How to Play Against Hard-Hitting Bangers In Pickleball: Explained

How to Play Against Hard-Hitting Bangers
pic credit: Pickleball Fix

Did you just return from a day of grueling pickleball? Maybe you’ve never had a bad day playing pickleball, but you know someone who has. Your days get considerably worse if you’re forced to play against hard-hitting bangers.

Dealing with a pickleball coming at your face at 50 miles per hour is challenging and frustrating. Trust us, we get it. There are plenty of other players who also struggle with bangers.

However, we will explain the fundamentals behind dealing with bangers and pickleball and show you how to put them into practice. We will discuss all you need to know about bangers. Let’s get started.

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So if you love pickleball and want to learn more about it, then please bookmark our website so you don’t miss any important updates about pickleball. In today’s article, we’re going to talk about the best strategies that you should know while playing against deadly bangers in pickleball.

Accept It

Okay, so first things first. Accept it. Pickleball will forever include banging as a legitimate strategy. It won’t go gone anytime soon. Sometimes I feel bad about using the word banger since it can come out as offensive. There’s no problem with people who hit the ball hard all the time. They’re just doing what they want to do while playing the game.

I assure you that no one would be swinging that hard if it weren’t productive. But I want you to commit yourself that will no longer allow yourself to get frustrated by such matters. Promise. Good enough. With this knowledge in hand, you’ll be able to make the corrections that will lead you back to prosperity. To start, let’s talk about the basics.

Letting balls go out

Player try to leave the ball in a pickleball game
Image: Screenshot/The Comprehensive Post

If you’re looking for a quick fix, concentrate on this one. My first question to anyone who comes to me with a problem involving bangers is always, Where are you hitting the ball with respect to your body? Most people speak at or slightly below shoulder height, but most of those projectiles certainly missed their targets.

If your opponent is a banger, you shouldn’t be hitting so many high balls. It’s probably you’re leaving. And if you try to attack them, you’ll just be walking right into their trap. Let some balls fly past you and watch what happens. You might be pleasantly surprised, I suppose. There are, of course, always exceptions to the rule. Let me explain.

Topspin

Pickleball Topspin is extremely important in powerful shots. Whether or not you allow an incoming ball with topspin to go out will depend on its trajectory and your position in relation to the kitchen line.

A ball’s chance of going out increases as its topspin decreases. The reason for this is that topspin causes the ball to fall at a faster rate than it would if it didn’t have any spin at all.

That’s why releasing balls is such a delicate dance. We’ve all heard the old adage Shoulder high, let it fly. Yet a ball struck very hard and with no topspin will likely go out. You need some topspin to win, but how can you tell whether or not it has topspin?

How to know if there’s a topspin?

First, keep your eye on the ball. The holes are visible while it’s in flight. Then it does not have a topspin. If, on the other hand, the ball appears solid because the ball’s rotation is so fast that your eyes are unable to detect the holes. That’s code for topspin, which is the most plausible interpretation.

Players inside are another option. Does this player have a history of disappointing you? Have you previously permitted one of their shots that subsequently drove down at the final second? This player obviously has excellent topspin.

Depending on the answer to that question, you might not be able to release quite as many of those balls. Watching their body language can give you clues as to whether or not the ball has topspin.

Did they play tennis? Do they swing so violently that they injure their wrists by bringing them up? If so, that would be a great deal of topspin. One of the best and most efficient strategies to beat a banger is to let the balls go out. It’s less likely that they’ll bang it again. So you let more balls get to the baseline.

Bangers from the baseline

Regarding difficulty, they’re the lightest hard shots you’ll ever have to deal with. However, there are certain crucial misunderstandings that must be addressed.

The third shot drive in the fifth shot drive and follow-up are the most typical difficult strokes you’ll work when defending against an opponent who is in the baseline position. And don’t worry about the third shot drive. The terrifying part is the fifth shot drive. First, though, let’s discuss the third shot Drive.

Third Shot Drive

player try to make a third shot drive in pickleball game
Image: Screenshot/The Comprehensive Post

Third shot Drive May have you scratching your head, even though it may seem counterintuitive. The third shore drive isn’t necessarily meant to win the point. Rather, it’s meant to set up the fifth shot. This rule would be broken if there was a glaring hole in the defense, such as a free sideline.

Getting to the fifth shot drop or drive with minimal effort is the primary goal of the third shot drive, or in many cases with newcomers to make a window appear that can be closed.

Which would you choose? A 22-foot drop shot or a 14-foot drive on your fifth attempt? The 14-footer seems like you’re a better bet to you. And this way, in the third shot drive successfully completed, most people struggle greatly when it comes to successfully blocking a third shot drive.

Consequently, they either pop it up for them to crush or block it into the middle of the court. The banger has the ball in prime position at mid-court. They hastily approach, bang it even harder and leave you in much more peril.

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How to handle third Shot drives?

The most common tactical mistake when using bangers at the baseline is to try to prevent the shot before it even gets to midcourt. This is exactly what they were hoping for, as it’ll encourage them to either rush up or finish it off.

The work rate of a Fifth shot drop that’s even easier. That is why it’s a bad idea to return a third shore drive near the midcourt line. So you can see what I mean. Let us understand it more broadly. There are two main approaches you can take.

The first and most popular strategy is to attempt to put them back on their feet as long as it lands at their feet, regardless of how near they are to the net, you’ve done your job. To put it simply when you smash the ball to their feet, they don’t have time to let it bounce high. They’re unable to deliver another powerful blow.

The second strategy is preventing it from entering the kitchen. But there are some serious drawbacks to this that I want to point out to you. This is a risky move that I would only take if I’m confident my opponent couldn’t get there in time or be otherwise immobile.

Keep in mind that your third attempt should involve a trip to the kitchen. You’re helping them out rather than helping yourself if you don’t restrict their paths to the kitchen. Therefore, I’d like to try to knock them off their feet. That way you can avoid blocking it into the other team’s territory. Or even worse, popping it up.

Hitting into midcourt

You can use this strategy to reduce the number of times you send the ball sailing into the distance, just block the ball across the court instead of straight on.

To make it more difficult for the offensive team to run up and drive the ball at you. You should move across the floor if you find yourself blocking shots too far back toward midcourt.

Bangers at the net

Let’s get on to the meat of the matter. It’s frustrating to have the ball thrown at you, but if you can keep these ideas in mind, you’ll be able to deal with the adversity better.

Prediction and planning are the keys to success when trying to beat a hard hitter at the net. You need to anticipate their moves before they even swing. Let’s start with the very first issue.

Player Knowledge

Now, as I mentioned before, player knowledge is crucial. Someone with a history of violence is considerably more likely to throw you a hard one.

Not to add, In competitive games or tournaments, people are far more inclined to strike you hard if they know you dislike it. It’s crucial to know not only your own playstyle in history but also those of your opponents and pickleball games.

The higher the better

The greater the height of the ball, the more force may be used in a hit. If you can get a good, solid blow on it, the ball will move further and faster. To put it another way, you won’t be able to throw any curveballs at your rival.

No, I’m not referring to those annoying pop-up windows. Yes, of course, to put it plainly, referring to high dinks, your dinks will be more effective against a banger if they fly high and bounce high above the net. Keep dinks at a low height so that your opponent can’t easily make solid contact with them.

Blocking power shots

player try to block a shot in pickleball game
Image: Screenshot/The Comprehensive Post

It’s crucial to master the skill of blocking hard shots at the net. But there’s something I want to keep in mind from the start. This is a case where less really is more. Take this to heart. One of the most frequent 3.0, 3.5 mistakes I see is an attempt to hit a power shot.

Almost always, this will lead to a catastrophic failure. Trust me, I’ve been there. Reducing your anxiety is a good first step, and learning how to block powerful shots successfully. When a drive is imminent, maintaining composure is crucial. Make an effort to calm down first. Now you’ll do better if you can chill out.

Technique

Being calm is the most important part of blocking a powerful strike. The rest of the technique is easy. You only want to put your paddle in the ball’s path. Let go of it and let the ball roll past you. You need to be assured of your ability to take no action at all.

If you strike the ball hard enough, the force transfer to your paddle will be more than enough to send it back over with minimal impact. Your block shot will be more effective if you do as little as possible to set it up.

The elegance of this method is how simple it appears to be. Obviously, that’s not the case, but it’s the kind of thing you want your opponent to think about. They should be thinking, Wow, this isn’t going well. I can’t seem to get any of my hard shots to go anywhere but back over the goal. Instead, I should go to the Dinky. This occurs rather frequently, and it’s the best feeling in the world.

How to handle Pop-Ups

Your grip pressure is likely to blame for popping up the ball, and notice that a common strategy is to drop the pinky finger from the grip that will help you for the time being, but it won’t solve the problem permanently.

Relaxing your hold is your greatest strategy. You can get used to it by giving it a shot in recreational play. Pay attention to how hard you’re gripping things throughout the day. If you want to get better at this.

And what matters? Are you holding the wheel? Whose toothbrush is this? Curling iron belonging to you? You may take your awareness of your grip pressure and apply it to pickleball. When all these defensive measures are together, magic occurs.

When you do, the whole thing clicks into place. So what is your approach towards hard-hitting bangers and pickleball? Tell us in the comments. Also, don’t forget to share this article with your fellow pickers.

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