There are a couple different types of lobs: offensive, defensive, underspin, topspin, good, bad, in & out. You must first master the underspin lob that you can do at any time, whether you are on the run, or in a balanced position.
This is done with a continental grip. The backswing is much smaller than a regular groundstroke, the main ingredient in this shot is that you must hit the “bottom” of the ball, not the back of the ball. Therefore, you may have to bend your knees a little more to help hitting of the “bottom, or underneath” the ball. Your wrist and elbow stay fairly straight as you lift under the ball toward the sky.
I think of your arm as an elevator starting at the bottom floor, and going up to the 7th floor. You do not need any other follow-through on this shot. People miss this long, because they try to follow through over their shoulder, or they miss short because they did not contact the ball in front of their body.
The contact point for the forehand or the backhand is exactly the same as the groundstrokes, but less backswing, and less follow through. The follow through is where the racquet strings should be facing the sky when you’re done with the shot. Master this shot, and frustrate your opponent to death!
By Mary Pat Faley, Director of Tennis at Riviera Tennis Club