Passing Shot or Lob

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by slowfox, Nov 6, 2012.

  1. slowfox

    slowfox Professional

    Oct 3, 2011
    Which is better? Yeah, I know it all depends on the situation, players, etc... But I notice that pros tend to do more passing shots, whereas club players go to the lob more often. At my local park it's almost comical, as soon as anybody rushes the net up go the lobs even if there's a huge opening dtl or something. Maybe park players all have crap overheads..?? Thoughts...
  2. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

    Dec 28, 2008
    East side of San Francisco Bay
    Pass to end the point.
    Lob to extend the point.
    Netperson inside his service box, lob.
    Netperson still at the service line, pass.
    What can you do?
  3. Roforot

    Roforot Professional

    Feb 21, 2004
    I figure you're talking about singles; it's only at the 4.0 level that I started to see reliable overheads. To be honest, it's still a shot I work on and have had my misses at crucial points.

    I suspect most of the players you see are below 4.0. It's easier to pop up a lob especially w/ a chop stroke.
  4. TomT

    TomT Hall of Fame

    Jun 20, 2012
    Fort Lauderdale, FL
    Must agree with LeeD and Roforot.

    I would suppose that pros do more passing shots than lobs, as opposed to amateurs, simply because they stoke the ball so much better than amateur players. I suppose it's also a function of the power of today's game. In the olden days there were a lot more lobs in pro tennis ... at least I think there were.

    Also, as you mentioned, most 4.0 and below players don't have really good overheads, so, yeah, you lob them and then most likely they'll just get the ball back in play at best. And at least you've made them work a bit which might pay off later in the match.

    Anyway, as per LeeD, and even regarding current accomplished players (say, 5.0 or 5.5 and above) which is better, lob or passing shot, is at least somewhat a matter of circumstances.

    Of course, take what I've said with a grain of salt, as I don't have either a good overhead or a good lob, but I do think that after watching tennis for about 40 years I have some appreciation for the game. :)

    Anyway, sort of a cool question, which I think has been fairly well answered by the replies prior to mine. What do you think?
  5. Fuji

    Fuji Legend

    Aug 30, 2010
    It really depends on where I am positioned on court to be honest. If I'm behind the baseline it's a 50/50 of whether I'm going to lob or pass, since I usually have a fair bit of time.

    When I'm past the baseline I'm lobbing at least 75% of the time. My short lobs are absolutely killer for some reason, I just have a knack for hitting them from well inside the court.

  6. Bowtiesarecool

    Bowtiesarecool Rookie

    Aug 27, 2012
    New Smyrna Beach, FL
    If: My opponent is not close to where I've decided to hit the ball, passing shot.

    My opponent is in the way, or I'm rushed and need to make up some time, lob.

    I also like to throw in a very hard slice if my opponent is really close to the net and I can't pass him. Seeing hard baseliners come inside and hit into the net puts a smile on my face every time.
  7. dlam

    dlam Semi-Pro

    Aug 3, 2010
    Normally I pass from BH side and topspin lob from my FH side, that's just my preference.
    If I'm really stretched then I defensive lob from my BH and try a running passing shot from my FH side.
    My options are more related to how much time I have to get to the ball
  8. fuzz nation

    fuzz nation G.O.A.T.

    Oct 20, 2006
    Tough to say exactly when to use which shot, but one thing to keep in mind with the pros is that their strokes are reeeeeally good. They can often neutralize opponents at the net by pounding on them with too much heat for those opponents to produce any more than a defensive volley with not much zip on it. If the rest of us try for that too much, we're likely to spray too many shots and give away too many points.

    If I'm scrambling, the lob can be my only option to prolong the point, but I prefer to NOT use it if I have other options. It's a rare occurrence that a routine lob will really turn the tables, especially in a doubles setting. For any real success with that shot, it has to be deep in the opponent's end.

    The key against a net-rushing opponent is to not hit the panic button and attempt a miracle. That's going to get you donating way too many points to the other guys. Use a routine stroke in a passing attempt, but resist swinging for too much pace. Stretch a net rusher to one side and they won't have as much authority on the volley reply. Then you've got them out of position.

    The best way I know for taking away a net rusher's advantage is to keep your shots low. I learned to slice off both wings before I learned to hit with lots of topspin, so I'm quite comfortable (and especially accurate) with hitting those shots at net players. Keep your shots down around waist level and an opponent will have no power in his/her volleys compared with a ball that's up around chest or head height. That's a free lunch for even a mediocre volleyer. Even if an opposing team has charged to the net behind a deep low approach, you can neutralize them big time if you can answer with a waist high reply. Be ready to rush forward behind that shot because it can force a soft 'n short ball from the opponents that begs to be put away.
  9. watungga

    watungga Professional

    Nov 7, 2011
    On the incoming ball and you're in position, if you want to use the balls incoming speed, pass it back early.

    On descending ball return, lob or highspeed topspin.
  10. xFullCourtTenniSx

    xFullCourtTenniSx Hall of Fame

    Sep 28, 2009
    Uhhhh, yeah they do. Footwork for overheads on deep lobs is VERY rough. And it's easier to lob one really high that lands on the service line than it is to hit one of those in the air or even off the bounce unless you're active, which most park players aren't.

    Passing shot is much better unless you know (or are willing to bet) that your opponent is too close to the net. At the higher levels, even deep overheads are taken in the air and are very aggressive shots.
  11. 2ManyAces

    2ManyAces Rookie

    Jan 29, 2011
    I usually go pass first. Then if they get it back, lob.
  12. Coach Chad

    Coach Chad Rookie

    May 12, 2012
    Asheville, North Carolina
    There was a time where I would always I work the angles on a passing works! Just don't panic and try to put extra pace on it...that leads to unforced errors.
  13. tennisdad65

    tennisdad65 Hall of Fame

    Feb 29, 2008
    somewhere in calif
    good ones.. some more rules:

    old guy on the other side - lob
    young gun who can backpedal and hit a scissor kick smash - pass

    4.0 and under - lob
    4.5 - depends
    5.0 and over - pass
  14. dlam

    dlam Semi-Pro

    Aug 3, 2010
    Why does it have to either lob or pass?
    I like the Lendl type hit hard at the opponents navel
    I do this if my FH lob isn't working either cause I don't lob it high enough that day or the opponent has a great overhead
    This keeps the fellow guessing low, high for shot directly at him rather left, right for a passing shot.
  15. Prodigy1234

    Prodigy1234 Rookie

    Apr 5, 2012
    Sometimes I'll go with a heavy topspin shot over their racquet that dips into the court, barely
  16. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

    Dec 28, 2008
    East side of San Francisco Bay
    Poster 14, your idea only works if the netapproacher hits a short, weak shot.
    That doesn't always happen. Most netapproacher's are looking to hit their shots within 2' of your baseline.
  17. LuckyR

    LuckyR Legend

    Jun 2, 2006
    The Great NW
    Assuming you are playing singles and you have a Modern game, once you wipe the silly grin off of your face when you figure out the guy is approaching the net, why wouldn't you unleash a barrage of passing attempts, yielding weaker and weaker returns until you win the point? If you have a Modern game, you would only lob if the approach was so great that you couldn't hit a pass.
  18. tennis_ocd

    tennis_ocd Hall of Fame

    Aug 17, 2011
    Percentage tennis. Pros (men especially) are much, much quicker in recognizing and getting back to lob than club players. And when they do, the overhead is very aggressive. Add to the mix that technology has made the hard, top spin return much more effective and you see the trend to lesser net play. And when confronted; a pass vs. lob.

    At the club level it's a different game. Slow get back and even when doing so, the deep overhead is problematic. Avg club player may have a glimpse of a pro's hard forehand but not the speed and accuracy. Close net player will have time to get to all but the best placed passing attempt and resulting volley will find a slow, deep player.

    imo, a shame in that passing and volleying are much more enjoyable than lobbing and overheads (need to get confidence in overhead!).... although many seem to take as much pleasure out of a well placed lob as I do a crisp pass.
  19. dominikk1985

    dominikk1985 Legend

    Feb 11, 2011
    passing shot of course. good players handle overheads really well even on their back foot.

    to end the point you will need to hit a really nice lob usually with topspin. I would only do that if the opponent rushed the net too close and you have time to execute.

    the defensive lob (non topspin) is more of an emergency stroke. when you really out of position and just reach the ball a lob sometimes is the only option.
  20. kopfan

    kopfan Rookie

    May 6, 2009
    This is a matter of shot selection based on the situation. If I have time to prepare and an opening for a passing shot, i will go for it. I will do a lob when defending, lacking time and can't spot any opening.

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