How to Handle a Lob in Tennis

How to Handle a Lob in Tennis

Many recreational players are fearful of
the lob and this leads to all sorts of tactics whether it’s not coming to the
net in singles or staying all the way back in doubles just to avoid the
dreaded lob. So in today’s video I’m going to show you what you should and
should not do when you get lobbed and why you need to take an overall more
relaxed attitude towards getting lobbed. And let’s start off with why you are
fearful of the LOB in the first place. And just to clarify I’m not talking
about a situation where you are in control of the point and you are pushing
your opponent way off the court and they then put up a high ball. Players usually
do not have a hard time putting those type of lobs away but it’s more a
situation where the lobber is in control and you are at their mercy.
So the reason why you are fearful of getting lobbed is that you’re perfectly
happy at the net looking to put the point away and now all of a sudden the
LOB comes and it is really annoying it disrupts the point. Now number one you’re
being put on the spot and you have to put the overhead away or even worse you
have to run back and cover the lob. And it’s usually the person that’s lobbing
that’s having fun. They will have a smile on their face while they’re lobbing you
while you on the other hand are scrambling to get back or even worse
in doubles sometimes chaos is created because now your partner has to cover
your side you have to switch over to theirs. So the number one thing that you
can do to stop fearing the LOB is to realize that the vast majority of lobs
at the recreational level are hit defensively. There’s a big difference
between an offensive lob that’s struck with topspin versus a defensive lob.
So if you get a lob that struck flat there’s absolutely no reason why you
shouldn’t win the point of a lob like that so you can therefore relax and
simply accept that lobs are part of the game and you have a great chance to win
the point if you get lobbed. And the first thing you should do when
you get lobbed is not commit to the lob too early. So when the ball is flying
high you have to realize that a defensive lob will slow down
dramatically. So the longer you wait the more you move your feet and back up
gravity will pull this ball down and you actually have very often a chance to hit
an overhead. So don’t do not commit to getting lobbed too early. In other words you
see a high ball and you’re like “oh I got lobbed” and now your feet are stuck. Simply
track the ball and keep backing up and many times you will actually be able to
hit an overhead. And if there’s no chance to hit an
overhead here’s what you need to do. You need to leave the ball to your side. So
if you get a lob coming over your forehand side you need to run next to
the ball. So if the ball is flying you have to leave the ball on your side so
that when it bounces you have enough space to actually hit a forehand. And if
you get lobbed over your backhand side you’re gonna leave the ball to your left.
So you’re gonna run back while the ball is with plenty space away from you so
that that when it bounces you can hit it a backhand. Do not lose sight of the ball. If you
lose the ball even for a split second you will be completely disoriented you
will not know where the ball is. So it’s absolutely crucial that as you’re
getting lobbed you keep your eyes on the balls flight path the entire time so
that you can position yourself accordingly. The number one mistake at the
recreational level is when players run back right underneath the ball. Now once
that ball bounces is gonna be right in front of you like this. Now the only
option you have is to do this type of shovel shot right above your head and
this will rarely result in a winning point. At the professional level players will get lobbed and they will sometimes come off with spectacular shots such as the behind the
back shot or even better the between the leg shot. And now while these shots are
spectacular I want you to realize that the very rarely result in a winning
point even at the professional level. At the recreational level I advise that you
try to hit a forehand or a backhand if you get lobbed. Do not attempt the behind
the back or the legger because not only is the degree of difficulty super high
and you’re most likely not going to be able to pull off a shot like that, but
let’s say even if you do get one in, the chances of actually winning the point
are still slim to none.

15 Comments on “How to Handle a Lob in Tennis”

  1. Hi Nikola,

    As always, very good video. However, I (as shining example of a rec player :), have the following problem with lobs. Even when I am in the right place and turn my body correctly, I misjudge when to swing at the ball. So, I very often miss the ball; either swinging too early (the ball is still in the air when the racquet moves) or too late (hitting the ball with the frame). Therefore, my question is how do you develop a technique or judge the ball coming down from a high point?

    Thank you.

  2. When should I look at the opponent again? My issue is that often times I have no problem with hitting the lob from the baseline, but when I turn to hit it and face the opponent, I do not know where he is, maybe he even approached the net and comes up with aggressive counterplay. This is the worst, since usually you are not prepared to hit a passing shot from a lob.

  3. From watching professional tennis since the 80s/90s I somehow get the feeling that in that time, people were a lot more confortable with lobs, the percentage of a winner on a smash from Becker , Edberg etc. was just insanely high. Nowadays even Federer sometimes cannot do a winning smash (not to name Djokovic, Nadal etc). Did they train the smash more often in those times? I see current players hesitate too long, while former pro players would have done the side-steps back to have an easy smash. This seems to me like a psychological problem or are the lobs also so much better these days? Yet I remember back in the days we had a lot of pro players smash from a position far more distant to the net than today.

  4. Great video Nick. I seem to struggle with a backspin lob. I find the overhead a little harder to time than against a topsin lob. The overhead tends to go into the net. Need more acceleration to overcome the backspin?

  5. It's easy to handle lobs when you're 6'5" but not so for someone who's 5'2". It would take a well struck topspin lob to win a point against you.

  6. When do you first see the lob coming? I find that oftentimes, I don't see it until it's well in the air which means that I'm usually too late to the ball and mess up the smash. Which brings me to my next point; when do you watch for the ball returning to your side of the court? Are you focusing on seeing it leave your opponent's racquet? Is this even possible? I try to do this on the return of serve but during a rally, I'm so focused on where my ball went (in or out) that I'm slow to pick up on the return. Consequently, I don't always see the lob coming in time to deal with it effectively.

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