“Down the middle solves the riddle.”
If I had a nickel for everytime I heard this on the pickleball court, I’d be able to buy a private court with sound-proof fencing.
Driving the ball down the middle of the court is a simple shot in pickleball that can take you a long way in a game of doubles. Just like this 👇
Here’s why it works.
First, driving the ball down the middle creates confusion for your opponents.
In doubles, both players are responsible for covering their sides of the court. But who has the middle?
Players have to take extra time and thought to make a decision. You put your opponents to work.
When competing against people who don’t have much experience playing together, it’s common to see both players go for the ball and clash paddles. That’s nearly an automatic point for you. But even the slightest hesitations by your opponents gives you better chances of winning the point.
Hitting the ball down the middle forces your opponents to communicate. And if their comms are down, your points are up. Drive the ball down the middle to create more confusion than your calculus class.
Here’s another great reason to hit the ball down the middle: the middle is the lowest part of the net.
Pickleball is a game of inches. The center of a pickleball net is 34 inches from the ground. The net at the side posts are 36 inches. By hitting the ball at the lowest section of the net, you increase your margin for error. A ball that would hit the tape near the end of the net is a perfect shot down the center. So if you’re barely missing shots on the sidelines, try changing things up by driving down the middle.
Lastly, driving the ball down the middle prevents your opponents from hitting the ball at sharper angles.
When you hit the ball toward the sidelines, you’re giving your opponents angle options that could come back to bite you. A drive down the middle increases the likelihood of your opponents returning the ball back up the middle. Put simply, shots down the middle create returns that are more predictable for you.
Hitting the ball down the middle is a simple and effective strategy in doubles pickleball. It creates confusion, takes advantage of the net's lowest point, and reduces angle options for your opponents. Down the middle to solve the riddle, friends.