The Most Difficult Thing to Do in Pickleball: Ranking the Ultimate Challenge

Choose the thing you think is the most difficult!

Author: Gregor Krambs
Updated on Oct 3, 2023 06:40
Dive into the exhilarating world of Pickleball and join the buzzing community at StrawPoll as we embark on an exciting quest to rank "What is the most difficult thing to do in Pickleball?" Our platform is home to thousands of polls and rankings on a diverse array of topics, and now it's your turn to make your voice heard. Do you struggle with the perfect dink shot or find the third shot drop to be a pickle of a challenge? Perhaps you have another hurdle in mind that players often grapple with. Whatever your pickleball conundrum may be, cast your vote and share your insights with fellow enthusiasts. Better yet, if you think we've missed an essential option, feel free to suggest it and add to the intrigue. Don't wait any longer; dive into the great Pickleball debate and let the games begin!

What Is the Most Difficult Thing to Do in Pickleball? (October 2023)

  1. 1
    This is a shot that requires finesse, touch, and accuracy, and is crucial to gaining and maintaining control of the rally. It involves hitting a soft, low shot that lands just over the net and forces your opponents to hit up.
    Consistently executing the third shot drop refers to the skill of hitting a soft shot that drops close to the net after the serve and return. It requires precise control and touch to place the ball accurately and make it difficult for the opponent to attack.
    • Skill Level: Intermediate to Advanced
    • Importance: Critical for competitive play
    • Difficulty: High
    • Technique: Underhanded stroke with low trajectory
    • Placement: Close to the net on opponent's side
  2. 2

    Mastering the backhand

    Pickleball Association
    The backhand in pickleball is often considered the weaker side for many players, and it can be difficult to generate power and control with this shot. It requires a lot of practice to develop a reliable and effective backhand.
    Mastering the backhand in Pickleball refers to the ability to consistently and accurately hit the ball using the backhand technique. It requires proper footwork, body positioning, and timing to execute the shot effectively. The backhand is considered one of the most challenging aspects of Pickleball as it requires players to generate power, control, and accuracy with the non-dominant hand.
    • 1: Proper grip: Continental or Eastern grip is commonly used for the backhand.
    • 2: Footwork: Good footwork is crucial to getting in the right position for the shot.
    • 3: Upper body rotation: Proper rotation of the upper body helps generate power in the backhand.
    • 4: Timing: Timing is essential to make contact with the ball at the right moment.
    • 5: Wrist stability: Having a stable wrist while executing the backhand improves control.
  3. 3
    The serve is the starting point for every rally in pickleball, and it's important to be able to hit it with power, accuracy, and consistency. There are several different types of serves in pickleball, each with their own challenges.
    Perfecting the serve in Pickleball involves mastering the technique and placement of the serve to gain an advantage in the game. The serve is the starting play of every point and a well-executed serve can immediately put pressure on the opponent.
    • Technique: The serve requires a smooth and controlled motion, utilizing a proper grip and body alignment.
    • Placement: The serve should be aimed at specific areas of the opponent's court to make it difficult for them to return the ball effectively.
    • Power: While accuracy is important, adding power to the serve can make it harder for the opponent to handle.
    • Spin: Utilizing spin can add variation to the serve, making it more challenging for the opponent to anticipate and return.
    • Consistency: Being able to consistently execute a well-placed serve puts continuous pressure on the opponent.
  4. 4
    Playing at the net requires quick reflexes, good footwork, and the ability to read your opponents' shots. It can be challenging to anticipate where the ball will go and react quickly enough to make the right play.
    Playing at the net in Pickleball refers to the strategy and skills involved in positioning oneself and effectively handling volleys and smashes near the net. It requires quick reflexes, good hand-eye coordination, and anticipation of the opponent's shot. Playing at the net allows players to apply pressure on the opponents, control the pace of the game, and set up winning shots.
    • Quick Reactions: Players must react swiftly to the opponents' shots near the net.
    • Precise Volleys: Accurate and controlled volleys are crucial to maintain control of the point.
    • Angle Awareness: Being aware of the best angles to hit the ball and create difficult shots for the opponents.
    • Reach and Mobility: Having the ability to cover a wide area and move quickly to retrieve shots.
    • Soft Touch: Developing a delicate touch to execute drop shots and dinks.
  5. 5
    High volleys can be difficult to control, especially if they're hit with a lot of pace. It's important to stay balanced and use proper technique to be able to hit these shots effectively.
  6. 6
    Spin can be a tricky thing to handle in pickleball, especially if you're not used to it. It's important to be able to read the spin on the ball and adjust your shot accordingly.
    Dealing with spin in Pickleball refers to the challenge of handling shots with varying degrees of spin applied to the ball. Spin can affect the trajectory, speed, and bounce of the ball, making it difficult to anticipate and properly return. This skill requires players to quickly read and react to the spin to successfully execute a shot.
    • Spin types: Includes backspin, topspin, side spin, and combinations.
    • Spin intensity: Varies from light to heavy, affecting the behavior of the ball.
    • Spin direction: Can be clockwise or counterclockwise, influencing the ball's movement.
    • Shot recognition: Ability to identify the type and intensity of spin applied by the opponent.
    • Footwork: Importance of proper positioning to adjust for the spin.
  7. 7
    Wind can make pickleball even more challenging, as it can affect the flight of the ball and make it harder to control. It's important to adjust your shots and footwork to compensate for the wind.
    Playing in wind refers to the challenging task of playing the game of Pickleball when there are strong wind conditions. The wind can significantly affect the trajectory of the ball, making it difficult to control and predict. It requires players to make adjustments to their gameplay strategies and techniques to counteract the wind's impact.
    • Wind speed: Strong wind conditions
    • Ball trajectory: Affected by the wind, making it unpredictable
    • Difficulty in ball control: Challenging to accurately hit and direct the ball
    • Changes in shot selection: Players may have to alter their usual shot selection and adapt to the wind conditions
    • Impact on serve: Serving becomes more challenging due to wind interference
  8. 8
    The lob is a shot that can be very effective in pickleball, but it's also difficult to execute properly. It requires a lot of touch and finesse to hit a lob that lands just over your opponents' heads and forces them back.
    Mastering the lob in Pickleball is the ability to execute a high, arching shot that clears the opponents' heads and lands deep in their court, making it difficult for them to return. It involves precise technique, timing, and strategic decision-making.
    • Technique: Smooth motion with a long swing and open-faced paddle to generate spin and height
    • Timing: Properly timed contact with the ball at the highest point of its trajectory
    • Placement: Aim for the back of the opponents' court, close to the baseline
    • Height: Clear the opponents' heads by hitting the ball high above the net
    • Spin: Applying topspin to help the ball dip quickly after crossing the net
  9. 9

    Playing against different styles

    Pickleball Association
    Every player has their own unique style of play, and it can be challenging to adapt to different opponents. Some players may be more aggressive, while others may rely more on finesse and control.
    Playing against different styles in Pickleball refers to the challenge of adapting one's gameplay to effectively compete against opponents with unique playing styles, strategies, and techniques. It involves understanding and counteracting various playing approaches to gain a competitive edge.
    • Analytical Skills: Ability to observe and analyze opponent's style of play.
    • Adaptability: Flexibility to adjust one's game plan according to the opponent.
    • Shot Selection: Selecting appropriate shots and anticipating opponent's shots.
    • Strategy Development: Formulating tactics to counteract different playing styles.
    • Footwork and Positioning: Maintaining optimal court position to effectively respond to opponent's shots.
  10. 10

    Staying mentally focused

    Pickleball University
    Pickleball can be a mentally challenging sport, and it's important to stay focused and positive throughout the match. This can be especially difficult if you're playing a long match or if you're facing a tough opponent.
    Staying mentally focused in pickleball is a critical aspect of the game that requires concentration, discipline, and resilience. It involves maintaining a strong mental state throughout the match, despite challenges, distractions, and periods of pressure. Staying mentally focused allows players to make better decisions, execute shots accurately, respond effectively to their opponents' tactics, and stay composed during critical moments.
    • Concentration: Ability to focus on the game and block out distractions
    • Discipline: Consistently following game strategies and maintaining self-control
    • Resilience: Bouncing back from mistakes or setbacks quickly
    • Decision-making: Making smart choices based on the game situation
    • Shot accuracy: Executing shots with precision and intention

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Ranking factors for difficult thing

  1. Skill level of the players
    The skill level of the players participating in the game will greatly impact the difficulty of the tasks. A beginner may find basic techniques such as serving or returning challenging, while advanced players will focus on fine-tuning their strategy and shot placements.
  2. Technique
    Proper technique and form are essential in executing challenging shots and maneuvers in pickleball. Mastering these techniques can take time and practice, and the level of difficulty varies based on the specific technique being utilized.
  3. Court positioning
    A player's ability to move around the court and predict the trajectory of the ball is crucial in accomplishing difficult tasks in pickleball. Good court positioning requires agility, quick reflexes, and strong decision-making skills.
  4. Strategy and tactics
    Implementing advanced strategies and tactically outsmarting the opponent can be challenging in pickleball. These aspects of the game involve understanding the strengths and weaknesses of both players and using them to their advantage on the court.
  5. Consistency and accuracy
    Achieving consistent and accurate shots is a major challenge in pickleball, whether it's a powerful smash or a delicate dink at the net. Being able to execute the desired shot consistently and with precision is a key factor when evaluating difficulty.
  6. Fitness and endurance
    Pickleball games can last for an extended period of time, and maintaining optimal performance throughout it can be tough. Players need proper conditioning, strength, and endurance to perform at their best, regardless of the difficulty of tasks they are facing.
  7. Shot selection and anticipation
    Recognizing the best shot for a given situation can be tricky and requires a deep understanding of the game, quick decision-making, and strong anticipation skills.
  8. Adjustments and adaptability
    The ability to adapt to different playing styles, opponents, and conditions can be difficult in pickleball. Players must quickly identify these factors and adjust their game accordingly to perform well.
  9. Mental toughness
    Staying focused, calm, and composed during high-pressure moments in a game contributes to the overall difficulty of the tasks being performed. Mental toughness is a key factor in maintaining consistency, proper decision-making, and executing challenging techniques.
  10. Communication and teamwork
    In doubles matches, effective communication and teamwork are essential for success. Players must coordinate their movements, share responsibilities on the court, and effectively communicate their intentions to overcome challenging situations in the game.

About this ranking

This is a community-based ranking of the most difficult thing to do in Pickleball. We do our best to provide fair voting, but it is not intended to be exhaustive. So if you notice something or your favorite thing is missing from the list, feel free to help us improve the ranking.


  • 159 votes
  • 10 ranked items

Voting Rules

A participant may cast an up or down vote for each thing once every 24 hours. The rank of each thing is then calculated from the weighted sum of all up and down votes.

More information on most difficult thing to do in pickleball

Pickleball is a fast-paced racket sport that has gained popularity in recent years. It combines elements of tennis, badminton, and ping pong, and can be played in singles or doubles. While it is a relatively easy sport to pick up, mastering it can be a challenge. One of the most difficult things to do in pickleball is executing the perfect drop shot. This shot requires precise placement and touch, and can be a game-changer when used effectively. Other challenging aspects of pickleball include mastering the third shot drop, which is a strategic shot used to start the point after the serve, and perfecting the dink shot, which involves hitting the ball softly and with finesse to outmaneuver opponents. With practice and dedication, players can overcome these challenges and take their pickleball game to the next level.