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Pickleball Lob Strategy: Hitting and Returning Lob Shots

by The Dink Media Team on

When a lob goes up, all hell breaks loose. Partners forget how to communicate, people trip over their own feet, and somebody always steps in the kitchen while hitting an overhead.

Let's go over some of the basics of the lob culture so you can keep a level head next time the ball hits the sky.

When you hit a lob

Remember, the safest spot to aim your lob is over your opponent’s backhand shoulder, preferably along the sideline.

That way, if your lob comes up short, you're not feeding them an easy overhead.

There are offensive and defensive lobs. Planned, on-balance offensive lobs have a much higher success rate than scrambling, defensive ones.

If you are lobbing from the baseline (you dog, you), it's important to note one thing. If the ball bounces behind the other team, it's time to run in.

It's the best opportunity to flip a point in your favor. Be sure to take advantage.

Lob defense

To return a pickleball lob, short steps are the key. This will help you avoid the dreaded kitchen violation.

Where people go wrong is unintentionally stepping into the kitchen to launch themselves up for the overhead.

This can be averted with two short steps instead of one large one. You want to reestablish outside of the NVZ before you make contact.

Don't let the ball hit the ground. If at all possible, play the ball out of the air. It is how you maintain the advantage in the point.

If the ball bounces, you're back to square one, trying to hit a drop shot to advance toward the NVZ. It is not the end of the world, but it puts you on the wrong side of the pickleball equation.

Be ready to slide. If someone lobs over your backhand, slide so it becomes a forehand. It's rarely the first instinct, but if you don't panic, it can be done.

The lob game comes with its own unique set of challenges. Some people love it, others hate it.

Read Next: Third Shot Strategies in Mixed Doubles

Instead of getting mad when the lob goes up, show off that pickleball IQ and make the veteran play.


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