The general rule when it comes to speed-up attacks on the pickleball court is to speed up straight in front of you, and avoid speeding up the pickleball crosscourt. This is because your opponent straight across from you has less time to react (as opposed to your opponent that is farther away from you on the diagonal). So, you will be more likely to have success in your attack.
However, there are exceptions to every rule—including this one. There are circumstances where you may want to consider attacking crosscourt.
Consider speeding up the pickleball crosscourt in the following circumstances:
- When Your Crosscourt Opponent Is by Far the Weaker Player – In competitive pickleball play (where you are playing to win), it is always a good strategy to target your opponents’ weaknesses. This may include targeting the weaker of the two opponents in doubles pickleball. This is also a good strategy when considering speeding up the pickleball in the crosscourt direction. If your crosscourt opponent is by far the weaker of your two opponents, then target that opponent even though he or she is crosscourt from you. You will be more likely to have success in attacking the weaker of your two opponents, even if they have more time to react because of the greater distance (as compared to being straight on to you).
- When Your Partner Has the Best Hands on the Pickleball Court – Another circumstance to consider speeding up the pickleball is when your partner (the player in front of the crosscourt opponent) has the best and fastest hands on the pickleball court. This is because, when you speed up the pickleball crosscourt, your opponent is likely to counter back to your partner. So, if your partner has the best hands on the pickleball court, then your partner will be able to fend off the counter and hit an even stronger shot. This is a particularly good strategy if your opponents are targeting you, and icing your partner out of points, as this strategy helps to get your partner involved in the rally, too. So, consider speeding up the pickleball crosscourt when your partner has the fastest hand speed on the court.
- When Your Crosscourt Opponents Is Aggressively Hugging the Middle – The third circumstance to consider speeding up the pickleball crosscourt is when your crosscourt opponent is hugging the middle of the court in an effort to cover his or her partner’s side. By doing this, the crosscourt opponent leaves his or her other side (the side near the open sideline) exposed and attackable. So, when your crosscourt opponent is aggressively hugging the middle, look to attack the side of their body closest to the sideline. But, beware of being too aggressive and sailing the pickleball wide!
Speeding up crosscourt can also be a way to mix up your shot selection—particularly, when you maximize your chance of success by picking and choosing the best circumstances to attack crosscourt. Stay unpredictable out there!
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