Pickleball Offensive Lob-You Need to Hit this Shot
A pickleball offensive lob is a great strategy to throw your opponents off and win a few extra points.
In last weeks post, I answered a question I’m often asked, CJ, what’s the difference between an offensive lob and a defensive lob? This week we are focused solely on the offensive lob; what it is, when to use it, and most importantly, how to hit it.
What is an Offensive Lob?
The offensive lob is commonly used when all four players are at the NVZ engaged in a dinking game. One of the teams uses a lob as a tactic to move the other side away from the net to a defensive position.
Why hit an Offensive Lob?
The offensive lob is an especially effective strategy if;
- Your opponents are not very quick or mobile.
- They don’t play together often and don’t communicate well with each other.
- One of them is short.
- They have a weak overhead.
- You have the elements in your favor, sun in their eyes or you’re hitting into the wind
Now that you know what it is and why to use it, let’s focus on execution.
How to Hit an Offensive Lob
The setup or body position for the shot is similar to a dink shot. To begin your body is parallel to the non-volley zone line.
The paddle is open or tilted back to loft the ball up and over your opponent’s head.
The arm swings from low to high with a feeling like you’re pushing the ball upward off the paddle. This wrist remains stable. Similar to the dink use your body and the upward motion of the paddle to push the ball over your opponent’s head.
Point of contact
The paddle contacts the ball in front of your body. The further back the paddle is in your stance, the harder it becomes to control the angle of the paddle face and therefore, the trajectory of the ball.
A key strategy is disguising the lob is to make it look like a dink and then surprise them with a lob.
Offensive Lob Drill
This drill is effective because it shows you the visual trajectory of the ball.
Use ½ of the court.
Begin by placing two cones or markers about three feet inside the baseline. It’s the ideal landing area for a lob.
Have your partner stand at the non-volley zone and hold their paddle straight up in the air over their head. Using the other hand, they toss the ball over the net simulating a good dink, meaning the ball bounces below the net height.
How do you pick the best time to use the offensive lob?
It’s easier to lob from a simple dink return, one that’s not moving you around the court.
A good time to hit a lob is when you catch your opponent off balance. I particularly like to hit a short dink, one that’s close to the net, so they have to lean forward to hit it and then follow it up with the lob. Since they had to move forward for the previous shot, it takes them a little longer to reverse directions to run backward.
One of the other tactics I like is to hit it over the left shoulder (as they are facing me) of the person in front of me. That makes it harder for that person to retrieve, and if their partner tries to run it down, which in most cases they should, it takes them longer to get there.
What is your favorite offensive lob tactic? Put it in the comments below.
Hey there — I’m a professional three-sport athlete and coach who has spent my entire adult life earning a living from playing and coaching sports. Since I started coaching more than three decades ago, one thing has remained the same: My commitment to see students not as they are but as what they can become and to move heaven and earth to help them realize their untapped potential. You should know that when it comes to helping pickleball players over 50 live their best lives on and off the courts, I'm an expert. Good pickleball is not just technique; it's the mind and body working holistically. That's why I'm also a personal trainer and weight management specialist. When I’m chillin', you'll find me watching Star Trek with my husband John and our two fur babies, Shirley and Ralph. (Yes, Happy Days)
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