How to handle the "constant" lob

Discussion in 'Adult League & Tournament Talk' started by Mosey, Aug 25, 2011.

  1. Mosey

    Mosey New User

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    I'm a 3.5 league player. I have a decent forehand and backhand. My overhead needs work. I've recently played 2 guys who lob pretty much every time. Not just when I'm at the net, but on every ball. It's a very safe shot and they do it very consistently. It lands about halfway between the baseline and the service line or close to the baseline, then bounces high. If I'm at the baseline, it forces me back at least 4' behind the baseline in order to get set up so I can hit it about waist high. I can't hit an aggressive shot off it, just a normal groundstroke that goes deep.

    The first guy is not in good shape and I was able to move him back and forth and wear him out, so I won.

    The second guy is in good shape and can run all day, so I couldn't wear him out. I finally lost in 3 sets because I tried to get more aggressive and started missing. It's hard to do much with a ball that bounces so high and deep. He hit some short balls and I had some chances to come in, but I had to stay so far back to be ready for the deep bounce that it was hard to get to the short balls in time, so I didn't hit good approach shots, then just got lobbed again.

    I would appreciate any advice you all have on how to handle this type of player.
     
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  2. shazbot

    shazbot Semi-Pro

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    I played a guy like this in my USTA this season. He was undefeated coming into our match. I beat him in straights.

    He would do high lobs, landing pass the service line and a little inside the baseline, then charge the net. I would just wait for the ball to drop and make him hit a really tough volley, or I would hit over head smashes very hard right at him. I guess the key to beating them, is to work on your smashes from the baseline.
     
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  3. MrCLEAN

    MrCLEAN Rookie

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    Work on your overhead. Then take them out of the air for outright winners, or to put him on the run and come in behind your overhead and put away the probable easy volley.
     
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  4. Govnor

    Govnor Professional

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    Had a 16 year old do this to me yesterday. I did not have an answer, at least a good one. She was very good and she didn't only do this, but she used it to good affect on me, lots on topspin on it, it was tricky. I do not have the timing needed to hit a good return, so I'm thinking I will need to entertain hitting a volley back inside the court, an overhead might be possible if it dropped short, but she was getting it close to the baseline every time. Tricky tricky shot.
     
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  5. MrCLEAN

    MrCLEAN Rookie

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    Just out of curiosity, do any of you guys hit overheads on the fly, before the bounce? Your problems are over against this type of player if you can. Either that, or volley it (I know it sounds weird, but its not that hard) short and make the opponent hit something other than topspin lobs at you. What you DON'T want to do is get overly aggressive unless you have the game to back it up. That said, you also don't want to get in the habit of playing 10-15 feet behind the baseline where you can't hurt your opponent, and your reply allows them plenty of time to line up their next lob.
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2011
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  6. Coach Carter

    Coach Carter Rookie

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    I'd agree with Mr. Clean...if you have good overheads or volley, you are "in". Hit your overhead or mid/deep court volley towards a corner. That will eliminate much of his/her comfort to just throw something up. Then secondary, I have always encouraged bringing this type player to the net with short balls. Takes them away from their comfort zone and gives you more options.
     
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  7. spaceman_spiff

    spaceman_spiff Hall of Fame

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    In addition to the suggestions to work on your overhead, I also suggest learning to slice.

    I've learned most moonballers don't like hitting shots from down low because it's harder for them to get the racket below the ball to get topspin, so their shots become flat lobs which are less effective. So, hit slice serves and slice backhands. Then, any flat lob that lands reasonably short is there for the overhead.
     
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  8. Mosey

    Mosey New User

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    Thanks for all the help so far. I'll start working on my overhead and try taking them in the air next time.

    I thought about trying to run up and volley them, but thought it would be a hard shot. I'll try it though, maybe it's not as hard as I think.

    I'll also try slice as suggested. I actually did try it some last time, but I don't use it a lot and kept putting them into the net.
     
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  9. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    It's not as hard as you think.

    I have a friend who plays singles. I lob, so I have been helping her learn to deal with lobs when she is at the baseline.

    In the past, she would try to run in and take these balls as overheads. This was a hot mess. The topspin would bring the ball down faster than she anticipated. Or she would have keystone cops moments when she overran it moving forward, only to watch it bounce over her head.

    What has been working in our practices is have her take these balls as 1H slice volleys. Just step forward, take the ball at a comfortable height, and slice it to either corner. It doesn't take some amazing shot to put the lobber in trouble. By taking it out of the air, you have robbed them of time. By slicing, you have kept the ball low. You have done this without incurring risk, as your shot is really pretty execute reliably.

    So. Start volleying these shots, taking care to get some slice and with a goal of slicing deep to the corners, away from them. The lobbing will stop.
     
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  10. MrCLEAN

    MrCLEAN Rookie

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    Keep in mind that the volley off a lob will not be a winner, it's a set up shot. Your next shot will be the winner.
     
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2011
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  11. j00dypoo

    j00dypoo Rookie

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    I usually either let it bounce and set up an overhead or take a swinging volley before it bounces at around mid court. The swinging volley seems to be a relatively new thing on the pro circuit too. It's supposedly a very tough shot to time... and I agree with that but for some reason I'm much better with swinging volleys than overheads near the baseline.

    I personally suck at slices, but as other posters have mentioned, slicing and keeping it low wreaks havoc on top spin lobbers.
     
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  12. Limibeans

    Limibeans Rookie

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    IMO, you should almost always play an overhead on the fly. The only times you should not hit it on the fly are if...

    1) You lose it temporarily in the sun.
    2) The ball may be out in which case you may want to let it bounce.

    You want to hit the ball on the fly because you dont want to ball to hit the court because after it does that, it could influence the shot you can play off it. For example, if it bounces low, you might not be able to hit an overhead, or you may be limited to deep angles. If it bounces too high, you may miss it, or it could spin out of reach/play.

    If you catch it in the air, you can hit it where you like in the arch, at the height you want, meaning you can choose any angle or placement you like.



    Secondly, if you want a more consistent lob, you can always try your second service motion, for more spin than pace. You can still aim the ball where you want, but the second service spin will keep it more playable. The ball will have a tendency to slice more than usual, so take that into account if you're a right hander trying for the line on the ad side.

    You dont always have to hit a lob flat, or allow it to bounce off the strings with no stroke (which is what some 3.5's do).

    You can still hit high percentage winners on overheads without having to be flashy and trying to crush the ball outside of the fence. Every once in a while you'll get a nice feed and you can slam it as hard as you want. It's a confident booster.
     
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  13. Limibeans

    Limibeans Rookie

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    Oh, and get into the habit of playing the ball on the fly if you intend to move up. The more skilled the player, the more chance of a lob being an outright winner as the lobs move more forwards than upwards in higher levels of tennis.

    And as you have mentioned swinging volleys, you can try those too, but for balls higher than 7 ft. in the air, you probably want to hit an overhead, lol.
     
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  14. Mosey

    Mosey New User

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    Thanks for all the advice. I practiced overheads with a ball machine today and made some progress. The ball lands about halfway between the baseline and the service line (slightly closer to the service line). If I'm at the net it's out of my reach, but I can back up to about the service line and get them. But, he hits these lobs all the time, even when we're both back. So, if I'm behind the baseline then it's tough because I have to get up to it before it bounces. If I let it bounce, it forced me way back again. I thought about trying to hit it on the rise, but that's tough to do, but I'm going to work on that some more. Otherwise, I end up trying to hit it around chest high while I'm running forward, which is not working out at all.
     
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  15. Bash and Crash

    Bash and Crash Semi-Pro

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    If the lobs are landing near the service line you should be able to track down fairly easily, if not your are closing in too close to the net especially if you know they lob. If the lobs are high and landing deep when you play back I would think you could hit a nice overhead just like a service motion, unless these guys are the greatest lobbers ever. May be just me but I love it when my opponent lobs because it means the point will soon be over, and that they have no other weapons but a nice juicy sitter.
     
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  16. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    The troublesome ball you describe is exactly the ball that is begging to be taken as a traditional 1HBH slice volley.
     
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  17. Bash and Crash

    Bash and Crash Semi-Pro

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    yep, a nice drive volley off of either wing
     
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  18. Mosey

    Mosey New User

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    If I'm at the net, he does have the skill to hit a high deep lob, so I have to watch out for that. But, the main problem is not when I'm at the net, it's when I'm back behind the service line.

    "If the lobs are high and landing deep when you play back"
    They are not landing deep when I play back, they are landing 2'-4' behind the service line. He doesn't lob real high, so the ball doesn't take a long time to get over to my side. Maybe I shouldn't call it lob. It's kind of a real "high over the net" rally shot. If I'm at the net, it's barely out of my reach (I'm 6' tall and have long arms). When I'm back behind the baseline, if it was a higher lob I would have more time run up and get under it. But, if I'm 4' or so behind the baseline I really don't have much time to get up to the service line and set up for the overhead. Maybe I should try getting into "no man's land" so I don't have so far to go? I'm not sure if he has the skills to hit them right at my feet or not.

    "1HBH slice volley"
    What is a "1HBH" slice volley? I know how to hit a slice volley when I'm at the net (note I said I know how, that doesn't mean I always do it right!). I tried running up on these from behind the baseline and volleying them, but it's tough. The ball is dropping fast.
     
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  19. stapletonj

    stapletonj Semi-Pro

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    "I also suggest learning to slice" - THIS

    a good approach shot has three good characterisitics

    1. deep
    2. near a sideline
    3. stays low

    IF your aproach is one of the 3, at 3.0, you will get a weak reply or outright winner

    If you are 3.5. you need 2 of the 3

    If you are playing 4.0 and above, you need all three. 2 of the 3, you may be OK, but the next stroke better be a better one than your approach. 1 of the 3? You are in deep kimchee.....

    nothing fancy, just a rule of thumb.

    another option is to kind of take the ball on the rise after it bounces. need to have your swing be flat and around shoulder height. it is imperative to start your swing a little early to allow yourself to make contact in front.

    a defensive lob hit with backspin, especially if it is goign to bounce around the service line is one to let bounce, especially at lower levels. taking 100 foot in the air lobs out of the air is pretty darn difficult b/c that ball is dropping MUCH faster than you are used to. better to let it bounce.
    a topspin lob is a different story, ALWAYS take that one out of the air, if not you are in TROUBLE.

    hope this helps!
     
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  20. rjw

    rjw Professional

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    +1 for taking them out of the air and ramming them down.....you get the picture....rent a ball machine and within an hour, it's a done deal
     
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  21. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Yes, exactly.

    The ball is dropping fast. An overhead is out of the question. It is too low, it is dropping fast, you are too deep.

    There are two options. One is a drive volley, or swing volley. Basically you move up and crush the ball. This is fine if you can get into position. The reason it is not my favorite response is that it doesn't solve the problem if you can't hit winners. The next ball will be a lob if you hit your swing volley with topspin or flat.

    The second option is a regular old volley, sliced, with one hand. You have time to move forward and slice to one of the corners. You can then move right in to net, or not, depending on whatever is happening. The great thing is that since you have moved forward off the baseline, you've taken away some time. And because you have hit slice, the pass or lob that is coming back will be a very hard shot.

    If you can go out with a friend and practice hitting slice volleys from no-man's land, you will find them to be pretty easy. Even easier than having to do it while at the net. The reason is that you have all kinds of time to set up compared to when a ball is blasted at you while at net.

    I hope that helps. I played a woman who hit all kinds of "low lobs" that I couldn't get under, and I had a lot of success hitting slices to the corners.
     
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  22. ATP100

    ATP100 Professional

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    Chances are, your ground strokes are better than your volley or overhead. So, practice those, but, on the rise is the best bet for now, keep practicing on the rise with the ball machine. This will make you better at all the lobs. (short, deep, topspin,)
     
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  23. OrangePower

    OrangePower Hall of Fame

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    I second the strategy of taking the ball on the rise.

    True, if the 'lob' your opponent is hitting is only landing 3-4 feet beyond the service line, then moving forwards and hitting it as a volley is a good option.

    But what if you come across someone who hits their groundstrokes as lobs, but they land a foot or less from the baseline? In this case a volley is a low-percentage shot. So for this you really need to learn to play the ball on the rise; otherwise you are going to be backed up and on the defensive, or else you'll get yourself into a lob war.

    So you may as well start practicing taking the ball on the rise, in which case this is also very effective against shorter lobs as well.
     
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  24. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    ^My pro did a drill with me recently that really helped my hitting on the rise (a work in progress). Basically, we rallied but I wasn't allowed to step any deeper than the baseline. Very helpful, that. I hadn't realized that I was backing up on balls I could hit very well on the rise.
     
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  25. achokshi99

    achokshi99 Rookie

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    Take the ball on the rise, if it's landing between the service and baseline, you need to attack that, even if you don't follow into the net. Also learn how to drop shot or give these guys a short ball if they are unwilling attackers what they will do is pooch it over and be in no man's land and you can lob them.

    Also why do you need to hit your shots waist high? I take it you are not hitting open stance FH?
     
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  26. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Do you know WHY PeteSampras would take those NML overheads with a leaping tomahawk putaway? To demonstrate his FUN putting those shots away and to demoralize his opponent who uses this strategy. Both work to discourage NML lobs.
    Work on your overheads, your game is not complete.
     
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  27. lostinamerica

    lostinamerica Semi-Pro

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    While hitting overheads for winners is great, I suspect that person would not like you dragging them up to the net. Lobbers typically hate the forecourt.
     
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  28. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    True that, and when they run in to retrieve your drop shot off their slow moving, high bouncing lob, you preplan a lob over their backhand side deep CC so they get to run back too.:):)
     
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  29. Caesar

    Caesar Banned

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    Go out on the court for an hour. Hit half an hour of overheads and half an hour of slice backhands.

    When you're playing him, hit a slice backhand approach, then hang back a little when you come to the net. His lobs are nowhere near deep enough. One step backwards and it's in your perfect hitting zone. Simple. You'll eat him for breakfast.

    People are far more afraid of overheads than they should be. If you have a smooth action and good footwork, it very quickly becomes the easiest shot in tennis.

    Atrocious suggestion. Disregard.
     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2011
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  30. ttbrowne

    ttbrowne Hall of Fame

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    Usually against 3.0-3.5 guys who lob, If you put the first lob away with prejudice...you won't see a whole lot more. Go for the first one.
     
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  31. cknobman

    cknobman Legend

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    Honestly I would work on my overhead and if needed I would even take some lessons and drills to get it down right.

    I have been in your shoes before and it is very frustrating to deal with constant lobs but it highlights a very significant weakness in your game that you should address.

    If you dont want to work on the overhead then you need to work on the swinging volley and taking that lob out of the air on the way down vs waiting until it bounces.

    Letting the ball bounce is giving your opponent a lot of time which is exactly what they want/need. Taking the overhead or a swinging volley will rob them of the time they need and force errors or even get them to stop lobbing and alter their game plan.

    Once you practice the overhead or swinging volley and make it a reliable tool in your game then these "lobbers" will be easy pickings and quick matches!!
     
    #31
  32. Orion3

    Orion3 Semi-Pro

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    As suggested earlier - step in and try to take the ball earlier.

    IMHO a constant lobber is the worst kind of pusher - lob, back in to position, lob..... monotonous to the extreme - you end up with a loss through bordom.

    The lob gives them time to recover and by stepping in and taking the ball early (on the rise) you deny them that time. Ideally you will hit wide of their position so they have to move - sure they may make it and through up another lob, but is is unlikely to be as controlled as normal and so you may get an easy(ier) put away. Worse case, you just need to step in, hit it wide and make them run the other way.
     
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  33. Mosey

    Mosey New User

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    I finally beat this guy! I used a combination of the suggestion I got here. I worked a lot with the ball machine on overheads, volleys, and slice. I learned to hit slice from the baseline on high bouncing balls, both forehand and backhand. I got to where I can hit a hard deep slice with a lot of backspin from the forehand side and I have plenty of time to run around them. I also got to where I can hit deep slice with a lot of backspin off my backhands side, they're not as hard but the backspin is effective. I follow them in and then get a volley that I can handle. I made a lot of mistakes, since I just learned these shots, but stuck with it and won anyway.
     
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  34. Orion3

    Orion3 Semi-Pro

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    Nice one, keep it up!
     
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  35. MethodTennis

    MethodTennis Hall of Fame

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    If you have the option, play him indoors?
     
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