What Is A Bert In Pickleball?

Pickleball, a well-liked racket sport, has its own unique words and phrases. One terminology in pickleball that often catches the attention of individuals is “Bert,” which increases curiosity and interest among pickleball players and fans. In this blog, we are going to define what is a bert in pickleball. We are also going to explain the reasons for using the pickleball bert, how to hit a bert in pickleball, and mistakes to avoid when hitting a bert in pickleball.

Read this blog post, know the definition of bert in pickleball and the reasons behind its use in pickleball, learn the strategy for hitting a bert shot in pickleball, and execute a bert in pickleball without making any mistakes.

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What Is Called “Bert” in Pickleball?

The term “Bert” in pickleball refers to the “third-shot drop” or “soft drop shot.” It is a strategic technique executed after the serve and return, aiming to place the ball gently in the opponent’s non-volley zone or kitchen. The shot is named after a pickleball player Robert “Bert” Myrick, who is known for his skill in executing this shot.

The Bert shot offers advantages such as surprising and disrupting opponents, strategic ball placement, defensive versatility, offensive opportunities, and control. It requires a smooth and controlled swing, positioning oneself correctly, observing opponents, hitting with an upward trajectory, using a gentle touch, aiming for the kitchen, and optionally adding spin. Additionally, it is important for players to anticipate and be prepared for the subsequent shot.

What Is A Bert In Pickleball?

Achieving mastery in the Bert shot requires dedicated practice, honed technique, and keen situational awareness. By successfully executing the Bert shot, players can regain control of the rally and position themselves for a favorable outcome. Overall, the Bert shot is a valuable tool in pickleball strategy, allowing players to strategically place the ball and gain an advantage in the game.

Why to Use Bert in Pickleball?

There are several reasons why using the Bert shot in pickleball can be advantageous. Let’s explore a few of them:

Surprise And Disrupt Opponents: Compared to other shots in pickleball, the Bert shot is less commonly observed. By integrating the Bert shot into your gameplay, you can introduce an element of surprise that catches your opponents off guard and disrupts their expectations. This unexpected move can cause them to make errors or give you a strategic advantage.

Strategic Placement: The Bert shot allows you to hit the ball low and close to the net. This strategic placement puts pressure on your opponents, as it requires them to react and handle the ball from a challenging position quickly. This shot can compel your opponents to play defensively, giving you an opportunity to seize control of the point.

Defensive Versatility: The Bert shot can be a valuable defensive tool. The low trajectory of the Bert shot poses a challenge for opponents in generating powerful returns, often resulting in weaker shots that you can effortlessly counter. Furthermore, the Bert shot can neutralize hard-hitting opponents by returning the ball with a controlled and accurately placed cut shot.

Offensive Opportunities: The Bert shot can create offensive opportunities by setting up advantageous positions on the court. Strategically positioning the ball near the net can put pressure on your opponents, causing them to scramble and create openings in their defense. These opportunities can be effectively seized by following up with well-executed shots or by taking advantage of the weak returns from your opponents.

Control And Precision: The Bert shot allows precise control over the ball’s trajectory. Through regular practice, you can cultivate the skill to consistently hit the ball low, making it challenging for your opponents to handle. This improvement greatly enhances your ability to place your shots precisely and strategically.

How to Hit a Bert in Pickleball?

A “Bert” shot in pickleball is a term used to describe a specific type of shot known as the “third-shot drop” or the “soft drop shot.” This shot is commonly used in pickleball to start a rally after the serve. The aim is to hit the ball softly, allowing it to land gently in the opponent’s non-volley zone, known as the kitchen area. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to execute a Bert shot:

Position Yourself Correctly: As the server’s teammate, you will be at the baseline, ready to receive the return. Position yourself a few feet behind the baseline, slightly towards the center of the court.

Observe The Opponents: Watch how your opponents are positioned on the court. Look for any openings or weaknesses in their positioning.

Hit The Ball With An Upward Trajectory: As the return comes to you, aim to hit the ball with a slight upward trajectory. This will help the ball to clear the net and land softly in the kitchen.

Execute A Bert Shot In Pickleball

Use A Gentle Touch: The key to a successful Bert shot is to use a soft touch and reduce the power of your shot. Focus on a controlled swing and use finesse rather than force.

Aim For The Kitchen: Your goal is to gently drop the ball over the net and make it land within the non-volley zone (kitchen). The aim is to create a challenging situation for your opponents, making it difficult for them to execute aggressive shots.

Add Spin If Desired: If you’re confident in adding spin to your shots, you can include topspin or backspin. This will enhance your control over the ball and result in a more predictable bounce once it lands.

Prepare For The Next Shot: After you hit the Bert shot, make sure that you are prepared for the next shot coming from your opponents. Anticipate their response and be prepared to adjust your position accordingly.

Mistakes to Avoid When Hitting a Bert in Pickleball

When hitting a Bert shot in pickleball, there are some common mistakes that you have to avoid. Here are a few:

Hitting The Ball Too Hard: One of the main objectives of a Bert shot is to hit the ball softly and place it accurately in the non-volley zone. It is crucial to avoid hitting the ball too hard to prevent it from going long or providing your opponents with an opportunity for an aggressive return.

Not Clearing The Net: Ensure that you clear the net when executing a Bert shot. Hitting the ball into the net will result in a fault and give your opponents a point. Practice your shot technique to consistently clear the net with a gentle touch.

Lack Of Control: Precision and control are vital in hitting a successful Bert shot. To improve your shot execution, it is crucial to refrain from being excessively aggressive or rushed. Instead, direct your focus towards executing a smooth and controlled swing, enabling you to place the ball in your desired location accurately.

Neglecting Court Positioning: Positioning yourself correctly on the court is crucial for executing a Bert shot effectively. Avoid standing too close to the net or too far back, as it may impact your ability to hit a soft drop shot. Find the right balance by positioning yourself a few feet behind the baseline and slightly towards the center of the court.

Ignoring Opponent’s Position: Be aware of your opponent’s positioning on the court. Avoid hitting a Bert shot directly to an opponent who is already positioned close to the non-volley zone. Instead, make it a priority to target open spaces or areas on the court where your opponents will face challenges in reaching or returning the shot.


Can The Bert Shot Be Used As A Winning Shot?

While the Bert shot is primarily a defensive shot, it can set up winning opportunities by putting opponents in a challenging position for their next shot.

Is The Bert Shot Suitable For All Skill Levels?

Yes, the Bert shot can be incorporated into the game at various skill levels. Its versatility allows players to adapt and use it effectively according to their playing style and strategic goals.

Can I Add Spin To My Bert Shot In Pickleball?

Yes, you can add spin to your bert in pickleball. It is an optional technique that allows you to introduce topspin or backspin to the ball, depending on your preference and skill level. Adding spin can affect the shot’s trajectory, bounce, and control.

It is recommended to experiment with different spin techniques during practice sessions and observe how they impact your shot’s performance. By doing so, you can assess the benefits and adjust your spin application accordingly to enhance your pickleball bert.

Can I Hit A Bert Shot With A Forehand And A Backhand?

Yes, you can hit a Bert shot with your forehand and backhand. It is important to practice and develop proficiency in executing the shot from both sides to add versatility to your game.

Can The Bert Shot Only Be Executed From The Baseline?

No, the Bert shot is not limited to being hit exclusively from the baseline. While it is commonly executed from the baseline due to its defensive nature, the Bert shot can also be utilized during dinking exchanges at the non-volley zone. Its versatility allows the players to employ it from various positions on the court, depending on the game situation and strategic objectives.


The Bert shot, also known as the third-shot drop or soft drop shot, holds a tremendous strategic value in pickleball. By utilizing the bert in pickleball effectively, players can surprise opponents, strategically place the ball, and gain both defensive and offensive advantages. By following the step-by-step guide on how to execute a pickleball bert without making any common mistakes, the Bert shot can become a valuable weapon in your pickleball arsenal. 

After writing this blog, we hope you have understood the concept regarding what is a bert in pickleball along with the reasons for using the bert in the game of pickleball, steps for executing the bert in pickleball, and the list of common mistakes to avoid when hitting a bert pickleball.

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