What Is a Banger in Pickleball? (And How to Beat One)

Third Shot Blog

By Third Shot Blog

In pickleball, there are many terms to describe players and their play styles. In this article, we’ll go over the “banger” play style? But what is a banger in pickleball? And, more importantly, how do you beat a banger?

Read on to find out.

What is a banger in pickleball?

In pickleball, a banger is a player who likes to hit the ball hard and consistently drive the ball. Bangers attempt to overpower their opponents in every match. They typically do not like to engage in the soft game, such as dinking or hitting drop shots.

A competitive doubles game of pickleball with a group of women on a blue and green court in summer.

What should you expect when playing a banger?

Bangers present a unique challenge in pickleball. If you’re not careful, games can slip away due to the quick pace of play. Here are some things to expect when playing a banger:

  • Points that only last a few shots
  • Third and fifth shot drives
  • Little to no dinking
  • Random, aggressive speed ups
  • Shots toward your body
  • Plenty of unforced errors from your opponent

How to beat a banger in pickleball

While bangers can be challenging to play, there are ways to neutralize them. Here are some helpful tips for how to beat a banger in pickleball:

Stay calm and composed

The first rule of dealing with a banger is to stay calm and composed. When facing an opponent who hits hard and fast, it’s easy to become flustered. Remember, pickleball is as much a mental game as it is physical. Take a deep breath, maintain a positive attitude, and keep your emotions in check. Staying cool under pressure will help you make better decisions on the court.

Control the pace

One of the most effective ways to counter a banger is to control the pace of the game. Instead of trying to match their power, focus on maintaining a consistent, controlled game. Use soft dinks, drop shots, and lobs to slow down the rallies. By changing the tempo, you’ll force your opponent out of their comfort zone and reduce their ability to hit powerful shots.

Accurate placement

Accuracy is key when facing a banger. Aim for the sidelines and corners of the court to make it more challenging for your opponent to retrieve your shots. Place your shots strategically, and try to keep them away from the middle of the court, where bangers often generate the most power.

Engage in the soft game

The soft game, which includes dinking and drop shots, can be your best friend when battling a banger. Dinking involves gently hitting the ball over the net, keeping it low and just over the net. This forces your opponent to hit upward, which makes it difficult for them to generate power. Drop shots, on the other hand, can catch bangers off guard, forcing them to move quickly and potentially make mistakes.

A female pickleball player returns a volley at the net as her partner watches the ball.

Stay patient

Patience is a virtue in pickleball, especially when playing against aggressive opponents. Bangers often make mistakes when pressured to hit harder and harder. Stay patient and wait for opportunities to capitalize on their errors. Avoid trying to end points quickly, as this can lead to unforced errors on your part.

Poach and intercept

In doubles play, consider poaching and intercepting your opponent’s shots. If you notice that your partner is struggling to handle the banger’s powerful shots, take the initiative to intercept the ball when it comes your way. This can disrupt your opponent’s rhythm and create openings for your team.

Improve your defense

Enhance your defensive skills to handle hard-hitting shots. Work on your reflexes, agility, and positioning. Being able to react quickly and get into a good defensive stance will make it easier to return powerful shots and keep the rally going.