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Why play a lob?

Get down low and get the racket under the ball for an effective lob/toss.

Get down low and get the racket under the ball for an effective lob/toss.

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A Lob can take the pressure off the play allowing more time

Published: 24 Jul 2004 - 18:16 by rippa rit

Updated: 22 May 2009 - 07:58

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I recommend experimenting with the lob, especially when you are out of position and need time, and your opponent is ready to pounce on your return.  It will take some practice as the harder the opponent hits the ball, the more skill required to be able to take the pace off the ball and hit a nicely controlled tight lob that just sits in the back corner of the court.  Definitely, this shot is under-estimated.

Say, the reply to a drop shot is a cross court lob. The lob will:-

    • Let you recover from the front of the court.
    • Enable you to clear the ball.
    • Force the opponent to the back so you can get to the T.
    • Slow down the tempo of the game.
  • Read about the Lob technique.

This video shows how a player moves forward, lifts the ball high, and is back at the T before the ball bounces.

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From rippa rit - 22 May 2009 - 07:58

The video at the bottom of this article shows a few other things, not only the use of the lob to give a player time to move into position, plus

  • movement off the ball, as the player watches the flight path of the return and positions themselves ready for the next shot (taking a side on stance to get full view of the ball).
  • is aware of the height and speed of the ball and its anticipated landing point (see the body language).
  • will know if the opponent is able to return the ball easily or with difficulty and be "on the ready" to chase the return, or maybe able to intercept the return if it is not too accurate.

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From rippa rit - 31 Jan 2008 - 16:56   -   Updated: 01 Feb 2008 - 06:59

Roo - the harder the player hits the ball the easier for the opponent provided they can cover the shot.  The hard hitter is doing all the work, and using all the energy.   Provided their opponent has their racket head controlled (as there is so much pace on the ball) not a great amount of swing is necessary to hit the ball, making it perfect for a drop, volley drop, volley boast. 

Just a suggestion - go to the Squash Library on the Home Page, click on the tab Strokes/Movement, and read "preparation" and "backswing".  Take particular note that to get the racket in position generally requires only the movement of the shoulders/body into position and the racket will automatically go around too.  Be sure not to use your racket like a gear stick and jerk it around, it sort of becomes an extension of your arm.

Does that make sense?

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From Adz - 30 Jan 2008 - 22:31


I have to say I can understand and agree with what you mean aboput getting the racquet into position when stretching for the ball, but I also have to add that both lobs, drops, drives etc can all be played at full stretch without giving the game away to the opponent.

Using a lob as an attacking shot needs timing and accuracy. I have both personally played and witnessed lobs being played to near perfection from full stretch positions, as well as cross court drops, straight drops, drives, kills etc. It just needs correct racquet position relative to your body position. Take a lob or straight drop as an example. Your body is in full stretch (like you are doing the splits but with one leg bent and the other straight. Your arm is reaching out to play the ball, and your racquet head is pointing towards the floor with the face open. (it means bending your wrist quite a lot). Here you can either touch a drop or lift the head of the racquet up last second to lift the lob. The drop becomes the lightest of touches forward and the lob becomes a flick upwards of the racquet head, both of which can be done at speed or held slightly to force an error in position from your opponent. Both also give the ability to add disguise to your shot.


I've read that article before as a good friend of mine is a university lecturer who specialises in visual cues in sport.

Interesting reading though!



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From rooshootup - 20 Dec 2007 - 11:40

Thanks for that, very interesting reading.  But I bet they were not analysing a John White drive!  I'd like to see anyone get their racket up and down in time for his drives.

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From rippa rit - 19 Dec 2007 - 21:55   -   Updated: 19 Dec 2007 - 21:59

rooshoot - trust me, if you watch the ball at all times, and move into a position that enables you to see what is happening on court you will respond to the cues earlier and all of a sudden you will have much more time.

I read a Uni report following a study of lower and higher grade players and the speed at which they executed the shots, and incidentally it was not so much about speed, but more about the amount of clues that the players absorbed, and reacted to the situation faster, making it look like they were faster on court.

Here is a link which will give you a better idea of what I am talking about.

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From rooshootup - 19 Dec 2007 - 10:13

he he.  I like that one.  With the preperation, in theory ok, but its not so easy when the ball is either whizzing past your ankles or you get one of those funny bounces or the ball hits the nick.  I struggle to get my racket down in time let alone up! 

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From rippa rit - 18 Dec 2007 - 21:59   -   Updated: 18 Dec 2007 - 22:03

rooshoot - my first thought about the preparation being slow when stretching is that you actually stretch with your legs, and then as a last resort take the racket forward to recover the ball, and that is after your body cannot get there to cover the shot, and it becomes necessary to hit a more defensive return, eg lob from the front, boast from the back.

The important thing for you to remember, the preparation should be made before the opponent's return hits the front wall.  How?  Well, you never take your eye off the ball, always keep moving and flexing around into a preferred and safe position, and see where the ball is heading, ie to the left of you or to the right of you, hence the early preparation of racket and body movement.

About the other question "technology available ...." I guess it is a bit like familiarity breeds contempt, as it does in any other job too, and I can say if they were playing with electricity they would have been zapped many times in a training session....come to think of it that would be a good thing, oops!

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From rooshootup - 18 Dec 2007 - 10:42

Yes, but surely coaches at institutes, with all the technology available, can do some basic analysis and present different rationals to players and let them choose what they want.  Atleast then, they are in more control of their destiny.

Also, how do I keep the same racket preperation when I am stretching for the shot.  By the time I get my racket head up the balls bounced twice.   

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From rippa rit - 18 Dec 2007 - 08:14

Sometimes I think the new age of squash training through the Sports Institutes teaches players to become robots too.  It just becomes like a job, and each day the players go through the motions, which is sad too, and we will never know how much effect that has had on the sport.  Often I look at the training, and then I look at the Coaches, and the pages seem blank. 

So one good thing can cancel out another good thing, if you get what I mean.  

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From rooshootup - 17 Dec 2007 - 16:16   -   Updated: 17 Dec 2007 - 16:20

Yes, I try to mix up lob/drop from the front corners in a 50:50 ratio as this seems to stop the opponent from moving early (unless they guesse).  A poor lob usually still enables me enough time to recover to the T.  However, I have found my low hard drives have to be near perfect for recovery to the T.  I treat the back corners similarly for the same reason.  Consequently, I have become very good at lobs/tosses which occasionally end up as outright winners!  i LOVE the shot!  I've watched pros drive out of the corners and continually get punished for it, so my question is why do they do it?  It is very rarely a winner (given their opponent is on the T and the retrieving abilities of pros) yet they just keep on doing it.  WHY?

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From rippa rit - 17 Dec 2007 - 08:07

Looking at this recovery lob from the front of the court, flexibility is a major ingredient in scurrying around the court. 

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From rippa rit - 07 Aug 2007 - 08:13

Just a few more things on lob tactics.
All the more reason to mix up the long and short returns 'cos just when the opponent thinks it will be a lob/toss just pop in the little drop shot.
It is very hard to get a ball over the head of an opponent who keeps moving back waiting for the length shots.
Work on keeping the racket preparation consistent for all shots and that is even more deceptive.

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