Palmetto Dunes

Player ‘Lobbers’ from Brian Kiggans, Head Tennis Professional at Palmetto Dunes

Brian KiggansWhen playing a doubles opponent who often lobs the ball, it can be frustrating due to minimal offensive threats and impatience might cause unforced errors. Many times the losing team does not have a good enough offense to overcome the defensive “lobbers.”

There are some tactics to try if you run up against these types of teams. When you get an overhead, don’t try to pound it through them. Attempt softer, shorter angles to move them out of position and force them react to the different pace of the ball. Make sure you are playing overheads when balls are high and volleys if they are low. Too many teams attempt overheads when the ball is not high and they should be playing a volley, which is more accurate.

Not every overhead is meant to be a put away. Mix in a variety of angles and spin. Missed overheads are the number one reason people lose to teams that lob well. Use a drop shot to return a serve or on shorter shots. Hitting deep, powerful shots feeds the frenzy of more lobs. When you do get a volley, try to use more drop or touch around the net, when possible. Hard, firm volleys invite a better lob.

Whenever possible, play to the weaker player or lobber which will frustrate the stronger team member. Try playing your team’s best overhead player, if right-handed, in the ad court or, if lefty, in the deuce court. Anything up the middle will play into that player’s smash return.

>When serving, move your partner further from the net to take away the lob return. Lobbing teams love to do so off the serve. You may choose to play a designed poach off the serve so the server is already covering for their partner, if the return of serve lob is causing problems.

Lastly, don’t take it for granted you are a superior team. These teams are tough to beat. Don’t put too much pressure on yourselves to end points quickly.

In summary:

  • Don’t beat yourself by giving away free points. Remember this team has little offense and relies on your errors to win.
  • Remember hitting the ball hard feels great but usually will bring on a better lob from your opponent. Lobbers love pace so use softer shots whenever possible. You have to “dink-and-dunk” the lobbers.
  • Never underestimate lobbing teams. Respect their abilities so that you don’t put too much pressure on yourselves.

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