The 2 Main Objectives in Pickleball

There are 2 main objectives in pickleball. You may think this is overly simplistic. Read on and you may be in for a wonderful surprise as understanding this concept can boost your playing level very quickly. But, first let’s set the scene by reviewing the 2 types of errors. Then we will share our sport’s 2 main objectives.  UNFORCED ERRORS: We all know that the vast majority of points end in what’s called an unforced error. If you want to know what percentage of points you play end in an unforced error (defined as a shot that you could have kept in play), just have a pad and pen by your court during a practice match and make notes after each point. Take the number of unforced errors and divide by the total number of points played to get a percentage of unforced errors.

FORCED ERRORS: This means that, for your playing level, the shot hit by your opponent was too difficult for you to return. This is a subjective categorization, and like unforced errors you can keep track of these in the same manner as well. 

Now let’s move to the 2 main objectives in pickleball that are hiding in plain sight: OBJECTIVE #1: HIT THE BALL OVER THE NET – it may sound simple, but if you hit the ball over the net, you have accomplished 50% of your basic objectives. Players often think they should hit the ball very low over the net. While it is true that lower is better, it should not be at the risk of hitting the net itself. Keeping this in mind should help you get that extra ball in play to put the pressure back onto your opponents to hit that extra shot!  OBJECTIVE #2: HIT THE BALL INSIDE THE LINES – while this also sounds simplistic, each side of the court is 21 feet long by 20 feet wide. Some players think they need to hit close to the lines. While this is theoretically true, trying to hit too close to the lines can cause unforced errors. Again, keep the pressure on your opponent to hit that extra shot and you will be surprised how many “free” points you will get due to your opponents making that unforced error instead of you! SUMMARY: Hit the ball over the net and inside the lines and you are at the very least giving your opponent a chance to make an error or perhaps even set you up to close out the point. Remember that power is of secondary importance to consistency and control!