How to Hit an Effective Lob

Due to the dominance of the baseline game, it has become less common for tennis players to come to the net. Therefore the lob has been forgotten by many players. In some training schedules the stroke is even no longer to be found.

However, we still recommend that you practice this stroke and use it when necessary. In general, a well-placed lob is a suitable shot to block the opponent’s net attack. Here you will find all the details on how to play an effective lob.


We’re in the middle of a rally right now. Your opponent plays an attacking ball to the baseline and moves to the net. At this moment, you have two options. On the one hand, you can try to overcome your opponent with a passing shot.

Or you can take the second option and pass the ball backwards over your opponent in a high arc As your opponent is at the front of the net, there is some space behind him or her in which you can place the ball. This is where the lob comes into play.


Overall, lob is the only shot in tennis that is played steeply upwards over the net. The trajectory of the tennis ball is particularly important in lob. Decisive for this is the speed of the ball and its rotation.

On the one hand, the ball must fly so high that your opponent cannot reach it. If the ball is too low, you give your opponent the chance to play a simple smash. On the other hand, you must not hit the ball too high or too far back, otherwise it will land outside the court.

Basically you can hit the lob with the forehand as well as with the backhand. In this case, there is a difference between a topspin lob and a slice lob.

Topspin Lob

In the topspin lob, you give the ball a forward rotation. This has the advantage that the ball bounces very far back due to the spin. Even if your opponent runs back to the baseline, it will be difficult for him to get the ball. The rotation also makes the ball spin slightly in the air into the court. This reduces the risk of the ball going out of bounds.

Slice Lob

While the topspin lob is an offensive shot, you hit the slice lob from the defense. You should only use the slice lob when you can barely reach your opponent’s approach shot.

In this case, you hit the ball extremely steeply upwards with a backspin. As the ball now stays in the air longer, you take the speed out of the rally. This gives you more time to run back to the centre of the court.

However, the disadvantage of this shot is that your opponent also has enough time to reposition himself. Furthermore, the spin causes the ball to bounce back slightly to the net.


In this game situation we want to score a direct point. Therefore we will concentrate on the topspin lob in the following.

Depending on which side the ball comes to, you take your racket either in the forehand or backhand grip. The difference to the normal basic stroke is that you take the lob deeper with the club and then swing it up.

At the same time you transfer your body weight to the back foot. Make sure that you do not fall so far back with your upper body. Otherwise you would lose your balance. In addition, your opponent could guess the lob when he sees your movement After the shot, you can stay on the baseline or go to the net and launch attack yourself.

At the net you have the chance to hit a volley and finish the point. How a good volley looks like is explained on the following page.

Practice the volley