Doubles Tactics: Covering the Dreaded Lob


Here is Part 4 of 4 in this series on doubles strategy for players of all levels. While using a variety of approach shot tactics will greatly cut down on the frequency and effectiveness of lobbing doubles opponents, the lob will eventually happen. When it does, I advise doubles teams to drop back into the Two Back Formation!


For this article, I'm going to use 4 labels.  They are:


  1. STNP = Serve Team Net Player
  2. SRVR = Server
  3. RTNR = Returner
  4. RTNP = Retun Team Net Player


The most common and also the most problematic is when the RTNR lobs over STNP's head.  That's because both STNP and SRVR have to do a lot of running to properly field this ball and recover their court position.  Here's how defending the lob should go from this position:


  • RTNR his the lob down-the line over STNP's head
  • First option for handling this shot is for STNP to do everything they can to hit an overhead smash.
  • If that isn't possible, then then the 2-Back Formation will get you through!
  • For this formation, SRVR needs to sprint well behind and beyond STNP.
  • STNP switches sides, and ends up next to SRVR slightly behind wherever the incoming lob bounced.
  • STNP lobs it back over their opponents heads!


Here's a quick visual explanation of these tactics to summarize:


The 2-Back Method of Conquering the Lob