How can I improve my lob ROS for doubles?

EddieBrock

Professional
Lately I've noticed more server's partners crowding the net. This is especially true when the server has a big serve. Naturally the way to counter this is with a lob, but my lob off a serve where I'm reaching or struggling to get back isn't very good. A lot of times I'll miss it wide, which I guess means I'm hitting late. Other times my lob is almost like I'm feeding the net man an overhead and even though he's crowding the net he can still get it. I don't usually miss it long.

So should I try to swing harder or open up the racket face more? I'm using a slice return since I figure a TS would be harder when I'm stretched. It seems like a very important shot to have in doubles and not one I ever really practice.
 

FuzzyYellowBalls

Professional
Practice, set up a ball machine to hit into the service box or a partner. Another baseline drill with a ball machine oscillating the placement for variety. I then, for about half an hour, hit drop shot...lob....drop shot....lob over and over.
 

Dartagnan64

G.O.A.T.
I find it hard to lob back a big serve. Maybe you should jus settle for blocking it back cross-court?
I'm more in this camp. Angled block back has always been my safest return on a hard serve. I reserve the lob returns for the spin serves as it's easier to lob a more vertically moving ball.
 

socallefty

Legend
Aim for depth and height to get over the net guy rather than spin (slice or top). Hit the back of the ball with an open face rather trying to contact under the ball. Make sure you have enough racquet head speed to generate enough depth if your lobs are short.
 

eah123

Semi-Pro
@EddieBrock I agree with you that the lob return is an important one to have in doubles. When you are late, that is usually because it was a hard serve. I think hard serves are not worth it to attempt a lob. Better to just go for a low cross-court return. Even if the opponent net player can get a racquet on it, they can't hit it hard and your net player should be able to get to it.

When you hit a lob return, don't expect that the net man or the back player won't be able to get to it. As long as you hit it deep enough, they can't hit an overhead back that is very hard.
 

HuusHould

Professional
I think if the serve is good enough and you're stretched sufficiently you have no option but to lob. You don't always have to lob dtl, esp if it's over the net players bh, you can lob x court. I think a serve of about 160- 180kmh can be a relatively easy serve to lob in reply to. (I'd prefer it to a sharply breaking kick serve) It's all about repetitions of what you're doing, it is hard to simulate, but you need to do it and get 100s of reps in if you have the time. As some may have noticed I'm a big wall advocate, obviously the issue is that you can't tell if your lobs are going in, but you can get a feel for the timing of the shot, and you'll have some idea if your lobs are going in and you almost always have to make minor adjustments to your shots for the conditions on a given day anyway. Smash the ball into the wall to put yourself at full stretch, then lob. But the wall has to be very high, or have a net above it. But if you can find one that's high enough it's invaluable. Alternatively, get someone to serve to you fast and steep from just inside the service line and lob.
 
Lately I've noticed more server's partners crowding the net. This is especially true when the server has a big serve. Naturally the way to counter this is with a lob, but my lob off a serve where I'm reaching or struggling to get back isn't very good. A lot of times I'll miss it wide, which I guess means I'm hitting late. Other times my lob is almost like I'm feeding the net man an overhead and even though he's crowding the net he can still get it. I don't usually miss it long.

So should I try to swing harder or open up the racket face more? I'm using a slice return since I figure a TS would be harder when I'm stretched. It seems like a very important shot to have in doubles and not one I ever really practice.
Swing? This makes me think the serves are pretty slow. If the serves have pace, they shouldn’t have to be hit with a swing, but rather with more of a volley technique. If you watch players warm up for overheads, they just “punch” it the necessary amount. That should do it. You are really just redirecting it. If the serve is slow enough, you should be able to use a ground stroke and miss the net guy. At least that is what I would work on fixing before lob technique ( again, if serves are slow).
 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
Simple.

Develop a more profound understanding of projectile launch angle, court geometry, the gravitational force, your racket specifications & string properties as well as the atmospheric viscosity and how it relates to the Magnus effect.

Also helps to know the GPS coordinates and mobility of your opponents.
 
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EddieBrock

Professional
Swing? This makes me think the serves are pretty slow. If the serves have pace, they shouldn’t have to be hit with a swing, but rather with more of a volley technique. If you watch players warm up for overheads, they just “punch” it the necessary amount. That should do it. You are really just redirecting it. If the serve is slow enough, you should be able to use a ground stroke and miss the net guy. At least that is what I would work on fixing before lob technique ( again, if serves are slow).
By "swing" I just meant the technique for hitting it. I am doing more of a volley motion off these fast serves but rarely hit a good lob. It's just frustrating to see the opposing net player so close and not be able to lob him.

If the serve is slow enough I can definitely attack it or lob off it. It's mainly these fast serves that give me trouble
 

RobS

Rookie
This may seem counterintuitive but when facing a big server in doubles, I try to step inside the court, cut the angle and take away the net players time to poach. Not that this is successful at a high rate but when I can get a decent read on the serve or see a pattern I find hit more successful than returning from deep or stretched wide.
 
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