FAQ: Isn't it true that the person on the left side takes the middle balls?

Pickleball players inquiring minds want to know...about middle balls

Dropped item in non-volley zone - The Pickleball Broadcast

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Q: Isn't it true that the person on the left side takes the middle balls since it's their forehand?

A. No, this is not always the case.  

Many consider this to be old school advice because there are a few problems with this philosophy:

  • If the player on the right side is a lefty, both dominant hands (forehands) are in the middle. Obviously, this can create some conflict.

  • Also, it could be that the (right-handed or left-handed) player on the right is much taller and can come down on the ball, has a larger wingspan/reach, and/or has a very strong backhand.  

  • Sometimes when the pickleball player on the left moves far into the right court, the team gets burned down their left sideline as that player is now out of position and the entire court is open for a winning shot.

Many players today determine whose ball it is by where the ball is coming from and/or the angle it’s traveling (you'll hear "respect the x" term here). And, of course, communication goes a long way.

Finally, some believe that if a player is in a hand battle, they stay in the hand battle as they can better anticipate where the ball is coming from and are working to set themselves up.