Saw a real life moonballer in USTA.

Cashman

Hall of Fame
Lob volleys, swinging volleys, tweeners, pancake serves, underarm serves, moonballs - they can all be effective.

They’re also novelty shots with limited use-cases that are largely unnecessary or sub-optimal if you can execute your fundamentals effectively. Putting a bog standard volley on someone’s feet or angling it off is always a better percentage play than trying to get tricky with a lob volley.

Way too many rec players are more interested in developing funky shots than just doing the boring stuff right.
 

FiReFTW

Legend
Yes a true moonball indeed is very hard to hit on the rise, a heavy spin high net clearance ball is much easier but a moonball has a huge arc and no spin and bounces very upwards and is very hard to time on the rise.

The best way to deal with these balls most effectively is to develop a consistent overhead from the baseline, which is not that easy, takes some time and experience and skill.
 

Dartagnan64

G.O.A.T.
Putting a bog standard volley on someone’s feet or angling it off is always a better percentage play than trying to get tricky with a lob volley.

And what is the response to someone volleying it down towards your feet? A lob volley reply is almost always the best shot as it will win the point most of the time.

I don't lob volley much but its almost always in response to someone volleying at me first.
 

blai212

Hall of Fame
Read that thread again.
It's from 2017
I attack all weak balls now.
Any weak ball gets pounded to your BH.

yeah? how about if i slice my bh low at your feet...you gonna POUND that into the net/fence? you jus might have to start using your brain instead of your braun and locating the ball around the court instead of all out power...now there’s an idea, wouldnt u say? [emoji848]


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 
That would be a great shot.
I would try to slice it back.
A big difference between 3.5 bashers and 4.0 is that the 4.0 knows how to slice back a slice.
Shot selection trumps all
 

OnTheLine

Hall of Fame
I played against a bit of a moonballer this past weekend .... good TS that bounced high. Easy to return off the bounce on the FH but I hated it on the backhand (I am certain someone likes a high backhand, but that person is not me) .... after just a few, started stepping in and took it as an overhead or volley and went to net.... whole lot easier than trying to take it early off the bounce. With most moonballs (except a corner to corner), you have plenty of time to get positioned to make a shot you like.

After opponent lost 3-4 points with that moonball .... never had to see another one the rest of the match.

Sometimes shot selection is about setting up the next shot we want .... sometimes it is about ensuring we don't get a ball we don't like.
 

WestboroChe

Hall of Fame
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.
Yes. You want to draw him forward and move him around his whole game is based on making the same shot over and over. Get him out of his comfort zone
 

WestboroChe

Hall of Fame
Yes a true moonball indeed is very hard to hit on the rise, a heavy spin high net clearance ball is much easier but a moonball has a huge arc and no spin and bounces very upwards and is very hard to time on the rise.

The best way to deal with these balls most effectively is to develop a consistent overhead from the baseline, which is not that easy, takes some time and experience and skill.
Ok that’s a little different than I imagined. I imagined more like a guy who hits high TS with little pace and never comes to net.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a true moonballer In action.
 
Yes a true moonball indeed is very hard to hit on the rise, a heavy spin high net clearance ball is much easier but a moonball has a huge arc and no spin and bounces very upwards and is very hard to time on the rise.

The best way to deal with these balls most effectively is to develop a consistent overhead from the baseline, which is not that easy, takes some time and experience and skill.

Yeah, having seen a bunch of moonballs come my way in the past, and having dished them out to others, I don't think trying wack them on the rise is the best idea, especially on clay. I say not on clay because the bounce on clay is more unpredictable, and because of the precision needed to hit a moonball on the rise, an unpredictable bounce can make that even worse. That's why I think that a moonball on clay is even tougher than a moonball on a hard court, in addition to the bounce being higher on clay.
 

Cashman

Hall of Fame
And what is the response to someone volleying it down towards your feet?
Improve your previous shot.

If you’re digging a volley off your toes, you’ve already put yourself in a low-percentage position. Instead of learning a fancy shot to try and get out of that position, you’re better off focusing on not getting into it in the first place.
 

jm1980

Talk Tennis Guru
And what is the response to someone volleying it down towards your feet? A lob volley reply is almost always the best shot as it will win the point most of the time.

I don't lob volley much but its almost always in response to someone volleying at me first.
Easiest thing to do when folks hit volleys to your feet is take a step back and hit a half volley lob

And unless you are basically on top of the net putting away a floater, aiming volleys to people's feet is dumb, and I really hate it when instructors encourage this practice.
 
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Cindysphinx

G.O.A.T.
Lob volleys, swinging volleys, tweeners, pancake serves, underarm serves, moonballs - they can all be effective.

They’re also novelty shots with limited use-cases that are largely unnecessary or sub-optimal if you can execute your fundamentals effectively. Putting a bog standard volley on someone’s feet or angling it off is always a better percentage play than trying to get tricky with a lob volley.

Way too many rec players are more interested in developing funky shots than just doing the boring stuff right.

You know how I know you're wrong about this? 'Cause when I play someone who has a lob volley it is a tough day at the office for me. They are using a shot I don't see often, when I least expect it, to make me defend more court than I would normally.

Saying that a lob volley is a novelty shot is like saying a short slice, a chip return, a topspin lob, a slice serve, or a drop shot are novelty shots. No, they're not. They are shots that use spin and/or placement to make the ball do something your opponent either does not like or does not expect.

In tennis, there are a lot of players who can beat you with you when you are executing your plan A shots as well as you can execute them. What then? Are you going to just keep hitting the same shots and losing? Or are you going to go to plan B? Me, I want enough variety to be able to execute plan B, and maybe even plan C. And I turn around a lot of matches that way.

Anyway, wish me luck. My pro actually did teach us the lob volley when I was a 4.0, and I used it some. That was back when I had put a lot of emphasis on developing transition skills (rather than staying back and moonballing). When I went back to work and was playing much less, my transition skills degraded and because I wasn't coming in my lob volley (and other net skills) also degraded. I'm finding my mojo on the transitions this summer, and I want to close out the fall by getting my lob volley back.

'Cause opponents hate it.
 

Cindysphinx

G.O.A.T.
Easiest thing to do when folks hit volleys to your feet is take a step back and hit a half volley lob

And unless you are basically on top of the net putting away a floater, aiming volleys to people's feet is dumb, and I really hate it when instructors encourage this practice.
I don't know about that whole "half volley lob" idea. :)

But my pro is constantly hammering me to stop volleying at people's feet. It's a tough habit to break, but open court, diagonal, or up the middle is just way better. The problem is you start off as a beginner being told that hitting at the feet is the best target, and then you have to change when you move up. I wish I had been trained up properly from the beginning.
 

Cashman

Hall of Fame
You know how I know you're wrong about this? 'Cause when I play someone who has a lob volley it is a tough day at the office for me.
I would take that as an indication that you aren't doing nearly enough with your first volley, and work on that instead.
 

jm1980

Talk Tennis Guru
I don't know about that whole "half volley lob" idea. :)
The bounce takes a lot of pace off the ball and then all you need to do is slightly push the racquet forward.

The added benefit of this shot is that people who do attempt to volley at people's feet also tend to close the net way too tight
 

MisterP

Hall of Fame
It’s a 3 hour pillow fight. Thanks, but no. I’d play the guy but we’re both gonna get reacquainted with overheads and swing volleys real quick.
 

Cashman

Hall of Fame
And unless you are basically on top of the net putting away a floater, aiming volleys to people's feet is dumb, and I really hate it when instructors encourage this practice.
It's problematic when instructors encourage it (or students interpret it) as the first option. Angling the volley off to open court is always preferable.

'Hit to the feet' is the best option when your opponents are covering the net well and have taken away the clean winner. It is a high-percentage option for a solid volley that keeps your opponent on the defensive.

Sometimes it will get you the winner or FE. Sometimes they will get lucky with a lob volley. But you're primarily aiming for a weak floater and an easy putaway - which most of the time you'll get.
 

OnTheLine

Hall of Fame
It's problematic when instructors encourage it (or students interpret it) as the first option. Angling the volley off to open court is always preferable.

'Hit to the feet' is the best option when your opponents are covering the net well and have taken away the clean winner. It is a high-percentage option for a solid volley that keeps your opponent on the defensive.

Sometimes it will get you the winner or FE. Sometimes they will get lucky with a lob volley. But you're primarily aiming for a weak floater and an easy putaway - which most of the time you'll get.

Yes and no .... how many times in doubles have you seen someone "hit to the open court" but end up volleying behind themselves .... completely opening up the court to their opponents .... disaster.

I think the key phrase is "solid volley" . Hit the ball. Hit with slice every time. Move in after your first volley so that you can put away the 2nd if it comes back. Stop pushing or guiding the dang ball, and heaven help us, don't just pop it over and pray.

Also .... a deep volley is great in singles ... not so much in doubles and yet so many pros preach a deep volley .... gives your opponents (especially if they are hanging at the baseline) too much time. If the ball is low or below the net .... every volley is cross court or to the T, if the ball is high, DTL and crater the dang thing. (if someone is in the way, oh well)

On the lob volley .... I have never personally felt the need for this .... I have never faced opponents male or female who were such great volleyers that I would need to go over them instead of through them.
 

Cashman

Hall of Fame
Yes and no .... how many times in doubles have you seen someone "hit to the open court" but end up volleying behind themselves .... completely opening up the court to their opponents .... disaster.
Well, yes. If you are going to angle off for a winner, you need to make sure it is a winner. If that's not an option, you need to play the shot which is going to draw the weak reply - and that's usually through the court.

On the lob volley .... I have never personally felt the need for this .... I have never faced opponents male or female who were such great volleyers that I would need to go over them instead of through them.
It is a bit of a catch-22, because if they are a great volleyer then they are going to make your lob volley an extremely marginal prospect anyway.
 

OnTheLine

Hall of Fame
It is a bit of a catch-22, because if they are a great volleyer then they are going to make your lob volley an extremely marginal prospect anyway.

And isn't a lob volley fairly easy to recognize quickly? .... pretty simple to drop back and take it as an overhead unless it is exceptionally executed which I just can't imagine happens often in rec tennis.
 

Cindysphinx

G.O.A.T.
And isn't a lob volley fairly easy to recognize quickly? .... pretty simple to drop back and take it as an overhead unless it is exceptionally executed which I just can't imagine happens often in rec tennis.
I’m surprised at the disdain for the lob volley at 3.5 ladies.

As JM says, people who like to smash balls at the feet often close too tight. They are also often off balance and not ready for the ball to come back. So they’re nose on the net, and you don’t want to pop it into the 75% of the court that isn’t defended?

Are these players going to split, turn, shuffle back and hit an OH winner? Nah, I like my odds.

Is a lob volley easy to recognize? Not until it has flown over your head. There’s no disguise needed. Continue grip, longer follow through. The opponent is so close to net that it is past her before she knows what happened.

And I really like my odds when I have a partner who won’t take the net. If I can touch of a scramble as the opponents are trying to track down my lob volley, I’m in good shape. What I don’t want is a volley war where it is two against one, where my opponents have the option of a short volley winner in front of my partner at baseline.
 

Cashman

Hall of Fame
As JM says, people who like to smash balls at the feet often close too tight. They are also often off balance and not ready for the ball to come back. So they’re nose on the net, and you don’t want to pop it into the 75% of the court that isn’t defended?

Are these players going to split, turn, shuffle back and hit an OH winner? Nah, I like my odds.
You are describing a terrible net player. Why learn a shot that is only going to be consistently useful against terrible players?

If you're losing points because your opponent is peppering your ankle with volleys, the problem isn't that you're unable to retrieve those balls for winners. Your problem is one or two shots before, when you let your opponent take control of the point above the netcord.
 

Dartagnan64

G.O.A.T.
Improve your previous shot.

If you’re digging a volley off your toes, you’ve already put yourself in a low-percentage position. Instead of learning a fancy shot to try and get out of that position, you’re better off focusing on not getting into it in the first place.

Most often it was your partner's shot that got you in the sticky wicket to begin with. You could say "get better partners" but that's not necessarily under your control.

Generally you have a couple options when faced with a low volley coming your way. Angled volley away from the net guy (which is going towards their partner and might easily be retrieved) or lob volley over the net guys head (which will be moving away from both opponents). The angle volley is an easier shot but less likely to be a winner, whereas the lob volley is a bit trickier but almost always wins the point when executed properly. Gotta know your personal percentages.

And this is more about volleys waist to knee height. I wouldn't lob volley anything off my toes. But at thigh height its not that hard to open the racket face up and direct a lob chip over their heads. I have some opponents that are amazingly adept at it.
 

Dartagnan64

G.O.A.T.
And isn't a lob volley fairly easy to recognize quickly? .... pretty simple to drop back and take it as an overhead unless it is exceptionally executed which I just can't imagine happens often in rec tennis.

In a fairly rapid fire exchange at net, the lob volley can quickly fool you. Especially if the opponent opens the racquet face at the last second. Usually the opponents are on their toes pressing forward so they get caught.
 

Cindysphinx

G.O.A.T.
You are describing a terrible net player. Why learn a shot that is only going to be consistently useful against terrible players?

If you're losing points because your opponent is peppering your ankle with volleys, the problem isn't that you're unable to retrieve those balls for winners. Your problem is one or two shots before, when you let your opponent take control of the point above the netcord.
Uh, cause I play 3.5, which is chock full of terrible net players. And a lob volley is consistently useful in situations for which it is the right shot.

I think a lob volley is not all that useful in singles, but doubles? Gold, baby.

I also don’t understand the disdain for touch shots. Touch is just as useful as power, maybe more.
 

Cashman

Hall of Fame
I don't have a disdain for touch shots. My problem is:
  • you've got yourself into a situation where you're unlikely to win the point (at net, with your opponent dictating play above the netcord)
  • your solution to that situation is hitting a shot that is in and of itself low-percentage (trying to finesse a hard, low volley over your opponent with a very steep trajectory and no topspin)
It's just not smart tactical tennis.

I understand that a lob volley might help you pull your chestnuts out of the fire on occasion, but against competent volleyers you are going to lose more points than you win. Better to work on your approach shots, first volleys, doubles tactics, etc. to avoid giving your opponents the opportunity to force you into playing these sorts of shots.
 

NastyWinners

Hall of Fame
I think what @Cashman is getting at is that instead of working solely on a niche shot (lob volley), work on your forehand/backhand drive volley and forehand/backhand approaches more so.
 

Dartagnan64

G.O.A.T.
I think what @Cashman is getting at is that instead of working solely on a niche shot (lob volley), work on your forehand/backhand drive volley and forehand/backhand approaches more so.

For every problem there is a solution. The lob volley is a)not that difficult and b) a good solution to a descending knee to waist high volley with both opponents at net. I have no problems with my drive volleys or drop volleys. Lob volleys and angle volleys can be a bit better. I try to achieve competence at a number of shots so I have solutions in the right moment.

Even if you only do it once, it gets your opponents a little shaky about moving forward. There are several shots that are there mostly to discourage opponents. DTL returns, lobs, overheads, lob volleys, drop shots. Should try to be competent in these shots so you can answer annoying tactics or seek out chinks in the opponents armour.

And I don't think I'd ever use it in a singles match. But in doubles it works well and as I previously said, I have played several club members that are masters of the lob volley and they are lethal with it.
 

Cindysphinx

G.O.A.T.
It's a difference in philosophy.

You'll have to take my word for it that my volley is already a strength for my level.

Would it be possible to make small improvements? Yes, of course.

But what is more valuable: a small improvement in a shot that is strong for my level? Or develop a shot that will give me variety and a Plan B that otherwise would not have?

Me, I prefer to own as many shots as I can reasonably own. I feel comfortable hitting many shots you might find novelty shots, like a swing volley (except the tweener). But the rest of them are shots I have and use either frequently or not at all. Whatever it takes to win.

What I really hate is when my opponent has the answer to my best tennis and i lack the tools to change it up.
 

lskater

New User
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.
 

vex

Legend
This thread should have ended on Page 1 with: "learn to hit an overhead"

what are you folks still going on about?
 

shazbot

Semi-Pro
When I was a 4.0 I played a guy exactly like this in USTA. Moonballs off both wings on almost all shots, I beat him 1 and 2. He literally had nothing that could hurt me.

Unless you are a complete pleb and don't know how to slice a ball to the corner and finish at the net, these guys are super easy to beat.

I see NONE of this at the 4.5 level. Because guys know that it won't work.
 

OnTheLine

Hall of Fame
I played against a moonballing vertical-tennis playing robot today.

Hadn't seen one in forever, but this was a match set up by the club for a tourist visiting from Chicago ... I do not know how she has a 4.0C rating ... seriously baffling to me.

Every shot was launched into the air ... but without much spin ... If I was on baseline, I stepped in and took it as either an overhead or a swinging-volley (don't know if that is actual correct description, but taking it in the air at about waist to shoulder height with a regular groundstroke swing)

We played singles and I tend to S&V so I did not come in as far as usual, she would send the shot up, I would drop back take it as an overhead, point over.

I struggled only when I was out of position and she got a lob deep to my backhand ...

Match was over quickly. I won 2 & 2. Ridiculous. I should never be able to beat a 4.0C player by that score ... I am a 3.5C and right in the darn middle. Perhaps she regularly plays doubles, but she did not indicate that.

It could be that she was having trouble with our heat, the thin air and the elevation ... that would account for a little.
 
Most 4.5 can't hit overhead slams from the baseline.
Obviously, this is something you can do,
but there are other gaps in your game that make you a 3.5

NTRP has nothing to do with specific stroke quality only your W/L record.
W/L record is far more than baseline slams

Returning moonballs is one of the hardest shots in tennis to attack.
Overhead slam from the baseline can easily go into the net, or go long.
Swinging volley is also one of the hardest shots in tennis. Very low % and very hard to control.
Taking it on the rise is nearly impossible to time, and would take months to develop this shot.
I can return heavy 4.5 FH on the rise, consistently, yet can't do 1 in 10 moonballs on the rise
If the lobber is at the net, point over.
 

OnTheLine

Hall of Fame
Most 4.5 can't hit overhead slams from the baseline.
Obviously, this is something you can do,
but there are other gaps in your game that make you a 3.5

NTRP has nothing to do with specific stroke quality only your W/L record.
W/L record is far more than baseline slams

Returning moonballs is one of the hardest shots in tennis to attack.
Overhead slam from the baseline can easily go into the net, or go long.
Swinging volley is also one of the hardest shots in tennis. Very low % and very hard to control.
Taking it on the rise is nearly impossible to time, and would take months to develop this shot.
I can return heavy 4.5 FH on the rise, consistently, yet can't do 1 in 10 moonballs on the rise
Yet, if the lobber is at the net, point over.

Well, from the baseline/NML It is not an overhead "slam" it is an overhead, with slice to wherever on the court my opponent is not. It has some good pace and a low skiddy bounce. The ball may come back, but then I usually have an easy volley as it will be weak. From mid-court it is an overhead "slam" and it rarely comes back.

My gaps: a lot is in decision making (wrong shot at the wrong time to the wrong place), I cannot lob/moonball myself all that well except off the bh ... so in dubs that puts me at a disadvantage, not so much in singles.
 
Yes, shot selection truly is the road to 4.0M/4.5F tennis.
This is why bunters are 4.0, while heavy topspin bashers often stuck at 3.5
I now drive slice more often, and only hit topspin when in position to crush
 
Thought of this thread yesterday after a match against someone I've played a few times, who started pushing towards the beginning of the second set. I just decided I was going to stay consistent and get the ball deep, attacking if I knew for sure it was the right opportunity. So, we would play 20+ ball rallies point after point, going up to 40-50 ball rallies at some points. The rallies would consist of a lot of moonballs and a lot of backhand to backhand shots. What I realized is the best way to stop a person happy to moonball with you is to hit the ball deep and then attack the short ball with hard hit balls that have bigger targets. The moonballer wants you to get frustrated and just slap a huge shot with low margins, so bigger targets on the attacking ball is important. That's my personal experience from last night.
 

Power Player

Bionic Poster
I thought moonballing was 8 feet or so net clearance, deep with heavy top. I did it in a usta league one season and it worked incredibly well, although i hated myself for it. What i did to make it more like actual tennis was mix it up. Come to net, mix in some big forehands, some slice, etc.

I really did it to build up my shot tolerance. But i wasnt lobbing the ball 60 feet in the air or anything. I played a guy who used to do that a lot and id just come in and hit an overhead. Moonballing to me is not the same thing though.
 
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