The lob technique in front of the net is the most common stalemate technique in the pickleball game, and it is also the premise of the lob technique in the backcourt. It is difficult to advance to a higher level if you do not master the lob technique in front of the net.
What is a lob
A lob is the act of hitting the ball into the opponent’s non-volley zone in front of the net. Usually, the arc is relatively flat, the net is not high (preferably within one ball height), and falls into the front half of the opponent’s non-volley area or near the area line.
Three net lob lines
The lob is often used in doubles. According to the target area, it can be roughly divided into the following three types:
- Straight shot: A straight shot is when you hit the ball into the opponent’s area that you are facing. For example, if you stand in the left hemisphere and put the ball in the opponent’s right half. A straight ball is usually easier to control, but it may have a higher trajectory or a farther landing point, making it easy to be attacked by the opponent;
- Diagonal Shot: Diagonal Shot is when the ball is hit into the crossed opponent’s area. For example, if you stand in the left hemisphere and hit the ball into the opponent’s left half. The diagonal ball has a longer distance. Since it passes through the middle of the net, it is not easy to be intercepted, and it has a certain angle after landing, making it more difficult for the opponent to deal with. However, if the ball bounces off the ground and exceeds the sideline of the field more, it is easy for the opponent to attack around the net post (ATP), so pay attention to protection.
- Intermediate ball: The intermediate ball is mostly used in doubles matches, and refers to putting the ball into the space between the two opposing players. Since both of them can return the ball at this time, it will cause certain troubles in timely judgment.
When to use the lob
When the opponent’s return to the net is not too long or too high, and your side does not have a good chance to volley at this time, you can wait for the ball to bounce off the ground and then use the net lob. When the opponent returns the ball for a long time but is not easy to attack, the ball can be intercepted before the ball hits the ground.
The primary purpose of the net lob is to prevent the opponent from having a better offensive opportunity through defense when there is no good offensive opportunity; at the same time, mobilize the opponent to create one’s own offensive opportunity in the stalemate. When the opponent returns the ball too high and too long, you can attack by volleying.
Master the lob
A good net lob should avoid returning the ball too far and too high, so that the opponent can form a volley or press down.
Before hitting the ball, the position should be as close as possible to the non-volley zone line, pay attention to lower the center of gravity of the body and hit the ball softly, and control the trajectory of the ball over the net not to be high, so that the ball will fall after passing the net.
When lobbing the ball in front of the net, pay attention to controlling the trajectory of the ball and not passing the net too high
There are many ways to hit the net lob, the easiest and most effective way is to put the ball.
When pushing the ball, you should pay attention to keeping your wrist fixed, and control the angle of the racket to stably point to the upper side of the net bag. There is no need to lead the racket when hitting the ball, and the ball is sent directly through the forearm to make the ball reach the target landing point. In order to ensure a stable trajectory of the ball, the arm continues to push the racket to follow the ball for about 30 cm after hitting the ball. When pushing the ball, pay attention to hitting the ball, and don’t deliberately create spin.
When defending for the purpose, try to place the ball in the front half of the non-volley zone to avoid the opponent’s attack; when actively mobilizing the opponent, you can hit the ball near the non-volley zone line (such as near the outer corners on both sides) or the opponent’s feet to force The opponent moves.
After mastering the basic push ball lob, you can combine rotation to make it more difficult for the opponent to return the ball, including:
- Topspin: falling faster, jumping forward after landing, and at the same time causing the opponent to return the ball too long and too high. The trajectory of the topspin ball is relatively high, and generally, the ball should be returned diagonally;
- Backspin: The landing point is longer, which squeezes the space for the opponent to catch the ball. At the same time, the ball bounces lower, so it is not easy to use force to return the ball, and it is easy to get off the net;
- Side spin: The trajectory is biased to the side. It is difficult to control the route of the return ball, and it is easy to go out of bounds or be predicted.
Flight trajectory deviation caused by different rotations
After the player has mastered the spin, he can practice using the same movement to hit the lob with different spins.
The lob in front of the net requires a higher hand feel. To adapt to the control of the ball under different rhythms, you can improve the quality of the lob in front of the net through the following training.
- Bounce the ball practice: use the racket to bounce the ball continuously, you can control the height of the ball, control the rotation or non-rotation of the ball, and you can alternately bounce the ball with the front and back rackets. There should be no less than 100 consecutive ball jumps each time, and no less than 5 sets of exercises every day.
- Multi-ball practice: The training staff hits the ball into the non-volley area, and the students hit the ball into the designated target area, and the ball does not go high over the net. There should be no less than 50 consecutive lobs in front of the net each time, and no less than 10 sets of exercises every day. Practice straight shots first, and then practice diagonal shots when you are stable.
- Dynamic practice: The sparring staff and students move horizontally in front of the net, while performing lob training in front of the net. *Attack practice in net lobs: look for opportunities to actively attack in net lobs, and at the same time convert the opponent’s offensive balls into net shots.
When performing lob training, pay attention to:
- When there is no good opportunity to attack, be patient and always observe the opponent’s position and intention;
- The body moves with the ball and runs in the direction of the ball, but the center of gravity should remain stable when hitting the ball;
- Hit the ball in front of you, hit it in front of the ball, hit it while exhaling;
- The wrists and elbows should be fixed, and the body and shoulders should be used to drive the arms to exert force.