LOB technique in tennis
In tennis, the goal of the lob shot is to hit a ball over the opponent who is in volley position. The lob can be both a defensive and offensive tactic.
But it also can be very frustrating: too short, it helps your opponent shine with a free smash and gives him confidence. Too long and it’s frustrating and annoying because “there was extra room.”
And yet, it’s a shot that’s often underestimated and therefore underused.
All you have to do is observe a coaching session at any tennis club or academy. You’ll notice that there are few game situations that require a lob. This leaves little time for working on the smash in training (let’s be honest, 40 seconds for every hour of practice right?).
Now you’re telling yourself that instead of attempting a banana shot that finished at side court and nearly took out your opponent’s eye, you should have hit a high and deep lob that your opponent would have planted in the net. And you are most certainly right.
The classic LOB
The grip can vary from a hammer grip to a continental, even half-closed. Set up is like for back of court shots, but the preparation stance can be slightly narrower. The racket descends and the head opens. The player takes a big bend in both legs to adjust racket position, transferring body weight to the back leg. The head is open, the end of the racket following an ascending trajectory from a very low position to very high one. The movement is fluid, slow and controlled. A progressive extension of the knees takes place as the body weight shifts forward and up.
The racket head is open, and the wrist stays strong on impact.
The movement of the racket follows the ball’s trajectory. The end of the movement is very high and the racket finishes over the head, the body balanced.
The lifted LOB
The lifted lob is an attack lob for when the opponent finds himself close to the net after having approached it without doing much damage. After passing over the opponent, the ball falls fast to the court and spurts away from him.
The player uses the same grip and preparation stance as for elevated back of court shots. At the end of set up, the racket is practically at ankle level, the head closed, knees bent, and body weight shifted to the back leg.
When initiating the shot, the player must thrust forward and up using the back leg as he tilts his upper body to the sky and sends the racket head to meet the ball in a dynamic upward motion.
Upon impact, the wrist should be flexible and relaxed, allowing the racket to gain great speed.
Follow through happens in a forward and upward motion, following a pronounced ascending trajectory. At the end of the movement, the racket should be well above the player’s head, the body well balanced throughout the follow through.
The slice LOB
The slice lob is a defensive lob where the player hits a high shot in hopes of gaining time to move positions during the sequence.
The player uses the same grip and preparation stance as for slice backcourt shots. At the end of set up, the racket should be practically at ankle level, the head open. Knees are very bent with body weight shifted to the back leg.
When initiating the shot, the player must thrust upwards off the back leg, turning the upper body to the sky and sending the racket head to meet the ball following a flat and ascending trajectory. Upon impact, the head is open, and the wrist stays firm.
Follow through happens in a forward and upward motion. At the end of the movement, the racket should be well above the player’s head, the body and arms remaining well balanced throughout the follow through.