Beating Bangers in Pickleball

Beating Bangers in Pickleball

The Ultimate Guide to Beating Bangers in Pickleball

As pickleball gains popularity, players often encounter a unique challenge: the aggressive, hard-hitting bangers. This guide delves into strategies and techniques to counter these players and elevate your game. This article will focus on identifying the keys to beating bangers in pickleball.

Understanding the Banger’s Approach

Often stemming from tennis or other racquet sport backgrounds, bangers prioritize pace and power over finesse. They aim to dominate from the back or rush forward, crushing balls closer to the kitchen. Recognizing this strategy early on is crucial to adapting your gameplay.

Strategies to Counter Bangers in Pickleball

  1. Embrace the Chaos: Once you’ve identified a banger, mentally prepare to adapt rather than sticking to traditional gameplay.
  2. Stay True to Your Game: While it’s tempting to match their aggression, maintain your style, making minor adjustments as needed.
  3. Deep Returns: Push bangers back with deep returns, reducing their chances of a powerful shot.
  4. Hit Drop Shots: By hitting a drop shot that barely clears the net and falls into the kitchen, you can reset and change the pace of the game.
  5. Target Their Weak Side: Exploit their typically weaker backhand by directing shots there.
  6. Discernment with Out Balls: Resist the urge to return every shot. Let those heading out of bounds go.
  7. Master Blocking: A well-timed block can neutralize their power, often catching them off guard.
  8. Soft Play: Counter their power with soft shots, especially drop shots that barely clear the net.
  9. Keep Shots Low: A ball that barely clears the net is harder for them to slam.
  10. Surprise with High-Arcing Shots: Occasionally, bait them with a lob shot, leading them to make errors.
  11. Unpredictability: Vary your shots and tactics, keeping them guessing throughout the match.

Defensive Tips and Techniques

Defense is just as crucial when playing against bangers. Here are some techniques to enhance your defensive gameplay:

  • Readiness: Stay agile with your weight forward and paddle ready.
  • Paddle Placement: Keep your paddle out in front for better control against hard drives.
  • Anticipation: Observe the opponent’s arm movement and positioning to predict their shots.
  • Recovery: Always return to your ready position behind the kitchen line after each shot.

Beating Bangers in Pickleball: Drills for Improvement

Improving your skills against bangers requires consistent practice. Here are some drills to help you prepare:

  • Blocking Drills: Practice with a partner who consistently hits hard shots at you. This will help you get used to the pace and improve your blocking technique.
  • Out Ball Detection: Have a partner or coach hit a mix of in-bounds and out-of-bounds shots. This will train your judgment and reaction time.
  • Soft Play Drills: Engage in continuous dinking sessions, focusing on keeping the ball just over the net. This will help you develop touch and control, essential skills against bangers.

Mental Preparation

Having the right mindset is essential when facing bangers. Here are some tips to help you mentally prepare:

  • Stay Calm: Bangers thrive on unsettling their opponents with their aggressive play. Maintaining a calm demeanor can help you stay focused and make better decisions during the game.
  • Study Your Opponent: If possible, watch bangers play before you face them. This can give you insights into their patterns and tendencies.


Proper positioning can make a significant difference when playing against bangers. Here are some tips to ensure you’re in the best position to counter their shots:

  • Stay Close to the Kitchen Line: This reduces the angles bangers can exploit and allows you to react quickly to their shots.
  • Footwork: Ensure you’re always on the balls of your feet, ready to move in any direction. Quick lateral movements can help you counter wide shots from bangers.

Engage Their Partner

If you’re playing doubles and one opponent is a dominant banger, try directing more shots at their partner. This can disrupt the banger’s rhythm and force their partner into the game, potentially exposing weaknesses.

Serve Strategy

Your serve can set the tone for the entire rally. Here are some strategies to keep bangers off balance:

  • Mix Up Your Serves: Alternate between deep and short serves, or between soft and hard serves. This unpredictability can make it harder for bangers to settle into a rhythm.

Advanced Techniques

As you progress in your pickleball journey, consider incorporating these advanced techniques to further challenge bangers:

  • Spin: Introducing spin to your shots can make them harder for bangers to return with power. Topspin can make the ball dip faster, while backspin can reduce its forward momentum.

Frequently Asked Questions about Bangers in Pickleball

  1. What is a banger in pickleball? They are aggressive players who consistently hit the ball with great force, irrespective of their court position.
  2. How do you handle bangers in pickleball? Key strategies include maintaining a proper ready position, using low volleys, and counterattacking when they present opportunities.
  3. How can you outplay hard hitters in pickleball? Focus on technique, positioning, and low volleys. Develop soft hands to control the game’s pace and reduce the ball’s speed.

Winning Against Bangers in Pickleball

Beating bangers in pickleball requires a blend of strategy, technique, and mental agility. By mastering the skills and strategies discussed in this guide, you can confidently face any banger and elevate your pickleball game.

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