Saw a real life moonballer in USTA.

Cindysphinx

G.O.A.T.
It was a true topspin moonball. I taught myself once I switched to SW grip, by drop feeding. With closed racket face.

Opponents would come off the court talking about how it would kick.

And remember . . . Their moonball wasn't bouncing over my head and into the desert.

I can still do it, but I am not as accurate as I used to be, and I spend much less time at the baseline so I have less opportunity.

I plan to learn a lob volley this year to deal with ladies who have been taught to crash the net when they volley.
 

S&V-not_dead_yet

Talk Tennis Guru
I plan to learn a lob volley this year to deal with ladies who have been taught to crash the net when they volley.
This is a great way of punishing those who only know how to move forwards. Do that 2 or 3 times and they'll be hesitant. Then you can attack their feet.
 

jm1980

G.O.A.T.
I never knew this was a thing.
This was a spectacle to behold.

Player A would launch 7 or 8 moonballs during every point.
I'm talking straight up. Almost as high as the lights.

Player B did not take one overhead smash.
He would just bunt it back in play.

The cycle would repeat, ad infinitum
The points would go on forever.
I am talking 20-30 ball points.
The match lasted almost 3 hours.

Player A would bagel me, straight up, in 45 mins. 6-0 6-0.
I would be spraying overheads everywhere, and each point would be over in 2 shots, LOL

Player A is undefeated at the 4.0 level.
Smart strategy and master tactics are what it takes to win at 4.0
The topspin bashers stay at 3.5 or 4.5
Sounds like an excellent way to win a lot of matches at 4.0, but an even better way of getting people to stop playing with you
 
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I don't play with people who are so feeble-minded that they think they can dictate how the opponent plays.
These are the same types of clown who complain about pushers, junkers, drop shots, and slices.
They invariably are doomed to a lifetime of 3.0 and 3.5 hell,
and people like this will NEVER push your game forward, so good riddance!

There are hitters, and then there are players

Tennis seems to be the only sport where the loser of the match can actually blame the winner for his loss.
It is a sport of complete and utter self-delusion.

"He did not hit in the style I prefer. That is why I lost"

or

"The guy is a pusher, and plays fake tennis, and that is why I lost"

Name one other sport where the loser blames his loss on the winner being an inferior player/team.
If I am not clear, I am not referring to, "I lost to that guy because he has a killer 140mph serve"

There is an implication of the winner being inferior, or playing incorrectly.

"That clown only hits moonballs, that's why he won"
(Learn to return moonballs)

"That clown is a pusher, that's why he won"
(Learn to hit balls in play)

"That idiot ran around his backhand, that's why he won"
(Adapt)

"That clown sucks, look at his ugly strokes, how did he win?"
(Learn to hit balls in play)

"That guy hits with no pace, he's awful, that's why he won"
(Learn to hit balls with no pace)

"That guy just slices the entire match, he's awful, that's why he won"
(Learn to hit slices)

This is a biblical level of stupid.
This person literally does not understand "sports"

Imagine the team losing to Emmitt Smith era Cowboys, or Walter Payton era Bears complaining they they did not play real football because they run the ball too much.

You do not get to dictate how your opponent should play. That is the entire premise of "competition". The entire POINT of tennis is to not give your opponent easy balls to hit. THE ENTIRE POINT.

Imagine the guy who gets KO'ed by Tyson saying Tyson is a terrible talentless boxer, since all he does is move around too much. IF TYSON WOULD STAND STILL, I COULD KNOCK HIM OUT !!

THE only reason the COWBOYS beat us, was because they ran the ball all the time.

These are the words of a fool.

However, it is a reality in rec tennis. People like this simply should not be playing tennis. At least, not keeping score. They are too clueless to keep score. Just rally from the baseline and have a nice life.
 
That's why one of my plans is just to fight fire with fire. As I said earlier, 10 lobs in a row was the max I ever saw someone persist with lobs in a rally before they said, "Ok this is stupid, I might win but we'll be here for hours."
Yep, it also depends how good your moonballs are. If I know after 5 moonballs each you are going to drop one short that I can drop shot or an angled forehand or backhand, then I will do that. In that scenario, I do't think we would have 10 moonballs in a row, because one of us would hit a groundstroke a little shorter that one of us would be able to attack.
 

jm1980

G.O.A.T.
I don't play with people who are so feeble-minded that they think they can dictate how the opponent plays.
These are the same types of clown who complain about pushers, junkers, drop shots, and slices.
They invariably are doomed to a lifetime of 3.0 and 3.5 hell,
and people like this will NEVER push your game forward, so good riddance!
If you are a pusher/dinker people are probably not lining up to play with you, either

If your goal in rec tennis is just to win no matter what, then all the power to you. But how much does it really mean if you are the best 4.0 or best 3.5 in a small pond?
I personally don't understand that mentality. It's just rec tennis. You aren't making a living beating up on old and out of shape accountants, dentists, and middle managers
 
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r2473

Talk Tennis Guru
Yes, after you rise to the top of the 4.0 ranks with your 4.0 moonball, you start encountering 4.5s who have no trouble crushing those for winners all day long. Back to square one. :-D
This is who I want for an opponent when moonballing. The guy that tries to crush winners from behind the baseline. I like my chances.
 

sredna42

Hall of Fame
Because rec tennis isn't necessarily about winning.
You'd think that. I personally don't mind losing as long as I'm hitting well and its s good match. But nearly every rec comp I've played in, it's all fake smiles " just have fun" platitudes whilst they are all desperately and seriously trying to win. Hooking constantly. Whining about trivial rules or the ball quality. Etc. There's only a smattering of people who just like to play and aren't sad petty weird 2 faced slobs with their ego wrapped up in the scoreline
 

mad dog1

G.O.A.T.
This is who I want for an opponent when moonballing. The guy that tries to crush winners from behind the baseline. I like my chances.
When you reach the top of 3.5, you get bumped. When you reach the top of 4.0, you get bumped. Try your 3.5 moonball against a mid to strong 4.0 and they will make you pay. Try your 4.0 moonball against a mid to strong 4.5 and they will make you pay.

Yeah, 3.5 moonball works against 3.5. 4.0 moonball works against 4.0. Won’t work so well against higher level competition.
 
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Dartagnan64

G.O.A.T.
Yep, it also depends how good your moonballs are. If I know after 5 moonballs each you are going to drop one short that I can drop shot or an angled forehand or backhand, then I will do that. In that scenario, I do't think we would have 10 moonballs in a row, because one of us would hit a groundstroke a little shorter that one of us would be able to attack.
That's probably why 10 was the max. Someone either hits one long or short and the point can be changed from a lob war to more horizontal tennis. Or they just get bored. But there was one guy that was a recalcitrant lobber. It took a concerted effort to get him out of lob tennis. But I can be patient especially if I know you're plan B plays to my strengths. Most lobbers I play have no ability to play strong groundstrokes so I'm generally not too worried about them if I can get them off their lob game.
 

vex

Hall of Fame
I never knew this was a thing.
This was a spectacle to behold.

Player A would launch 7 or 8 moonballs during every point.
I'm talking straight up. Almost as high as the lights.

Player B did not take one overhead smash.
He would just bunt it back in play.

The cycle would repeat, ad infinitum
The points would go on forever.
I am talking 20-30 ball points.
The match lasted almost 3 hours.

Player A would bagel me, straight up, in 45 mins. 6-0 6-0.
I would be spraying overheads everywhere, and each point would be over in 2 shots, LOL

Player A is undefeated at the 4.0 level.
Smart strategy and master tactics are what it takes to win at 4.0
The topspin bashers stay at 3.5 or 4.5
No, you simply lack the ability to handle his particular strategy. For many players, even 3.0s who play lots of doubles this would just be overhead practice and the moonballer would move on to plan B. But bc people like you and player B don’t have good overheads he is apt to abuse the gap in your skills.
 

eelhc

Hall of Fame
What about the aggressive topspin lob/moonball? One of my favorite set pieces is the high roller topspin shot to the backhand corner and come in. If I think the ball is going to land within 4~5 feet of the baseline and my opponent does not have time to run around his backhand, I'm at the service line 100% of the time and

Also, I think the discussion should be differentiated between singles and doubles. Even at the lower level doubles, unless your lob is perfect all the time, you'll not have a partner who'll want to play with you. I recall years ago playing mixed doubles, a guy tried to lob over my partner, not a bad but not a great lob either. I called "mine" and smashed one of my best overheads at the net women's feet near the service line. Didn't see a lob again from the dude all match.
 

undecided

Semi-Pro
I play with a friend that developed the moonball to my bh as a strategy to defend against my topspin shots to his bh. It took him years to develop this to be quite accurate. Literally about a decade. So, this moonball to my bh was causing me issues as it drops straight down from the sky with little pace so it is susceptible to movement by any wind. What this did is cause me to improve my game to counter this one shot. I can now pick those right off the bounce and topspin them back to his bh corner. I can also occasionally if they are slightly shorter come in and volley/slice them to his FH corner as he is camped in his bh corner expecting a bh reply that he can moonball again. I now win 60% or more of these exchanges but it does require a lot of focus, the shots required are not the standard baseline rally ball which is what everyone hones over the years.
 

Dartagnan64

G.O.A.T.
What about the aggressive topspin lob/moonball? One of my favorite set pieces is the high roller topspin shot to the backhand corner and come in. If I think the ball is going to land within 4~5 feet of the baseline and my opponent does not have time to run around his backhand, I'm at the service line 100% of the time and

Also, I think the discussion should be differentiated between singles and doubles. Even at the lower level doubles, unless your lob is perfect all the time, you'll not have a partner who'll want to play with you. I recall years ago playing mixed doubles, a guy tried to lob over my partner, not a bad but not a great lob either. I called "mine" and smashed one of my best overheads at the net women's feet near the service line. Didn't see a lob again from the dude all match.
You definitely have to distinguish between the 60 foot lob (in the OP's case) and the 20 foot topspin moonball. The aggressive topspin moonball is a very hard shot for any sub 4.5 tennis player to attack and is in an entirely different category than a lobber.
I've been destroyed by the player that can hit that deep topspin moonball to my BH then attack the net.

I also agree that doubles is an acid test for the quality of both your moonball and your lob. If you aren't solid, you will get eaten alive by good doubles players. I play a guy that destroys me in singles with his high arching topspin shots, but in doubles I can compete on an even ground since I've learned to attack the net aggressively so i don't let those balls ever bounce.
 
I don't even know how to hit the 60 foot moonball.
But, recently, when I have a lot of time, but at the baseline,
I try to loft one up to the BH side. Lately, I've been coming up short, but it's rare they attack even a badly executed MB
 

Dartagnan64

G.O.A.T.
You'd think that. I personally don't mind losing as long as I'm hitting well and its s good match. But nearly every rec comp I've played in, it's all fake smiles " just have fun" platitudes whilst they are all desperately and seriously trying to win. Hooking constantly. Whining about trivial rules or the ball quality. Etc. There's only a smattering of people who just like to play and aren't sad petty weird 2 faced slobs with their ego wrapped up in the scoreline
Fortunately I play at a tennis club where there is a lot of social activities and social tennis going on. So everyone is on there P's and Q's generally. Getting blackballed at a club where you spent $30k initiation fees is a stupid thing to do.

So I'm conscientious not only about how well I play but also how I play. Am I being sporting? Am I complimentary of opponents good shots? Am I calling lines fairly? Am I playing a style of tennis that will get me invited back? These are actually more important considerations for me as nothing is worse than begging for tennis invites because no one wants to play with you.

But within those parameters of sportsmanship and style, I definitely try to win. But if I can't beat you by opening up the court and hitting it by you, then it's time to work on more weapons in my game. Not time to put up 60 foot lobs.
 
That's probably why 10 was the max. Someone either hits one long or short and the point can be changed from a lob war to more horizontal tennis. Or they just get bored. But there was one guy that was a recalcitrant lobber. It took a concerted effort to get him out of lob tennis. But I can be patient especially if I know you're plan B plays to my strengths. Most lobbers I play have no ability to play strong groundstrokes so I'm generally not too worried about them if I can get them off their lob game.
I think there is a big difference between moonballs because that's one of the only shots you have versus moonballs as a tactical strategy. It seems like you're describing someone who is using the moonball because they don't have much else. If I'm losing the point every time, then I'm not moonballing you anymore. I'm not saying that I'm anything near a great player, but I definitely don't feel like I have to moonball, I just moonball if I think it will help me win. Plus longer points are good exercise!
 

WestboroChe

Hall of Fame
Good is relative.

My coach hits a “good” moonball that lands a few feet inside the baseline with a ton of topspin so you run out of room if you try to move back to hit the ball on the way down. I can’t win the battle of moonballs against him.

A 3.5 guy I occasionally hit with hits a “good” moonball and I can either take 2-3 steps back and hit a groundstroke to either corner and make him run to draw an error or I can step in and take it on the rise and hit it for a winner. You know what he said after i hit a few of these for clean winners? “None of the guys I normally hit with can attack that ball.”
You have to be able to take those on the rise. Easier said than done.
 

blablavla

G.O.A.T.
What about the aggressive topspin lob/moonball? One of my favorite set pieces is the high roller topspin shot to the backhand corner and come in. If I think the ball is going to land within 4~5 feet of the baseline and my opponent does not have time to run around his backhand, I'm at the service line 100% of the time and
that doesn't sound like a moonball.
rather a good top-spin, at good depth and solid height, meant to trouble the assumed weakness of your opponent.
let me guess, if your opponent instead of an out / net gives you a short ball in return, will you hit another "moonball" or will you hit / try to hit a winner?
 

blablavla

G.O.A.T.
Uhhhh,, Come into just behind the service line or stay on noman's land and hit overheads into the corner. Overhead doesn't even have to be hit hard. even if he gets the 1st overhead, next one will be shorter lob, and you can put that away
exactly.

Must be the weakest 4.0 league ever. Every 4.0 I've come across is pretty decent at overheads and many are decent at taking moonballs on the rise and smacking them hard into corners.

As Jolly says, you learn to hit Overheads so you don't have to. I've faced these people in mixed and after a couple overheads from the service line, they kind of quit doing it. Or look entirely lost that plan A isn't working.
yeap
 

blablavla

G.O.A.T.
You don't dictate against a moonballer,
you just try to stay in the point.

Trying to short hop / half volley a moonball on the baseline takes years of training
And the 1 in 10 you get over the net, he is waiting to volley it away, and you have almost zero control on this reply
It's a lethal strategy, and that is why he's undefeated.
by the description of the moonballers you are giving, it sounds a lot like Nadal in disguise.

Jokes aside.
It all depends on your skills and on your opponent.

1. assuming you face a real pusher, who never tries to hit winners and is afraid of the net:
if you lack the overhead, and don't want to practice it in real match, then against a true pusher you can play half-volley / hit on the rise.
you don't have to hit winners, just keep the ball in play.
your answers will be all over the place, which will mean that the pusher has to run a lot and work with "junk balls"

2. if you lack overhead, then against same true pusher you can hit the "drive-volley", which is almost identical to the forehand / backhand, but you don't wait for the bounce, you hit in the air
you'll probably end up as well hitting a lot of mixed bag balls, junk balls, ok balls, so your pusher will have to run a lot, but as the pusher by definition doesn't try to hit winners, it's ok

3. if you lack overhead, then against same true pusher you can hit the volley. Yeah, it's gonna be from somewhere close to the baseline, but that's ok

4. practice overhead, approach the service line, and hit overheads from there.
No need to crush winners.
You are essentially "stealing" time from the pusher, so while the moonballs / lobs will keep coming at you at slow pace and give you time to set-up the overhead, the opposite is quite different. The overhead smash will be coming back to the pusher much faster, simply because the ball will be travelling smaller distance

5. don't forget drop-shots, short balls, etc. As per your definition of pusher, all they can do is send deep moonballs from baseline.
Once they have to hit the ball at the net, they might simply lack the skills, so why to play their game?

6. If your pusher can hit the baseline (+/- a foot) 10 times every rally, and meet you with good passing shots when you simply approach the net, perhaps your opponent is not a pusher, perhaps it is a good player that identified your weakness and is simply using it
 

Powderwombat

Semi-Pro
Yea so the last time I visited this forum I think TimetoPlaySets was talking about how he was training to hit the ball well and didn't care if he lost the odd match doing so.

Now I come back to find he's turned into Captain Moonball McPusher. What the ****
 
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Yea so the last time I visited this forum I think TimetoPlaySets was talking about how he was training to hit the ball well and didn't care if he lost the odd match doing so.

Now I come back to find he's turned into Captain Moonball McPusher. What the ****
Yes, I now hit a heavy ball.
But, I would get obliterated by a moonballer.
I don't have the skills to be a moonballer, I just hit heavy topspin on both wings.
 

Dartagnan64

G.O.A.T.
Yes, I now hit a heavy ball.
But, I would get obliterated by a moonballer.
I don't have the skills to be a moonballer, I just hit heavy topspin on both wings.
Well sounds like you’d be fun to rally with but you’ve got to learn overheads, volleys, lobs, slices to become a complete tennis player and learn to beat pushers and moon ballers.
 

blablavla

G.O.A.T.
Well sounds like you’d be fun to rally with but you’ve got to learn overheads, volleys, lobs, slices to become a complete tennis player and learn to beat pushers and moon ballers.
it is a bit funny and weird.
on one side you (@TimeToPlaySets ) apparently learned fast, and didn't care about making mistakes on proper paced balls till you mastered them, on the other side, for some reason you are afraid of the overhead vs moonballers.
seriously, in the case of the overhead, you don't need to crush winner attempt one after another, simply hitting them already "steals" time from the moonballer and completely changes the situation to something they don't expect.
so I can only copy @Dartagnan64 and say that you need to learn additional shots
 

NastyWinners

Professional
it is a bit funny and weird.
on one side you (@TimeToPlaySets ) apparently learned fast, and didn't care about making mistakes on proper paced balls till you mastered them, on the other side, for some reason you are afraid of the overhead vs moonballers.
seriously, in the case of the overhead, you don't need to crush winner attempt one after another, simply hitting them already "steals" time from the moonballer and completely changes the situation to something they don't expect.
so I can only copy @Dartagnan64 and say that you need to learn additional shots
Hell, just drill it down the middle at them. What works best for me against a true "pusher" is giving them no angles to work with.
 

blablavla

G.O.A.T.
Just hit intentionally short and drop shots to force them in and pass them - pushers can't volley.
yeap, with a heavy topspin from both wings that should be easy.
mix lobs with passing shot with playing into the feet with heavy paced shots. In this case you will be regularly catching them off-guard, which combined with low to non-existing volley skills will mean panic on the pusher side.
what can be funnier than looking how a pusher plays a drop shot / short ball and runs back to the baseline before you hit the ball?
in this case, you have 100% control over situation.
 
I can hit overheads.
I just drilled overheads this morning

However moonball is a difference beast.
I think that people really underestimate the difficult of slamming an overhead winner from the baseline. Players like Federer make it look easy, but at the 4.0 level, it's just not common at all for players to be able to blast a winner from an overhead around the baseline. Yes, it's not uncommon for players to hit an overhead from the baseline, but generally, the overhead is not hit hard enough and with enough accuracy for the other player to not track it down.
 
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NastyWinners

Professional
I think that people really underestimate the difficult of slamming an overhead winner from the baseline. Players like Federer make it look easy, but at the 4.0 level, it's just not common at all for players to be able to blast a winner from an overhead around the baseline. Yes, it's not uncommon for players to hit an overhead from the baseline, but generally, the overhead is not hit hard enough and with enough accuracy for the other player to not track it down.
Great thing to practice is the hard overhead into a conservative spot and move up off it. Give your opponent a rushed feeling.
 
Great thing to practice is the hard overhead into a conservative spot and move up off it. Give your opponent a rushed feeling.
Absolutely. I think, for a 4.0 (myself included!), it's not super smart to try to blast overheads from further back in the court for winners, because we (generally) aren't good enough to have that level of precision and power consistently. I totally agree that hitting an overhead at 75% potential speed to a big target is a great idea. Because, coming from someone who has had to chase a lot of these balls down, I often have to bunt these balls back, and if you can quickly take the net, then a volley winner is very possible.
 

NastyWinners

Professional
Absolutely. I think, for a 4.0 (myself included!), it's not super smart to try to blast overheads from further back in the court for winners, because we (generally) aren't good enough to have that level of precision and power consistently. I totally agree that hitting an overhead at 75% potential speed to a big target is a great idea. Because, coming from someone who has had to chase a lot of these balls down, I often have to bunt these balls back, and if you can quickly take the net, then a volley winner is very possible.
The other thing is it makes you get into the thinking of the 1+1 winner. It's a great strategy to set up the next ball for an easier attempt at a winning shot.
 
The other thing is it makes you get into the thinking of the 1+1 winner. It's a great strategy to set up the next ball for an easier attempt at a winning shot.
I also think that bunting the ball back in the air from the baseline, as has been mentioned previously in this thread, is also a really good strategy. You would be surprised how just taking away that little bit of time affects the person moonballing. It can throw the person moonballing slightly out of rhythm.
 

Dartagnan64

G.O.A.T.
I can hit overheads.
I just drilled overheads this morning

However moonball is a difference beast.
moonball back and come to the service line. This will be the acid test for your volleys and their passing shots.

I find in general the easiest shot is often a direct reply of what they just hit you. It's relatively easy to slice back a slice shot, moonball back a moonball and lob off a lob. Changing pace, direction and trajectory is a lot harder. So if you are facing a moonballer, match them first then test them.
 

WestboroChe

Hall of Fame
I have to admit that I would find the player the OP describes to be a nightmare to play against. Especially if he has topspin I can imagine myself getting very tired very fast retrieving that.

So I think I would try two things. First would be to try to hit the ball on the rise early. This would give me a chance to get my legs under me and feel it out before the score gets too high later on.

I know I would find that very difficult but if I could be at all successful it would keep my opponent from spinning me off the court. Then maybe I could start chipping and hitting some angles to move him around and try to keep the game short and quick. Trying to avoid playing to his game. I’ll never beat him at that even though my natural inclination would be to try.
 
Hitting a moonball on the rise is VERY difficult.
I hit balls on the rise often, in GS rallies.
Moonball will bounce straight up and with different speed.
You will be lucky to get 1 in 5 back over the net.
And that one is a weak dribbler that will get volleyed away.
Moonball 60 footer is lethal and will not be countered by hitting on the rise by anyone except ATP pros, MAYBE
 

WestboroChe

Hall of Fame
Hitting a moonball on the rise is VERY difficult.
I hit balls on the rise often, in GS rallies.
Moonball will bounce straight up and with different speed.
You will be lucky to get 1 in 5 back over the net.
And that one is a weak dribbler that will get volleyed away.
Moonball 60 footer is lethal and will not be countered by hitting on the rise by anyone except ATP pros, MAYBE
Ok, then. Well I guess I would learn within a couple of points that that would not work. So what would you recommend then? I can and will moonball back and forth but that seems like a losing proposition.
 
Personally, I never have played a moonballer, but I would try to overhead smash everything
lose the match, and consider it a free lesson of OH feeds
 

Dartagnan64

G.O.A.T.
Personally, I never have played a moonballer, but I would try to overhead smash everything
lose the match, and consider it a free lesson of OH feeds
I played a moonballer tonite in men's doubles. The big moon balls I just hit slice overheads that didn't bounce high. The shorter moon balls I just hit back as slices or flat shots and came in. Turns out not hitting topspin back at him worked best. Keep the balls low and short.
 

Cindysphinx

G.O.A.T.
Or you could just learn to volley properly, then you won't need to hit a low-percentage novelty shot.
Gotta pick the right tool for the job. The lob volley can be the right tool.

And what makes you suggest that a lob volley is not a proper volley? You need correct technique to execute it consistently, right?

A lob volley is not low percentage at my level. Many players cannot volley unless they are close to the net, and many do not recover their position or run fast enough to catch up to a ball that gets over them. The entire back court is undefeated. And at my level, anything you can execute that does not involve sending the ball into the opponents wheel house all night is a net plus.
 
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