Pickleball is an exciting racquet sport that is just as varied and dynamic as its popular counterparts, like tennis, badminton, and table tennis. While all of these sports can be played in multiple formats, pickleball is no different.
One of the formats or variations of this game is known as skinny singles.
Also known as half-court singles pickleball, skinny singles in pickleball are played like a regular singles game, but the players utilize only half of the court. It is more like a pickleball drill than a game format.
It is possible to utilize the same half on both sides of the net or use a crosscourt format when playing skinny singles. Both players will be playing in their appointed half with regular scoring.
While skinny singles may seem like a difficult format to play for beginners, it is actually a great way to improve your pickleball skills. So, let’s find out more about this variation of the sport and how to play it.
What is Skinny Singles?
A standard pickleball court is 44 feet long and 20 feet wide, and it is divided into two halves. The width of one-half of the court is 10 feet. In skinny singles pickleball, the players use only half of the court to play their game.
Remember to observe the center line as one of the sidelines when playing on half a court. This means players must be careful not to step over the center line when playing. However, as the court is smaller and players must be more precise when running and returning the ball, it greatly helps to improve their reflexes in the game.
As such, skinny singles in pickleball is a useful way to practice pickleball skills and create some great rallies with a partner.
How to Play?
A game of skinny singles starts by deciding who will play on which side of the court. You can either choose to play straight on or crosscourt. Whichever side is allocated to either of the players, they are supposed to stay on that side for the entire game duration.
While the rest of the rules are the same as a regular singles game, there are a few tips that can give you an edge in skinny singles. When playing skinny singles pickleball, it’s important to focus on strengthening your serve. Just like in regular singles and doubles pickleball, a strong serve will help you gain the upper hand in the game and stay one step ahead of your opponent.
Read more on the rules here: What Are the 5 Rules of Pickleball?
It is recommended to serve deep and to your opponent’s backhand. It has been seen that most pickleball players are good at playing forehand shots. So, if you are able to target their backhand, you can gain an advantage.
While ensuring you serve deep into your opponent’s court, remember not to hit the ball out of bounds. So, allow yourself a large margin for error. If you are able to follow these tips to serve deep and to your opponent’s backhand, it can be a great start to your skinny singles drill.
Want to know how to serve? Read this article: How to Serve in Pickleball?
It is also important to be prepared for your return to serve. When returning the serve, remember to keep it deep in your opponent’s side of the court. This will make the third shot more difficult to play for your opponent and buy you some time to react.
You might wonder: Is it Better to Serve First in Pickleball?
Like the serve, the return of the serve should also be targeted at your opponent’s weaker side, which is their backhand side.
Finally, it’s important to get to the Kitchen line as quickly as possible. If you are serving, you can try getting to the non-volley zone line after the third shot. Starting off with a great serve and then giving your opponent a tough time with your third shot, this shouldn’t be very difficult to achieve.
Wonder what the kitchen in pickleball is? Read this article: What is the Kitchen in Pickleball?
If you are on the receiving end, you should get to the Kitchen line right after your return of serve. If you need more time to get to the non-volley zone line, try returning the serve with a lob. However, make sure the ball stays within bounds, especially in windy conditions.
Playing Skinny Singles Crosscourt
When playing crosscourt, all shots must be hit “crosscourt.” These include not just the serve but all the subsequent shots, including the return of serve, volleys, etc. If the ball doesn’t hit the proper half of the court, it is considered a fault.
One of the most important skills for a crosscourt match-up in skinny singles is to work your angles. Since there is no partner in such a game format to serve as a backup, you must pay attention to the angles and move your feet to cover them.
Your goal in a crosscourt game is to make sure your opponent cannot cover the angles. This can be achieved by moving your feet and following your shot.
Playing skinny singles crosscourt is a great way to improve your skills for playing a doubles match. Not only will it help you work on accuracy, but it will also help you get used to controlling the court in a doubles match.
Benefits of Playing Skinny Singles Pickleball
Crosscourt skinny singles allow you to try out different shots that you wouldn’t normally get the chance to practice in regular singles and doubles. This will help fine-tune your skills and move to the next level as a pickleball player.
Read more about it here: What are the Different Levels of Pickleball?
Skinny singles pickleball is also a great way to improve your reflexes. Not only is it fun and engaging, but it also challenges you to think quickly and be aware of your surroundings. The fast-paced nature of the game forces you to stay alert and respond swiftly to where your opponents’ shots are heading.
Since playing skinny singles crosscourt forces the players to use different angles and shots to keep their opponent off balance, it is also more challenging and rewarding. By being more strategic in their shots and movements, players can greatly improve their game skills.