How to: Hit a Bunt Lob
Try this simple and surprisingly effective weapon.
- Many club players have trouble hitting a topspin lob, or find they are too often in situations where they don’t have time to hit one. My advice: Don’t forget about the bunt lob. It’s simple, reliable, and effective at many levels of play. As players have switched from the once-common Eastern grip to semi-Western grips, touch shots like the bunt lob have become less common. But there are several advantages to this shot. You have a better feel for the ball and your swing is simple, and therefore easy to execute.
- The bunt lob requires either a Continental or Eastern forehand grip. Use a short backswing—you should be ready to swing as you move to the ball. Your racquet face will be open at contact and your swing will be low to high, but you won’t brush up the back of the ball, as you would on a topspin shot. Instead, hit the ball upward with a firm, flat hit. Bunt lobs are great when you need to buy time and can’t get into position for a topspin lob, which is a more offensive shot. Bunt lobs can also be a surprise tactic, such as a return over the net player in doubles.
- Your racquet should follow the trajectory of the ball and end up near your opposite shoulder. Even an average bunt lob can be effective at the club level, since most volleyers do not excel at hitting overheads. If your lob has a lot of height, it might induce an error. Don’t be afraid to use it as a surprise tactic when you’re in trouble or simply need to change the pace of a rally.
Joey Rive is a former ATP professional and instructor at T Bar M Racquet Club in Dallas. He is the co-author of a new book, "Tennis Skills & Drills", published by Human Kinetics. (Illustration by Jon Rodgers.)
Originally published in the March 2012 issue of TENNIS.