Remember last season when you lost a match (you should have won) to those lob queens? Oh wait, that was me and my doubles partner, lol! In our defense, at our level we don’t play against teams who lob nearly every ball, so we were a little (a lot) rusty. But these ladies were new to the league, and man, did they take us by surprise!
Lobbers have a slow-paced, low-risk strategy involving consistent and constant lobbing which requires minimal energy, and invites over-hitting from the opponent. Chances are good that they’ve been lobbing for a while and are probably very good at it, so you there’s a good chance you won’t out-rally them from the baseline.
At our team drill the following Saturday, my partner and I told our coach what happened, and she had some excellent insight to that game style along with some great advice on how to turn the table on the “lobsters” and take them out of their comfort zones!
If they’re playing near the baseline then there’s a pretty good chance they don’t like the net. When the opportunity arises, hit a drop shot or short angle and make them come in, and then put up a high lob and make them run. Continuing to do this will take them out of their comfort zone and wear them out, making their lobs less effective and easier to put away.
Play Mid Court
Rather than playing lobs from behind the baseline, come into the court (about a step behind the service line) so you can use your swinging volley or overhead. This will allow you to be more aggressive while taking time away from your opponent to prepare for your incoming shot. Also, being mid-court will enable you to hit more of an angle and take them off the court.
TIP: if you’re returning a really high lob (also called a “moonball”), let it bounce first and then hit it like you would your serve with an overhead smash.
When all else fails, and if you have a good lob, send back the same high slow ball that they’re giving you. They may be counting on you to make a mistake, but if you have patience and are willing to play the lob game with them, they may get frustrated that their game isn’t working, and that could take them out of their comfort zone.
TIP: hit with plenty of topspin and try to aim for backhand side of the weaker player.
Practice, practice, practice!
It’s a given that if you play tennis, eventually you will run into someone who lobs. You need to analyze your own strengths and decide on a strategy that works best for you, then go out and practice those strategies with your teammates so you can be confident when that match-up occurs.
TIP: make sure to practice both your lobs AND counter attacks.
Using the tips above will help you design your own game plan to win against the lob queens. I know I’m ready now!