Tennis Tip: Lob, Lob, Lob - What Are We Going To Do About All Of Those Lobbers In Doubles
by Christo Van Rensburg on June 23rd, 2013

LOB LOB LOB -- what are we going to do against all those LOBBERS in the league? 

The more I study tennis at everyday social or league matches the more I realize that the lob is being used a lot.  Personally, I am a big fan of the lob.  Jimmy Connors was known for lobbing early in a match to let his opponent knows that he could not come to the net and "sit on top of the net", an expression we use when someone is very close to the net.

The area that I want to address is what should the team do that are on the receiving end of the lob?  Why does the lob always go over their heads?
If so, what should they do?

I have said this many times....The most important thing in doubles is communication.
The 2nd most important thing is communication, and the 3rd that is not that important is get my drift.  Make sure your partner and you are on the same page in knowing what you want to do and why you want to do things and when you want to do it.

It is very important during a match to find out which opponent lobs a lot.  Are they both lobbing a lot or only one of them?  Talk to your partner so you both agree on the answer to this question.  When you play against a good lobber, a simple rule of thumb is that you can not stand the same distance from the net as if you are playing someone that never lobs.  Stand at least one to two steps further back than usual and from this day on we will call that spot your comfort zone.  Every player I coach has learned about the C-Zone (comfort zone), because we all have our C-Zones where we like to play from.  So to recap, you will have 2 different C-Zones in doubles when you play 2 opponents where one is a lobber and one is not. Those 2 C-Zones will be about one to two steps apart.  You have heard the expression: Christo can take you to the w, but you have to drink yourself....... you will have to pay attention on which opponent is going to hit the ball and then move to your C-Zone before they strike the ball.  Sorry but that is the rule if you want to get to match point before they do.

Still, sometimes the lob will go over your head and what now?  I want to bring in a valuable point in what you as a team must do now?  Start praying.  Just kidding.  
If you were both at the net, then it will be quite tough, but at least try and whoever thinks they can get it must shout out loud, so you both don't go for the ball.  If this situation happens more and more then you both will have to move your C-Zone back another step. If this still does not help and the opponents still lob over your heads then you must go to option 2.  
What is option 2 ?
I am so happy that you are confused about option 2, because I have not addressed option 2 yet, but I will if you want me too.  Do you, .....say please !!!!

Option 2:
You have tried to play both at the net at the same time. It did not work, so make sure that you not together at the net again. You or your partner will be at the net, but not both.  Avoid things that does not work or that plays into the oppositions hands. 
Now if the lob goes over the net players head, the baseline partner will run across to get the ball. It sounds simple, but what is very important now for the baseline player, is to realize if they can make a good shot back that will be deep. If they feel that it is going to be a tough shot to get deep back into the opposition court they HAVE TO SHOUT AND LET THEIR PARTNER KNOWS TO COME BACK TO THE BASELINE......Maybe something like "come back" or "back up". This would give you a heads-up that your partner is in trouble and for you to COME BACK TO THE BASELINE as QUICK as your legs can carry you there. 

WHY should you retreat to the baseline and not just stand there at the net or service line? Because....your partner is in trouble.  You have to come back and help try to get the next ball the opponents will hit from your partner’s weak shot back into play.  You will be of no help to your partner if you stay at the net.  

If you and your partner have a good understanding than I will suggest the following: 

If your partner does not shout anything it will mean that she feels that her shot will be strong enough to get deep and out of reach from the opposing net player.  During this situation and only this situation, you can back up to the service line and not to the baseline. Carry on and play the point out normal. 

SUMMARY: Let your partner know if you are in trouble.  Doubles is a team sport.  Be there for your partner when they need help.  In all fairness, you might have been the cause for putting your partner in that position.  If you want to get to MATCH POINT, play as a team and do not point fingers.  Being in the right position on the court at the right time can let you get back in a rally from a tough situation. 

If you like my tips tell your friends, but not your opponents!!!!!!!

Remember if you can not play like a pro,
You can still think like a pro.
... because as my lovely daughter once said:
"if you mad or sad, you play bad"

Let me know if these tips have helped you! 
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Posted in Tennis Tips    Tagged with Tennis Tips, Lob


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