The Lob


The stroke which sends the ball above the head of the net player. A high lofted ball which goes higher than the reach of the net player to land near the baseline.


The lob is an underestimated stroke used ineffectively by the majority of players. Matches could often be won by effective lobbing at the right time and are often lost through lobbing too infrequently and inaccurately.

1. In singles the lob is used to give the player time to recover correct court position when driven off the court. Also it is used to give the player time to recover her breath during a hard fought rally.

2. It is used as a point winner in singles, when the opponent is unable to run back and return the lob.

3. In doubles and singles it is used to drive the opponent back from the net.

4. In doubles the lob is used to mix up the team work of the opponents in addition to driving them from the net.

tennis Lob

Types Of Lobs

In general there are two types, the offensive and the defensive lob. The offensive lob is hit just out of reach of the opponent and does not give her time to run back and hit it on the first bounce. This lob is very difficult to accomplish successfully and is an advanced stroke, safe only in the hands of an expert. The defensive lob is hit very high, and the opponent may have time to go back and return it, but only if there is a goodly space behind the baseline. When there is little backcourt space the defensive lob is also a point winner. There is some question as to the fairness of lobbing in this situation, however.

1. The horizontal lob is taken with the racquet in a horizontal position, similar to the drive.

2. The vertical lob is taken with the racquet upright, or pointing down toward the ground.

3. The chop lob is taken by hitting down on the back of the ball, with the racquet in an open position so that the ball is deflected upward due to the racquet face angle.

Note – The type of lob used depends usually upon the type of ball sent to the lobber.

Stroke Analysis Of The Defensive, Horizontal Lob

1. Grip

Same as for the forehand and backhand drives, depending on whether a forehand or backhand lob is used.

2. Wrist Action

a. A quick snap of the wrist may be used with little arm action, or

b. The wrist may be locked, and an arm swing used. Note.—These two methods of stroking a lob are optional, depending on which brings the best results to the lobber.

3. Body Position And Action

a. No transfer of weight or body twist is necessary because care must be taken not to hit the lob too hard.

b. Side-to-the-net position (as in the drives) is best, but often the lob has to be taken in such a hurry that the most advantageous body position cannot be assumed.

4. Backswing

a. Racquet is taken back in line with side position of body, similar to drive.

b. Height of backswing is slightly lower than ball and depends on where the ball must be taken—sometimes off a very high bounce, sometimes off a very low bounce, or in between.

5. Forward Swing

a. Racquet and arm swing forward in an upward direction, at about a forty-five degree angle to the ground, aiming the ball at a point about twenty feet above the net.

b. The forward swing is short, only about two feet in length as compared with five feet in the drive. The racquet is stopped abruptly after hitting the ball. Thus there is no follow through in the lob.

Note – This is an important point to stress, otherwise the students will follow through as in the drive and send the ball far beyond the baseline.

6. Position Of The Ball At Impact

a. The ball will be taken best opposite the hip nearer the net as for the drives. Accommodation often is necessary in lobbing, and any type of swing or ball position which will achieve a successful lob may be used.

Note – There are two manners of hitting a lob, which are optional.

1. Be gentle with the ball, loft it gingerly with “velvet glove” touch.
2′. Give the ball a quick tap, aiming it skyward.

Common Faults Of Beginners

1. Hitting a lob like a drive, with too much force so that it lands far beyond the baseline.

a. Too much follow through.
b. Too much force in the swing.

2. Sending the ball too low over the opponent’s head, so that it can be volleyed.

3. The lob falls short, so that the opponent has no difficulty returning it. (The lob should land within three feet of the baseline).