Pickleball commentator Adam Stone asked the “GOAT” of pickleball—pro Ben Johns—if he thinks that a hard and low rip from the midcourt (also known as the transition area, which is the area between the baseline and Kitchen line of the pickleball court) is as good as a soft drop shot from the midcourt. Johns answered very directly, “It is a great strategy if you want to lose.”
Stated another way, hitting soft drop shots or dinks from the midcourt is often more effective for winning points than hitting hard drives from the midcourt.
When you hit a hard shot from the midcourt, you give your opponents an opportunity to hit a strong counterattack or to push you and your partner back in the pickleball court, which can give your opponents control of the Non-Volley Zone. This can put you on the defensive and make it more difficult to win points.
On the other hand, when you hit a soft shot from the midcourt, you are essentially placing the pickleball in a spot where your opponents will have difficulty hitting an aggressive shot back. This forces your opponents to hit a defensive shot, which can give you and your partner an opportunity to move forward and gain control of the Kitchen. This can give you a strategic advantage and make it easier to win points, as most pickleball points are won at the Kitchen line. So, it is important to make your way in to the Kitchen line, and soft, controlled shots give you a better chance of doing this successfully (as opposed to a hard drive). As a result, hitting soft drop shots from the midcourt can be an effective way to win points because it allows you to control the pace of the game, maintain position on the pickleball court, and set up your team for better opportunities to score points.
So, be like Ben Johns and stay calm and controlled from the transition area. Consider hitting soft drop shots—as opposed to hard drives—from the midcourt in order to win more points! Hitting hard drives from the midcourt is “a great strategy if you want to lose.”
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