The pickleball lob shot is just another shot and just like
every other shot it needs to be learned and when executed like we see many of the higher ranked players do, it can be a point saver and a point winner.
Good players know how and when to hit one and how and where to return one to gain advantage.
(We will concentrate primarily on the 'when' and 'where' and provide just a little bit of insight on the ‘how’ part in the video below from in particular the non-Volley Zone).
There are 3 particular types of lobs that you will find played which can be termed Offensive (play) and Defensive (play) primarily because of the intention of the lob played or where you are positioned on the court.
1) The offensive lob shot from the non-volley zone line which could be described as the dink lob as it an extension of the dink shot motion. This is best disguised by playing it with an extended flip of the wrist as your follow through at the end of your dink shot.
The NVZ (non-volley zone) line proves to be best position from which to play the lob and win or at least play and apply the offensive pressure to set-up a return shot that you can then hit to win because of factors now more in your favor.
· You are at the non-volley zone line as too are they (your opposition) at the non-volley zone
· Their time to see and react to a lob shot is short
· You have court space to play with behind the opposition
· It is easier to lift the ball in the trajectory required to get the ball over their head and still land in the court behind
If they do back up and retreat which in itself is not the easiest thing to have to do and will likely be outside of the base line, but are then forced to play a defensive shot, you are left standing in prime position to return a likely less than perfect return from them.
2) The Offensive in-play lob shot is best played when the ball is returned shallow in the court and they are running up to the Non Volley Zone line. This ‘in-play’ lob is not a very effective and a low percentage shot to play however if the ball lands deep in the court because it will put you in the position of the ‘defensive in trouble’ lob explained below.
3) The Defensive in-trouble lob shot because you are running down a lob played behind you or you have been played into another poor position perhaps wide of the court.
This shot can buy you time to get back to the non-volley zone but recognize that there are times that this is a poor percentage play and the closer your opposition are to the non-volley zone the poorer it is because you are suddenly at risk of them running into a lob that has fallen short to hit a volley shot at you from above net height or of course playing an overhead smash.
The alternative shot option to play here in most instances would be to return the ball into the kitchen thus opening up the option for you to regain position at the non-volley zone and hopefully preventing an attacking return shot as the ball bounces too low and too close to the net increasing the likely hood they will play a dink.
An important thing to consider when playing this shot outdoors of course is the wind. A slight breeze into your face can literally add a couple of feet to the court - or effectively hold the ball up a couple of feet. Likewise playing the lob shot with the wind up your tail will see it sail out of bounds all too easily and will make it very hard to play and land this shot in court with any effective percentage.
So How Might You play the Pickleball Lob Shot
Here is one persons instruction on how to play the lob shot from the non-volley zone.
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