Playing Tip: Run, Duck or Switch
When you are at the kitchen line, and your opponent hits a lob over your head, how do you respond?
If you and your partner are side by side at the kitchen line, one of you may choose to make a run for it. It’s normally best if the fastest most mobile person attempts to retrieve the lob. If you are both pretty quick, it’s usually easier for the partner who wasn’t lobbed to run backward because they have a better view of the ball. If you have to run for it, never back up. Sidestep to the baseline, or make a U-turn and run back, perhaps in time to attempt a blind return shot.
If you do not see your partner by your side, you should assume s/he may be in a position to get the shot. So, help your partner by ducking immediately, giving him a full court to hit a shot.
If you have a good partner who was able to move from his spot across the back to get the lob behind you, s/he will yell “Switch” which is your cue to stay at the kitchen line but quickly move to cover the other side.
Sometimes, the most effective strategy is just let it go and hope it lands out. Executing an effective lob is difficult, and a pretty low percentage shot so don’t obsess if your opponents get one now and then. Just smile and congratulate them on a good shot when it falls in.
So, run back, duck to get out of the way, or switch to cover the other side of the court if your partner commands.
Just in case you missed it here’s my series on Overheads;
Who Gets That Lob?
How to Run Down a Lob
Bev writes a weekly email blast for our pickleball club. She delivers the rules with clarity and a sense of humor. If you have a rules question post 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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