CJ Johnson Headshot
CJ Johnson
Tony Roig
Tony Roig

Playing Tip: Run, Duck or Switch

Run Duck or SwitchWhen you are at the kitchen line, and your opponent hits a lob over your head, how do you respond?

If you and your partner are side by side at the kitchen line, one of you may choose to make a run for it. It’s normally best if the fastest most mobile person attempts to retrieve the lob. If you are both pretty quick, it’s usually easier for the partner who wasn’t lobbed to run backward because they have a better view of the ball.  If you have to run for it, never back up. Sidestep to the baseline, or make a U-turn and run back, perhaps in time to attempt a blind return shot.

If you do not see your partner by your side, you should assume s/he may be in a position to get the shot. So, help your partner by ducking immediately, giving him a full court to hit a shot.

If you have a good partner who was able to move from his spot across the back to get the lob behind you, s/he will yell “Switch” which is your cue to stay at the kitchen line but quickly move to cover the other side.

Sometimes, the most effective strategy is just let it go and hope it lands out. Executing an effective lob is difficult, and a pretty low percentage shot so don’t obsess if your opponents get one now and then. Just smile and congratulate them on a good shot when it falls in.

So, run back, duck to get out of the way, or switch to cover the other side of the court if your partner commands.

Just in case you missed it here’s my series on Overheads;

Who Gets That Lob?

How to Run Down a Lob


Bev writes a weekly email blast for our pickleball club. She delivers the rules with clarity and a sense of humor. If you have a rules question post it in the comments below.


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