Analysis: Kyle Yates’ Lob of Glory

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Down multiple match points in the finals at the 2018 USAPA Nationals, Kyle Yates hit a perfect down-the-line lob over Matt Wright — one of the game’s best (and tallest) players. It was a gutsy shot that won them the point and led to an amazing come from behind victory. Here’s how he did it.

 

While the lob was the glory shot, it was preceded by many dinks. This is important because it established a pattern where players were accustomed to receiving low and slow balls from their opponents.

Yates (black shirt) moves his opponent Dave Weinbach with a good crosscourt. Weinbach is a little off balance so replies with a crosscourt of his own. Compared to down-the-line, crosscourt provides a larger target and lower net which makes it a good place to hit when in trouble. But Weinbach hits a little too wide, moving Yates outside the sideline.

With Yates pulled wide, Wright (pink shirt) must be weary of a potential around-the-post drive. Instead, Yates plays a well-disguised topspin lob. Because he is off the court, he has a good angle to play a lob over Wright’s backhand side (avoiding the dangerous forehand smash). Wright appears surprised at the lob and hesitates. Instead of hitting it out of the air, he lets it bounce. He is now in an extremely defensive position and can’t make the drop.

 

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