How to Hit a Lob Shot in Tennis

Apr 12, 2013 by

The lob shot in tennis is an underused play, which is a shame because it can be a devastating offensive or defensive weapon. It is a great shot to play against aggressive players who have come to the net. A perfectly executed lob shot will make full use of the space left by the opponent after his net charge. The trouble with a lob shot is that the timing needs to be perfect. You will be under pressure as you attempt the shot and if you perform it too early, your opponent will be able to smash a volley past you. We look at the lob shot as an attacking and defensive move.

Hitting A Lob Shot in Tennis

The lob is one of the most neglected shots in tennis. It can be used while attacking or defending.

See also: Tips for Returning A Serve

The Attacking Lob Shot

If your opponent has hit a subpar volley or if you’ve read their approach shot, it is possible to attack with a topspin lob. Use a normal forehand grip, drop the racket low, ensure there is a steep angle in the strings, and drive the racket through the back of the ball using as much acceleration and height as you can. When properly performed, the ball will sail over your opponent’s head, but land safely inside the line at the back of the court. A topspin lob will kick off the surface away from the opponent. It is important to be close to the ball when trying this shot in order to get enough leverage to generate the required spin.

The Defensive Lob Shot

When you’re under pressure, the flat lob is your best option and involves using an open racket face to connect with the ball and keep the rally going. If you can get the ball high enough, your opponent will need to play a reasonably tough smash shot or even let the ball bounce. If the latter occurs, you have the opportunity to get back into the point. The flat defensive lob shot is a high percentage stroke and ensures that your opponent needs to play at least one more good shot to secure the point. Remember, the more shots your opponent has to play in a rally, the more likely it is that he will make an error.

Technique To Play Lob Shots


When it comes to the topspin lob in particular, the biggest mistake players make is a lack of aggression. The result is a weak push shot that surrenders the initiative. If you play a topspin lob, you need to be completely committed to the shot in order for it to work. Start practicing your offensive and defensive lob shots today and add some extra ammunition to your tennis armory.

Image license: Creative Commons (view source)

1 Comment

  1. I couldn’t agree more that the lob shot is not utilized as well as it should be. Great demonstration video for this post, too. Thanks for focusing on this important shot!


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