Had a conversation with a teammate yesterday. She was telling me about a ladies 7.5 combo match she lost recently. She and her partner were 3.5s. Opponents were a 4.0 (bumped to 4.5) and a 3.5. First set 7-6 (with benefit of receiving 3 games and toss due to opponent's tardiness); second set 0-6, lost 3rd set tiebreak. Anyway, she said something I've been mulling. She said she thought she personally could have been more competitive if she knew how to lob. It was the one shot she desperately wanted in that match. No matter how hard or well she hit the ball from the baseline, there was no getting it past a 4.5-ish player who is draped over the net, secure in the knowledge that a lob will not be forthcoming. I started wondering if there are certain shots you really must own at various levels. I'm a 3.5 doubles player, and I think I won't make 4.0 or be very successful there without the following tools in the box: Topspin FH and BH groundstrokes Solid volleys Flat and slice serve Topspin and slice lob DTL FH and BH service returns Approach/half volley Good overhead I think I could do fine at 3.5 without the approach/half volley, the DTL returns, and the slice serve. But not 4.0. I think I can do pretty well at 4.0 without the following: Slice BH Drop shot Drop volley Kick serve What do you think? What's indispensable at your level?