Beating Lob Queens

Discussion in 'Adult League & Tournament Talk' started by Cindysphinx, Mar 26, 2007.

  1. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

    Aug 31, 2006
    OK, what is the best way to beat Lob Queens? Usually, lob queens haven't been a problem. Although 3.0s love to lob, they miss long or short often enough that I've never seen it as a winning strategy.

    Until last night.

    We played a 3.5 lob queen who seemed to have deadly accuracy, with her balls skimming the roof and landing near the baseline.

    Lobbing back was useless, as we always made the mistake first.

    Bringing the ball down with a groundstroke was not a good percentage play, as we were more likely to miss the groundstroke or hit something poachable. And the reply was yet another lob.

    Hitting on the rise isn't a skill I have down very well, especially if I'm scrambling the length of the baseline and can't set up well. A drop shot would have been nice, but trying a drop shot from behind the baseline off of a lob in doubles . . . didn't sound like a great plan.

    In "The Art of Doubles," the author advises using signaled poaches, where the net person signals a poach and then travels laterally and smashes the lob out of the air. Yeah, right. Let's just say that not a 3.0-level strategy, particularly as my partner and I had never played a match together and certainly had never tried signaled poaches together. And she doesn't have an overhead anyway.

    Is there *anything* else that might have worked against the lob queens?
  2. Mark Jensen

    Mark Jensen New User

    Feb 3, 2007
    I like that you read Blaskower, Cindy.
    She writes a good book.
    Great doubles strategy.

    Tough loss to the accurate lobbers.
    But I think your analysis was good.
    You could:
    Lob back (accurately to the deep corners helps)
    Straightening out the ball on the return is low % (bad idea)
    Hitting on the rise is a tough timing thing (but sometimes can mess up your opponent's timing if you can get it right)
    Dropper from behind the base line (bad idea)

    Blaskower is right in taking it out of the air. Letting it bouce puts you on the defensive way back in the court/fence. And by the time you hit a return, your opponents have taken the net. But you don't have to be fancy with a switch.

    If they're lobbing off of your serve:
    Both play back and have either of you take the lob as a forehand overhead depending on where the lob is placed.

    If they're lobbing off your return:
    Your already at the base line, stay there to field a deep lob (get under it before it bounces). You're partner is at the service line, instead of following your return to the net stay at 1st volley position. She can attack a short ball from there or fade back a little to place a nice overhead.

    Notice I say place the shot. Overheads need not be smashed. Less power=more accuracy. I try to bounce it off their shoes or into some very open court.

    What are some other strategies? I'd sure like to know too.:p
  3. goober

    goober Legend

    Jun 9, 2004
    You really don't have that many options. You have to practice hitting against lobs. The safest shot is to stand back and let it bounce ( I assuming that these 3.5 women are not hitting heavy topspin lobs). Either hit a groundstroke or another lob if you are pushed back very far. Get your partner and hit 50 lobs to each other and practice returning them. Once you get comfortable with that which may take awhile, you can start hitting on the rise or practice overhead smashing them. Your opponents exposed a weakness, now it is up to you to practice until it is no longer a weakness. This happens all the time when you move up levels.
  4. PushyPushster

    PushyPushster Rookie

    Mar 22, 2007
    Atlanta, GA
    comfort zone

    It might be worth trying to move her out of her comfort zone. If she's hitting lobs from her baseline which are zeroed in on your baseline then moving her closer to the net might work wonders. Not a fancy drop shot, just a shorter shot. See whether she's still zeroed in on your baseline when she has to handle a ball closer to mid-court. What this really begs for, of course, is an overhead smash but that's easier said than done. At least for me, anyway. :D
  5. maleyoyo

    maleyoyo Semi-Pro

    Apr 11, 2005
    I've played this type of player and I find the best stategy against them is to move them out of their comfort zone>>> the baseline. They can't lob well when they are on the run or move from side to side. I hit long or slice to their weaker side then hit short or drop shot to draw them in. You don't have to hit winners, just vary your shots, hit to their weaker side and make them MOVE.
    For them it's a test of patience, so if you lose patience they win. When you are lobbed, lob back because I think with your level it's a high percentage play and a chance to PRACTICE your own lob under pressure. Make a mental note that you are going to get lobs and prepare yourself better.
  6. cak

    cak Professional

    Feb 23, 2004
    As one of those lob queens I shouldn't be telling you this but, I absolutely love ladies who have better volleys than approach shots. If you run in on everything it makes my life incredibly easy. Stay back until you hit a good enough shot I can't have my way with it. Overhead smashes might be good, but in general, and I can lob back most overhead smashes I can reach. So try smashing it where I am not standing. Go for the angles, even if that means you take some of the heat off the shot. And those short shots, even at net, yes, a lob queen can lob from off a short volley, so don't stand really close to the net unless you are fast enough to run a lob down from there or are going for a shot you don't expect to some back. I've found improving volleys from a step or two inside the service line, rather than needing to be on the net, really stops the lobs. If you can chase them down the lobs they stop doing it.

    That said, all 3.5 lob queens I know have a plan B when you thwart plan A, so be flexible.
  7. Kevo

    Kevo Hall of Fame

    Feb 3, 2005
    Learn how to hit a topspin lob. I am maybe not the best person to give this advice since I have never been a 3.0 lady, but my wife plays that level and I have been teaching her how to hit a smart defensive looper off the moon balls. She's not perfect yet, but if you hit a moonball right, with spin, it will bounce very high, and it's a very difficult shot to do anything well with. I often hit them so they bounce over my wife's outstretched arm at the baseline, and she's 5'9". She really hates that, but it illustrates my point well. A lob hit with an open racquet face is one thing, but a nice topspin lob is another. I say learn to lob it back with spin, and you won't be worried about those shots any more.
  8. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

    Oct 1, 2005
    I will not crack a joke.
    I will not crack a joke.
    I will not crack a joke.
  9. cghipp

    cghipp Professional

    Jun 10, 2006
    This is my advice as well. If you learn to hit a topspin lob, you can hit a harder shot that will jump up off the ground at your opponent, and she will be much more likely to make a mistake, such as giving you a short ball.
  10. Islandtennis

    Islandtennis Rookie

    Dec 20, 2006
    As others have said Cindy, get her out of her comfort zone. Hit short balls. They don't have to be drop shots, just balls that make her come to the service line. If she runs back after she hits it, hit another one. If she comes to the net, lob or pass her.
  11. K. Wilson Moose

    K. Wilson Moose Semi-Pro

    Feb 18, 2004
    Good advice. Don't let them dictate play. Hit short angles and bring her in. If you can hit low slice shots even better. I have found that a lot of women are good side to side, but not so good moving up and back. Get a partner and stick with her and practice overheads. I have played some very good lobbers, and have had a great time cracking overhead after overhead. Anyway, if you bring these types to the net, your odds of winning the point goes way up. Moving forward, they will usually have a weak reply, setting up an easy volley or overhead for you and your partner. Take them out of their comfort zone.
  12. kevhen

    kevhen Hall of Fame

    Feb 20, 2004
    Auckland, New Zealand
    Lob back or hit a normal shot and then look to dropshot them on any of their short balls or at least hit a low slice that will lure them to net. If you do go to net, go behind a low slice approach shot so it will be harder for them to throw up a good lob. Don't get too close to the net, so that you can't get back to cover the lob. Practice your overhead and overall game against lobbers as alot of 3.5 women are lob queens! It's the best way to play at 3.5 level since most 3.5 women's overheads are very weak.

    Stand in the middle of the court, hit a ball about 20 feet up in the air, and then hit your overhead. Do this a few thousand times until the timing becomes second nature.
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2007
  13. MordredSJT

    MordredSJT Rookie

    May 10, 2006
    I will reinforce the idea that the best way to beat this type of player is to make it as difficult as possible for them to lob. Do not hit the ball TO this player on the baseline, ever. Use your angles. Make them run. Remember that doubles is more about where you hit the ball and not how hard you hit it.

    If they can throw up lobs off of balls below knee level while on a dead run...then they are just too good.
  14. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

    Aug 31, 2006
    OK, I will have to work harder next time. As I think back on it, we should definitely have tried something else. When you're down 4-0, ya gotta take some risks, right? Thinking back on it, I must have had many opportunities to overhead, as I was starting back on my own service game, at least.

    I think it is difficult to imagine overheading a ball out of the air from well behind the service line. Most drill classes have you start at the service line or closer. I wonder why pros teach it this way rather than having you 1 foot inside the baseline? Is it because they want to teach people how to move backward in the correct manner?

    Have I mentioned lately how much I detest playing on clay? No?

    Clay stinks.
  15. North

    North Professional

    Jun 21, 2005
    Yeah, I hate lob queens - I can't get as close to the net as I'd like. The best you can do is take it out of the air for a well-placed (not necessarily hard) overhead or lob right back. I have found that some lob queens will lob less incessantly after the first few lobs come back as successfully placed winner overheads or, if I am forced to strategically, as hard smashes right at their feet.

    And I agree, clay sucks to play on. Give me a nice fast court that speeds things up and punishes the out of shape trying to chase down fast-moving balls!
  16. tennisee

    tennisee Rookie

    Sep 30, 2004
    Look at what allows them to hit their first lob - try to take that opportunity away from them; can they hit a lob at full stretch running forward? - find out by dinking an angled return over the net and bringing them in. Can they hit a lob off a hard topspin return to their feet at the baseline? Have a go at it. These two have worked for me against men and women. Even if you are taking more risks and making errors I think sometimes it's more fun to try the strategies; at least you get to play on your terms and develop new skills. Recently my doubles partner and I were playing an old guy who either lobbed or sliced (fh+bh) everything. He had been doing it for 50 yrs or so and his accuracy was damn good if he had time to set up. Rather than get driven nuts we decided to just take everything in the air; no way would we win the lob/slice war.. Maybe you'll still lose, but one of the nice things in dubs is the chance to have a talk with your partner about what's going on, try some different things. Better than walking off afterwards frustrated by having been worn down by the same thing over and over.
  17. cak

    cak Professional

    Feb 23, 2004
    You can easily overhead a ball from behind the baseline, you do it all the time on your serve, but it probably won't be the winner your overhead from the service line will be, so expect it to come back. If you get it short and with enough slice, so it skips instead of bouncing up, it's not a bad approach shot.

    I personally love clay. First time I played on it was this winter, and it suits my game perfectly. You are rewarded for precision, and not so much for power. Being quick (for the odd bounces) is a bigger plus. And yes all spins, top spin, slice, everything spins more, and since I seldom hit flat it can be a ton of fun. I don't think clay is that forgiving for the slower player. If you are fast you can get to anything, including those netcord bloopers that just roll over. So the slow players are still at a disadvantage.
  18. BigJEFF

    BigJEFF New User

    Nov 7, 2006
    what I always do

    in warm up hit the overheads really hard and show them that you can hit that shot if you can't hit an overhead call the balls out lol Im kidding
  19. travlerajm

    travlerajm Legend

    Mar 14, 2006
    The overhead is one of the most underpracticed shots in tennis, especially at the lower levels.

    1. Practice overheads every time you step on the court, and learn to love your overhead. Once you learn to love you overhead, you will love playing against lob queens, and you'll lick your chops everytime the ball goes up.

    2. Practice your low volleys, and get good at volleys from mid court. Practice volleys from the service line until you can control them well. Unlike mixed doubles, where the woman should almost always crowd the net, in women's doubles you need to learn how to play 15-20 feet from the net, where you can still be offensive without getting beat by lobbers. As you progress to 4.0 and 4.5, the lobbers will only get better.
  20. AndrewD

    AndrewD Legend

    Dec 11, 2004

    I'm not advocating bad sportsmanship but remember, you're playing a doubles match against two opponents, not just the 'lob queen'. So, if they throw up a lob that you can smash (ie, one that isn't smack dab on the baseline), don't feel obliged to hit it back to the lobber. You can hit directly through the net player. Now, that doesn't mean you have to hit it at them (you can, but I'm not keen on that strategy), just that you direct the ball through the area they're in. It doesn't even have to be hit hard as you're really just faking them out.

    The end result of that option can be, 1) the lobber has to hit better, more pin-point lobs which increases the chance of them making an error, 2) the net player is forced back to the baseline making it harder for them to poach off your return of the lob, 3) you've got more room to direct your return of the lob and it doesn't have to be quite so accurate, 4) if only one of the two players is a 'lob queen' you can effectively remove that player from the point, 5) the 'lob queen' has to stop lobbing.

    NOTE: I'm not saying this is what I would do, but it is an option no-one had mentioned so I thought I'd throw it in there.
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2007
  21. kevhen

    kevhen Hall of Fame

    Feb 20, 2004
    Auckland, New Zealand
    On deep lobs behind the service line, you can hit a lob overhead back. Put your racquet over your head but take a very short swing and sort of bunt-lob the ball back over to the other side. I do this when falling back against deep lobs. It's a safe shot, not hit hard, with high net clearance and gives you and your partner time to get back on defense at the baseline.

    You can practice this overhead too without a partner by throwing the ball up and slightly behind you and stepping back and bunting it back over and work on bunting it at an angle that gives you good depth.

    But don't forget to practice your normal overhead. This is the strongest part of my game so my opponents are not allowed to lob or they have little chance of winning the point like 80/20. It helps that I am 6'4 with a powerful overhead, but if you want to thwart the lob queens as much as possible, you have to improve your overhead.
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2007
  22. Raiden.Kaminari

    Raiden.Kaminari Semi-Pro

    Nov 21, 2006
    Against a master lobber, I usually take the ball out of the air (near the baseline) by hitting something between a regular volley and a swing volley. My shot will usually go short, forcing the lobber out of his/her comfort zone.

    Another thing that someone else mentioned is to attack their partner. By taking it out of the air (everyone starts expecting lob wars at the lower levels), it reduces the amount of time they have to react if they were expecting you to lob as well.

    At the higher NTRP, we do lob, but usually more offensively. If someone puts up a lob with little topspin, you can bet an overhead is coming back their way. That said, a neutralizing overhead (someone mentioned "bunting" because that's the way it does really sound) is also in order.

    Bottomline ... have to be real patient and look for the opening.

    JHBKLYN Rookie

    Jan 28, 2007
    My take. First things first is to be a better player. She is 3.5 and you gals are not, most likely, she's probably better than you gals in all departments so you have to level the playing field and hit better strokes, especially overheads to defeat lobs.

    As others said, there are 2 players in doubles, you don't have to keep hitting back to her.

    If she is so consistant and can paint the baselines with her lobs and she wins a lot of matches, she'll probably move up to 4.0 and you won't ever see her again. :) Of course, others will take her place so it goes back to my first take, be a better player. :)
  24. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

    Jun 18, 2004
    Lots of good advice above. My advice is to: 1) get better at moving back for overheads. In teaching my classes I emphasized moving back for the overhead more that hitting the shot itself. A quick 3 steps as soon as the ball goes upward would have you back behind the service line before the ball even crosses the net - then gauge where you exactly need to be, moving forward to hit the ball if it is short - instead of floating back underneath the ball. Even then, a perfect lob will beat you, but you will find they are pretty rare. 2) Hitting to the other person, as others have said, is good advice, including hitting your overhead at them (they may tell their partner to quit lobbing) though I wouldn't hit at a women in mixed doubles unless she was a 5.0 or so and could defend herself. 3) as a general rule in tennis reducing the opponents' time to hit their shots is a key, so moving them - dropshots, short balls, angles, etc. as others have stated is excellent advice
  25. tennismax88

    tennismax88 Guest

    I think you need a lot of patience and a good overhead to beat a LOB QUEEN!

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