4 Tips to improve your Third shot drop in Pickleball

4 Tips to improve your Third shot drop in Pickleball

In the game of Pickleball, the third shot drop is a crucial technique that can give you a significant advantage when executed correctly. Let's delve into the details of this shot, understand its purpose, and explore four valuable tips to help you master it like a pro.

What is the third shot drop in pickleball?

The third shot drop is used specifically in situations where you need to make the third shot after the serve. It involves hitting a soft and low shot that lands just over the non-volley zone (NVZ) and quickly drops, making it challenging for your opponent to return. The main objective of the third shot drop is to place the ball in a position that forces your opponent to hit a weak or awkward shot, thus giving you the upper hand in the rally. 

This shot is particularly effective when your opponent is positioned near the NVZ and is susceptible to a well-placed drop shot. However, mastering the third shot drop requires precise control, good ball placement, and accurately reading your opponent's positioning and movement.

Now, let's explore the four essential tips to improve your third shot drop:

Tip 1: Position your paddle correctly

When preparing for the third shot drop, it's crucial to eliminate excessive backswing. Start with your paddle out in front of you, ensuring it is just about six inches in front of your toes. Many players take their paddle too far behind their legs, resulting in an oversized backswing. This excessive motion causes the ball to pop up, making it easier for your opponent to attack. By always keeping your paddle in front, you'll maintain better control and prevent unnecessary errors.

Tip 2: Bend your knees

Bending your knees is a fundamental aspect of executing the third shot drop effectively. Lower your body, maintaining a relatively upright back posture as you get ready to hit the shot. This knee bend allows you to position your paddle under the ball correctly. Avoid relying solely on your wrist or shoulder to flick the ball, as this can lead to inconsistent shots. Instead, emphasize using your knees to generate power and accuracy in your drop shot.

Tip 3: Minimize spin

When observing professional players, you'll notice that their third shot drops typically lack spin, except in specific circumstances. Aim to replicate this approach by eliminating unnecessary spin from your shots as well. The primary goal is to hit the ball flat and accurately into the kitchen area. Attempting to put a spin on the shot may cause you to swing too hard, leading to errors such as popping the ball up or hitting it into the net. Prioritize a clean, spin-free stroke to achieve better results.

Tip 4: Don't fear a high drop

While it's essential to execute a successful drop, don't be overly afraid of hitting it too high. If you miss the drop and the ball falls into the net, the point is lost. However, if your drop shot goes slightly higher than intended, you still have a chance to recover and regain control of the point. Don't allow the fear of missing the drop to hinder your performance. Instead, focus on maintaining good technique and making consistent, well-placed shots.


By following these four tips, you can enhance your proficiency in executing the third shot drop. Remember, this shot is a fundamental skill in Pickleball, especially at higher levels of play. While it may require time and practice to master, incorporating these techniques into your gameplay will ultimately help you gain an advantage over your opponents. So, keep refining your technique, adapting to different game scenarios, and enjoy the journey of improving your third shot drop in Pickleball.


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