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Newcomers to the site should note the pickleball book "chapters" in the left column and the repository of expert articles and videos in the right column.

Chapter 4

The fourth chapter of the book A Pickleball Life contains links to posts about the third shot, including options, technique and strategies.


The Third Shot - Summary #1     (Posted 12/17/2016)

The 10 Commandments about the Third Shot
  1. Hit a drop shot when opponents are at the kitchen line.
  2. Hit the drop shot high and deep enough to clear the net. Do not hit into the net.
  3. Hit the drop shot softly with an arc about 6' at its peak (when hitting from the baseline).
  4. Get into proper position before the shot.
  5. Hit a low driving shot instead of a drop when the return of serve is short.
  6. Target the opponent's backhand, the area between opponents, or diagonally cross-court.
  7. Use a topspin drive to set up a fifth shot drop.
  8. Stay behind the baseline until the return of serve is hit.
  9. Split-step into the ready position while advancing to the kitchen line.
  10. Practice, practice, and practice some more.
Details on these principles are found in the following posts. Click on the link below to show the full post.

The Third Shot     (Posted 12/19/2015)
> - 3rd shot gain line

Mark's Third Shot Drop     (Posted 12/14/2016)
> Mark Renneson – Third Shot Sports - Pickleball Strategy: Third Shot Drop

When Drop Shots go Bad     (Posted 7/21/2016)
> Prem Carnot - What to Do When Your Drop Shot Doesn’t Drop

Third Shot Drop = Winning     (Posted 7/29/2016)

Pickleball Statistical Analysis - Drop Shots     (Posted 2/11/2016)

The Basic Overall Strategy of Doubles - Phase 2     (Posted 4/27/2016)
> Joe Baker - Doubles Pickleball - The Basic Overall Strategy

Revisiting the Dropshot     (Posted 12/12/2016)
> Jeff Napier - Pickleball – The Dropshot

Third Shot Review     (Posted 12/13/2016)
> Jeff Shank - 100 Pickleball Strategies HD part 2 of 7

Third Shot Drive     (Posted 12/21/2015)
Third Shot Drop Drills     (Posted 12/20/2015)
> David Majick - Baseline Drop Shots
> Deb Harrison - The Third Shot
> Pickleball Channel - Third Shot Drill

Drop Shot Drill     (Posted 9/9/2016)
> Pickleball Channel - Improve Your Drop Shot with this Easy Drill

Drop Shot Drill from Deb     (Posted 12/16/2016)
> Deb Harrison - Don't Stop the Drop

Training for Better Third Shot Decisions     (Posted 9/28/2017)
> Mark Renneson – Third Shot Sports - Pickleball Decision-Making Training: 3rd Shot Drop vs. Drive 


  1. What is the best way to return a ball that has a lot of back spin. I play with group of people that return the serve with a ton of back spin, and I find it hard to return it on the third drop shot. It goes into the net or I pop it up to high and get it slammed back in my face.

  2. Try not to return a ball that has back spin with Back spin. The same applies to a ball that has top spin with top spin. If you receive a ball with back spin, attack with top spin or a flat return. Here is a very good thing you can apply. When your opponent hits you the ball ( In this case backspin) he is trying to get you to respond to his pace. Your most likely trying to hit the ball back before it apex or after its apex. Allow the ball to drop below its apex. His pace is gone and now you have both more time to return the ball and can create your own pace.