Land of the Sky Tournament information can be found by clicking on the button above.

Newcomers to the site should note the pickleball book "chapters" in the left column and the repository of expert articles and videos in the right column.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Offensive Lob from the NVZ Line

Don't be predictable...

Mixed among the multitude of tournament and miscellaneous posts lies the theme of play at the NVZ line. That topic is important because we know that is where games are won. One aspect of play that many players ignore is the lob from the NVZ line. Over the next few days, the lob will be the primary topic of discussion. We will start today with the portion of an article from Prem Carnot that relates to the NVZ lob.

This may be the first time I’ve dedicated an entire article to a single shot, and it’s not even about the dink or the drop shot. This month, we’re talking about The Sometimes-Boring-and-Annoying-But-Sometimes-OH-SO!-Gratifying Pickleball Lob Shot.

Of course, whether it’s boring or whether it’s gratifying usually depends on whether you’re the one DOING the lobbing or the one BEING lobbed. I often get asked whether lobbing is an effective strategy, and my somewhat-helpful answer is: It is unless it isn’t.

It’s Only a Lob Shot if It Lands IN (Otherwise, it’s an unforced error)
First of all, a lob is obviously NOT an effective strategy if it lands OUTSIDE of the court, causing you to lose the point. So don’t lob unless it’s a shot in your repertoire that you can count on. If it’s not, then drill and practice until it is before you use it.

… And If They Can’t Smack it Back at You
Second, the effectiveness of your lob depends VERY MUCH on the height and mobility of your opponents.  A “lob” that lands in your opponent’s wheel house is obviously not an effective lob.  (I’d call it something between a “high dink” and a “bad lob.”)

Even some higher-ranked players like to hang out at the baseline and hit lob after lob, thinking that they’ll eventually tire their opponents out.  But if your opponents can hit an overhead off your lob, it probably wasn’t very effective.  A good player, once they are in the position to hit an overhead, can place the ball nearly anywhere they want: they can drop it short, hit a sharp angle, or run you & your partner off the court.

Here are the 2 situations where I DO recommend using the lob:

Scenario #1: Hit the Stealthy, Dink-in-Disguise Lob Shot
This is when you & your opponents have gotten into a dinking match and they are getting predictable.  Wait ’til the moment when they are leaning a little too far forward, or getting a little slow moving back to the ready position.  Then, using the exact same motion you would have used to hit a dink,  give the ball some extra loft, and have it go well over their heads into a beautiful lob, which they can’t get back for because they were too far committed to a dink.

Scenario #2: Hit a Defensive Lob Shot at the Net
The right time to go for the defensive lob is when you are rushing to the net to get a short ball going at a sharp angle off the court, and you’re not likely to be able to keep your dink low.  A high, deep lob forces your opponent back from the kitchen line, giving you time to get back in position and prepare for the next shot.

Prem Carnot, The Pickleball Guru, is the author of the #1 Best-Seller, Smart Pickleball. You, too, can use his simple "Yes or No" criteria to determine your precise skill level AND get skill-level specific guidance on EXACTLY what to focus on to take your game to the next level. Claim your FREE copy of his Ratings & Goals Guide at:

No comments:

Post a Comment