ETI 015 | Lobbing along the line of your shadow

In addition to consistency, control, spin and power, much less trying to produce your best tennis when the chips are down, a large part of the game includes your precise awareness of the conditions – meaning the direction of the wind, as well as the location of the sun.

The next time you are on court with the sun high in the sky, but equally when it is at your back, take special notice of your shadow.  As the sun moves through the sky the line or alignment of the shadow will change.

But (THIS IS IMPORTANT) when you see your shadow pointing exactly across the net toward your opponent, try the following.

Bring her (or him) in with a short shot, and then put a lob up in the air exactly in line with your shadow.

Not an overly high lob, not a winner lob, just an average lob, but exactly “into the sun.”  I believe the results will surprise you.

And once you get the hang for this particular strategy, use if often, use it wisely, and if at all possible use it on the biggest of points – I was on the receiving end of one such play years ago and learned my lesson – though it took a few years for it to sink in (stubborn at this end)


  • Vishamber Manghnani

    Reply Reply August 23, 2012

    Excellent display to show the movement.

  • Lane H.

    Reply Reply May 1, 2012


    Thanks. Good strategy for every shot always goes a long way in winning matches. Anything you can do to keep your opponent off balance, out of their groove and buy you recovery time, if needed, is good stuff.

  • Patrick Whitmarsh

    Reply Reply April 30, 2012

    Excellent. It is tactics like this that make a significant difference in the outcome of matches.

    Thank you very much Jim for reinforcing the necessity of factoring in all weather conditions into one’s play.

    Also, as you pointed out, respect for one’s opponent for their play goes a long way into improving your own.

  • Brian W.

    Reply Reply April 29, 2012

    Many of us have used this tactic in the morning when the sun is low, even when not directly in line – some times the ball will pass ‘through the sun’ affecting momentary loss of vision which is usually enough to engender a weak return (if any!).
    What is your answer to combat this trick when receiving ‘out of the sun’?

    • Jim McLennan

      Reply Reply April 29, 2012

      Brian – avoid the lob entirely, short them with drop shots and they will rarely if ever lob

  • Sally

    Reply Reply April 29, 2012

    That really did make me laugh out loud,i’ll try that,thanks.

  • Brent

    Reply Reply April 28, 2012

    Jim – This is a great refinement on lobbing into the sun. Thanks

    It took me longer to explain it to my wife than to watch the video. She was fixed on your shadow instead of the camera man’s shadow. Maybe it would helped if she could have seen the camera man’s shadow or if you had also turned around and demonstrated lobbing in the direction of your shadow.

    Fortunately the marriage is still intact…

  • robert beckvall

    Reply Reply April 28, 2012

    Jim, this is the kind of stuff that only master pros teach. These little secrets. Hit a winner, then get the next ball in play or it adds to 0. Don’t crush the volley, just slide it in or hit a routine groundie to end the point. The less, the better, as it gets to the other player vs. winning with the spectacular. This one of using the sun is excellent as always Jim. Between you and Allen Fox, who we hit with here in Hawaii, the youngsters are getting top match play ideas! Mahalo!

    • Jim McLennan

      Reply Reply April 28, 2012

      Robert – thanks, any time I am mentioned in the same sentence with Allen Fox (if even in passing) then it is a good day at my end

  • Noushin Kananian

    Reply Reply April 28, 2012

    That’s excellent. Many thanks for sharing your professional vision.

  • Kevin

    Reply Reply April 28, 2012

    That’s heinous, but I’m happy to learn that “refinement” on lobbing into the sun. 🙂

  • Shawnm

    Reply Reply April 28, 2012

    Another great tip! Thanks, Jim. I will give this a try the next time I’m on the court.

  • Sue Trueblood

    Reply Reply April 27, 2012

    Didn’t Harry Hopman write a book entitled “Lob Into the Sun”? I went to John Newcombe’s Fantasy Camp last year, and Roy Emerson loved to do that to us!

  • Rodger S

    Reply Reply April 27, 2012

    Noted and I will use it if future.

  • kathy

    Reply Reply April 27, 2012

    Thanks, Jim.
    I discovered this accidentally two weekends ago….I used it every chance I got!
    I did not know how to use my shadow to clue me in on when to use it again.

    thanks again

  • John C

    Reply Reply April 27, 2012

    Jim, your NZ opponent all those years ago, sounds like Onny Parun. I always thought of him as someone who more than made the most of an average talent. And that is what I think you’re talking about here – taking advantage of whatever is available – using brain instead of brawn.

    • Jim McLennan

      Reply Reply April 27, 2012

      John – thanks, but it was someone else – I would remember Parun (he was a little above my league)

  • jcroidis

    Reply Reply April 27, 2012

    Thanks, Jim. I have, already, play this little trick – altough I suppose it’s not to be called, exactly, a “fair stroke”. but, it helps a lot………….
    Thank you.

  • Jack

    Reply Reply April 27, 2012

    Jim, very good lesson on how to use mother nature to exploit your tennis tactics! The use of the shadow is a brilliant idea and a simple one to implement. Of course, that raises the question: should one be placed in this position by an opponent, would it be better to not attempt a smash/high volley by looking into the sun, but, instead, retreat (if you have time) and let the ball bounce before hitting it?

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