Relishing Pickleball: The Lob

David Zapatka

Continuing our study of Pickleball Fundamentals: Master the basics and compete with confidence by Mary Littlewood, “The lob is a lofted shot hit off a bounce that can be either offensive or defensive in nature. The object of lobbing is to force your opponents, who are in a strong position at the non-volley line, to move back in their court by hitting the ball over their heads. A well-executed lob requires a feel for knowing how hard to hit the ball and how much loft to apply to the hit so that the ball clears the outstretched arm and paddle of the opponent but still lands inside the boundary lines.

“When executing a lob, approach the ball as if you were going to hit it with a groundstroke. As you’re tracking the ball with your eyes, move to the approaching ball using short, shuffling steps. You should finish with your body partially facing the net and the sideline, with the bouncing ball between you and the net and to your right side. Once you are in a forward-stride position (facing the net with your left foot in front of the right one and your feet a comfortable distance apart) with the bouncing ball between you and the net and the ball lined up off of your front knee, open the face of the paddle and drop the paddle arm back and toward the ground. Swing the paddle arm forward and contact the ball with a lifting action, trying to keep the ball in contact with the face of the paddle as long as possible as you shift your weight from your rear foot to your forward foot. The forward swing of the paddle arm should move toward the target. Most important when executing a lob is to think of it being a soft lift of the ball, not a brisk hit.”

Although Ms. Littlewood explains the lob as being hit off a bounce from a groundstroke position, it is also a very effective shot in dink rallies. In this position, it may be hit after the dink bounces or as a volley. This element of surprise drives the opponents off the non-volley line (kitchen line).

Want to know more about the sport, the rules, equipment, or have some pickilicious news you would like to share with our pickleball community? Email David Zapatka at [email protected]