[DAP isLoggedIn=”N”]Would You Rather Be Watching The HD Full-Version Video Lesson On The Lob?

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The Overview

The Lob is more of a specialty shot that is also an important part of the All-Around game that we encourage here at EliteTennisTraining.com, it requires feel and precision to work effectively in a match. The lob can be used to create doubt in the minds of net rushers or players that prefer to serve and volley. You have two choices really when playing a lob, you can either hit a topspin lob or a bunt/backspin lob. One is more offensive in nature (topspin) and the other is usually more defensive (bunt/backspin) in nature. Another place that the lob come in handy, is in doubles matches. Considering that net play is much more prevalent in doubles, developing an effective and consistent lob will pay huge dividends during your doubles matches.

 



The Grip:

 

Gripping the racket is determined primarily by what type of lob you will choose to hit. In general, for the more defensive lob/Bunt or backspin, you will want to use the Continental Grip or Eastern Grip on the forehand side to get under the ball and provide lift with an open racket face.

On the Backhand "slice" lob, which is more of a slice than the forehand side, you may prefer to use more of a Continental or Eastern Grip, which will also open up the racket face and provide lift. Most players will be using one hand when bunting or imparting the backspin on the lob from the backhand side, but feel free to use two if that feels more comfortable to you, just know that you will have less range of motion that way.

For the more offensive lob, commonly referred to as a Topspin Lob, you will use the forehand grip that you typically use for your groundstrokes, anywhere from a Continental to a Western Grip. You will also use your regular backhand grip on the backhand side. It is beneficial to you to keep your grip the same when being offensive, because it helps to disguise what you are about to do. Your opponent will not be able to tell by your grip that you plan to place the ball over their head and behind them, which will be to your advantage of course.



Stance and Footwork:

The stance and the footwork will vary depending on what position you are in on the court and how much pressure you are under. In general, on the defensive lob you will be under more pressure and that means you will have less time to set up in your stance. You always  want to keep a low center of gravity with a wide base so that you can be balanced. However, when you are under pressure this becomes difficult and your footwork becomes even more important. Taking small adjustment steps to properly position yourself is very important. Typically, but not always you will be almost forced to use a Closed Stance, because you will most likely be on a dead sprint to reach the ball. When you are on the defense, under pressure, and on the run you want a more linear path for your swing and to create more loft and depth on your shot ensuring that it will travel above and beyond your opponents reach.

In contrast, when you have the opportunity to be more offensive with the lob you will most likely be hitting it from the Open Stance Position. You usually have more time to set up for this shot and get in the proper position. It is important as always to keep a low center of gravity and be balanced to execute this shot. Being "Open" gives you the ability to use your hip and shoulders to rotate and create the heavy topspin needed to lift the ball over your opponents head, but also it brings the ball back down into the court behind your their reach and near the baseline. On the backhand side if you find that your lobs are falling short often and giving your opponents easy overheads, you may benefit from hitting with a more linear swing path by closing your stance so that your weight moves forward more.


Preparation and Rotation:


 There are slight differences between the swing preparations for the different lobs, so we will break them down here quickly.

When hitting the Forehand "bunt" lob or backspin lob for offensive purposesyou will want to bring the racket straight back with an open face so that the strings are pointing up and then move the arm forward from slightly low to high. Although, when you are using this shot in a defensive manner, the backswing will be shorter, due to the situational pressure and lack of time.

On the Backhand "slice" lob, it becomes more of a slice action and you impart more backspin on the ball. The stance is more closed on this shot and the racket is brought back higher and around the shoulder, but inline with the incoming ball. Being balanced is obviously the best, but this shot is also hit on the run, sliding into the shot, and various other positions as well. Aim to find the most balance possible under the circumstances that are present.

When hitting the "Topspin" lob you want to disguise your intention as much as possible on both sides. This means trying to mimic your regular forehand and backhand preparation as much as possible, although depending upon the situation it may be an even quicker, and sometimes shorter backswing. You will want to strike this ball in mid to low-level strike zones, again very similar to where you are hitting your regular forehands and backhands.


The Stroke:


 

The swing paths are somewhat different on the various lobs, but they all begin below the ball and end high creating loft on the ball and depth. Let's break down the different swing patterns below.

On the Forehand "bunt" lob: this stroke is executed by bringing the racket straight forward to the ball with the face open. The swing path moves from low to high straight through the ball upward with your body moving forward and pushing off the back foot if at all possible. Try meet the ball in front of your body and in the middle or lower strike zones

On the Backhand "slice" lob: you want to focus again on the upward swing path while pushing off of the back foot. Your body should move forward into the shot if possible, at contact the racket face will be open with the string pointing upwards and the wrist firm. The swing should make contact with the ball slightly behind where you would hit your normal groundstrokes or in a more defensive position a little bit closer in toward you.

On the Topspin Lob: you want to impart a LOT of topspin, so you will want to really lift with your legs and drop the racket head below the ball as it comes forward to meet the ball at contact. You may let the ball come closer to you so you can get under it better, as opposed to your regular groundstrokes that you hit further out in front. Ideally, you want to meet this ball in the lower to mid range or your swing zone so that you can get the optimal amount of lift, leverage, and spin on the ball.

 



Follow Through and Recovery:

The follow through is similar among the different types of lobs that you can choose from. Make sure that you hit through the ball and let the momentum from your swing carry the racket head all the way through the swing path and above the opposite shoulder if possible.

As the racket decelerates from the swing, focus on regaining your balance as quickly as you can.Look to regain your court position in anticipation of your opponents next shot. If you have hit a weak or short lob, it is even more important to quickly recover because the opponent will most likely be taking an aggressive swipe at your misplayed lob attempt.