10 Basic Strategy Mistakes


  1. Wandering Server
    Mistake - Drifting a foot or two into the court after the serve.
    Correction – Step back 1-2 feet after the serve.
  2. Standing at the baseline for the return of serve
    Mistake - Standing at or inside the baseline does not allow an easy return.
    Correction – Stay back 1-2 feet so serves that are deep are easier to return.
  3. Hitting dead dinks
    Mistake – hitting dinks too high or right at the person.
    Correction – Hit to their forehand or backhand side making them take a step or two.
  4. Moving back from the Kitchen too much
    Mistake – moving back away from the kitchen to take a dink on the bounce.
    Correction – hold your ground and take the dink out of the air and make a well placed dink (or slam if the opportunity is there, 2 feet or move above the net).
  5. Playing the Baseline
    Mistake – not moving up to the kitchen line after the return.
    Correction – hitting a soft 3rd shot drop or deep return of serve will allow you time to move to the kitchen.
  6. Playing too close to the Kitchen
    Mistake – playing right at the Kitchen line does not allow you a short step when taking a shot.
    Correction – play about 6-12 inches back of the kitchen. If you need a short step to hit the ball you won’t go into the kitchen. And you are still close enough to get any short dinks and most net toppers that hit the net and dribble over.
  7. Hitting drives and then rushing up to the net too soon
    Mistake – Hitting a 3rd shot drive and not watching to see where you opponent is setting up.
    Correction - When you hit a 3rd shot drive watch to see where it goes and what your opponent it about to do. Then you will know whether to rush up or stay back, especially if you or your partner hit a high 3rd shot.
  8. Being a spectator on the court
    Mistake – not checking to see where your partner is positioned.
    Correction – Make sure you and your partner have the court covered. If he/she has to move left to get a shot you have to cover the area they vacated. If they have to get a lob you have to be ready to return your opponents’ return. Etc.
  9. Avoiding your backhand
    Mistake – some people avoid their backhand at all costs, putting them in bad position. Plus anyone that is paying attention will see this and start hitting everything to your backhand and force you out of position.
    Correction – practice your backhand until it is as good as your forehand.
    Note: speaking of backhands, some people hit the backhand shot by reaching over and hitting with the forehand side of the paddle (i.e., thumb pointing down) and it usually goes down into the net. Hit a backhand with the opposite side of the paddle and lifting it slightly over the net. Your thumb should be at the top of your hand when hitting a forehand and backhand.
  10. Playing too small margins
    Mistake – aiming too close to the sidelines or top of the net.
    Correction – when taking a sideline shot hit for about 6-12 inches inside the lines. If you are a little off hopefully they will still be in. Same with the net aim 6-12 inches above the net.