How to Defeat Hard-Hitting Bangers in Pickleball

By the end of this article, you’re going to understand how to beat bangers. The main thing to remember is that to beat your enemy, you have to know your enemy. So, what is a banger? A banger is a player who hits every shot hard. They want to hit the first shot hard, the third shot hard, the fifth shot hard, and so on. If a ball rolls in the middle of the point, they want to hit that shot hard. All they want to do is, you guessed it, hit the shot hard.

This article is not just for beginners; it’s for any player up to the pro level who wants to know how to play against hard-hitting opponents.

Before we get into the physical aspects, let’s adopt the mindset that “if they bang, they pay.” Don’t be surprised when they hit it hard; expect it and anticipate it.

Physical Strategies: Starting with the Serve

A banger often has a powerful serve to keep you away from the kitchen. When receiving the serve, don’t stand right on the white line. If they hit a deep serve, you’ll have to back up, causing your momentum to move backward before going forward. Stand two to four feet off the line to adjust based on the strength of their serve, so you can move forward toward the kitchen line.

Return Strategy

The next crucial step is your return. Hit the ball deep and then run up to the kitchen. If you have less mobility, hit with more arc to give yourself time to reach the kitchen. Hitting the ball deep serves two purposes: it gives you more time to move up and more time to react to their shot. A short return allows your opponent to get closer and put more pressure on you.

Also consider where to hit your return based on the opponents. If the stronger driver is on the left side, return the ball down the line to their backhand. Position yourself in a V-formation with your partner, covering your respective lines. If the opponent steps across to hit the ball, they leave an open space which you can target.

Blocking Techniques

Blocking is crucial when facing bangers. Aim to block the ball deep into the court or down at their feet. Use a wide stance for stability, a firm wrist to prevent pop-ups, and make contact out in front of your body. Adjust your grip to a continental grip to control the ball better.

Dealing with Short Returns

If you hit a short return, freeze and split-step to prepare for the opponent’s attack. Your partner can help by covering the middle if the opponent typically hits crosscourt. This gives you more time to get up to the kitchen and neutralize the situation.

Final Thoughts

Playing against bangers requires a proactive approach. Don’t just stand back and take it. Bring force back to them and send a message that their strategy won’t work. Remember, to beat your enemy, you have to know your enemy.

Thank you for reading this article on how to beat bangers. I hope you found it helpful.

For exclusive content and in-depth instructional tips to elevate your pickleball game, make sure to check out my YouTube channel.

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About Kyle Koszuta

Kyle Koszuta, widely recognized as "ThatPickleballGuy," is a big figure in the pickleball community. Kyle is known for his engaging content that caters to both beginners and seasoned players. His YouTube channel features a wide range of videos, from basic pickleball guides to advanced strategies. Additionally, his newsletter provides weekly updates, including video breakdowns, overlooked skills, and stories from his professional journey​.

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