So, to sum it up:
Scenario #1: If you’re playing with an
equal-or-better partner, hit to the middle
to keep him/her involved.
Scenario #2: If you’re playing with
a weaker partner, still hit to the middle
to keep your opponents from taking
advantage of your partner.
If you go for a sharp cross-court shot
and your partner is not shifting correctly
to cover the alley, chances are a good
opponent will go down the line on your
#7) Hit to the Middle, but
Probably Not ALL the Time
Call me Captain Obvious, but if you are
hitting toward the middle, chances are
you aren’t hitting to the side.
Sure, you might mess up and hit it into
the net, but hitting it wide is probably
not going to be a problem.
Also, you may know that just keeping
the ball in play is often enough to win a
So, thinking yourself extremely smart,
you might decide to hit every single shot
into the middle. After all, you’ll keep
the ball in play and reap all the benefits
outlined above, right?
Well, depending on your skill level,
hitting to the middle all the time may or
may not be a smart strategy. The ideal
percentage depends on your skill level.
Do you know what your skill level is?
If not, go to www.RatingsAndGoals.com
right now to request your FREE copy of
my highly acclaimed Ratings & Goals
Guide, which will help you figure out your
skill level and will also give you skill-level
specific goals to help you take your game
to the next level.
Once you’ve identified your skill level,
then come back here to find your target
ration of middle shots on the sidebar. •
Prem Carnot, author of
the #1 Bestseller Smart
Pickleball: The Pickleball
Guru’s Guide, is the premier
pickleball coach on the
planet. Use his simple
“Yes or No” criteria to
determine YOUR precise
skill rating and EXACTLY
how to take your game
to the next level. Go to:
Here are some quick, skill level-specific guidelines for
how frequently to hit to the middle compared to going
for a cross-court shot or hitting straight on.
SKILL-LEVEL TARGETS FOR
PLAYERS OF ALL LEVELS
Aim 5/5 Shots to the Middle
If you are a Newbie, aiming for the middle on every single shot actually IS an
excellent strategy. It will reduce your unforced errors and stay in the rally. Just do
it until you can come back to my Ratings & Goals Guide and be sure that you’re at
least a beginner.
But for other skill levels, hitting to the middle every single shot will cause you
to become way too predictable AND it will keep you from taking advantage of the
openings when you have them.
Beginner (2.5) - Novice (3.0)
Aim 4/5 Shots to the Middle
Yep, I know, it’s still kind of a lot, but trust me.
For the level of player you are, to find the right balance you should still hit
the vast majority of your shots to the middle, but make sure to keep an eye out
for the opening, and even if there isn’t one, throw the occasional cross-court or
straight-on shot in just to mix it up.
Aim 3/5 Shots to the Middle
That’s right: The majority of the time you should still be hitting to the middle,
but at your level you’ll need to make sure that you are a little more strategic about
it. Hit to the middle when you want to involve your partner. Hit to the middle to
construct your point. Hit to the middle when you’re off-balance and need to keep
the ball in play. But don’t go there 100% of the time.
Aim 2/5 Shots to the Middle
At your level, you’ve got to keep your opponents on the move and you MUST
use a variety of strategies to create your opening. You’ve got to know exactly
when to hit to the middle and make sure to use it to your advantage.
Go for the cross-courts and the straight-on shots when you can, but make sure
to hit to the middle when:
• You are in a cross-court