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Crush Lobbers In Doubles

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Do you get frustrated by doubles opponents who lob over and over again?

You don’t have to be, and you won’t be if you work on the three simple elements that I outline in today’s strategy tutorial.

Fact of the matter is you should NOT always be looking to close into the net in doubles, even though a lot of coaches and pros advocate that kind of black and white approach.

Comments? Questions? Leave them down below. Thanks for watching as always!

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  1. Maureen (Mo)Doss October 5, 2017 at 9:31 am - Reply

    Gosh, Ian!!

    You and your staff are without a doubt THE BEST instructors of this game and break down each component into easy to learn and execute lessons to improve my game! I truly appreciate all of your hard work and dedication to creating a passion for the game and your ability to communicate it to all levels of players! I'm so glad I found you first on You Tube and am now a subscriber as well as a purchaser of several of your programs. Please keep up the good work and know how grateful I am to have your wonderful videos and what feels like your personalized attention to making me a better player. I have a renewed passion for this game after a 20+ year absence from playing!! You guys are awesome!!

    Grateful in Ft Worth,
    Maureen (Mo) Doss

  2. Carol S May 11, 2016 at 6:55 am - Reply

    Great video. I love to lob and now will watch for my opponents hanging out just outside the service box as a clue they are onto me. Thanks so much.

  3. Christopher May 9, 2016 at 8:54 am - Reply

    One thing I've found is also helpful from a tactical standpoint when playing an opponent who loves to lob defensively is to keep them off balance with your own approaches, particularly when you get a weak shallow return that sits up and allows a variety of shot options. In my experience a lot of recreational play lobbers aren't nearly as comfortable lobbing when they have to charge in and retrieve a well-placed drop shot out of their partner's reach (they're much more comfortable playing lob defense from the baseline) and often any lob they're able to throw up in that situation will be much weaker, shallower and without any topspin, giving you a much easier overhead putaway than if your approach allowed them more time to hit their comfort zone topspin lob. Also, dropshotting them a few times will keep them off-balance and less in their lobbing comfort zone if they have to be ready to charge in to retrieve a dying drop.

  4. Joel Cohen May 8, 2016 at 3:11 am - Reply

    Great advice to defeat lobbers.My partner consistently charged the net last night, making me stay at the bsseline, and have to make running BH lob returns, after adjusting by staying back myself. We lost 8-6 to a tem we should have beat. Thx!

  5. Steve S. May 8, 2016 at 2:29 am - Reply

    Good video as always

  6. Noushin May 7, 2016 at 8:51 am - Reply

    Many thanks for sharing your experience!

  7. John Gunkler May 6, 2016 at 9:43 pm - Reply

    Absolutely agree with all three points. Way back in high school I discovered how much I HATED to be lobbed! I tried your first two strategies without no. 3 without luck. Then I worked hard on my OH and, this is critical!, was willing to blast it whenever I was lobbed. The harder I was willing to hit it, the less appetite my opponents had for more lobbing! We won the district championship that year against lobbers who had won it the year before.

  8. Anne May 6, 2016 at 7:32 pm - Reply

    Thanks, I like your videos a lot! Anne

  9. Dom Nocturne May 6, 2016 at 6:10 pm - Reply

    great pointer but what happens if the server's partner is 3 feet from the net and the return goes over his/her head?

  10. Robert May 6, 2016 at 2:35 pm - Reply

    I love your enthusiasm for teaching. I think you explain things clearly and with a purpose. I'm always excited to see what you put in my inbox.

    • Ian Westermann May 11, 2016 at 11:13 am - Reply

      Good. I am really glad to hear that! Cheers to you as well, Robert.

  11. Stacey May 6, 2016 at 11:50 am - Reply

    I don't mind throwing in the occasional lob but it's not my best shot and to be honest it takes skill to do a really good lob consistently so I think we need to respect these players more and start playing smarter to beat them. I often find that it's older players that lob a lot as they make us run around doing all the work, they have years of practice which means great placement and great patience. I've played with a few players that get really frustrated with lobbers but if they're good enough to do it then why not? It's a legal shot and a skill just like any other shot but I really appreciate the tips on how to beat them.

  12. Marc Bazilian May 6, 2016 at 11:31 am - Reply


  13. El Mac September 4, 2015 at 9:17 pm - Reply

    Good points So if one does not have the overhead tool, stay back hit short bring in opponent and then lob them?
    Trying to work with the tools one has while working on tools needed.

    How about the Senior player playing younger players it seems he needs to hit at feet and perhaps hope to win matches using defensive shots?

  14. andy February 3, 2015 at 4:37 am - Reply

    1 prevent lobs by deep approach shots, hit harder if still lobbed, do not approach net on a weak return
    2 keep hitting deep returns until you have a put away
    3 hit a lob return and come in to service line for the expected lob since it is difficult to hit a hard passing shot off a lob
    4 hit deeper lobs to the corners
    5 hit short angled shots
    6 alternate short and deep shots to tire out the lobber

  15. mike cross January 23, 2015 at 6:54 pm - Reply

    Excellent drop shot and lob returns, you are cool!

  16. Carol S January 22, 2015 at 9:14 pm - Reply

    Thanks for the tips. I am a lobber – make lots of points with this shot. My problem is returning a back hand lob. I do not use 2 hands and I find my one hand is not strong enough.

  17. MAIREAD DEVONSHIRE January 20, 2015 at 7:08 pm - Reply

    Loved this , Thank you Have a match tomorrow and will try top do what you said

  18. Warren Turner January 20, 2015 at 4:15 am - Reply

    HI Ian:
    The problem comes when you play someone who you don't know, or has no real pattern, as with many players of moderate experience. For those I would add – work on your low and 1/2 volley skills.

    The other comment: – I can't get over the belief that while a powerful overhead is good, placement is better. I read somewhere that Bill Tilden did not have a particularily powerful overhead, but he placed it well. If you are set up under the ball, anywhere inside the baseline, there are places you can target the ball that cannot be returned. For this reason placement should have a higher priority than it does in most of the training and drills I am familiar with.
    Of course this is when your footwork is good enough to get set up – which returns us to your original advice!


  19. Paula January 20, 2015 at 1:31 am - Reply

    Great video Ian…I can't believe more people don't lob, especially when both players rush the net! Really interested to hear what you have to say about figuring out when people are going to lob. For me, I just watch their racquet head/backswing. It's typically a slower swing with more of an upswing and flatter racquet face. If they're really good there's a lot of topspin on the ball so when it bounces there's no way to get it. One of my strategies that works is to always take lobs out of the air as an overhead if you can. LOVE your videos Ian!!

  20. Pete January 19, 2015 at 11:38 pm - Reply

    Good job. Anticipation is key. If you play against lobbers, practice overheads.

  21. zons laidlaw January 19, 2015 at 8:17 pm - Reply

    Thanks Ian.
    Great advice.

  22. Julian January 19, 2015 at 4:47 pm - Reply

    Enjoyed the lobster video. Question: if they hit a short return to me, instead of hitting back to the person at the baseline, why not hit a hard shot to the backhand of their net player?

  23. TennisOpera January 19, 2015 at 2:58 pm - Reply

    BRILLIANT!!!! Immediately forwarding to my tennis teams as a reminder!! Funny…we all know this, but having you narrow down the three Key elements makes it so much simpler to remember!! BRAVO!!

    • Ian Westermann January 19, 2015 at 4:46 pm - Reply

      Thank you so much for sharing, I appreciate that 🙂

  24. MBB January 19, 2015 at 1:55 pm - Reply

    HI Ian: This is really good advice. Older players rely on that very play to keep their ranking up. They draw the other side in and then lob. One other remedy is for you to you draw them in by slicing, dropping or otherwise going short. People almost always lob from deep in the court. Return their short ball with a short ball and you can set your partner up for a put-away,.

    • Ian Westermann January 19, 2015 at 2:07 pm - Reply

      Great to hear that you're working on thinking one or two shots ahead and setting up the point in your favor. Keep up the good work!

  25. Terri Collins January 19, 2015 at 1:22 pm - Reply

    Thanks Ian. Losing doubles to a player who lobbed (very well) the entire match and won. I was bored and frustrated during the match and was angry to be beaten by this strategy. Thanks Ian for straightening me out on this issue. I have now taken your approach and am feeling a whole lot more comfortable fighting this lobbing strategy. Taking the three points that you have made and reinforcing them in my own game has helped in all areas, especially taking away the frustration and replacing it with a new attitude in the match. As always Ian, very much appreciated.

    • Ian Westermann January 19, 2015 at 2:07 pm - Reply

      Awesome, that is exactly what I love to hear, Terri! Keep up the amazing work 🙂

  26. Sandy January 19, 2015 at 12:30 pm - Reply

    You say anticipate better to prevent being lobbed. What actually should one be looking for to determine if the lob is coming? I enjoy net play and find it hard to discriminate as I am moving in when the lob is going to be used. I just do not read the opponent actions fast enough to change course.

    • Ian Westermann January 19, 2015 at 1:23 pm - Reply

      Excellent, that's the million dollar question, Sandy! I'll be publishing a new video touching on that issue very soon.

  27. Taylor Jones January 19, 2015 at 12:04 pm - Reply

    This is so true. And because we see the Bryan Bros, so fleet of foot and with such sound overheads, we think we can close in on the net as they do after attacking a short ball. They can deal with those lobs. We all need to look in the mirror and say, "I am not a Bryan; I will use my brain." Anticipate, Position, Solidify overhead. Great advice.

    • Ian Westermann January 19, 2015 at 12:07 pm - Reply

      That's a really good point about watching professional players, Taylor. Anybody who makes a living playing doubles (just 200-300 people in the world) has the three areas I talked about down to a science. While we can learn a lot from them and they are no doubt inspiring to watch we all have to keep in mind our own personal abilities when deciding how close to get to the net!

  28. giuseppe January 19, 2015 at 11:57 am - Reply

    hey Ian, as always clear and precise with the tip great thank you Giuseppe

  29. Rob Corder January 19, 2015 at 11:19 am - Reply

    Brilliant analysis, Ian. You're the best!

    • Ian Westermann January 19, 2015 at 11:50 am - Reply

      Thanks for watching, Rob!

    • Bill January 19, 2015 at 12:08 pm - Reply

      Absolutely and fully agree with Ian's analysis how to beat lobbers in doubles. In addition, would advocate that players change their attitude about the lob and consider it to be just as legitimate of a shot as a powerful forehand. Personally my doubles game improved when I started to respect the lob. Now I even compliment my opponents when they execute a great lob (they have to because I will crush weak ones with my overhead). Additionally, when faced with opponents that have over crowded the net, I without hesitation nor embarrassment will lob. Also often will answer a great lob, that I am scrambling to cover, with another lob.

      • Larry Benton January 20, 2015 at 3:00 pm - Reply

        Good advice, Bill.