Many recreational tennis players think that the lob is a “cheap” shot and its main purpose is to “annoy” the opponents. But the best players know that it can be used as an aggressive tactic to take over the net and set themselves up for a winner. Here’s how:
As you see in the attached diagram, lobbing the net player can greatly affect the defending team (the one being lobbed: BP-NP) which has to change positions to retrieve the lob:
The net player (NP) must switch sides and back up (anticipating an eventual overhead from the opposing team);
The baseline player (BP) has to also switch sides to return the lob.
Both players from the defending team will be on the run to play the next ball, which makes it difficult to continue the point.
On the other side, the attacking team (OBP – opposing baseline player, and ONP – opposing net player) following the lob will take position at the net with a high chance to finish the point with an overhead or a high volley.
For a lob to be considered an aggressive shot, it should have lots of topspin (to begin with) and be placed deep, well beyond the service line.
Use the lob to give your team time to move up to the net and make your opponents play defensive.