In soccer, a lob, also known as a lob shot/pass or a chip shot/pass, is a type of shot used by players in various positions. Even though a lob is mainly used as a finishing technique, it can also be a fairly effective passing strategy. While the terms lob and chip are somewhat similar, the difference between the two is in the backspin. Lob shots and passes usually don’t have much backspin, while chip shots and passes do.

A lob is usually defined as a type of shot during which a player kicks the ball from underneath. The difference between a lob shot and a regular shot is that the emphasis here is on the accuracy more than on the shot power. That way, the ball can easily travel a certain distance without anyone being able to reach it.

As a pass, a lob is mostly used by creative midfielders who try to reach their more offensive teammates in tight spaces. While shorter players tend to struggle in the air against a tall opposition, lob passes usually help them reach the ball when running into an empty space. This strategy is also quite popular and effective in soccer video games.

How does a lob work in soccer?

A lob requires a player to striker the ball with the front of their foot. Unlike with regular types of passes and shots, the focus here is on the front side of the foot. Players use their toes to lift up the ball in the air.

Lob shots and passes tend to get the ball to a certain amount of vertical height. That way, the goalkeeper or the defending players can’t reach it. The most effective method against a lob pass is to either try to prevent it by pressuring the player with the ball or mark certain players who could potentially run in behind.

Preventing a lob shot requires defending team to almost always have a defender focusing on the goal line. That way, even if the attacking team manages to lob the goalkeeper, that defender should potentially have enough time to clear the ball from the goal line.

Some of the most famous players using this technique are:

  • Cristiano Ronaldo
  • Carlos Vela
  • Ronaldinho
  • Lionel Messi
  • Francesco Totti
  • Alessandro Del Piero

What is a panenka?

A panenka is a special type of lob shot used when a player is taking a penalty kick. This technique is named after a Czech footballer Antonín Panenka. Panenka scored a famous winning penalty in the penalty shoot-out of the 1976 UEFA European Championship final when Czechoslovakia managed to beat West Germany.

What is a rabona?

A rabona is a technique of kicking the ball in a situation where the kicking leg is crossed behind the back of the second leg. Rabona is also considered a lob shot. Usually, the right-footed players advancing towards the goal on the left side will try to use their dominant foot instead. The same goes for the left-footed players running through the right side.

Some other reasons for using this technique are to either confuse the opposition or show off a skill. Rabona is often used in many South American leagues and is synonymous with Brazilian players.