Place lob comments here

For whatever tech reason, the actual post on The Art of Lobbing won’t take comments; so pls place your comments attached to this posting (and we will see if we can figure out the problem!). thanks, george

10 thoughts on “Place lob comments here

  1. Good stuff. A few years back I scoured the web for info for specific instruction about how to hit a topspin lob. There was *nothing* any good out there. The closest anything came to good advice was to “practice” it a lot. So, I went to my old standby – Tennis Warehouse’s “Shot Maker Tool” – and kept playing with its parameters until I found out what works. http://twu.tennis-warehouse.com/cgi-bin/trajectory_maker.cgi

    I then took it to the tennis court and tested it with a two-handed backhand. It worked exactly the same in real life (as has everything else I’ve tested with its numbers). The “inputs” were *not* what I would’ve guessed. Hint: racquet face angle. . .

  2. Hi George,
    The lob piece is excellent.
    The lob, especially in senior tennis, is highly underrated and underused.
    Seniors don’t put overheads away like they used to and they don’t move back as quickly as they used to,. etc.
    Add sun, wind, and fatigue and use of the lob looks even better.
    Phil

  3. George another good subject for senior tennis players. Although we have many good senior lobbers you have certainly picked one of the best. The thing about Johnny
    O. is that he can pretty much lob off of any shot which makes him a solid competitor. I am still working on the lob and generally use it more of the return of serve. I believe the topspin lob is most effective but it is also most difficult to hit. Good lobbers can drive most ordinary players nuts. We had a guy in Columbus named Dave Delp and he lobbed on every shot. No one wanted to play against him. My biggest problem when lobbing is I hit too many short and get my partner killed. I guess we could all take a lesson from Johnny. We all must lob more when our opponents are crowding the net.

    Phil, you need a “PHD in lobbing” … Put it Higher and Deeper! thanks, george

  4. Johnnie O is the “lob master.”

    The offensive lob is the start of a 1-2 punch. When the lob does its work, get ready to do some damage with your overhead.
    A great play, especially against better players who thrive on groundstrokes. Sometimes, I think it makes them angry too:)

  5. The lob (which I rarely do :)) can turn a defensive position into an offensive position when the ball is lobbed deep into the opponents court and you and your partner have time to capture the net.
    Johnny O is a master of the shot!

  6. Great advice on lobbing. I have three thoughts on lobbing.

    First, because we’ve all played so much tennis, I think we all know how hard to hit the ball to make a good lob. The biggest problem, related to a recent George W comment request, is miss-hits. So, I think lobs require special focus on the ball to cut down on miss-hits.

    Second, as lobs grow increasingly important with age, I think we should be practicing them more. A ball machine is good for that. For lob returns you can set the machine on your side of the net, near the net strap, so it shoots balls on the fly over your baseline at the height and pace of serves. There is no bounce–you hit these balls on the fly, after you get in time with the ball machine. You can practice serve returns this way, say 400 in one session, including lob returns. I know it sounds crazy, but it’s the best ball machine drill I know of, given the game improvement per hour spent. You can practice all the other lobs with a ball machine set in the normal way, on the other side of the net.

    Third, here’s what I learned about topspin lobs from Michael Wayman, former coach at St. Mary’s College. 1) You should wait for the ball to come into you; that is, you move the contact point back away from the target about a half-foot or so. 2) You drop the racket down low on the backswing, and you get to that low point earlier than normal because the distance to the ball is longer, and you don’t want to be rushed. 3) You make contact slightly on top of the ball with a slightly closed racket face and, if possible, slightly below the center of the racket. You want lots of racket head speed, and you want to have the strings pull the ball up high over the net. It takes lots of practice to get confidence that the ball will go where you want it, but it can be the most effective shot in senior tennis. Returning serve, you can back up to the left when your opponent serves, prepare early, and hit this shot instead of the usual backspin lob over the net person. Even if it’s a little short, it’s hard to handle. If it’s over the net person’s head, it’s a winner.

    BJ, great points. Like you said, you have to really hit the topspin lob with confidence. Much like hitting a golf ball out of the sand trap… if you baby it, you will find your ball still inside the trap! thanks, george

  7. The lob is valuable at all levels of the game. In the serve-volley era, the likes of Segura, Rosewall, Connors and Evert all used it to great effect. It buys a player inches for passing shots. At the recreational level, overheads are guilty until proven innocent, so lob early and often. It can also be tiring to hit overheads. Though the whipping topspin lob has its moments, it can often go dangerously short. A nicely lofted flat or underspin lob is much easier to hit, provides far more margin and can be directed more accurately. As far as the lob volley goes, you better darn know what you’re doing when you hit it. Big pet peeve I have is partners who come to net and try the oh-so-cute half-volley lob over the net man. This works so rarely — usually the partner ends up crushed — that it should be left in the garbage can. Anyone who speaks critically of the lob has very little, if any, knowledge about what tennis really is.

    Joel, right … the half-volley lob is a shot for exhibition tennis matches! thanks, george

  8. George, learning to lob well is largely a matter of experience. It should be used more than it is. Especially, in senior competition. Think of the lob as a full groundstroke that you hit vertically instead of horizontally. John Owler made a good point, saying “Don’t picture lobbing over the net person’s head, picture where you want your lob to land in the court.”
    The offensive lob is designed to win the point outright whereas, the defensive lob can get you and your partner out of trouble and back in the match. Even on the service return, a lob over the net player is especially effective when the server rushes the net or the lob is directed to the server’s backhand corner. Also, if disguised and used properly, the lob volley can be a surprise shot over your opponent’s heads. Don’t neglect the sun’s advantage by throwing up a few lobs to help your team win a few points. Well-executed lobs can have a tiring effect on your opponents forcing them to stretch up to hit overheads. Aim for the clouds. Practice your lobs, then put them to work in competition.

    Glenn, you are the first to point out the strategic value of lobbing with the sun in your opponentโ€™s eyes! Thanks. George

  9. *Loved* BJ’s post. That bit about setting the ball machine up on *your* side of the net to simulate service return practice will be tested by me before the day is over. Had tried all kinds of things with no luck. *Had* read that the only way you can practice service returns (my biggest weakness) with a ball machine was to mount the machine ten feet above the ground. This could be huge. . .

    However, Coach Wayman’s #3 point needs another look – preferably with slow motion video. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Oh, and that lob volley. One of the most devastating shots in doubles and one of the most feared by me (along with well-executed, topspin lobs – a much rarer occurrence). One of the most entertaining matches I ever watched was at the National 60/65’s Clay Courts one year in New Orleans. The big crowd sitting up on that balcony was *constantly* giggling as Neal Newman repeatedly put up lob volleys (both right and left handed), driving the opponents nuts. ๐Ÿ™‚

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