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Thursday, May 24, 2018

Aggressive Play versus Banging

I need an aggressive, but smart, attitude...

This week, DJ explains why it is important to be aggressive in your play. But aggressive does not mean hitting every ball hard. Yet another reinforcement of percentage pickleball!

DJ's weekly tip:

Understand the difference between being a banger and playing aggressively. There IS a difference!

A "banger" is a player who hits the ball hard because he or she can't do anything else or simply doesn't want to do anything else. They rip the ball and hope that the pace of the ball can make the opponent make a mistake or hit a weak reply. They rarely hit drop shots or lobs or use much in the way of strategy. This type of player is typically impatient and will get frustrated if too many of their hard hit shots are returned.

Playing aggressively is much different, although hard hit shots are certainly part of an aggressive playing style. An aggressive player understands that well executed drop shots, dinks, serves and serve returns, and even the occasional lob can be very effective in forcing errors by his or her opponents. An aggressive player uses drops and dinks to get set up shots that they can put away or gain an advantage with. Many times a good drive is appropriate and the aggressive player oftentimes knows how to use it well. This player is patient enough until they get a chance to attack a ball they know they can take advantage of.

Nearly every 5.0+ and pro player is an aggressive style player! The best players in the country (world) use the soft game as a way to allow themselves opportunities to create a winning type of shot. They understand that "good enough" is not good enough against other top players. You have to hit better shots to win points. This doesn't occur by "just getting it in".

Sidenote: This is why I agree with Aspen Kern regarding being aggressive in hitting fast, deep serves. This is not the same as being an impatient banger. It is an opportunity to gain a slight advantage over your opponent from the start of the point. 

The best players are aggressive with their placement of dinks, drops, returns of serve, serves, and even lobs. They are deliberate!

Next time you practice, consider being aggressive on pop-ups and weak shots on your side. But make sure to understand when to hold back if it's not the right opportunity. If you're simply trying to rip every ball you aren't being aggressive, you're playing low percentage pickleball and being a mere banger. Please try to understand the difference.

Keep reppin' (aggressively, if possible)!

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