In table tennis, also called ping pong, lobbing is a defensive move. It is arguably the most common method of returning hard shots like smashing. The technique is one that every table tennis player should have in their arsenal.
In table tennis, you need more than the basic stroke or skills to survive competitive events. Learning to lob the ball puts you a step ahead in your game.
What is Table Tennis Lob?
Table tennis lob is a defense technique used to return shots that demand you move farther from the table. Learning to lob the ball would come in handy in producing hard-hitting shots like smashing. We will guide you on how to become an expert in the technique.
How to Play Lob in Table Tennis?
To lob the ball in table tennis, you have to know yourself as a player. It is either you lob the ball high, or you lob it low. Many players prefer lobbing the ball higher as it will land closer to your opponent.
When that ball lands closer to your opponent, it reduces the chances of returning the lob with a smash. However, you may also prefer the low lob, also called fishing.
If you prefer to lob lower, you may also go for it because table tennis is a game where you use techniques that suit you best. You may need to practice and drill more to determine the optimal height for your low lob.
You may decide to drive your lob with either the forehand or the backhand. Either way, let us take a look at how you can execute any of them flawlessly.
How to Play Forehand Lob?
The forehand lob is the most common variant. The success of your lob starts right from the stance, so you have to follow each step:
Maintaining the proper stance for the forehand lob is easier because it involves your natural position. For right-handed players, your right foot should be slightly behind your left, while the opposite applies to left-handed players.
With the ball approaching, you will need to rotate your shoulders downwards and backward at the same time while you lower your racket. Your ping pong racket should go as low as your knee level in preparation to hit the ball.
From the lower position of your racket, you raise it higher to hit the ball. Hitting the ball around your waist level is usually effective. However, the level of your hit depends on what kind of shot your opponent plays.
It is also important that you add a little bit of spin to the lob. Hit it with the top of your racket. It will not come easy at first, but over time, you will get it.
Try to lob the ball deep into the opponent’s table at all times; when you do so, it takes a longer time for the ball to land, giving you more time to recover. It also reduces the chances of your opponent countering with a smash.
Lobbing involves hitting the ball quite softly, so you may need to guide the ball with your racket to around your head level. Depending on how far you moved back to play the forehand lob, you may need to make your proximity to the table closer, anticipating your opponents’ next move.
How to Play Backhand Lob?
The backhand lob is another technique that you could use. Although it may take longer to master, getting it would provide balance and rhythm to your game. It required more arm movement, and the stance varies a bit from the forehand variant:
The stance for the backhand lob is a little inverse to that of the forehand. In this case, for right-handed players, your left foot would be slightly behind the right. If you are left-handed, your right foot will be slightly behind your left.
Mastering the stance may be confusing at first, but practice makes perfect. At the same time, you want to turn your arm and racket to the backhand in preparation to receive the ball. You have to hit it lower, preferably around your knee level.
With your backhand of your racket facing up, you should begin to raise your hand to meet the ball around your waist level. You may find it difficult to control the height and add spin to the ball at first because it is backhand. However, with consistency, everything would turn out fine.
The aim is to lob it far into your opponents’ table too. It buys you more time.
Remember to hit it quite softly. You may need to guide the ball to your shoulder level to get the perfect height. Then position yourself well to receive your opponent’s next move.
How to Lob Loop in Table Tennis
More times than often, you will find your opponent looping the ball. A loop has more top-spin behind it, so controlling the ball may prove a bit difficult than normal.
However, contrary to what many players think, lobbing a loop isn’t so difficult. Once you can get the right amount of push behind the ball, you will execute it perfectly.
You may need to practice this more often to get it. Players often loop the ball; it is almost impossible to avoid. Especially if you play competitively, you will need to lob a loop a couple of times.
How to Beat a Lobber?
There has to be a perfect balance between your offense and defense game. Lobbing the ball is more of a defense, but how do you cope if you are on the offensive side? How do you beat a lobber? Here is someone who employs lobbying as a major strategy.
A lobber plays a more defensive game, so you are forced to attack more often. However, when you are dealing with a lobber, you have to be patient. Maintain proper positioning and keep returning the shots.
An effective way to defeat a lobber is smashing. Lobbing generates a decent amount of height on the ball; it allows you to smash. Keep stalking the lobs patiently till you get a perfect opportunity to smash.
If you are not a fan of smashing, you may need to approach it tactically. Place the ball at angles since your opponent is farther from the table; add spins and chop where possible and you will come out the best.
Here are tips to help you while learning the technique:
- Practice makes perfect; you won’t get it on the first try. Drill yourself and practice more.
- Please don’t beat yourself up when you don’t seem to get it.
- If it is proving too difficult, you could get the assistance of an expert to guide you.
- Master the forehand lob before moving to the backhand variant.
My name is Cosmos Boll and I’m 26 years old. I’m Chinese and live in Shanghai.
I am a table tennis enthusiast and a professional table tennis coach.
My idol is Timo Boll who is the greatest player in the world.