When does a ball become a moonball?

#1
I was trying to decide with a friend when a ball becomes a moonball?

I play a few pushers who moonball all of the time, but one says it's just that he puts a lot of spin on the ball. Honestly it doesn't seem that way. He's just lofting it up high to push me back to the baseline, hoping I'll mess up. His ball doesn't have much spin at all. Some people say Nadal is a moonballer, but he has pace and tons of spin to his balls so I wouldn't agree.

So when does a ball become a "moonball?" Is it when the ball is a rainbow and has no pace? That would be my definition. I can't imagine much spin coming from someone lofting up a ball with no pace on it.

Also, what is the best way to take care of a moonball if it's going to the baseline? Take it early or in the air? Or both depending on the situation? I find it's an extremely boring game to play against this and I am starting to make some inroads on beating this style more consistently, but am still not there 100%.

I try to get him to come to the net more and smash as many of weak moonballs that come my way. I find you have to be really patient with this type of play as they don't make many mistakes because they are lofting the ball over. To me I'd rather lose by playing "real" tennis than moonball and keep it in. Eventually the person working on taking full strokes with pace will be able to completely dismantle a moonballer.
 
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MathGeek

Hall of Fame
#2
It probably depends on your level of play and whether you are playing singles or dubs. In dubs, an arched trajectory is more commonly used without derision as a valid approach to avoid a net man who may be tall or have a propensity for poaching. Don't feel like trying to pass down the alley? No problem, just keep lobbing it over the guy making the baseliner chase it down from one corner to the other and back.

A lot of my returns of strong serves to my bh are moonball chips in both singles and doubles. I can't really rip strong bhs off of serves with lots of pace, so my strategy is just to keep it in play.
 

sportmac

Hall of Fame
#4
To me I'd rather lose by playing "real" tennis than moonball and keep it in.
That made me LOL. I agree, you just want to scream "HIT THE DAMN BALL!". Still, it is real tennis, it's just not particularly fun tennis. Probably is for him though.

Used to play a guy that was the complete opposite of a moonballer, had the most wicked slices off both wings and could put them anywhere. Think Ken Rosewall backhand off both sides.
If he hit a shot with topspin it was by mistake.

It was a battle every time and I hated it. Seemed like I played the entire match down on my knees. In the end though he was a good player that had control over where he put the ball and beating him was a challenge that required concentration and patience.

I'd take a moonballer any day!
 
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sportmac

Hall of Fame
#6
It probably depends on your level of play and whether you are playing singles or dubs. In dubs, an arched trajectory is more commonly used without derision as a valid approach to avoid a net man who may be tall or have a propensity for poaching. Don't feel like trying to pass down the alley? No problem, just keep lobbing it over the guy making the baseliner chase it down from one corner to the other and back.

A lot of my returns of strong serves to my bh are moonball chips in both singles and doubles. I can't really rip strong bhs off of serves with lots of pace, so my strategy is just to keep it in play.
I employ that too. Not strong enough to get my 1hbh around against big serves so I step into it and chip/lob it. Learned it from Sampras. :)
 

MathGeek

Hall of Fame
#8
If it is a true moon ball with no pace, take it out of the air.
I'm not the best at reading spin on balls in flight, so unless it's a short ball, my odds are better letting it bounce to reduce the spin effects and get a better read. You don't give up any real depth letting a moon ball bounce, it's not like time is an issue, and I can place those surprise spinny high arching deep balls much better after a bounce. And in some wind conditions, flat moon balls and those with back spin end up sailing long. Close to the baseline, let that sucker bounce.
 
#9
perhaps a good definition is that a moon ball is a ball that cross the net more than 5 feet above the net, but is brought down into the Court by the force of gravity only, unaided by spin.
(i.e., it may have a little spin, but that is not what brings it down inside the baseline)
 

eelhc

Hall of Fame
#11
To me a moonball can be hit both with and without topspin and is any ball that takes enough pace off the ball and is deep enough so that it allows more time for the person playing it to get back to the center of the court, reset the point, etc. Pushers use moonballs in an attempt to produce UFE.

But moonballs can be used as an effective setup shot. If I run into an opponent who can't handle the high ball to the backhand, I'll hit a high roller to that side and go in. Split at the service line for an overhead or keep going depending on the shot the opponent produces.
 

MathGeek

Hall of Fame
#15
Better is to read the spin based on your opponent's racquet face at contact and the swing path.
I'm trying to improve at that but the distance between baselines is a bit far for my aging eyes, and at my level, a lot of the funny spins involve some contact with the frame. The racquet face reading will only be reliable if contact with the frame is a relatively rare event. That's not how most of my opponents roll.
 
#16
This guy was pretty effective with it. They would nearly land on the baseline every time. I have played other moonballers that were not as consistent or wouldn't hit so deep and they were easier to take care of.

However, it was funny because he was talking about all of the topspin he was hitting like he was Nadal or something. I've hit with some former college players who hit to the baseline consistently, but you could tell they were putting some major spin on the ball and they weren't moonballs, but a little higher. This guys balls are like patty cakes, so maybe he's just the Don Quixote of rec tennis (though fairly effective).

I put real in quotes because of course he's playing tennis, but it is quite annoying. However, my skills are developing and I'm noticing that against this type of player, that I'm making fewer UEs.

Has anyone on here gone from beating these players some of the time, to just dismantling the pusher/moonballer's game every single time? I feel like I'm close and I think that if you can beat this type of player, you've taken your game up a notch.
 
#17
Has anyone on here gone from beating these players some of the time, to just dismantling the pusher/moonballer's game every single time? I feel like I'm close and I think that if you can beat this type of player, you've taken your game up a notch.
I believe @nytennisaddict likened it to a rite of passage. It also gives one great confidence to overcome such an obstacle. Well done [doing]!
 
#19
Who cares, just learn to return balls, whatever the height!
I care. Because of shoulder surgery, anything between chest and top of head height is a bit uncomfortable on my arm. So I particularly hate lobs as I either have to swinging volley them before they land or let them land and try to hit them like a serve at their apex.
 

eelhc

Hall of Fame
#20
I care. Because of shoulder surgery, anything between chest and top of head height is a bit uncomfortable on my arm. So I particularly hate lobs as I either have to swinging volley them before they land or let them land and try to hit them like a serve at their apex.
The apex of the ball path does not determine where you hit it. What if the apex after the bounce higher or lower than where you strike a serve?

If you can get to the ball and "hit them like a serve", with a little more anticipation and footwork, you can hit an overhead before the ball lands. take time away from the moonballer.
 
#21
I care. Because of shoulder surgery, anything between chest and top of head height is a bit uncomfortable on my arm. So I particularly hate lobs as I either have to swinging volley them before they land or let them land and try to hit them like a serve at their apex.
You care if a ball is defined as a moonball or not? What does defining some term make any difference for you?


:D
 
#24
Not always easy to explain but I know it when I see it. As someone said, it is real tennis but not 'fun' tennis. Then again, it is not my opponent's job to make me enjoy the match.

.
Wasn't complaining about losing to a moonballer, but that I find they never get better and I'd rather hit "regular" shots and improve my game than worrying about winning a rec match. I find that if I'm improving, I'm winning.

I should have known "real" tennis would trigger someone. I should have said not play boring tennis. Wrong choice of vocab on my part.

It's funny though most of the pushers and moonballers I know are the biggest dbags in tennis and real life.
 

eelhc

Hall of Fame
#26
Wasn't complaining about losing to a moonballer, but that I find they never get better and I'd rather hit "regular" shots and improve my game than worrying about winning a rec match. I find that if I'm improving, I'm winning.

I should have known "real" tennis would trigger someone. I should have said not play boring tennis. Wrong choice of vocab on my part.

It's funny though most of the pushers and moonballers I know are the biggest dbags in tennis and real life.
Actually... in my observation, the ball bashers are the biggest D-Bags. Proof? the "real tennis" comment.... Really... that's a D-bag comment.



There's nothing worse than playing the guys who go for winners from 6 ft behind the base line and can't keep anything in play.
 
#27
There's no "difference" between moonballers and guys that just hit a lot of deep high balls. As you've seen, on these boards people will even call pros that hit with massive spin and pace "moonballers".

It's just a shot selection thing. Deep balls are hard to hit, high balls give you net clearance and safety, so a deep high ball is a pretty effective safe shot, especially if it has a lot of topspin to bring it down. At basically any rec level, if you can consistently hit deep high balls to people's backhands you'll win. Holds true up to 4.5 at least.

The solutions to this can be:
1) Come to net and hit high volleys or overheads off of those moonballs. If the opponent is moonballing because that's all they know how to do, anyone who comes to net will get a lot of easy high volleys. However, this works only if the person is moonballing because it's the only shot they have, not if it's just one weapon they can choose from. If they can hit good passing shots, you need to come in on something good.

2) Back up, and take big swing at the ball if it's coming down. Since it's a moonball you presumably have time to get into position to hit the shot you want, but you're still pushed back some. See if they can keep moonballing off of both their forehand and their backhand. If the ball is *really* high, then you can hit an overhead from the baseline, but that's a pretty tough shot. If it's not, you can just loop the ball back and also put a lot of topspin on it.

3) Taking it on the rise and hit through it. At rec level I don't think I've seen anybody who can consistently do this on their backhand, but some people can do it off of the forehand, taking the ball on the rise and really going for it. Excellent option if you can do it.

4) Slice. It's not that hard to just chip back a ball like that - give them a different look. Probably not that effective unless you have a really good slice, but it's an option.
 
#28
The apex of the ball path does not determine where you hit it. What if the apex after the bounce higher or lower than where you strike a serve?

If you can get to the ball and "hit them like a serve", with a little more anticipation and footwork, you can hit an overhead before the ball lands. take time away from the moonballer.
The ball slows down considerably after it lands. Hence it's easier to time the overhead for those of us with older eyes and slower swings. Back in my youth, taking overheads early before the bounce was far easier than it is today. Now its just a recipe for a total whiff.
 

eelhc

Hall of Fame
#29
The ball slows down considerably after it lands. Hence it's easier to time the overhead for those of us with older eyes and slower swings. Back in my youth, taking overheads early before the bounce was far easier than it is today. Now its just a recipe for a total whiff.
Pick your poison... hitting it after after it lands gives your opponent more time, spin comes into play, there's no guarantee the ball is going to bounce high enough for an aggressive overhead, you're giving up more court. I take the opposite approach since I am an old guy... no way I'm getting into a deep, roller exchange.
 
#30
To me, moonball may or maynot have spin or pace. It does not matter. The spin or pace increases just like any other shot, as the players level increase, even on moon ball. A 3.0 may not be putting any topspin on moonball. But for sure there will be a lot of brushing/topspin on the ball when Andy Murray hits a moonball.

The problem is when folks consider "moonball" as something bad. The moment you realize there is nothing bad with a moonball as a strategy, you will stop relating that with nopspin/nopace.

The whole idea of moonball is to use vertical movement and gravity as advantage. Use it against players who are better than you on horizontal movement of the ball. Use it to buy time. Use it to force your opponent to play bad tennis. Just like "dropshot" was considered a real bad hacker skill sometime back, but now considered as a good skill, moonball will eventually be considered as a good skill. It is not easy to execute, just because it looks so.

Also to me moonball is a neutral/defensive shot. Which means you totally expect the opponent to get to the ball and have a shot at it. So usually even though the shot is the same, most may not consider it as a moonball when someone lobs above a netplayer with an intent for passing them over their head for a winner. But when the opponent is standing at the baseline the same shot, many consider as moonball.

If you ever tried practicing moonball, it is a tough skill to develop to keep it consistent land deep enough with enough vertical height. So give the credit where it is due, and don't make an excuse, saying it is not real tennis. It is a skill, just like your heavy down the line topspin forehand. The earlier you learn to respect it, you will find and learn how to attack it.

Good luck.

So when does a ball become a "moonball?" Is it when the ball is a rainbow and has no pace? That would be my definition. I can't imagine much spin coming from someone lofting up a ball with no pace on it.
 
#31
I guess to me a lob is a defensive shot, and moonball is offensive. Like nytennisaddict said, if nobody is at the net....

So for me, if someone is at the net and I am in a defensive position, I might hit a lob to back them off the net and give myself time to get into better position... it's a defensive shot. It isn't supposed to be a winner, but I'll take it if I can get a winner off it of course.

If I was to hit a moonball, nobody is at the net and I'm trying to get the opponent to hit an error. Offensive shot technically. I'm already in a neutral position and I have a choice of shots. Not trying to hit an outright winner, but trying to force an error.
 
#32
I was trying to decide with a friend when a ball becomes a moonball?

I play a few pushers who moonball all of the time, but one says it's just that he puts a lot of spin on the ball. Honestly it doesn't seem that way. He's just lofting it up high to push me back to the baseline, hoping I'll mess up. His ball doesn't have much spin at all. Some people say Nadal is a moonballer, but he has pace and tons of spin to his balls so I wouldn't agree.

So when does a ball become a "moonball?" Is it when the ball is a rainbow and has no pace? That would be my definition. I can't imagine much spin coming from someone lofting up a ball with no pace on it.

Also, what is the best way to take care of a moonball if it's going to the baseline? Take it early or in the air? Or both depending on the situation? I find it's an extremely boring game to play against this and I am starting to make some inroads on beating this style more consistently, but am still not there 100%.

I try to get him to come to the net more and smash as many of weak moonballs that come my way. I find you have to be really patient with this type of play as they don't make many mistakes because they are lofting the ball over. To me I'd rather lose by playing "real" tennis than moonball and keep it in. Eventually the person working on taking full strokes with pace will be able to completely dismantle a moonballer.
Anything over 4'6'' is officially a moonball.
 

MathGeek

Hall of Fame
#33
In addition to being a great way to reset the point, moonballs can be a great way to get opposing doubles players to switch sides. At my level, lots of net guys are much better at forehand volleys and poaching to their strong side than bh volleys and poaching to their weak side. Putting them on the side where their bh faces the middle of the court is a distinct advantage. If they poach at all, they tend to cheat so far toward the middle (hoping for a fh oh or volley) that the alley is wide open. They are constructing the point in their mind assuming they are on one side, force them to switch and they're playing defense.
 

eelhc

Hall of Fame
#34
To me, moonball may or maynot have spin or pace. It does not matter. The spin or pace increases just like any other shot, as the players level increase, even on moon ball. A 3.0 may not be putting any topspin on moonball. But for sure there will be a lot of brushing/topspin on the ball when Andy Murray hits a moonball.

The problem is when folks consider "moonball" as something bad. The moment you realize there is nothing bad with a moonball as a strategy, you will stop relating that with nopspin/nopace.

The whole idea of moonball is to use vertical movement and gravity as advantage. Use it against players who are better than you on horizontal movement of the ball. Use it to buy time. Use it to force your opponent to play bad tennis. Just like "dropshot" was considered a real bad hacker skill sometime back, but now considered as a good skill, moonball will eventually be considered as a good skill. It is not easy to execute, just because it looks so.

Also to me moonball is a neutral/defensive shot. Which means you totally expect the opponent to get to the ball and have a shot at it. So usually even though the shot is the same, most may not consider it as a moonball when someone lobs above a netplayer with an intent for passing them over their head for a winner. But when the opponent is standing at the baseline the same shot, many consider as moonball.

If you ever tried practicing moonball, it is a tough skill to develop to keep it consistent land deep enough with enough vertical height. So give the credit where it is due, and don't make an excuse, saying it is not real tennis. It is a skill, just like your heavy down the line topspin forehand. The earlier you learn to respect it, you will find and learn how to attack it.

Good luck.
This is really, really to the point. There's a guy who I play against once in a while who has a monster topspin "moonball". Lands 1~2 feet fro the baseline and jumps over the curtain. One of his favorite combo is the deep "moonball" to the opponents backhand, and come to the net for the easy putaway.

Per this thread on exploiting the opponents weakness...

https://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/ind...nts-weakness-repeatedly.597521/#post-11535528

He's got a solid all around game but once he figures out that the "moonball" attack is working, he'll feed it to you all day long. Is he a "moonballer"?
 

eelhc

Hall of Fame
#36
Lots of topspin or advanced moonballing? You make the call. These guys are getting tons of net clearance from hitting lobs and major loopy topspin. Nothing wrong with that at all.

Oh and kick serve at 2:55 is sick.

Kicker at 2:55 is sick. But the Kicker-Dropper combo is divine! Guy just casually followed his kicker to the net.
 
#39
When you can hit an overhead off their ground stroke.
Great answer. Exactly. I've been playing with this guy whose daughter is in the same academy as mine. The coach lets us use one of the courts if available while we wait. I play with heavy topspin and this guy doesn't stop making excuses about my 'high moon balls."

I told him exactly what you've said... If they are moon balls, hit an overhead and finish the point! If they are moon balls, why does the ball keep bouncing into your face and your shots keep flying 10 feet off the court? If they are moon balls, why do you keep getting jammed and hitting a moon ball back to me and I finish with an overhead?

I take time out of my busy day to play and have fun. And the way I like to play is with as much top spin as I can generate. That is fun to me. And I LOVE beating whiners. I try to put more topspin on the ball with every whimper and complaint. Positive feedback loop. :)
 
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#40
Great answer. Exactly. I've been playing with this guy whose daughter is in the same academy as mine. The coach lets us use one of the courts if available while we wait. I play with heavy topspin and this guy doesn't stop making excuses about my 'high moon balls."

I told him exactly what you've said... If they are moon balls, hit an overhead and finish the point! If they are moon balls, why does the ball keep bouncing into your face and your shots keep flying 10 feet off the court? If they are moon balls, why do you keep getting jammed and hitting a moon ball back to me and I finish with an overhead?
Looks like someone has a moonball complex.
 
#43
Wasn't complaining about losing to a moonballer, but that I find they never get better and I'd rather hit "regular" shots and improve my game than worrying about winning a rec match. I find that if I'm improving, I'm winning.

I should have known "real" tennis would trigger someone. I should have said not play boring tennis. Wrong choice of vocab on my part.

It's funny though most of the pushers and moonballers I know are the biggest dbags in tennis and real life.
Amen!
 
#46
I was waiting for that one. Ding, ding, we have a winner. :)
It's a good change-up shot. I played a guy once who was about 5.0-5.5...we were hitting the ball hard and flat the whole set, then midway through the first set TB he hit this 15' mega topspin moonball to my bh corner....totally unexpected...I lost that point and it cost me the set. I didn't get mad though, I thought it was a cool play and I stole it to try in similar situations :)
 
#47
Idk, I always thought a moonball was one hit higher than necessary. Like a normal lob would go a couple feet over the net guy but a moonball would have everybody just standing there waiting for it to come down. Like 20'+ over the net is a moonball. Everything is is a lob or a looper or something.

J
 
#48
Idk, I always thought a moonball was one hit higher than necessary. Like a normal lob would go a couple feet over the net guy but a moonball would have everybody just standing there waiting for it to come down. Like 20'+ over the net is a moonball. Everything is is a lob or a looper or something.

J

No, that is a sky ball ... .you clearly don't play enough ladies low NTRP tennis to really know the vertical tennis game :p

My personal definitions:
Moonball .... low rated player's version of safe ground stroke ... not a lot of pace, lots of net clearance, maybe some top spin but not much... see a lot in ladies 2.5/3.0 singles .... like watching paint dry. If played against a player hitting with pace and flat, all pace is absorbed on the return moonball

Rainbow top spin groundstroke ... a little better top spin ground stroke ... ball has some shape, a little more pace a lot more ts. Will hear coaches say "should look like a rainbow" when working with a player

Lob ... versions:
3.0 version: no top spin, bunty extra high moonball
3.5 version top spin
4.0 version ... top spin or chip lob (backspin)

Sky ball ... desperation shot going up above the light posts, typically a lot of top spin ... done either on purpose to get repositioned or a total fluke frame shot winner
 
#49
Who cares, just learn to return balls, whatever the height!


Pathetic!

:D
lol, new definition... any ball that you can't handle because it attacks your contact zone vertically.
some people will call the same "moonball" a "sitter"(ie. folks who can hit a swinging volley and/or take it on the rise)
 
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