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Medved
08-20-2007, 07:13 PM
I watched a very interesting junior women's tennis match the other day. First off these girls had obviously had a lot of coaching. Judging from the amount of on court equipment and the size of their bags, they'd obviously put a lot of money into their games.

The winner had a very interesting style. She hit everything about high as she could. If you weren't willing to step in and take the ball on the rise, the ball would just bounce right over your head. It wasn't a pretty style but it seemed quite effective. Her opponent didn't know how to deal with it. She tried stepping in and attacking some balls, but this is higher risk play and she ended up having to hit four or five very difficult flat shots to finish the lobber off. To me this pressure of having to step in and finish the point, was a recipe for losing at all but the highest levels. Who really has that kind of control to hit four five flat groundstrokes in a row to finish off a lobber. I certainly don't. Granted in the mens game I think I could have used my height, strength, net coverage, and serve enough to make lobbing a less effective strategy.

But for this girl who got beat it was painful to watch. Her strokes were stellar. She could really rocket the ball off her forehand and backhand for her size, but even at her level (probably junior tournament girls level) she didn't seem to have the tools (footspeed, stamina, net coverage) to put away a player with that lobbing strategy. None of her fine stroking seemed to matter when all she seemed to see were balls a half a foot over her head backing her up to the fence. What would you tell her if you were her coach? How do you deal with that?

Didn't Tracy Austin use this method to frustrate her opponents to no end? What finally beat her? Did the women at the top just get bigger, stronger, and faster, or is there a better strategy to dealing with the lobber?

FEDEX1
08-20-2007, 07:29 PM
tracy austin had to retire very young do to injuries. she turned pro very early tho. i'm not sure of her injury

AceofBase
08-20-2007, 07:41 PM
If i were her coach, i would tell her to hit a drive volley or slice it before its hit the ground. Just hit the ball before its land and plus its a lob so you can still have time to hit it while its in the air.

Fedace
08-20-2007, 07:46 PM
Also i have seen older guys that are fairly strong lob very accurately to my surprise. they would put up a fairly deep and high, i wasn't sure how to combat this ??

Loco4Tennis
08-21-2007, 09:16 AM
this is a good question/dilema,
if in this situation, i would return the same way, a lob for a lob, did you see her try this?
also, where her opponent's lobbs landing far back on the court on first bounce, or short?
i have a sister who is playing highschool tennis, her 2nd season, i told her to treat lobs and over heads the same way (wait for the bounce and hit with a controled forhand), since she is limited on the acuracy to pull off a good overhead; i've been playing for years and still have trouble; timing is the key on a high ball!
also when you say "lob" i am assuming the ball is going over her head before the first bounce,
a "moon-ball" goes up high and lands infront of you, if you let it bounce then it goes over your

Craig Sheppard
08-21-2007, 09:24 AM
I play a few different lobbers on our local circuit here... I get into a rally with them by hitting back more high top spin shots, and then if I get one to my backhand, slice or dropshot it inside the service line. They usually have trouble scrambling in to get these, and if they do, they rarely hit another lob back... so you break them out of their pattern and can usually hit a winner or overhead.

Loco4Tennis
08-21-2007, 09:29 AM
If i were her coach, i would tell her to hit a drive volley or slice it before its hit the ground. Just hit the ball before its land and plus its a lob so you can still have time to hit it while its in the air.

i think your idea is also good, i would use a short volley to make them come up to the net and if they hit a moon-ball (assuming thats what the person is doing) i would be far back enough to "LOB" the opponent

LuckyR
08-21-2007, 10:58 AM
Being juniors (you didn't state their age) they are going to be more vulnerable to high shots. However even the most mediocre player is going to get taller over time so this is a deadend strategy.

I would advise the losing player to use this type of match as an approach/overhead drill and work on taking the ball early. Naturally, once at the net the lobbing expert will not try to pass, but will lob. Therefore being "at the net" would mean: camping a step behind the service line, so lobs will be overheads, not a scrambling retreat to the baseline.

arnz
08-21-2007, 01:52 PM
How did the lobber win? Because the other person made a mistake. The lobber/moonballer/pusher etc are all the same type of players, defensive players who rely on the other person to make a mistake.

In other words, the person who gets one more ball back inside the lines wins. The one who tried to go for too much loses

habib
08-21-2007, 03:32 PM
Do something that takes the lobber out of their comfort area - in this case: standing on the baseline and hitting lobs. Rather than trying to hit flat bombs off these high balls, she should either have, as others have recommended, returned equally high lobs with great spin, or otherwise tapped them short to bring the lobber in to net. Slicing the ball, whether for a drop shot or to discomfort the opponent would also be a good idea.

Alternatively, just step it and tap the ball off the bounce so it plunks into the opponent's service box and dies.

Trickster
08-21-2007, 05:27 PM
This sort of thing is common place in junior tennis - just one of those things.
I highly doubt you see this kind of player in the higher, more competent age ranges.

Yes they might developed into pushers/soft ballers but I have never seen anyone at a high level moonballing...

fgs
08-21-2007, 06:12 PM
trying to blast a winner off each of these shots will definitely have you go out of breath by the end of the first set, provided you are not a truly top notch player who manages to shoot four winners out of five shots.
the alternative is to alternate high bouncing topspin shots (preferably to the bh-side) with short slices (preferably to the fh-side), in order to get your opponent out of his/her comfort zone.
if your opponent still withstands this approach, it's time for more practice.:D

Medved
08-21-2007, 07:44 PM
These girls were at least 16 so in my opinion they were both done growing. The lobber seemed to win by superior athleticism more than anything. Yes the loser did try to go lob for lob, but it seemed that anything short of taking the ball on the rise would leave you swatting at a ball 10 feet in the air with your back scraping the back fence. That was basically the battle and the winner was better at this type of battle.

Slicing the backhand seems like a good idea to me. At what height do you try to catch a slice backhand? I've been having a difficult time lately keeping my underspin approach in the court. It always wants to go long, especially when my contact point is high.

Don't get me wrong, the loser was a very skilled tennis player in my opinion. Yet it seems tough for anyone to consistently step in and time lob balls consistently. She often ended up making contact well abover her head. Hence those forehands lacked power and accuracy. The other thing going against her was the fact that the winner played such good defense that she had to hit at least 3 of these hard on the rise forehands to win the point. The law of averages clearly is not in your favor in this type of scenario even with very good stroke control. Chances are you're going to miss more often than you put her away. Both girls were probably about 5'7.

Medved
08-21-2007, 07:54 PM
Another problem I saw both girls having in what seemed like a war of lobs was that it's very difficult to hit a semiwestern forehand on a ball that has bounced high and is coming straight down.

I believe parf of the problem was that in their minds they both didn't want to go to the net because the player hitting the passing shot seemed to usually get the better of those exchanges. For this reason, they didn't think to get their weight forward anyway, which you sort of have to do when a ball like this looper forces you to flatten out your swing. Otherwise your forehand will sail long.

To me it seems pretty difficult to hit a ball falling straight down off your backfoot in the modern flamingo forehand style.

Even though in theory a lot of these loopy balls would have been high enough to hit an overhead, it seemed almost impossible to time something like that. The ball still had enough forward and backward motion that it would have thrown me off. Maybe it would have been safer to hit such a ball with a topspin type of swing on the overhead? I've seen Patrick Rafter do this on occasion. It seemed safer and not much less effective than a flat overhead.

Rickson
08-21-2007, 09:39 PM
If i were her coach, i would tell her to hit a drive volley or slice it before its hit the ground. Just hit the ball before its land and plus its a lob so you can still have time to hit it while its in the air.

I'd do that, pluck that ball out of the air.

fgs
08-22-2007, 12:09 AM
these short slices i was referring to are preferably to be hit waist to shoulder high, giving you sufficient netclearance for a slice (read flat) shot.
what you describe seems to be a tactical skills problem.

lakis92
08-22-2007, 01:43 AM
Good slice hits don't give that chance to hit a lob. It's much more difficult. So, if I were she, I'd try to hit some good approach slices and get to the net. Net coverage has to be a little bit good though.

arnz
08-22-2007, 03:07 AM
Another problem I saw both girls having in what seemed like a war of lobs was that it's very difficult to hit a semiwestern forehand on a ball that has bounced high and is coming straight down.

I believe parf of the problem was that in their minds they both didn't want to go to the net because the player hitting the passing shot seemed to usually get the better of those exchanges. For this reason, they didn't think to get their weight forward anyway, which you sort of have to do when a ball like this looper forces you to flatten out your swing. Otherwise your forehand will sail long.

To me it seems pretty difficult to hit a ball falling straight down off your backfoot in the modern flamingo forehand style.

Even though in theory a lot of these loopy balls would have been high enough to hit an overhead, it seemed almost impossible to time something like that. The ball still had enough forward and backward motion that it would have thrown me off. Maybe it would have been safer to hit such a ball with a topspin type of swing on the overhead? I've seen Patrick Rafter do this on occasion. It seemed safer and not much less effective than a flat overhead.


OK, first of all, terminology wise, I consider a high ball a lob when somebody is at the net, otherwise I call it a moonball when the other person stays at the baseline also.

Second, A more skilled opponent would have done at least some of the things mentioned above, like slice the ball short, angle it off, etc. so that the moonballer/lobber would be taken out of their comfort zone so they wouldnt be able to moonball/lob as effectively. It just seems to me that if the other girl was able to flatten that ball out 4 times in a row and failed on the fifth time as you said in your original post, she would have come to net to finish it at least one of those times. Nobody can continue to lob/moonball consistenly deep off of a well struck ball.

Do you really think it would take a Patrick Rafter to beat such a type of player? I mean. try that high lob/moonball thing on Serena Williams and see what happens

predrag
08-22-2007, 04:47 AM
Another problem I saw both girls having in what seemed like a war of lobs was that it's very difficult to hit a semiwestern forehand on a ball that has bounced high and is coming straight down.

I believe parf of the problem was that in their minds they both didn't want to go to the net because the player hitting the passing shot seemed to usually get the better of those exchanges. For this reason, they didn't think to get their weight forward anyway, which you sort of have to do when a ball like this looper forces you to flatten out your swing. Otherwise your forehand will sail long.

To me it seems pretty difficult to hit a ball falling straight down off your backfoot in the modern flamingo forehand style.

Even though in theory a lot of these loopy balls would have been high enough to hit an overhead, it seemed almost impossible to time something like that. The ball still had enough forward and backward motion that it would have thrown me off. Maybe it would have been safer to hit such a ball with a topspin type of swing on the overhead? I've seen Patrick Rafter do this on occasion. It seemed safer and not much less effective than a flat overhead.


Like somebody herer (habib?) said what should be done is hit high (not a moonball)
very spinny topspin deep to the moonballer's weaker side (usually backhand).
Your goal is to hit your strength (usually fh) to your opponent's weaker side.
This usually means run around backhand and hit inside out forehand, high and spinny topspin.
Goal is to be patient and wait for the shorter ball and than take it either on the rise
or swinging volley or volley.

Again, this is not lobbing war.
Very agressive loaded topspin high and deep.

Regards, Predrag