact. You want your body stable, get under the ball, hit the ball at its apex and lift the ball.

Were these pickleball tips helpful?

How are you staying consistent with your 3rd shot drops? Share your pickleball tips with me in the comments!

path to better pickleball

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