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Question: Should I learn to lob?
Coach Larry Hodges: YES! Why do I say this so emphatically? Because lobbing is the funnest part of table tennis.
Does this mean you’ll win more matches by developing a lobbing game? I’ll give a provisional yes. Used properly, you’ll win some points lobbing that would otherwise be lost. However, many players who develop lobbing games are too quick to fall back and lob in matches, or play too defensively knowing they can lob if they get in trouble, and so they lose because of their lobbing.
For most players, I’d recommend learning to lob for fun, but put it aside as a tool in a match EXCEPT when your opponent is about to all-out smash. That’s when you change to lob mode, race to the barriers, have a lot of fun, and sometimes win the point. (If you do learn to lob, learn to counter-smash, at least on the forehand side; it’s the second funnest shot, and often the best way to win a point when lobbing.)
One side note players who lob develop very good off-table footwork, and they learn to react to hard-hit balls. These skills translate into other aspects of the game, especially looping from off the table. Done properly, a lob is basically high loop, so lobbers often become excellent loopers.