What Is Nice Setup In Pickleball?

What is Nice setup in Pickleball?

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In the sport of pickleball, a “nice setup” is an important strategy used by skilled players. It is when a player hits the ball in a way that makes their opponent move to a certain spot on the court. This leaves another part of the court open for the player to score a point. If a player does this well, their teammate may say “Nice setup!” to compliment them. This article explains what a nice setup is and why it is an important part of pickleball.

What is a Nice Setup?

A nice setup is when a pickleball player hits the ball to make their opponent go to one area of the court. This is so the player can then hit the ball into the open space to try and score. Here are some examples of nice setups:

Drawing the Opponent Forward

One setup is hitting a soft shot that makes the opponent move forward. This leaves more open space behind them to hit the ball into. The player might hit a light drop shot or lob to draw their opponent up to the non-volley zone line. Then they can hit a passing shot into the open court behind the opponent.

Moving the Opponent Sideways

Another setup is hitting the ball to the opponent’s side to make them move left or right. This opens up the diagonally opposite side of the court to hit into. For example, a player could hit a down-the-line shot to make their opponent run to their right. This leaves the diagonal court open for the player to aim into.

Wrong-Footing the Opponent

“Wrong-footing” means hitting the ball in a way that makes the opponent move in one direction, when they expected the ball to go another way. For example, a player might fake a forehand swing but then hit a backhand instead. This surprises the opponent and makes them stumble as they change direction suddenly. It leaves them out of position, allowing the player to aim for open space.

Why is a Nice Setup Important in Pickleball?

Doing nice setups is an important skill in pickleball for these reasons:

It Lets You Control the Point

Nice setups allow a player to control the flow of the point and where their opponent moves. This strategic advantage makes it more likely for the player to win the point.

It Creates Openings to Score

By moving the opponent out of position, nice setups create openings on the court for the player to aim for. This gives them a better chance to hit a winning shot past their opponent.

It Shows Skillful Court Positioning

Being able to manipulate an opponent’s positioning demonstrates a player’s smart thinking, court sense, and tactical play. Pickleball players strive to master nice setups as an advanced technique.

It Makes the Game More Interesting

Nice setups create fun exchanges for players and spectators. The strategic battle between opponents is exciting to watch when players are aiming to set each other up.

How Do You Do a Nice Setup in Pickleball?

Doing effective nice setups requires good ball control, court vision, anticipation, and use of spin or power:

Have Consistent Ball Control

You must be able to place your shots accurately to move your opponent precisely where you want. This consistency comes from practice and skill development.

Read Your Opponent’s Position

Look for where your opponent is standing to see where the open spaces are to exploit. Their positioning will guide where you need to hit the setup shot.

Anticipate Their Reactions

Think ahead about how your opponent is likely to react to your setup shot. Predict where they will run so you can target the space they are leaving.

Use Spin or Power

Adding topspin, backspin, or power on your setup shot can make the ball move in ways that manipulate your opponent most effectively. Control the ball’s movement and bounce.


In summary, a “nice setup” in pickleball is when a player hits a strategic shot that moves their opponent into a vulnerable position on the court. This allows the player to then hit into an exposed open space and increase their chances of scoring the point. Executing nice setups involves ball control, court awareness, anticipation, and use of spin or power. A nice setup demonstrates a pickleball player’s skill and tactical thinking.

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