How to Play the Lobber

Denis & Chris successfully used a ‘lobbing strategy’ to win their last match.  This begs an answer to the question how should you play against a doubles pair who continuously lob you if you’re on the receiving end of the lobbers??

So why do lobbers win?  Apart from exhausting your patience (“This IS NOT tennis is often the catch cry”) , lobbers win by exploiting two key weaknesses common in most players: 1) Footwork and 2) Lack of Anticipation.

Re footwork, the average player tries to move backwards heels first, loses their balance and often stumbles to try to get into position. The result a muffed shot at best!

Of the five different types of moving on a tennis courts, moving backwards is by far the hardest for both sexes. I’ll get to the 3 typical choices momentarily, but the common denominator is to to position your dominant foot behind you by turning sideways. This allows you to shuffle backwards like a crab, or cross over your steps for better balance, or combine the shuffle/cross over step depending on whether you’re running down the lob or hitting a smash.

Of course all of this is pretty pointless if you’re caught unaware by the lob and lack anticipation!

Here’s how to help you anticipate a lob.  Firstly, consider the PATTERN of play. As Denis alluded to above, he invoked the strategy from the outset, or if you serve down the middle on Dunno’s backhand expect a lob back. Then consider the opponent’s POSITION on the court: if they are in a defensive position–you’re attacking the net or they’re off the court, expect a lob! Allied to this is POISE, if the guy is off balance or stretching for a ball, expect a lob so they can buy some time to get back into the game.. And lastly, study their racket PREPARATION–if you can see that far and/or still have presence of mind–an open racket face indicates a lofted ball, a closed racket face indicates a drive.

If you can consistently recognize 2 or 3 of these P factors, you’ll be well prepared for a lob.  Now what you do with the next shot, we’ll perhaps that’s another column in the future. Suffice to say, one key is NOT to hit the ball short to the opposition so that can have lunch.

Tennis is a great game with many different styles of play. Face facts. lobbing is one of them — and it works because it exploits common weaknesses.  Hopefully, this little missive will help you understand how to play against the lobber but more importantly, why you might want to incorporate in your own game. It might be ugly but it wins at all levels of tennis — just ask Denis and Dunno!!.

Rob Muir USPTA

Badge Results – Round 11

A bad weekend with only three winning badge teams.Still eight teams have good chances of making the semi finals so hopefully some big wins to come in the final three rounds.

Ladies 1 Lost 6-2.  A loss to the top team at home was not what was hoped. Unusual pairings this weekend with players unavailable shows with our best pairings Manly are still in with a big chance to win this grade. Lisa and Julia won 2 sets.

Ladies2 Won 5-3.  A good confidence boost to have a strong win.  Danni and Kirsten won 3 sets and Sarah and Emily won 2 sets.This shows with strong pairings these ladies are very competitive in this grade.  Hopefully both Ladies Teams can play their best next weekend with a home derby again.

Mens 1 Won 7-1.  New recruit Todd teamed with Captain Sean to win all their sets.Todd has been a great player to pick up mid season.Harry and Sam won 3 sets to complete an easy win.

Mens 2  Won 5-3. With two sets forfeited this made for a good win to stay in the top 4.  Mike and Postman Geoff won 1 set played and Treasurer Jon and President and Resident Handyman Craig won 2 sets. (Craig assembling our new seats for Court 5.)

Mens 3 Lost 0-7.  Harald and Paul tried hard to lose 4 close sets. Young Roberto played with Mat from Team 5 who was filling in and lost their sets. Roberto senior was unavailable as he was attending his immigration exam for citizenship. I hope there was no cricket questions and plenty of soccer ones!

Mens 4 Lost 7-1.  A bad loss but stayed 2nd on the table. It is always tough playing away at Strathfield and with different pairings this week it was never going to be an easy assignment. Dean and Ben won 1 set.

Mens 5 Lost 6-2.  Another loss but luckily we remain 3rd on the ladder. Hunters Hill are runaway leaders in this grade and showed  us why.Journeyman  Chris returns next match to hopefully strengthen  the team. He has been holidaying for 5 weeks with his family in USA and Canada. We need his volleying skills for the last 3 matches.  Graham and Denis won 2 sets.

Mens 6 Lost 6-2.  Played the top team away at Mosman which is always tough on their grass courts. Grasscourt specialists Trev and Peter took 2 sets off this strong team.

Mens 7 Lost 7-1.  Another hard match on the road at Hunters Hill. Tommy Turbo and Erhardt won the first set but then the grasscourt capabilities  of Hunters Hill was apparent as they won the next 3 sets and all four against Gary and James.

Mens 8 Lost 1-6.  With our  top player out the youthful Strathfield Team were too quick around the court. With several septegenarians in Manly’s Team and Owen watching on,the age difference was too much. In this grade speed can beat brains. Ian and Peter won 1 set.

Good luck to all teams this weekend and keep playing your best pairings whenever possible.

Badge Results 11 Jul-29
Ladies Grade Result Score Position
Manly 1 1.1 Lost 2-6 2
Manly 2 1.1 Won 5-3 8
Mens Grade Result Score Position
Manly 1 1.1 Won 7-1 1
Manly 2 1.3 Won 5-3 4
Manly 3 1.5 Lost 0-7 8
Manly 4 2.2 Lost 1-7 2
Manly 5 2.3 Lost 2-6 3
Manly 6 2.5 Lost 2-6 5
Manly 7 2.5 Lost 1-7 4
Manly 8 3.1 Lost 1-6 2