A lob shot in pickleball is a productive and vital shot for both beginners and advanced players. It is of two types; an offensive lob and a defensive lob. These shots are both popular and also under-utilized at the same time in the field of pickleball.
One can benefit tons by using these shots to their advantage. But you would need some guidance as to how these shots work before practicing them on the court.
As a professional pickleball player, lob shots have helped me plenty of times in my games and so I’ll be letting you know all the basics of pickleball lob shots in no time.
What is a Lob in Pickleball?
First question first, What is a lob shot?
A lob shot is when a player hits the ball at a high angle to the back of the opponent’s court. In other words, you can use these shots to move your opponents away from the net aka the non-volley zone in pickleball.
These shots are both used defensively and offensively. I’ll tell you all about how to play these shots in both ways correctly but first, let’s get down to the maths of how to hit a lob shot.
How to Hit Lob Shots?
Now that we are aware of what is lob shot, let’s go through how these shots are created on the court.
- Hit it at the kitchen – a lob shot is played best in the kitchen also known as the non-volley zone
- Mask the shot – disguise it because this shot is not something your opponent should know is coming.
- Open the paddle face – after doing so, hit a shot that should look like a dink.
- Use soft hands – this step is crucial in lob shots. Hold a firm grip on your paddle instead of a tight one.
- Examine height and depth – extend the paddle forward and out as you want the ball to go overhead as well as deep in the court of your opponents’.
- Extend with bent knees – to work the move effectively, you should bend your knees rather than just flicking your wrists.
- Hit the ball slowly – take your time with the ball and hit it slowly.
- Relax your wrists – no benefit would come if you stress the game so much. Just relax yourself as well as your wrists on the paddle.
- Avoid flicking – go with a smooth hit on the ball instead of flicking it up.
- Lead with your knuckles – rather than leading with your fingers use your knuckles for effective results.
- Put the ball out in front – by doing this, it will automatically be easier for you to hit a lob shot.
All of these little steps are essential and you must follow them to master the trick of lob shots.
Types Of Lob Shots
There are two types of lob shots in pickleball; an offensive shot and a defensive shot.
The offensive is when you hit the shot toward your opponent and the defensive shot is when you hit a lob to buy yourself some time on the court. Let’s briefly look at them:
Offensive Lob Shot
An offensive lob is when all the players are in the non-volley zone and one of the team members uses the offensive lob as a strategy to move the opponent team back to the defensive position.
Furthermore, they become more helpful if your opponents have these certain issues i.e.
- Their heights are different from one another
- They are slow
- The communication between each of them isn’t very good
- They produce poor overheads
- If the weather is not in their favor that day.
All in all, a lob shot is a very good offensive move.
Here in this video you can learn how to hit offensive lob shot.
Defensive Lob Shot
Defensive lobs are the shots that you throw toward your opponent to get some time for yourself.
It is a good move when you stuck in these situations;
- If your rival is throwing short shots toward you
- When you are scurrying from side to side trying to hit the ball on the paddle or if your opponent is lobbing you and you need to get rid of those.
Watch this video if you want to know more about defensive lob shot.
Both defensive and offensive lob shots hold their significance in pickleball given the fact that they can help one out in getting out of certain unfortunate circumstances.
When Is it Best to Use a Lob Throw?
It’s as important to know when to hit a lob shot as knowing how to hit them. There are certain scenarios only in which you should hit lobs and avoid other times.
For instance, when your opponent is coming forward into the kitchen, hit one then.
It is also a vital step to keep your head and chest up when you’re in the kitchen because when you see your opponent’s head is down, take the benefit of the situation and hit a lob as it will be harder for them to fetch a well-hit lob move.
Another time lobs can be useful is when your opponent is off-balance because it is very difficult to return a lob when one is not in a stabilized position.
Where To Hit A Lob Shot?
After understanding the when to hit a lob now we’ll try to learn where to hit a lob shot.
For this to work the best, quickly identify the backhand shoulder of your player.
If your opponents are right-handed, the left shoulder on the left side of the court will be the greatest option. Because if the player on the right side would try to cover it, they will be left with nothing but a backhand shot. And therefore, they have to go outside the court to retrieve the ball.
But if your opponents are left-handed, go on the even side of the court to hit the lob. And when the opponents are in the middle of the court, then the middle side of your court can be a great place to hit a lob shot.
How To Return Lob Shot Safely
One of the most common mistakes players make while returning lob shot is that they back up when they are on their heels. In this way most of the beginner players have fallen dangerously.
To avoid any kind of danger, you should return the lob shot in a safe way. And the safe way is to just turn and run to the ball.
The most common question asked by pickleball players is that how will we know which way to turn?
The answer is you just need to track the ball, and if the ball is coming over to your right side then you should turn right and hit that direction. Similarly, if the ball coming over to your left side turn left and hit that direction.
Do Pro Pickleball Players Lob?
In pickleball, it is alright to understand that the more experience you achieve, the more chances you can easily play the tricks and successful shots.
Similarly, a lob shot does not require any specific playing level. That is why any beginner, intermediate or pro player conveniently lobs in pickleball, irrespective of their skill level.
How do You Defend a Lob Shot in Pickleball?
Don’t worry about how to defend a lob shot in pickleball because we have your back. So, all you need is to focus on the following strategies for strengthening your lob in pickleball.
1. Try to Drop the Shot into the Kitchen
Do you know how crucial a role the accurate landing place of a shot plays in pickleball?
If yes, then you have understood a lot of the game. But if not, don’t worry because we have provided an in-depth and helpful answer below.
Accordingly, all 4 players are lobbed wherever they stand in the kitchen. Due to this, the player and their partner have to step back.
But you can ask the players to play a third shot drop or drop the ball into the non-volley zone. In this way, they cannot hurt you, and also you can better defend a lob shot in pickleball.
2. Go Back Together With Your Partner
It is quite apparent that when you are lobbed, you, and your partner, must go deep into the court. Then you have to hit a third-shot drop so that you and your partner can go back together into the non-volley zone.
Tips to Defend Lob
- Even if it is a shorter drop, you should allow it to drop and then go back if required to hit the ball.
- After doing it, you can go towards the net.
- Remember, when you are afraid of going back, start peddling.
Final Thoughts On Pickleball Lob Shot
Trust me, it’s not as complicated as it looks. Practice what you’ve learned as much as you can. Also remember to not keep your focus just on pickleball lob shots, cover, understand and practice every single rule, shot, and technique that exists in pickleball. Place the shots when you know they are necessary. Good luck!
I am Michael Wanner, an experienced and educated expert in the field of pickleball. I hold a degree in Sports Science from Cleveland State University, Ohio, USA. My expertise lies in the technical aspects of pickleball and how to play it effectively. I have spent many years playing and coaching pickleball and have a wealth of knowledge to share with my readers. I am a valuable resource for anyone looking to improve their pickleball skills and strategies.