Bangers are one the most challenging opponents to face in pickleball. This is a player who hits the ball hard and fast, making it difficult to return. I have played against bangers countless times, and it can be very frustrating but don’t worry; there are strategies that can help you beat a banger and come out on top.
What is interesting is that as the popularity of pickleball continues to grow, more and more tennis players are coming to the sport, and with them, they are bringing this hard, fast-paced game.
One thing I’ve learned is to always be ready for the drive from the banger. This means positioning yourself correctly and being prepared to react quickly. There are great drills for this. It’s also important to avoid getting frustrated (not easy) by the banger’s aggressive playstyle. Instead, stay calm and focused on your own game plan (yes, you need to think zen).
Another effective strategy is to use a combination of shots, including lobs, drop shots, and dinks, to keep the banger off balance. By mixing up your shots, you can force the banger to move around the court and make more errors. Soft shots and drop shots are really your friend. This changes the pace and dynamic of the game to your advantage.
Additionally, you can try to volley the ball firmly back at their feet, which can neutralize their hard-hit balls and prevent them from getting into a rhythm. With these strategies and a bit of practice, you can beat a banger and become a more successful pickleball player.
Understanding the Banger in Pickleball
As a pickleball player, it’s important to understand the different playing styles of your opponents. One of the most common playing styles is the banger. A banger is a player who likes to hit the ball hard and fast, attempting to overpower their opponent.
When playing against a banger, it’s important to remember that they are relying on their power to win points. They may not have the finesse and control of softer shots like dinks and drops. This means that you can use their power against them by forcing them into difficult positions and making them move around the court.
It’s also important to anticipate the banger’s shots. They will likely try to hit the ball hard and fast, so you should be ready to react quickly. Keep your paddle up and be prepared to block or return their shots.
Another key strategy is to mix up your shots. Don’t rely solely on soft shots, as they may not be as effective against a banger. Instead, try to mix in some power shots of your own to keep them on their toes.
In addition, try to place your shots strategically. Aim for the corners of the court or hit the ball at their feet to make it difficult for them to return.
Overall, understanding the banger’s playing style and using it to your advantage is key to defeating them in pickleball. By anticipating their shots, mixing up your own shots, and placing them strategically, you can outmaneuver and outscore even the most powerful bangers on the court.
1. The Art of Blocking
As a pickleball player, one of the most important skills to have is the ability to block a hard-hitting opponent, also known as a “banger.” Blocking is a defensive shot that requires proper technique, timing, and the right equipment. In this section, I will share my knowledge and experience on how to effectively block a banger in pickleball.
The Right Equipment
To execute a good block, you need to have the right paddle. A paddle with a larger surface area and a softer core will absorb more of the impact from the ball, making it easier to control. Look for paddles that are specifically designed for blocking, such as those with a thicker core or a wider face.
Look for widebody or standard paddles.
The Correct Stance
Your stance is also crucial when it comes to blocking. You should stand in an athletic stance with your feet shoulder-width apart and your knees slightly bent. This will give you a stable base to work from and allow you to move quickly in any direction.
When blocking, you should also keep your paddle in front of your body and at the level of the incoming ball. This will help you to make contact with the ball at the right angle and prevent the ball from flying off in an unexpected direction.
Timing is key when it comes to blocking. You need to anticipate the banger’s shot and be ready to react quickly. To practice blocking, have a partner hit hard shots at you from different angles. This will help you to develop your reflexes and improve your timing.
When making contact with the ball, try to keep your paddle face open and make contact with the ball as late as possible. This will help you to absorb more of the impact and give you better control over the ball.
Blocking is an absolutely critical skill in pickleball. By using the right equipment, maintaining the correct stance, and practicing your timing, you can effectively neutralize your opponent’s hard shots and take control of the game.
2. Strategizing Against a Banger
It’s important to have a strategy for these types of players. Here are some tips that I have found useful in strategizing against a banger.
Observation and Anticipation
The first step is to observe their playing style. Bangers tend to hit the ball hard and fast, so it’s important to anticipate their shots. Always be ready for a drive and position yourself accordingly. If, however, the banger decides to mix it up and dink or drop the ball, you will have plenty of time to react if you’re anticipating the fast-paced drive.
Utilizing the Kitchen
Another effective strategy against a banger is to utilize the non-volley zone, also known as the kitchen.
Bangers tend to stay at the back of the court and hit hard shots, so if you can force them to move up to the kitchen, they will be less effective. I consistently do this in matches, and you will be surprised how well this works.
When you’re at the kitchen, try to hit soft shots that force the banger to hit upwards, which will give you an opportunity to attack.
Managing the Pace of the Game
Managing the pace of the game is crucial when playing against a banger. If you can slow down the pace of the game, you can force the banger to make mistakes.
One way to do this is to hit high lobs that force the banger to move back and give you time to get into a better position. Another way is to hit drop shots that force the banger to move forward and then hit a soft shot that they can’t reach. Drop shots have worked better for me overall. If you lob, be prepared for a high-paced slam return, e.g., back up!
3. Mastering the Soft Game
I have found that mastering the soft game is an essential skill to defeat a banger. No if, and, or buts. Here are some skills that will help you improve your soft game.
Drop shots are a great way to slow down the game and keep your opponent guessing. By hitting a drop shot, you force your opponent to come forward and play a soft shot, which can give you an opportunity to hit a winner.
To execute a drop shot, you need to hit the ball with a gentle touch, using a lot of spin to make the ball bounce low and slow. Make sure to aim for the opponent’s feet or the sideline to make it harder for them to reach the ball.
Dinking is another essential skill in the soft game. It involves hitting a soft shot that barely clears the net and lands in the opponent’s kitchen. Dinking can be used to neutralize a banger’s power and force them to play a soft shot.
To execute a dink shot, you need to use a gentle touch and a lot of control. Make sure to keep your paddle level and hit the ball with a smooth motion. Aim for the opponent’s feet or the sideline to make it harder for them to reach the ball.
Keeping Them Guessing
To keep your opponent guessing, you need to mix up your shots and vary the pace of the game. By hitting a combination of drop shots and dinks, you can force your opponent to move around the court and make mistakes.
Make sure to stay patient and wait for the right opportunity to hit a winner. Don’t be afraid to hit a hard shot when the opportunity presents itself, but make sure to mix it up with soft shots to keep your opponent off balance.
Mastering the soft game is essential to defeating a banger in pickleball. By using drop shots, dinking, and keeping your opponent guessing, you can neutralize their power and force them to play a soft shot.
4. Improving Your Skills and Techniques
Improving your skills and techniques is essential to beating a banger. Here are some tips to help you improve:
Practice and Drills
Practice is key to improving your skills and techniques. You should practice regularly, focusing on your weaknesses and areas that need improvement. Drills are also an excellent way to improve your game. You can practice drills with a partner or by yourself.
Forehand and Backhand Shots
Your forehand and backhand shots are crucial when playing pickleball. To improve your forehand and backhand shots, you should practice hitting the ball with proper technique. You should also work on your footwork and positioning to ensure that you are in the right position to hit the ball.
A good serve is essential in pickleball. To improve your serving technique, you should practice serving from different positions on the court. You should also work on your toss and follow-through to ensure that you are hitting the ball with the right amount of power and accuracy.
Deep Return of Serve
When playing against a banger, a deep return of serve can be an effective strategy. To improve your deep return of serve, you should practice hitting the ball with proper technique and power. You should also work on your footwork and positioning to ensure that you are in the right position to hit the ball.
By improving your skills and techniques, you can become a better pickleball player and increase your chances of beating a banger. Remember to practice regularly and focus on your weaknesses and areas that need improvement. With dedication and hard work, you can improve your game and beat any opponent.
5. Dealing with Aggression on the Court
As a pickleball player, I’ve come across many opponents who rely on their aggressive shots to win games. These players, commonly known as ‘bangers,’ can be challenging to beat. However, I’ve learned a few strategies that can help neutralize their powerful shots and outmaneuver them on the court.
Neutralizing Powerful Shots
One of the essential skills to defeat a banger is to neutralize their powerful shots. To do this, I try to return their shots with soft, controlled shots that land in the kitchen. This strategy helps me to slow down the game and take control of the point. Additionally, I try to vary the speed and spin of my shots to keep the banger guessing.
Pressure and Positioning
Another strategy that I use to defeat bangers is to apply pressure and maintain proper positioning. I try to keep the banger deep in their court by hitting deep shots and forcing them to move back. This strategy helps me to control the pace of the game and limit their aggressive shots.
Moreover, I try to maintain proper positioning on the court. I stand closer to the net, which helps me to cut off the banger’s shots and prevent them from hitting powerful shots. I also try to anticipate their shots and move quickly to the right position.
Outmaneuvering the Opponent
Finally, I try to outmaneuver the opponent by using my footwork and court coverage. I move quickly and efficiently on the court, which helps me to reach the banger’s shots and return them effectively. I also try to use my opponent’s power against them by hitting shots that force them to move around the court.
In conclusion, dealing with aggression on the court requires a combination of skills and strategies. By neutralizing powerful shots, applying pressure, maintaining proper positioning, and outmaneuvering the opponent, I can beat bangers and win games.
Beating a “banger” in pickleball requires a combination of skill, strategy, and mental toughness. You must stay calm in the face of bangers. By implementing the tactics discussed in this article, you can increase your chances of success against hard-hitting opponents.
First and foremost, it’s important to be ready for the banger’s fast-paced shots. This will be evident after the first exchange. This means staying on your toes, anticipating the drive, and being prepared to react quickly. Additionally, hitting a deep return of serve can help keep the banger in the back of the court and prevent them from attacking aggressively.
Another key strategy is to practice blocking. By using a soft touch and redirecting the banger’s power, you can take control of the point and force them to play on your terms. It’s also important to be aware of the out ball and avoid hitting shots that would go beyond the baseline.
Finally, it’s essential to maintain a positive attitude and stay focused on the task at hand. Don’t get discouraged by a few missed shots or let the banger’s aggressive play rattle you. Instead, stay calm, cool, and collected, and trust in your abilities to come out on top.
Overall, beating a banger in pickleball is no easy feat, but with the right approach and mindset, it’s definitely achievable. So, go out there, give it your all, and remember to have fun!
Frequently Asked Questions
What are some effective strategies for playing against aggressive players in pickleball?
When playing against aggressive or “banger” players, it’s important to stay calm and focused. One effective strategy is to keep the ball low and slow, forcing your opponent to hit up and giving you the opportunity to take control of the point.
Another strategy is to mix up your shots, using lobs and drop shots to keep your opponent off balance. It’s also important to stay patient and wait for the right opportunity to attack.
How can I improve my accuracy and shot placement to beat stronger opponents?
Improving your accuracy and shot placement takes practice and repetition. One way to improve is to focus on hitting the ball in the center of your paddle, which will increase your control and reduce errors. Another way is to practice hitting to specific targets on the court, such as the corners or sidelines. It’s also important to stay relaxed and avoid overthinking your shots.
There are excellent training aids available to help you with improving your shots and placement. One that really works is the Franklin Sweet Spot training paddle. This looks funky, but man does it work.
One common mistake is to try to match your opponent’s power, which can lead to errors and give your opponent the advantage. Instead, focus on placement and control, using soft shots and lobs to keep your opponent off balance. Another mistake is to play too defensively, which can give your opponent the opportunity to attack and control the point.
How can I anticipate and react to my opponent’s shots to gain an advantage?
Anticipating your opponent’s shots takes practice and experience. One way to improve is to watch your opponent’s body language and position, which can give you clues about where they are likely to hit the ball. Another way is to stay on your toes and be ready to move quickly so you can react to your opponent’s shots and take control of the point.
What are some drills or exercises I can do to improve my footwork and reaction time?
There are many drills and exercises that can help improve your footwork and reaction time. One effective drill is to practice moving quickly from side to side, hitting the ball to specific targets on the court. Another drill is to practice blocking shots from a partner, focusing on quick reactions and precise placement.
How can I adjust my playing style to counteract my opponent’s strengths?
Adjusting your playing style to counteract your opponent’s strengths requires careful observation and analysis. One way to do this is to watch your opponent’s previous matches or games, looking for patterns in their play. Another way is to experiment with different strategies and shots, focusing on those that are most effective against your opponent’s style of play.
There are several training apps that you can use to improve your on-court skills. Two of the best are Top Court and 360 Degree Pickleball. You can find out more about them in the post highlighted below.