A tennis lob shot aims to hit the ball over your opponent who is in a volley position. The tennis lob can be used both defensively and offensively.
Because of the dominance of the baseline game, tennis players are less likely to come to the net. As a result, many tennis players no longer view the tennis lob as an effective tool in their arsenal. However, we suggest you practice this stroke and use it as needed. Generally, a well-placed lob is a very effective shot for stopping an opponent’s net approach. In all honesty, it is not a simple shot, which explains why you don’t hear much about it.
Also, the lob shot in tennis isn’t easy to practice, and it is hit entirely by feel, so you must have played for some time to hit it comfortably in high-pressure moments. This article will provide all the necessary information to hit an effective lob consistently. You can skip to the section that interests you if you prefer. The article below is structured in the following form:
What is a tennis lob?
The lob is an effective shot that aims to send the ball high and deep into the opponent’s court. It can be used as a defensive and attacking shot when executed correctly. The lob is most effective when the opposing player is moving toward the net or already close to it.
A lob is to take advantage of your opponent’s space left at the back of the court when he or she comes to the net. When under pressure, you’ll hit it either as a flat defensive shot or a counterattacking shot with a lot of spin – which isn’t easy but very powerful when hit well.
Advantages & Disadvantages
Lobs are effective for a variety of reasons. One important reason is to catch an opponent off guard as they get closer to the net. Another advantage of a lob shot is that it allows players who hit the ball to reposition themselves on the court. A higher shot gives the hitting player more time before the opposing player can return the ball, allowing the hitting player to move into a more advantageous position.
Lob shots can also be beneficial if they are placed high enough in the sky to cause the sun to shine in the opposing player’s eyes. Players must frequently be aware of their surroundings to make the best use of their shots.
Lob shots have the disadvantage of being easy for players to return if they are not hit well. If the shot isn’t high or far enough, the opponent can hit an overhead directly back over the net, forcing the player who hit the lob shot to be ready to return a ball right away.
This can be a problem, especially if they attempted to hit a lob to gain more time to recover to a better and more advantageous court position. Lob shots aren’t the most effective offensive shots, so players try to avoid them as much as possible. Lob shots require perfect timing to avoid mistakes or unintended results.
A continental or an eastern grip is best for executing an effective lob. These grips make it much easier to get that fast topspin that causes the ball to dive at the end of the trajectory.
Turn to the side and bring your racket back, shoulders perpendicular to the net. The preparation and backswing of an offensive forehand lob are identical to a forehand. The same is true on the backhand side for an offensive backhand lob. The prep for a one-handed or two-handed backhand is the same as a backhand groundstroke.
Keep an eye on the ball as it approaches. You can hit the ball high and deep with good spin now that your legs and arms are properly positioned. Flick your wrist and launch the ball upwards. Straighten your legs from a bent knee position (as if standing up), but don’t shift your weight forward as you strike the ball. The racquet face should be nearly parallel to the net at the point of contact.
Add some spin to the ball and aim well above your opponent’s head. The opposing player may hit an overhead to reach it if you hit it too low. If you hit it too high, the opposing player might have enough time to recover and hit a defensive lob. The ball’s trajectory and spin should make it travel well into the opposite side of the court, making it especially hard to retrieve.
Extend through the ball with an exaggerated follow-through of your racket head. After contact and swinging through the ball, your racquet should be over your shoulders, high in the air. This will feel uncomfortable the first few times you do it, but it will become second nature. Follow-through is often the difference between hitting a good and a great lob.
It’s an aggressive shot with a lot of topspin. A well-hit offensive lob shot will spin and clear over the opponent’s head by a couple of feet, land close to the baseline as possible, and kick up and move away quickly enough before the opponent can get to it. Because of the amount of topspin added to the ball, you must be close to the ball to hit this shot with control.
Keep your knees slightly bent and drop the racquet to get below the ball. Swipe the ball with the racquet face open while driving it up and forward to get decent acceleration on it. Follow through for more spin, and bring your racket above your shoulders. Maintain your balance by focusing on the ball and preparing for the next shot.
For example, a topspin forehand lob is extremely hard to retrieve once it has gone over an opponent’s head because the topspin takes the ball even further away from the player chasing it when it bounces. Another advantage is that the offensive lob shot is similar to a low forehand groundstroke, making it an ideal disguise shot. Players can use this to catch their opponent off guard and hit a great winner!
When under attack from an opponent, the defensive lob is used. As a result, there won’t be much time for positioning. The defensive lob aims to extend the point and force the opponent to strike another winner before the point is won. Get as near the ball as possible and, with a short or no backswing, make enough contact with an open racket head face to send the ball well above your opponent and to the back of the court.
The defensive lob shot requires little or no weight transfer of the feet. Bring your racket past your shoulder for a decent follow-through to provide spin to your shot while keeping the ball in play. If you don’t have the time or strength to add topspin to the ball during a rally, you can resort to hitting a slice lob, which usually occurs when a player can barely reach the opponent’s shot.
In this case, one usually uses backspin for a deep lob hit incredibly high up and into the back of the court. The upside of a ball hit in this manner is that the longer the ball is in the air, the more time it gives you to recover back into a more central tennis court position.
Ask your hitting partner to stand a couple of feet in front of the service line and feed you several balls while holding their racquet high. Try lobbing the ball one or two feet over their racquet with a good amount of topspin. Once comfortable, try to hit lobs on the run practicing your backhand lob and forehand lob this way.
Many players second-guess themselves and push it over without the necessary spin. These kinds of shots either never make it over the net or end up in the opponent’s wheelhouse for his/her overhead. One must entirely commit by completing your following through for a topspin lob to put your opponent under enough pressure.
The lob can be an excellent way to keep you in the game when you are in a defensive position. Remember, you’re much better off hitting a well-placed lob than attempting a 90-mph passing shot. I’ve seen players hit the lob as an offensive shot, particularly medium-height topspin lobs. This is only effective at the club level against 4.0 level or lower players who stay at the baseline.
It typically bounces high and deep when the lob hits the ground, especially with topspin. This will make it difficult for the player attempting to hit it. The good news is that you don’t need a lot of tennis talent or skill to hit great lobs. Instead, it all boils down to repetition and using it frequently during match play. Keep in mind that the wind will undoubtedly play a role when lobbing.
It’s much easier to lob with the wind than against the wind. Therefore, I strongly advise against lobbing into a strong wind. When it comes to lobs, the sun can be an ally if you play on a sunny day. On the other hand, the sun can sometimes blind the opposing player, but this is dependent on its location. I recommend lobbing high if you’re playing at night, especially if you’re up against an older opponent.
When the ball leaves the confines of the lights, they tend to lose sight of it. Even young people can have difficulty tracking a high-placed lob at night. I hope the information in this post assists you in improving your tennis lob. If you have any questions, please contact us, and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.
Which tennis player has the best lob?
Men: Fabrice Santoro, Rafael Nadal, Lleyton Hewitt, Andy Murray, Roger Federer, Andre Agassi, Mats Wilander, David Nalbandian, Jimmy Connors, Stefan Edberg, Michael Chang, Ivan Lendl.
Women: Arantxa Sánchez Vicario, Agnieszka Radwańska, Maria Sharapova, Martina Navratilova, Steffi Graf, Serena Williams, Chris Evert, Martina Hingis, Helena Sukova, Pam Shriver, Zina Garrison, Jana Novotna, Anastasia Myskina, Jelena Janković.
Christoph Friedrich is a German tennis player and coach currently residing in Oakland, California. He began his tennis journey at the age of eight and has since dedicated his life to the sport. After working as a tennis coach and hitting partner in New York City for eight years, Christoph decided to share his knowledge and experience with tennis players around the world by creating the My Tennis Expert blog. His goal is to make tennis education accessible to everyone and help players select the best equipment for their game, from racquets and strings to shoes and overgrips. Christoph's extensive research and expertise in tennis technology make him a valuable resource for players of all levels.