Topspin lob return in doubles help

EddieBrock

Professional
I'd really like to use the topspin lob return in doubles, but it's not something I've ever really worked on and am not really sure about the technique. Can you do it off a 1st serve return when you don't have much time or is it better if you're able to setup? On some 2nd serve returns I'm often standing pretty far in and even though I have time I feel like I'm so close to the net man I won't be able to get it up high enough before he can hit.

What's the right serve to try to hit a topspin lob and anything special about the technique on a return vs. a standard one? I do know how to hit a topspin lob, but it's always when I have time and I'm standing close to the baseline.
 

Dartagnan64

Legend
I'd say the best serve for the topspin lob return is the high kicker. Your arm will be automatically moving upwards to hit the high ball so if you keep the racquet face a bit open the topspin lob will come fairly naturally.

I do think time is crucial too since it's hard to get the spin right if you only have time to block. The deep backspin lob is probably better defensively
 

EddieBrock

Professional
I'd say the best serve for the topspin lob return is the high kicker. Your arm will be automatically moving upwards to hit the high ball so if you keep the racquet face a bit open the topspin lob will come fairly naturally.

I do think time is crucial too since it's hard to get the spin right if you only have time to block. The deep backspin lob is probably better defensively
Wish I had read this before my match! I played against a guy that was S&V using a high kicker. I kept trying to chip the return at this feet and floated or hit way too many wide. Next time I face a high kicker I'll give it a try.

My backspin lob is "ok", but definitely something I need to work on too.

Returning in doubles is so much different than in singles and aside from my serve can be the weakest part of my game.
 

Notirouswithag

Professional
2nd serve return if the serve is weaker, which majority of the time it is,

Even better bonus if you can hit the 2nd serve return topspin lob down the line
 
I'd really like to use the topspin lob return in doubles, but it's not something I've ever really worked on and am not really sure about the technique. Can you do it off a 1st serve return when you don't have much time or is it better if you're able to setup? On some 2nd serve returns I'm often standing pretty far in and even though I have time I feel like I'm so close to the net man I won't be able to get it up high enough before he can hit.

What's the right serve to try to hit a topspin lob and anything special about the technique on a return vs. a standard one? I do know how to hit a topspin lob, but it's always when I have time and I'm standing close to the baseline.
The time I can see the TS lob working in doubles is any shot except the return [assuming the server is following his serve to the net and his partner is up at net]. Why? Two reasons:

- The return could be a defensive situation. A TS lob is an offensive shot. You might not have the luxury of hitting an offensive shot in a defensive situation.

- Because on the return, the server is still plenty far away from the net and can more easily cover the lob [TS or otherwise]. Seems to me the better scenario to use the lob is after the server has hit his first volley and has moved in, especially if he closes in too tight [ie closer to the net than his DTL partner].

FWIW, I don't think I've ever seen a TS lob return [chip lob, sure].
 

chic

Semi-Pro
If they have a rocket serve or move you a lot with placement, probably not a great idea. But I'd say 80% of the first serves I see in rec tennis at the 3.5 and 4.0 level I can topspin lob if I have somewhat of a read on it.

It's just hard to get the RHS you need to get the ball up and still in without enough time to react.

If you play a lot of rec doubles you could just warn your partner that that's your focus and suggest they play two back for the day. Or at least let them know playing forward on your return is at their own risk.

That being said I'm much more likely to go for it in a rally than on return.
 

Shroud

G.O.A.T.
The time I can see the TS lob working in doubles is any shot except the return [assuming the server is following his serve to the net and his partner is up at net]. Why? Two reasons:

- The return could be a defensive situation. A TS lob is an offensive shot. You might not have the luxury of hitting an offensive shot in a defensive situation.

- Because on the return, the server is still plenty far away from the net and can more easily cover the lob [TS or otherwise]. Seems to me the better scenario to use the lob is after the server has hit his first volley and has moved in, especially if he closes in too tight [ie closer to the net than his DTL partner].

FWIW, I don't think I've ever seen a TS lob return [chip lob, sure].
Watch the 2nd point. @LeeD was serving and well I knew you would write this :)

 

chic

Semi-Pro
Return lobs are block lobs, not topspin lobs.

If you can hit a topspin lob return your opponent's serve sucks.

J
I mean yeah, but also it's 3.5-4.0 a lot of my opponents serves do suck. Hell a good fifth-quarter of the people I play waiters tray dink the second serve in doubles.
 

Shroud

G.O.A.T.
Forget about the 2nd shot: I'm admiring that DTL BH return winner at 0:30!
Not the highest percentage but a shroud specialty. FWIW it seemed that that day Papa Mango and myself were going at each other. So weak serves got blasted at the net man. Not sure it was intentional to target each other as we are friends (bet he has a different version) but that is what the full vid shows. Also the last return was in though it is impossible to tell from the vid.
 

zipplock

Semi-Pro
I'll use the return lob in doubles only to the net players backhand side. If it's not a great lob the net player is still left with a reaching backhand overhead. Like stated earlier, it's a block lob, not a topsin lob off the return.
 

EddieBrock

Professional
It sounds like it's not really a high % shot off a fast serve. What's frustrating is when I'm returning and the net man is close to the net and I hit a weak return that he just puts away. When I see him crowding the net I'd like to get the ball over him as was shown in the video posted here.

Like someone already mentioned with the backspin or flat lob often times the server can run it down. Guess that's the best you can do though off a fast serve. In my last match one guy S&V off a good serve and I had a lot of trouble getting a return past him. Both my partner and I missed a lot of returns trying to keep it away from the net players. A lob would have been the right shot
 
It sounds like it's not really a high % shot off a fast serve. What's frustrating is when I'm returning and the net man is close to the net and I hit a weak return that he just puts away. When I see him crowding the net I'd like to get the ball over him as was shown in the video posted here.

Like someone already mentioned with the backspin or flat lob often times the server can run it down. Guess that's the best you can do though off a fast serve. In my last match one guy S&V off a good serve and I had a lot of trouble getting a return past him. Both my partner and I missed a lot of returns trying to keep it away from the net players. A lob would have been the right shot
A lob would have been the right shot. I'm saying don't complicate things by trying to hit a lower % TS lob; just chip it deep. Even if the server runs it down, you've accomplished the most important goal: get the return in and start the point.
 

Dartagnan64

Legend
Because on the return, the server is still plenty far away from the net and can more easily cover the lob [TS or otherwise]. Seems to me the better scenario to use the lob is after the server has hit his first volley and has moved in, especially if he closes in too tight [ie closer to the net than his DTL partner].
You are assuming the server is coming in. I've played against plenty of guys that stay back on their second serve.

If it's a high bouncer to my FH, I'll often reply with a CC topspin moonball and come in myself. If it's to my BH i'll short angle slice CC and come in. If it's a wheelhouse ball and the opposing net man is sleeping or overly "poachy" I'll rip it DTL.

I rarely lob over the net guy unless I'm really being troubled by a server who's serve and volleying off his first serve.
 
You are assuming the server is coming in. I've played against plenty of guys that stay back on their second serve.

If it's a high bouncer to my FH, I'll often reply with a CC topspin moonball and come in myself. If it's to my BH i'll short angle slice CC and come in. If it's a wheelhouse ball and the opposing net man is sleeping or overly "poachy" I'll rip it DTL.

I rarely lob over the net guy unless I'm really being troubled by a server who's serve and volleying off his first serve.
If the server is not following his serve to the net, a lob over his partner is easier for him to cover than if he was coming in and had to make a more difficult mid-course adjustment. That's why the TS lob is more effective against the server coming to the net [if you can pull it off: against the typical serve I face, I'm not confident that I can].
 

Kevo

Legend
I rarely hit a lob return. If I do it's usually because there is a certain pattern of play by the other team that makes it a good option. By far the most common returns I hit in doubles are cross court and down the line. The line being if the net man starts to get too comfortable with his position or is poaching a lot. You can lob return with top spin or with a block or chip type lob. Which one you use is going to depend more on how well the server is serving.
 

EddieBrock

Professional
I rarely hit a lob return. If I do it's usually because there is a certain pattern of play by the other team that makes it a good option. By far the most common returns I hit in doubles are cross court and down the line. The line being if the net man starts to get too comfortable with his position or is poaching a lot. You can lob return with top spin or with a block or chip type lob. Which one you use is going to depend more on how well the server is serving.
Do you hit different returns based on the score? If it's an important point I'm always afraid to do anything other than cross court.
 

onehandbh

Legend
Usually, I only lob in doubles in the following situations:

1. good fast that I can barely reach
2. ball I can barely reach if I am at the baseline
3. opponent has been aggressively poaching on serve returns. I’ll try a couple block/slice lobs down the line if he moves early.
4. one of the opponents struggles to hit overheads in sun/wind/bad lighting
 
Do you hit different returns based on the score? If it's an important point I'm always afraid to do anything other than cross court.
However, if your opponent picks up on this, he'll start pinching the middle more and more, making it difficult to hit a good return. At some point, you have to mix things up just to keep them honest. At the very least, establish your ability to do so earlier in the match so he'll be thinking about it during important points.
 

Kevo

Legend
Do you hit different returns based on the score? If it's an important point I'm always afraid to do anything other than cross court.
If it's a critical point I am thinking high percentage. So a lot of times that's going to be a high looper with lots of spin either cross court, down the middle, or down the line depending on what the netman has been doing. Usually cross court is the right play, but not always. Of course a lot depends on the serve too. You kind of have to take the opportunity you're given.
 

zaph

Semi-Pro
Not sure I would use it off a first service, nothing wrong with a block lob return. Angling the racket to get it over the net man, tricky to hit a full topspin lob off a good first serve.

As for the topspin lob, you will get lots of salty replies about how it is an easy shot to deal with and it is weak tennis. Such replies come from bad players who are constantly beaten by lobs. A good serve volleyer once told me, can't smash, you can't go to the net. So the first thing I try against any net player and in doubles is a topspin lob. If it works, happy days, I will spend all day knocking it over their heads.

Allot of players are terrible at smashing; they will hit weak smashes or cough up errors. Even with players who have a decent overhead, it is possible to hit it high enough to clear them. You won't win the point but you force away from the net, if you hit the lob deep enough.

The lob is very underrated shot.
 

Roland G

Hall of Fame
I'd really like to use the topspin lob return in doubles, but it's not something I've ever really worked on and am not really sure about the technique. Can you do it off a 1st serve return when you don't have much time or is it better if you're able to setup? On some 2nd serve returns I'm often standing pretty far in and even though I have time I feel like I'm so close to the net man I won't be able to get it up high enough before he can hit.

What's the right serve to try to hit a topspin lob and anything special about the technique on a return vs. a standard one? I do know how to hit a topspin lob, but it's always when I have time and I'm standing close to the baseline.
I would usually use this return against a second serve. I would love over the guy at the net and approach in the hope of either my partner or myself getting an opportunity to hit an overhead
 
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