How to Hit the Forehand Topspin Lob

01
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Starting Backswing

Forehand Topspin Lob: Starting Backswing
(C)2006 Jeff Cooper licensed to About.com, Inc.

If your opponent is at net and a topspin lob clears his reach, it's a winner. Even the quickest players on the pro tours just turn around to see where it will land. In contrast, most flat or slice lobs are worth chasing. So, why would anyone ever choose to hit a flat or slice lob? Probably because to hit a good topspin lob, you must get the racquet tilt and swing path right much more precisely than you need to for any other lob. The payoff is a ball that, once it clears your opponent, drops faster than a flat or slice lob, then kicks toward the back fence. The risk is a ball that either hands your opponent an easy overhead or sails long.

A few points to observe in this photo:

  • Eastern grip (more Western grips would be fine, too)
  • Stepping onto right (back) foot
  • Backswing same so far as for a drive - no clues for opponent yet
02
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Backswing Complete

Forehand Topspin Lob Backswing Complete
(C)2006 Jeff Cooper licensed to About.com, Inc.
  • Racquet fully extended back
  • Weight shifting onto back leg
  • Hitting a drive is still an option
03
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First Body Clue

Forehand Topspin Lob: First Body Signal
(C)2006 Jeff Cooper licensed to About.com, Inc.
  • Dropping racquet to prepare to brush up for topspin
  • An exceptionally astute opponent might see a signal of a topspin lob here: the curve from the back of the right foot, up the back of the leg and torso to the shoulder, resembling a right parenthesis, parallels the shape of the topspin lob swing path to come
04
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Racquet at Extreme Low Point

Forehand Topspin Lob: Racquet at Extreme Low Point
(C)2006 Jeff Cooper licensed to About.com, Inc.
  • Racquet drops almost to ground, almost as far below ball as it can get
  • Knees bent to get racquet lower and prepare for upward push of legs
  • Weight shifting back onto front foot
05
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One Frame Before Contact

Forehand Topspin Lob: One Frame Before Contact
(C)2006 Jeff Cooper licensed to About.com, Inc.
  • One video frame (1/30 second) before contact
  • Racquet head slightly dropped
  • Racquet face slightly open
06
of 09

Contact

Forehand Topspin Lob: Contact
(C)2006 Jeff Cooper licensed to About.com, Inc.
  • Long axis of racquet parallel to ground
  • Racquet face slightly open
  • Upper body pulling backward slightly
07
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One Frame After Contact

Forehand Topspin Lob: One Frame After Contact
(C)2006 Jeff Cooper licensed to About.com, Inc.
  • One video frame (1/30 second) after contact
  • Racquet has moved almost straight up - very little forward motion
08
of 09

High Point of Follow-Through

Forehand Topspin Lob: High Point of Follow-Through
(C)2006 Jeff Cooper licensed to About.com, Inc.
  • Racquet continues nearly vertical path
  • Upper body still leaning back slightly
09
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End of Follow-Through

Forehand Topspin Lob: End of Follow-Through
(C)2006 Jeff Cooper licensed to About.com, Inc.
  • End of follow through looks much like a forehand topspin drive
  • Alternative is to finish with racquet over right shoulder - more strain on the arm, but helps some players create heavier topspin