How To Play Skinny Singles Pickleball

Pickleball is a popular sport that is loved worldwide. With its rising popularity, many different versions have been introduced, which people love equally. One such is skinny singles, which offers a unique twist to the traditional game. It particularly focuses on practicing precision and strategic play, being a premium choice for players who want to become professionals. Keep reading to learn more about skinny singles pickleball and how to play it using some unique techniques!

What Is Skinny Singles In Pickleball?

Before we dig deeper into how to play skinny singles pickleball, it’s crucial to understand what it actually is. Basically, it is just like singles pickleball but with a twist. Simply put, skinny singles are played in the half area of the court. The major purpose of this pickleball version is to practice accuracy in hitting difficult shots. A few examples include:

  • Down the line
  • Combination
  • Slender singles
  • Cross-court skinny
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6 Strategies To Master Skinny Singles Pickleball

Let’s have a look at a few strategies that can help you become a pro when playing skinny singles pickleball:

1- Serve Deep Consistently

Remember, mastering a strong serve can help you a lot, irrespective of whether you are playing skinny singles, doubles, or singles. But how do you become a pro at it in minimal time? Following the below steps can help:

  • Try to read your opponent and identify their weaker side. Typically, it has to be backhand, as most professional players have already become experts at hitting forehand shots.
  • Now, your goal should be to serve in the service box. This shouldn’t be gentle but deep enough to move the other player beyond the baseline. It will make it difficult for them to hit a longer return, making the third shot simpler for you.
  • While deep serves require power hitting, make sure the ball does not end up out of bounds.

With consistent practice, you can master this short conveniently and get a solid edge over your opponent right from the beginning of the game. Moreover, if wind is not the factor, it’s simpler to get adequate control over deep serves.

2- Return Deep

As a pickleball player, you must know the second shot of the rally is the return of a serve by you. This tip for skinny singles relates to that exactly. Just as your first serve, as discussed above, your return serve must also be deep enough to reach close to the baseline on your opponent’s side of the court.

However, make sure the shot is well-balanced to land within the court, or a missed shot will have your opponent get a free extra point. This will again create challenges for your opponent to hit the third shot. It will give you enough time to get in the net for your next move. Just as the above strategy, this one must also target the weaker side of the other player, which is usually their backhand.

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3- Go To The Kitchen Line

Do you know the area that wins you maximum points in skinny singles pickleball is exactly the same as that in doubles and singles? Yes, it’s the Non-Volley Zone, which is often referred to as the Kitchen Line in simpler terms. Thus, you must aim to move into this region quickly to win the game.

Now, two conditions can particularly arise. You’d either be a server or a receiver! In the former case, you must hit a solid third shot to get enough time to reach the NVZ. Similarly, as a receiver, you should aim to move towards the kitchen line just after hitting the return of serve. At times, many players face difficulties doing so. In this scenario, you can try hitting a return shot with a high arc, which would give you enough time to go to the kitchen line.

While it’s a solid, tried-and-tested strategy, you may face difficulties when the weather isn’t favoring you. On windy days, your shot might take the ball out of the court, earning points for your opponents. Similarly, if you are playing against a highly trained picklehead, then they might take advantage of the high arc shot to hit a drive (due to the extra bounce it comes with). Contrarily, a low serve would increase the chances of your opponent hitting the ball out of the court as it’d land below the net, forcing them to hit upwards.

4- Make Your Opponent Move Around The Court

Since skinny singles pickleball is a one-on-one game and you do not have a partner, the way you move around holds a paramount value. It is slightly easier than regular pickleball, of course, due to the smaller size of the court being used for the game. Now, what you need to do is to make your opponent run around a lot. How? Here are some simple techniques to follow:

  • Hit the ball near the net, which is called dinks in professional pickleball language.
  • You can also make shots that reach the middle of the court or high over your opponent’s head (known as lobs).
  • Lastly, drop volleys, the gentle shots, can also work as they force the other player to rush towards the net.

The more your opponent moves around the court, the greater opportunities you will get to find open spaces for hitting your shots.

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5- Work On Your Angles

While playing skinny singles pickleball, using right angles can help you win with a greater margin. But how? Let’s imagine you and the player on the other side of the court get indulged in a crosscourt dinking battle, i.e, hitting the ball back and forth at each other. And you are performing quite well at keeping your opponent stuck at their place with some sharp-angled shots.

Now, since they aren't moving much to the court’s middle, there lies your chance to shine. You just need to hit the ball near the big open space near the middle baseline, also called the T area. It would require a few minutes for the other player to reach there, eventually leading them to miss the shot, and you will end up winning a point.

6- Cover The Angles Aimed By Your Opponent

Besides practicing good angles, you must also learn how to stop your opponent from using them against you. You can simply do this by moving quickly and following the ball precisely. Once you have hit the ball, the next step would be to move towards the center of the court. And finally, you’d be able to block the space the other player might be eyeing for. This technique is specifically applicable for skinny singles as you do not have a partner to help cover the other side of the court.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do You Play Skinny-Court Pickleball?

Here is a brief step-wise guide that explains how to play skinny-court pickleball:

  1. You first need to mark half of a standard pickleball court using singles sidelines.
  2. Then, start with a diagonal serve across your opponent’s side.
  3. You should then rally back and forth, ensuring each player stays confined to their half area of the court.
  4. Your main goal must be to achieve precision in shots, considering the limited available space.
  5. The points-scoring system is just the same as that in standard pickleball.

What Is A Skinny Single In Pickleball?

A skinny shingle in pickleball refers to a singles game where players utilize half of the entire court. Its major goal is enhancing specific skills of this sport, which typically include shot accuracy, strategic play, and control.

Can You Play Pickleball With Just 2 People?

Yes. Pickleball is played with 2 people in a singles match format. In this type of game, each player would be responsible for their entire side of the court. The rules would be similar to doubles, with slightly less time required to finish it.

Where Do You Aim Dinks In Pickleball?

If you want to hit dinks in skinny singles pickleball, you must aim for the opponent’s non-volley zone. Your primary goal should be to make the dink land very close to the net in this region. This way, your opponent would be forced to hit the ball upwards, creating an opportunity for you to hit an attacking shot. Besides that, you can also use the other player’s backhand side for an effective dink shot.


So that was all about how to play skinny singles pickleball. Not only did we explain what this version means, but we also shared multiple tips to become a pro at it. If you are training to become a professional player of this sport, skinny singles can really help you refine your skills. That said, have you ever played skinny shingles pickleball? What do you have to say about the experience? Please let us know in the comment section below.

Emma James

A distinguished writer with an impressive 8-year track record of contributing to various prominent informational websites.

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