Many players struggle with a high lob serve or lobbed return of serve. These shots are intended to give the player hitting the ball more time or to get you to move back to return the shot. If you are having difficulty returning these shots let me offer you some suggestions.
Returning a Lob Serve or Lob Return: Don’t Wait
Many players will wait for the ball to drop again after it bounces. Often they are waiting for the ball with their paddles down by their sides. Waiting for it to drop this long makes the ball slow down, causing you to have to put more into your shot to get it deep. The solution to this is DO NOT let it drop! Obviously, on a lob serve or lob return, you are required to let it bounce….but there is no need for you to wait for it to rise to its apex and then descend again before you hit it.
- One tactic is to hit the ball as soon as you are able….hit the ball right after it has bounced.
- Or consider hitting the ball at the top of its bounce. Often I will try and make contact at shoulder-height, getting more downward leverage from the height, and moving into the shot. Play it almost like a volley.
When You Don’t Have to Let it Bounce
The biggest mistake people make is waiting for the ball. So if you are able to get in position and hit the ball before it bounces, do so. Don’t let it bounce. The second you see that high ball, get your paddle up. If you are able to keep the ball in front of you, don’t let it bounce. Remember, you don’t need a big swing. You just need to let the ball help you hit a better shot and take time away from your opponent. Time is a valuable tool. More valuable than just about anything in pickleball.
Keep looking to take time away from your opponent! Stay on the offense as much as you can!