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Breaking the Stigma: Rethinking the Perceptions of Bangers in the Pickleball Community

The Controversy of Power Play in Pickleball

One of the most hotly debated styles in pickleball is the “banger” approach. These players are known for their powerful shots, believing that sheer force can overcome any defense. While some players see this as just another way to play the game, others view it as disruptive and less enjoyable.

So, what’s the real story behind bangers? Are they the villains of the court, or simply misunderstood players with a different strategy?

Decoding the Banger’s Mindset

To understand the banger mentality, imagine yourself in a high-stakes match. Instead of playing a slow, strategic game, you choose to smash every ball with maximum force. That’s the essence of a banger—they thrive on the excitement of powerful shots that keep their opponents constantly on edge.

You might wonder, “Why rely on power when finesse could be more effective?” The answer lies in their belief that an aggressive style can unsettle opponents, forcing errors or weak returns that are easier to exploit. This approach isn’t just about brute strength; it’s a deliberate strategy that tests both the banger’s and their opponent’s ability to handle speed and pressure.

While this style can irritate players who prefer a slower, more tactical game, isn’t the diversity of playing styles what makes pickleball so intriguing?

Why Some Players Disapprove of Bangers

The disdain for bangers can be compared to unwritten rules in other sports, like not stealing a base in baseball when you’re far ahead. In pickleball, especially at social and intermediate levels, there’s a preference for longer, more strategic rallies. Bangers disrupt this by speeding up the game, which some see as less enjoyable or even unsporting.

It’s not that these players can’t handle the fast pace; they just prefer a game that focuses more on strategic play than on overpowering shots.

The Benefits of Playing with Power

Despite some opposition, there are compelling reasons to appreciate the banger style. For one, it can be highly effective, particularly against opponents who struggle with fast-paced shots. This approach is similar to strategies in other sports where power plays a crucial role, such as tennis or baseball, indicating that power dynamics are a universal aspect of competitive play.

Moreover, playing against hard hitters can help players improve by exposing weaknesses in their volleying skills. A banger’s approach can serve as a valuable learning tool, pushing players to enhance their defensive play and adaptability.

To Bang or Not to Bang?

Ultimately, the decision to adopt the banger style depends on your goals in pickleball. If you’re new to the game or enjoy casual play, smashing the ball can be exhilarating and add excitement to your matches. However, if you’re aiming to improve your skills and climb the ranks, you’ll need to balance power with precision. It’s not just about hitting hard; it’s about hitting smart. Developing a game that combines powerful drives with delicate drop shots and strategic placement is key to advancing and keeping your opponents guessing.

“It’s about knowing your audience and your objectives. If you’re playing in a competitive scenario where every point counts, use every tool you have. But in a friendly club setting, it might be worth adapting your play to ensure everyone enjoys the game,” advises a pickleball coach.

Wrapping It Up: My Take on the Banger Debate

As we’ve explored the pros and cons of the banger style in pickleball, it’s clear that there’s no definitive answer to whether it’s the “right” way to play. Personally, I believe that every playing style, including the hard-hitting banger approach, has its place in pickleball. For those considering the banger style, remember that adaptability is key. Reading the court and knowing when to use power or when to opt for tactical plays can make all the difference. And for everyone else, playing against a banger can be a great way to strengthen your defensive skills and strategic thinking.


Q. What factors should I consider when choosing to serve first in pickleball?

Consider your and your team’s strengths, the playing conditions, and your opponents’ weaknesses. For example, if the game is outdoors and conditions like wind or sunlight are significant, it might be more advantageous to choose the side rather than serve first.

Q. Why might choosing the side be more beneficial in doubles?

Choosing the side can help you and your partner coordinate better and use environmental conditions—like wind or sun—to your advantage. Plus, having the right side can help both of you feel more comfortable and in control from the start.

Q. How does the initial serve in doubles differ from singles?

In doubles, the first team to serve only gets one player serving before it switches over to the other team. This can make serving first less advantageous compared to singles, where you can set the tempo and dictate the game from the start. In doubles, the serve rotation means you have to be strategic about who serves first and how you plan to capitalize on your team’s strengths.

Q. What are the disadvantages of choosing to serve first?

The main disadvantages include the risk of an early side out, lack of warm-up, single server disadvantage, and pressure to perform. These factors can lead to losing the serve quickly without scoring and giving opponents confidence if they sense vulnerability.

Q. How can environmental conditions influence the decision to choose the side?

Environmental conditions like wind, sunlight, and visual distractions can significantly impact gameplay. Choosing the side that offers the most protection or fewer distractions can improve focus and performance, especially in outdoor settings.

What do you think?

Written by Billy Pickles

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