Every pickleball player has his or her own style on the pickleball courts (which is one of the reasons that the sport is so great—there are many styles that can be successful). Some players are more offensive in their play, while others may be more of a defensive specialist by keeping the pickleball in play and grinding out points.
One of these more defensive players is pickleball pro Callan Dawson, who is nicknamed the “Lob Doctor.” Dawson earned this nickname because of his prowess with the offensive lob. As Dawson describes it: “I don’t have a lot of offense off of the bounce. I like to dink a lot and grind it out. So, one of the things that I focus on to give me a little of that offense is to take the ball out of the air and throw in some lobs.”
If you are a defensive player like Dawson, or otherwise looking for more ways to create offense in your game on the pickleball court, consider doing what Dawson does to earn his nickname of the “Lob Doctor”—add the offensive lob to your game.
An offensive lob is like a bridge or a rainbow just over your outstretched opponents. An offensive lob will have a flatter trajectory (as opposed to a high up-and-down trajectory). To execute the offensive lob, try the following:
- Understand the purpose of the offensive lob, which is not necessarily to win the rally, but push your opponents back near the baseline and open up court space to win the rally over the next few shots.
- Take time away from your opponents by hitting a lob on a dink that is in the air (as opposed to a dink that has bounced). This is effective when your opponents are at the Non-Volley Zone line and engaged in a dink battle. Hitting the lob out of the air is a critical component to the “Lob Doctor’s” success, so be sure to create offense by hitting lobs out of the air at the Kitchen line.
- Target weak locations on your opponents’ of the court, which are typically over backhand sides of the weaker, less mobile, and/or shorter of your opponents.
- Pay attention to the elements that you are playing in. Most notably, pay attention to the wind, which can manipulate your lob. The general rule of thumb is to lob against the wind (rather than with the wind—as the wind will likely blow the pickleball out of bounds).
- Add some top spin on your offensive lob (if possible), which will help pull the lob down out of the air and keep your shot in the pickleball court.
Work on those offensive lobs on the pickleball court! This could be a key to you creating offense in your game—especially if you are a defensive specialist.
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