What Is A Lob In Pickleball?

From the very start of pickleball, the lob shot has been a tactical move. That said, now, more than ever, it is gaining popularity in the world of pickleball. 

What Is A Lob In Pickleball

If you’re looking to add this powerful move to your arsenal, then you’re in the right place to learn everything about it. Although, just like knowing how to use the move, it is also important to know how to defend against it. 

Don’t worry, all you need is a little knowledge and practice, and the lob shot is sure to become your secret weapon in no time. 

If you’re unfamiliar with the move, essentially, it is where a particular player shoots the ball into the air which sends it flying into the back of the court. 

This move can be used offensively where the goal is to send it over the opponent’s head – forcing them into the baseline. 

Likewise, it can be used defensively, too. Here, it can buy you the required time to create a strategic position – allowing you to create offensive shots.  

What Is The Lob Shot?

According to the USA Pickleball, the lob shot is a lofted technique that sends the ball flying high above – sending it further into the court. 

Since 1965, when the game was first played on Bainbridge Island, Washington, the lob has been an integral move in pickleball. 

Here, offensive lobs have the ability to shift the balance of your opponent, forcing them further back into the court in order to return a particular shot. 

When done correctly, this can cause the opponent to lose a point by reducing the accuracy of the return shot or committing a fault. 

If you’re looking to remove your opponent from the non-volley area, then defensive lobs are a great technique to achieve this. This provides you with some extra time to prepare your next shot. 

Below, we will outline the differences between the two shots in greater detail. 

The Offensive Lob Shot

If you were to perform an offensive lob shot, this consists of a trajectory that is flatter so it almost just reaches the paddle of your opponent. For instance, here you could think of it as a rainbow trajectory whereby it is just reaching your opponent’s outstretched arms. 

When it comes to offensive lob shots, the goal here is to win the point. Therefore, it can be a good tactic to throw your opponent off balance, especially if they are veering into the Non-Volley Zone.  

In any case, an offensive lob shot can be performed when the opponent creates a dink. This is when the ball is lobbed back, hence, the opponent will have to move very quickly back to return the shot – meaning they may lose the point. 

There are two different types of offensive shots. For instance:

  • The basic or regular lob – Here, the paddle remains open, and then simply transfers from low to high. This is a similar motion to the dink,  however, the follow-through is more pronounced as you’re sending the ball higher and further than the dink. 
  • The topspin lob – Instead of hitting the ball flush, you should opt to simply ‘graze’ or ‘brush up’ it, instead. This means you’re putting rotation on the ball with your paddle face. If you’re looking to achieve a heavy topspin, all you have to do is create a strong upward motion. While this is more difficult to return, since it has the capacity to bounce when landing, it is an effective shot when done correctly. 

The Defensive Lob Shot

In contrast, the defensive lob is a technique that contains a much higher arc (here the trajectory is much higher, up and down, whereby you’re anticipating your opponent’s overhead shot that can be directed back at them. 

Sometimes, the defensive lob is the only shot you can achieve to get over the net. Once done, you can reset and arrange yourself into a better position. 

How To Perform The Perfect Lob Shot?

When it comes to the most important shots you should have in your pickleball arsenal, the lob shot is one of them.

What Is A Lob In Pickleball (1)

That said, it needs to be executed carefully. Below, we have outlined some of the most crucial tips. These include:

  • Don’t hit your lob too short or too low. If this happens, you’ll likely receive an overhead smash from your opponent. 
  • When performing your lob, make sure not to hit the ball too hard. This is due to the fact that they are not as effective once they go past the baseline. 
  • Know your opponent and their skill level. Typically, a lob pickleball can be attempted by your opponent after the second shot, once they have achieved the double bounce. While this may work against beginner or intermediate players, it won’t against the more advanced players who can anticipate these shots – ready to return the shot with an overhead smash. When playing against advanced players, deploy these shots cautiously. 
  • Achieve the correct trajectory. Here, the ball’s trajectory should carry over the paddle of your opponent’s outstretched arm – landing near the baseline. 

Beginner Vs. Advanced Player Lob Shots

Lob shots are the effect when used against beginners. This is because new players have a hard time establishing a return shot in these cases. 

On the other hand, for advanced players, these shots are second nature. When executed poorly, you knock them out using an overhead smash. 

At professional levels, these players are quick enough to create the underneath lob – returning it successfully, too. 

Final Thoughts

One of the most well-known shots in pickleball is the lob shot. Here, it can be used both offensively and defensively to knock your opponent off balance. That said, it isn’t an effective strategy against advanced players. 

Hopefully, this guide has informed you on everything you need to know about the lob shot in pickleball. 

Damien Dansel
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