LOB or DROP - Tipbit #9
I use the Lob probably more than any other association member; I am not sure that’s a good or bad thing. I go to it more as an offensive shot believe it or not. Most players however use it exclusively as a defensive shot to deal with:
When they have been unable to leave the baseline.
When they're forced back to the baseline.
When a hard drive has been directed right at them and you have little or no time to react.
But, perhaps I should consider the Drop for dealing with the fore mentioned situations.
When you're standing in the transition zone or back on the base line, you are a prime target for a well-driven ball. You’ll have very little time and you must react in some manner. Simply trying to drive the ball through two opponents stationed on their NVZ line buys you nothing and since you have little time, that leaves the Lob or Drop.
The Lob is the easiest to execute of these two options. It requires little more than tilting the paddle face into an open position and letting the ball strike it. The height and depth are pretty much predetermined based on the pace of the approaching ball. Getting the height and depth just right is the trick. Unfortunately, on the down side, too low of a ball will result in a point-ending overhead shot by your opponents. Further, too deep of a ball will be out and you suffer the same consequence. The percentages of this shot being successful are consistently too low to warrant its use. Finally, hitting too many short lobs will not endear your partner to your efforts!
The Drop is the far more difficult shot to execute and master. If you look at the Pickleball Self-Rating table on our website (link below & under MORE on our website) you’ll see that to become a 4.0+ player you must be able to: “execute a drop shot successfully and demonstrate 3rd shot strategies”. While the lob requires some touch, especially the topspin lob that I employ, the drop requires even more touch. But, it is so much more effective. By effective, I mean that you are not only able to get the ball back into play, but with little danger to you from your opponents. It neutralizes their previous advantage and it does not put you into another disadvantaged position; you’ve reset the point. This is usually the case when your contact point is quite low. If both your opponents have fast hands and can punish a high ball, even an attack you hit quite hard, you will not overcome that disadvantage. The goal of the drop is to take the entire pace off the ball, keeping it low, slow and just over the net. This does take tons of practice and it should be practiced from all positions; the back court, and from the mid-court to the NVZ line. It basically is the shot that separates us 3.5 bangers from the 4.0+ members. This is one shot that will pay dividends against virtually every opponent you encounter and I, like many of you members, need to add it to our quiver!
Self-Rating Table: Self-Rating Table
C' ya on the Greenwood Courts! President Lueck