3rd shot dink and defend overspin flick

I have noticed that SUCCESSFULLY hitting a 3rd shot dink into the kitchen still results in a returned overspin flick. Almost all of my partners are off the nvz enough where they are receiving the flick below their knees, which they cant handle. Oh… what to do or say?
I could start banging 3rd shots all the time and we would win more games, but that’s not the road to 4.0+. Oh… what to do or say?!

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Great question, George!

In my experience, not all third shot drops are created equal. If you give it too much air, it can bounce up high and be very attackable.

For my third shots, I try to use either topspin or backspin as that can help keep the bounce low. The third shot drop is just a longer dink, so you can use the spin you use on your dinks for your thirds.

I’m addition, if you are facing someone who is not getting to the line quickly after their return, you can hit it at them where they are vulnerable. This gives you a bit more margin for error than a third shot drop and is super effective.

At the end of the day it’s all about putting pressure on the opponent and there are lots of ways to do that! That’s what makes pickleball so great!

Good luck out there!!


Aaron, thx for a very good response. I am currently using a 3rd shot deep, cut, right side spin LOB… and a deep, left overspin LOB. Most players under 4.0 can’t volley a deep LOB, AND the LOB is a much easier shot. If effective, this could revolutionize the 3rd shot philosophy, at least for players under 4.0… waddauthink?!

Hey, George. I love that you’re thinking differently about the third shot! A well-placed lob is a great option because it gets your opponent off of the kitchen line and immediately puts them in a defensive position. I agree that most players under 4.0 aren’t great at knowing how to be offensive off of a lob.

However, I STINK at lobs, so I don’t use them as often as I should. I’ve been working on them more and more during low-stakes games so that I can use them when they make sense. I actually did use a third shot lob yesterday and, instead of putting it on either side of the court, put it in the middle and it was a super effective shot.

So, if you can hit a consistent lob, I say go for it. You’ll still need that drop in order to keep your opponent guessing, but if you have both a solid drop and a lob, you’ll be in great shape!

PS - Maybe you can teach me that lob of yours someday :joy:

Aaron. Thx for your comments! I will continue to LOB deep but mix in drops & drives… keep em guessing!

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Yeah! Keep 'em guessing, George! That’s going to win you lots of points and games!!

The third shot drop is a ball with height that is hit softly, with the intention of bouncing in the non-volley zone, making it unattackable for the opponent. If this is executed, the serving team will have enough time to run up to the non-volley line because of the height on the ball.

Use the smart shot inn regards to how your opponent plays. If your opponent is constantly putting topspin on flicks, that probably means you’re hitting too high, so drive for a while. Then when you opponent gets used to it, start dropping again. Go on and off of smart shots to up your game. That’s what pro players including myself keep doing. At my level, there is a lot of blocking and countering so you should practice firefights to keep yourself on your toes and ready to defend shots with your paddle out in front of you.