Challenge: Lob Retriever
Getting beat by a lob is brutal. As soon as you let that ball bounce you are in a world of trouble. That is, unless you get get yourself out of this sticky situation.
Goal: To be able to recover after being beaten by a lob.
Purpose: To develop great defensive skills and even the possibility of resetting the point.
Method: Stand at the NVZ while facing the net. Have a partner toss or hit the ball over your head, back toward the baseline. Turn and chase the ball and try to return it in the court after just one bounce. Record how many points you earn (see scoring system below) after 6 forehands and 6 backhands.
Equipment: A basket of balls or a partner who will send the ball back after it is retrieved.
Adaptations: Make the challenge harder tossing the ball closer to the baseline or with less height; Make the challenge easier by tossing higher and not so deep in the court.
Notes: The kind of return you send can be thought of on a scale. While sending a lob of your own is the easiest to accomplish, it is likely to be smashed back by an opponent, making your life difficult again. A drive may be a little more effective (it gives opponents less time to react) but it is also riskier because it is close to the net. A drop is likely the most effective option, but it is extremely high risk.
Players are encouraged to practice retrieving good lobs from different sides of the court. For this challenger, players should hit 6 forehands and 6 backhands and award points as follows.
1 Point: Send a high lob landing past 3/4 court.
2 Points: Send a fast drive no more than 1 paddle above net.
3 Points: Send a drop no more than 1 paddle above net that also lands in NVZ