The lob is one of the most important shots in squash. However, it is often overshadowed by hard drives and soft touch drops. If you want to complete your shot arsenal, you need to develop a defensive lob from the front of the court. This article is about the conventional lob. If you are interested in the corkscrew lob, check out this article.
Usually, when you are sent to the front by a drop, you are being “attacked” by your opponent. Its a pressure situation and you need do defuse the rally and get back to the T while avoiding the finishing blow.
Our first instinct is to hit the ball hard down the line or a wide cross. Our opponent knows this as well, and already has their racket up and ready to intercept your hard shot. The only way for your drive to get you out of trouble is if you can make it look like a drop shot, causing your opponent to lean forward.
You have to be totally sure that you have tricked your opponent into moving forward or the hard drive will just add more pressure on you.
Hitting hard can work with enough deception, but should be a second option depending on what your opponent is doing.
Playing the lob
The safer first option would be a controlled lob, high and loopy over your opponents head and dropping into a back corner of the court. This will force your opponent to move to the back of the court and free up the T. The slower and higher you lob it, the more time you have to get into a neutral position.
A great hold is necessary to pull it off. Because you are pressured to the front, you may be off balance or tired, which makes the lob all the more difficult to execute.
Examples of the squash lob
I think this video shows some great examples of lobbing out of trouble and counter attacking.
The final shot has Shabana, dropping off of an attack and Ramy coming in to put it away. Either Shabana made a poor choice, was tired, or too pressured to play the lob.
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