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3 Offensive Shots to Hit When the Pickleball Is Below the Net

Strategy & Technique Stacie Townsend 01-03-2024

Generally speaking, the goal on the pickleball court is force your opponents to hit the pickleball on an upward trajectory to allow you (or your partner) to hit the pickleball on a downward trajectory (i.e., hit the pickleball down toward your opponents’ feet). This is possible when the pickleball sits above the top of the pickleball net (and, the higher the pickleball sits, the easier it is to hit on a downward trajectory).

However, at times, you may want to be offensive with your shots in other ways. For instance, you may want to hit an offensive shot even when the pickleball sits below the top of the pickleball net. These can be difficult shots to execute, though, as you need to generally hit the pickleball on some upward trajectory to get the pickleball up and over the net. This puts you at risk of allowing your opponents to hit down on the pickleball. But, there are shots that you can use to apply pressure, while minimizing this risk.

If you need to create offense in one of these circumstances, try one of the following three shots:

  1. Top Spin Volleys – One way to create offense below the pickleball net is to use top spin. Top spin – which is spin that travels from 6 o’clock to 12 o’clock toward your opponents – will help the ball get up and over the pickleball net and then bite down toward the court surface. In other words, it is spin that helps keep the pickleball low and in the court. 
3 Offensive Shots to Hit When the Pickleball Is Below the Net | Pickler Pickleball

Consider using a top spin volley to attack pickleballs that sit below the net. But, depending on how low the pickleball is below the net, you will need to manipulate the speed on your top spin volleys. The higher the pickleball, the more pace you can put on your top spin volley. The lower the pickleball to the ground, the less pace you should put on your top spin volley (assuming you do not want to risk the pickleball sailing out of bounds), as you need more time for the spin on the pickleball to do its magic.

For instance, check out this calculated top spin volley on a pickleball that sits below the net from pro Thomas Wilson below:

  1. High Speed-Up – There is one situation where you can be offensive without worrying about controlling your pace on your shot. This would be a high-power, high-pace shot that is right at your opponents—typically in the shoulder area (particularly, the “Chicken Wing,” which is the paddle-side shoulder area)—where either (i) your opponents will not be able to move out of the way, or (ii) you will be able to induce them to pop-up the pickleball. This 100% power can be a good strategy, but it is an all-or-nothing shot.
3 Offensive Shots to Hit When the Pickleball Is Below the Net | Pickler Pickleball

This high speed-up can be surprising for your opponents, as they may not expect you to speed up a pickleball that sits below the top of the net. Further, to note, the extra speed will help you challenge your opponents to react, as the extra speed will cut down on your opponents’ time to get out of the way.

This all-or-nothing high speed up is most effective on players that are:

  1. Tall;
  2. Have a wide stance (so they are slow to move their feet);
  3. Hugging the Kitchen line (so they have less reaction time);
  4. Less mobile;
  5. More likely to reset the pickleball; and/or
  6. More likely to hit out balls.
  1. Offensive Lob – Lastly, an offensive lob—particularly, on a dink volley out of the air in order to surprise your opponents and cut down on their reaction time—is another offensive shot that you can execute on a ball that sits below the top of the net.
3 Offensive Shots to Hit When the Pickleball Is Below the Net | Pickler Pickleball

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). Unlike the high speed-up or even top spin volley, the purpose of the offensive lob is not necessarily to win the rally. Rather, the purpose of the offensive lob is to push your opponents back near the baseline and open up court space to win the rally over the next few shots.

For more tips on the offensive lob, check out Pickler’s article “Create Offense on the Pickleball Court with This Shot—Especially If You Are a Defensive Player.

Be aggressive out on the pickleball courts and create offense where possible—even if the pickleball is below the top of the net. But, use caution! Do not overuse these shots, as you will become predictable and your opponents will be able to counterattack.

WANT MORE PICKLEBALL TIPS AND STRATEGIES?

Learn the most common mistake by pickleball players!

The Most Common Mistake on the Pickleball Court | Pickler Pickleball

Plus, if you want more pickleball tips and strategies on every aspect of your pickleball game, check out Pickler’s online video lesson collection called My Pro Pickleball Coach. My Pro Pickleball Coach is a fraction of the price of one clinic or even one lesson, and features over 140 video lessons (over 7 hours of instruction!), as well as a corresponding e-book. These online video lessons are available on demand 24/7 and breakdown every aspect of the sport of pickleball, including pickleball drills, strategy, and advanced concepts, so you will play your best pickleball.

Online Pickleball Video Lessons | Pickler Pickleball

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