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Hitting Down the Middle

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At Pickleball Channel we are passionate about the sport of pickleball! One of our top-rated shows, Pickleball 411, is dedicated to providing helpful information about the sport of pickleball. It is so popular that we decided it might be helpful to turn the episodes into articles that you can use as a companion to your training. For this article, Pickleball Channel is pleased to partner with well-known pickleball coach Richard Movsessian (also known as “Coach Mo”). Coach Mo is a national medalist and pickleball instructor whose clinics and DVDs have helped many pickleball players improve their game. After you have read through this article, be sure to check out the entire video on Pickleball Channel, which gives the visual examples necessary to fully understand his advice.

Coach Mo: If you hit the ball down the middle of the court, you will increase your chances of winning the point and your game will improve overnight. I’m going to lay out the percentages for you as to why this simple trick will improve your game.

EASIER TO CLEAR THE NET
One of the reasons it helps to hit down the middle of the court is because your ball will be going over the low part of the net. The middle of the net is 2 inches lower than
the sides. So, if you stay down the middle of the court, it will cut down on unforced errors, and your percentages of winning will go up.

TARGET YOUR OPPONENT’S BACKHAND
If you keep the ball down the middle of the court and hit it to the left opponent’s left foot, hitting low to the backhand, that person has to hit up on the ball. Ninety percent of players are weaker on low to the backhand than their forehand, so there’s a high percentage that your opponent will pop the ball up, allowing you to hit down on the ball for a winner. So, if you keep it low to the backhand, you’re going to win a lot more shots.

WIDER MARGIN OF ERROR
Another reason it’s smart to hit down the middle of the court is because you have 10 feet in both directions
to make a mistake. That cuts down on unforced errors. Unforced errors lose games. Hitting the ball down the middle of the court is a win-win situation because even if you hit a bad shot you didn’t intend, it might possibly be a great angle shot for a winner. If you try to hit angle shots all the time, you might hit it well and get a winner; but if you hit a bad shot, your ball is going to go out. Pick your time to make your angle shots. Stay down the middle of the court 80% of the time.

CONFUSE YOUR OPPONENTS
The best reason to keep your ball down the middle of the court is because it causes confusion between your opponents. I don’t know how many times I’ve seen the ball go down the middle of the court and both players don’t even swing at it... which means they’re going to make a lot of unforced errors, and you’re going to improve your game overnight.

Special Thanks to: Coach Mo, The Villages

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Rusty Howes is the Executive Producer and creator of Pickleball Channel. Rusty worked
for the likes of Warner Bros and Disney before creating Pickleball Channel to develop and provide fantastic, professional video content for the pickleball community. He is deeply involved in promoting the sport of pickleball at home and across the country.

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