A lob shot is when a tennis player hits the ball high and over their opponent. This way, the ball goes into the back of the court, so that the opponent cannot reach it. It can be achieved using either topspin or backspin. Depending on how the ball is hit and the intention of the player, this can be considered either an offensive or a defensive shot. Lob shots can be strong tactical shots during a game, to allow the player more time to readjust or to put the opposing player off of their rhythm.
For a defensive lob shot, the player should be close to the ball and the face of the racket should be open to the court facing up toward the sky at a 45-degree angle. The player should use a short backswing with the head of the racket below the handle. By starting with the racket low, the player can get a good upward movement, forcing the ball upwards and over the net.
The arm swing with the racket should move from low to high. With a defensive lob, players will use backspin and a slower swing. The player will have a longer follow through to make sure the ball gets high enough to move over the opposing player's head.
For an offensive lob shot, the player should use the same body position and racket position as a defensive shot. However, when they swing at the ball, they will rotate the racket in their hand in order to create topspin on the ball. This will be a quicker, and more powerful hit than one with backspin. It will start to drop at the baseline, making it harder for opposing players to return.
Lob shots are advantageous for a few reasons. One major reason is to catch an opponent off guard when they are closer to the net. By hitting the ball over their head, the attacking player can win the point if the receiving player cannot return the ball. Another advantage to a lob shot is that it allows the player who hits the ball to take time to reset their position on the court. A higher shot allows more time before the opposing player can return the ball, giving the hitting player the time to move into a more optimal position. Lob shots can also be advantageous if they are placed high enough in the sky to cause the sun to be in the opposing player's eyes. Players will often have to be aware of the environment around them to best use their shots.
A disadvantage to lob shots is that they can be easy for players to return if not placed correctly. If the shot is not high or far enough, the opposing player can hit an overhead shot directly back over the net, causing the player who hit the lob shot to have to immediately be ready to return a ball. This can be problematic, especially if they attempted to hit the lob shot in order to gain more time to reset their position on the court. Players avoid using them too often because lob shots are not the most effective offensive shot. Lob shots need practice in order to perfect, as to avoid any mistakes or unwanted consequences.