Abstract The problem of controlling the impact dynamics of an inverted pendulum is addressed. Starting from the optimal excitation for avoiding chaos obtained in previous works, interest is in increasing its practical performance and its application range. Two different implementations of the control procedure are developed in order to fulfil specific technical requirements of the system dynamics. They involve alternate use of one-side optimal and harmonic excitations, aimed at increasing the time spent by the hitting mass in the controlled potential well; or of right and left optimal excitations, aimed at reducing the scattered nature of the response as synthesized by the number of jumps between the two wells. The two implementations realize feedback control strategies which, however, require only minor information on the dynamics. Numerical simulations are performed to show their effectiveness, to compare them on a local and global basis, and to describe qualitative and quantitative aspects of the two requirements achieved with the proposed strategies.