Hit an Offensive Top-Spin Lob in Tennis

Edited by Jerry Rivers, Anonymous, Lynn, Alma and 3 others

Jerry-backhand topspin lob.jpg

When you hear the word "lob" you probably envision a passive defensive toss of a ball in the air. In tennis there are times when a defensive lob is called for, but there are also times when it pays to know how to hit an offensive topspin lob. A lob is used often in doubles, but is very effective in singles anytime an opponent is near the net. The topspin lob can end a point outright with no reply possible by the best opponent on the other side of the net. From this tutorial you will learn how to do just that. Follow the instructions, for this is how to hit an offensive topspin lob in tennis.

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Steps for an offensive topspin lob in tennis

When you are under pressure, with an opponent or opponents at the net, this is the ideal time to hit a lob. There are three types: The flat, the underspin, and the topspin lob. Both the flat and underspin lobs must be hit high in the air and ideally very deep; as close to the baseline as possible. If your opponent is crouched near the net, inside the service line, and you can get either the flat or underspin lob out of their reach, an extremely quick player who anticipates the shot can sometimes run back and pluck it out of the air, or take it off a bounce, and still hit a winning shot. Usually, if you hit the ball before the bounce, the reply will be from an overhead smash. Speaking of which, you can learn an effective overhead smash from the tutorial at: Hit an Overhead Smash in Tennis . However, if you can make time to hit a topspin lob, it only has to be high enough to clear their reach, and as they say in UFC, "It's all over!" No mortal tennis player will be able to run it down once past him. It will actually accelerate once it hits the court and will "run away" from your opponent due to the ball spinning from top to bottom. This is topspin, and it makes the tennis ball drop hard, drop fast, and bounce high and "kick" hard once it hits the surface. It can be a very gratifying stroke to execute and watch.

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  1. 1
    The topspin lob
    Jerry- topspin lob forehand.jpg
    1. A topspin lob is easier to execute from your forehand side unless you use a two-hand backhand for this stroke.
    2. As a former competitive player, coach, and instructor, I recommend that you use a two-hand backhand if you must choose to hit a powerful, effective topspin lob from that side.
    3. Even if you do not use a two-hand backhand for any of your typical backhands, it would be much easier to impart the necessary heavy topspin for this offensive stroke.
    4. It will not only be a stronger shot with the two-hand, but is easier to disguise than if you use the traditional one-hand backhand.
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  2. 2
    The defensive flat or underspin lob
    1. When you are out of position, and must stretch to get the ball back over the net, you must just snap your hitting wrist to hit the ball high in the air, and deep into the opponent's court.
    2. If possible, hit the ball to the opponent's backhand side, which will demand that the opponent scramble with extra footwork to hit an overhead smash from your flat defensive lob.
    3. To his an underspin defensive lob, just brush the ball high to low as you flick your wrist. After your lob hits the court surface, it will bounce low and back toward the net.
    4. The flat or underspin lob should only be used from necessity in singles or doubles. If you are in position, and have time, the aggressive topspin lob is the shot to make over their head.
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  3. 3
    Progression for how to hit the forehand topspin lob
    Jr-get ready.jpg
    1. Start from the standard tennis ready position to prepare for any tennis stroke. When on the move, you will actually get in this position with a "split step". It simply means you will quickly step into this position for a "split second" with your feet "split apart", so you instantly are ready to pivot and run, if needed, to the next shot. The ready position and forehand grips are explained at: Hit a Tennis Forehand .
    2. Use any forehand grip other than the continental grip for this stroke.
    3. Have someone stand about six feet from the other side of the net with a tennis hopper or bucket of tennis balls.
    4. The partner will hit tennis balls slowly to bounce around hip to waist high on your forehand side while you are at the baseline.
      JR-backswing for topspin lob.jpg
    5. Practice bending your legs more deeply than for the usual forehand. Your hitting arm and racket head must be below the ball as you are about to hit it. As you are about to hit this stroke, you can be in a forward or open stance. It is easier to hit with an open stance if you are using a semi-western or western stance.
    6. Brush the ball from the bottom to top with a hard stroke up with your hitting arm. Snap your wrist up sharply as you brush the ball with your racket face open (tilted back). Your hitting arm should have a quick whipping action as you swing the racket up, extremely brushing the tennis ball.
    7. The more open-faced your racket, and the harder your upward stroke, the higher the trajectory. The ball will also drop shorter with more of an open face, and with more spin imparted.
    8. Whip the ball sharply and finish your follow-through behind your ear on the same forehand side.
    9. Have your partner stick their racket up with an extended arm after each ball feed.
    10. You should clear their extended racket by at least a yard on each topspin lob. Note that if it is within an opponent's reach, from the net the formidable overhead smash can be hit. At the same time, you want each topspin lob to land within the opponent's baseline. The offensive topspin lob requires practice, but is well worth the investment. No human can run down a topspin lob if it clears over their reach.
    11. Once you have mastered the slowly fed ground strokes to your forehand side, have the partner feed fast balls. Once you have mastered the timing for hitting topspin lobs out of reach from the fast approaching ground strokes, have your partner (or ball machine) hit balls at different speeds and different locations deep in the court on your forehand side.
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  4. 4
    How to hit the backhand topspin lob
    1. From the ready position, you must bring your racket arm and racket below the approaching ball.
    2. Bend your legs more than your typical backhand stroke.
    3. Use your usual backhand grip if you are using a two-hand backhand. If you want to hit this stroke with a one-hand backhand, use an eastern back-hand grip.
    4. Brush up the back of the ball with a whipping low to high stroke.
    5. Hit the backhand topspin lob with a slight tilt, or open racket face.
    6. Just as with the forehand topspin, have your partner feed slow balls from behind the baseline, about six feet behind the net.
    7. After each ball is fed, have your partner reach up with the racket as the ball goes over his head. Each topspin lob should clear the outstretched racket by at least a yard, and land deep in the opponent's court. Note how the ball kicks hard and away from the court due to your extreme topspin once it bounces.
    8. Your stance can be closed or forward with either the two-hand or one-hand backhand topspin lob.
    9. Your follow-through for the one-hand should be with your back arched and the racket behind your back. The racket will end up from this hard whipping action on the ball as in a backscratch position due to the forceful stroke.
    10. With the two-hand backhand topspin lob, your follow through will end up all the way behind your ear on the forehand side. In other words, it will finish behind your ear in the same place as with that forehand topspin lob.
      JR-follow thru for backhand topspin lob.jpg
    11. Once you have mastered hitting the topspin lob from the backhand side from slow balls bouncing to your hip or waist height, have your partner hit fast balls.
    12. Next, have the partner or ball machine hit balls at different reachable locations on the backhand side.
    13. Once this is mastered, practice hitting topspin lobs from balls hit to both sides within reach. Have the balls fed so that you can execute the topspin lob properly.
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So, have fun and practice this offensive stroke. You will find it gratifying to hit the topspin lob. When you have the opportunity, use it. It not only can give you a quick winning point, but will also cause your opponents to hesitate before they run up to the net. It keeps them guessing, which is to your advantage in tennis!

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  • To hit the topspin lob well, you must practice it occasionally. The topspin lob requires an extreme whipping action from low to high using either wing, so you must commit to this stroke. A half-hearted attempt will only cause your offensive stroke to have less topspin, which will also allow your opponent to reach your lob for an attacking overhead smash. So, go after that ball with a strong, eye-popping topspin lob. It will quickly finish the point as the opponent turns helplessly, and watches the ball bounce and run away.
  • Looser and thinner strings impart more spin on a tennis ball. Any non-nylon string will impart more spin on the ball, and there are special strings available that will create extra spin.

Questions and Answers

Type of stroke (offensive) the hit, loop, counter hit, flick, smash?

What is the meaning of all that?

These are names for the different types of strokes that tennis players use to hit the tennis ball to their opponent. Read the article above to learn about some of the best offensive strokes you can use to get a win in your next match.

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How to return a lob from the opponents that goes to the ad side alley when you're playing deuce baseline?

My partner is at the ad side net position. I am at the deuce baseline. The opponents hit a lob over my partner's head to the ad alley. Even with a fast run from me, I seem to consistently hit a rim shot off my racquet into the net. How and what do I need to do to correct this?. I have tried: Running faster to get there...not good enough. Because I need to drive through the ball better and to make sure to hit it across court.

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Categories : Sports

Recent edits by: Calob Horton, Dougie, Alma

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