Tennis Lobs & Overhead Shots

The lob is used to put the ball over an opponents head. Learn how to put topspin on to make the shot more efficient. Overhead shots include the smash.

Overhead Smash

The overhead smash is used when an opponent attempts a lob and either executes it poorly or allows the player to read and adjust to it. This is a shot that if performed correctly should end the point. Using power, placement, or a combination of the two to do so.

How: A continental grip is usually used to carry out this shot. This grip is also used for volleying so this means there is no change of grip needed if an opposing player attempts a lob.

For a right-handed player, the first thing to do is start to turn the shoulders and hips to the side on position and step the right foot back and point the toes in the same direction the upper body is turning.

The body positions used are a lot like that of a serve, keeping the feet close together to gain power from the lower body, bringing the racket up and turning the body back towards the net before hitting the ball. The wrist should be snapped as on a serve to bring the ball down quicker.

Points to Remember: If players use good placement it is not essential to hit the ball too hard.

Top Spin Backhand Lob

This shot can be hit with one or two hands. The one-handed shot is harder to disguise and needs a continental grip to execute it. Using the continental grip player must again use the low to high swing path and end up with the racket above the head on the stronger side of the body (right for a right-handed player).

For the one-handed backhand, much of the technique is the same as that for the forehand with the racket face being left slightly open and the shoulders being tilted back to gain the height on the shot.

For the two-handed backhand, the lob should be carried out in just the same way as a normal two-handed backhand groundstroke except for a more defined low to high motion to create the height on the shot. Then the follow-through should be the same. 

Points to Remember: As with the forehand, lob leave the upward movement to the last minute to disguise the lob. Don’t overuse it.

Top Spin Forehand Lob

The topspin forehand lob is very difficult to return once it has gone over the head of an opponent because when the ball bounces the topspin takes it even further away from the player chasing it. This means when it is executed properly a high percentage of these shots will be winners, so it is a good shot to have in the locker.

How: This shot requires a lot of topspin to bring the ball down as fast as possible after clearing the net player. This means the racket has to go from low to high, the player should meet the ball in front of the body and finish up with the racket head above the racket side of the head.

To help get the height to lift the ball above an opponent the player should lean down slightly on the racket side, so the shoulder is lower, and have the face of the racket open a bit.

Players may think that the racket being open would stop the topspin, but because the low to high motion is so defined and obvious, this is what creates the topspin on the shot.

Points to Remember: Players should try and disguise the shot by setting up as they would for any other groundstroke, and make the necessary changes at the last minute. Don’t use it too often.