Young man lobbing table tennis

How to Lob in Table Tennis

If you’ve ever found yourself pondering over how to lob in table tennis, you’re in the right place.

Table tennis, also known as ping pong, is a fast-paced sport that demands precision and strategy.

In this guide, we’ll delve into the intricacies of executing the perfect lob, breaking down the process into simple steps that anyone can grasp.

Understanding the Basics

What is a lob in table tennis?: Lobbing is a technique used in table tennis where a player strategically aims to lift the ball high and deep into the opponent’s side of the table.

This defensive move can be a game-changer, disrupting your opponent’s rhythm and setting you up for a counterattack.

The Fundamentals of Lobbing

To get started on your journey to becoming a lobbing expert, let’s first explore the basic elements:

  1. Racket Grip: Begin with a firm yet flexible grip on your racket. The way you hold the racket significantly influences the trajectory of your lob.
  2. Stance: Adopt a balanced and relaxed stance. Keep your feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent, and weight evenly distributed on both legs.
  3. Stroke Mechanics: The lobbing stroke involves a controlled upward swing, emphasizing a gentle contact with the ball to impart the desired height and spin.

Mastering the Forehand Lob

The forehand lob is a fundamental technique every table tennis player should have in their arsenal. Let’s break down the process into actionable steps:

  1. Positioning: Stand slightly to the left (for right-handed players) or right (for left-handed players) of the center of the table to create a better angle for your forehand lob.
  2. Backswing: Begin with a moderate backswing, bringing the racket behind you. This sets the stage for a powerful yet controlled shot.
  3. Contact Point: Aim to make contact with the ball slightly below its center. This helps in creating the necessary elevation for an effective lob.
  4. Follow-through: Complete the stroke with a smooth follow-through, extending your arm upward. This imparts the necessary spin and control to the lob.
When professional players lob. Video made by Ballcue

The Backhand Lob: A Defensive Gem

Equally important is the ability to execute a backhand lob when the situation demands. Let’s dissect the key components:

  1. Grip Adaptation: Adjust your grip to accommodate the backhand stroke. This might require a subtle shift in hand positioning for optimal control.
  2. Footwork: Maintain agility and quick footwork to position yourself effectively for a backhand lob. Anticipate your opponent’s moves and adjust accordingly.
  3. Timing: Mastering the timing of the backhand lob is crucial. Practice your strokes to develop a keen sense of when to execute the shot for maximum impact.

Strategic Play: Using the Lob in Your Game

Understanding when and how to deploy the lob can be a game-changer. Consider these strategic tips:

  • Surprise Element: Introduce the lob sporadically to catch your opponent off guard. The element of surprise can disrupt their rhythm.
  • Variation: Mix up your lobbing techniques. Alternating between forehand and backhand lobs keeps your opponent guessing.
  • Observation: Pay attention to your opponent’s playing style. Identify weaknesses in their game and exploit them with well-timed lobs.

Common Challenges and How to Overcome Them

Lobbing may seem straightforward, but like any skill, it comes with its challenges. Let’s address some common issues:

  1. Overhitting: If your lobs consistently go out of bounds, focus on refining your stroke’s power. A controlled, measured swing is often more effective.
  2. Predictability: Avoid becoming too predictable with your lobs. Mix in other shots to keep your opponent uncertain of your next move.
  3. Footwork Lapses: Effective lobbing requires quick footwork. Work on improving your agility to position yourself optimally for each shot.
When professional players lob. Video made by Ballcue

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the key to a successful forehand lob?

The key lies in a combination of proper positioning, a controlled backswing, and precise timing. Practice these elements to enhance your forehand lobbing skills.

Can lobbing be used as an offensive strategy?

While lobbing is primarily a defensive move, incorporating it strategically can create opportunities for counterattacks. Use it wisely to keep your opponent on their toes.

How do I practice lobbing alone?

Set up a table tennis robot or use a ball launcher to simulate various shots. Focus on consistent strokes and footwork to refine your lobbing technique.

Is there a specific situation where a backhand lob is more effective than a forehand lob?

Yes, a backhand lob is often more effective when your opponent targets your backhand side. Being proficient in both forehand and backhand lobs adds versatility to your game.

What are the rules regarding lobbing in table tennis?

Table tennis has specific rules governing the execution of lobs. Here’s a brief overview:

  • Height Restriction: According to official rules, a lob must rise at least 6 inches (15.25 cm) from the playing surface. This ensures a fair and standardized approach to the execution of lobs.
  • Scoring Validity: A successfully executed lob that lands within the boundaries of the opponent’s side counts as a valid point. However, if the lob goes out of bounds, the opponent scores the point.
  • Service Lobs: When serving, players must ensure that the ball rises at least 6 inches after leaving the hand but before being struck. This rule applies to both forehand and backhand serves.
  • Continuous Play: Lobs are considered a legitimate and integral part of the game. Players can use lobs strategically, but they must adhere to the rules to maintain fair play.


In conclusion, mastering the art of lobbing in table tennis can elevate your game to new heights.

Practice consistently, adapt your strategies to different opponents, and soon you’ll find yourself seamlessly incorporating lobs into your playing style.

Remember, the key is not just in executing the lob but in doing so with precision and strategic intent.

Happy lobbing!


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