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View Full Version : Dealing with doubles player who crowds the net


saqdeez
05-27-2007, 06:32 AM
I play this guy several times a week in doubles..4.5, he is an amazing net player, plays a lot of squash so has great touch and a whole barrage of shots at the net. He is also athletic and very aggressive at the net and poaches very often. But he is also extremely close to the net, and if I crank one at him to keep him honest, he will block it right back, often for a winner.

So the easy solution is to lob him right? That sounds right but I really dont feel like lobbing every point in doubles. Are there any other tactics I can use to use against the aggressive net crowder who poaches often?? Even if I go up the line he is quick enough to get to it and punches it down. Frustrating!!

Solat
05-27-2007, 06:35 AM
another option is to try to take the return earlier so that he has less time to poach, and get your partner to play back on the first serve so that you can defend the court better, but basically he can only poach on 1 in 4 games so he cannot be unstoppable.

saqdeez
05-27-2007, 06:45 AM
Good point!! didnt even think of playing back. You are so trained to do the status quo so havent even thought of that.

He also poaches when his partner is returning..maybe that is not the definition of a poach though.

Solat
05-27-2007, 07:04 AM
no thats a poach too, but hopefully you / your partner can be the ones to poach first so as to nulify his ability to poach because he must defend. If he is pushing hard to poach on his partner's returns he will be very vunerable to poaching against him because he will leave a great gap behind him

Solat
05-27-2007, 07:05 AM
and i cahllenge anyone to use the word "poach" more then that last post lol

armand
05-27-2007, 07:21 AM
I think it's an excellent tactic to lob any time you can. It takes your opponents outta their comfort zone, allows you time to position yourself(it'll give time for you or your partner to both come to net if you haven't already done so), and likely the lob will have pushed the opponent a good distance behind his baseline which is always a good thing.

"Don't feel like lobbing all the time" sounds dumb but I understand it, I'm there with you. I think it's because of hubris.

Vision84
05-27-2007, 07:28 AM
Yes, a lob can be effective and is especially useful when they stand really close to the net which in this case the guy is.

FiveO
05-27-2007, 07:50 AM
As suggested moving in and contacting the ball sooner gives the net person less time to cross. Also check to see that you are hitting the returns firmly and not floating them back.

Lobs can be effective in neutralizing or keeping the poacher honest.

Another option is to, very early in the match, send a couple of dtl returns targeting the net person's alley. Also hit behind the poacher deeper into the point particularly when you are forced to "hit up" which is a green light for the opposing net person to cross. If choosing to go behind the poacher make sure that you show that shot not only off wide balls but on balls you contact nearer the middle of the court. Realize that going behind the poacher is a lower percentage, risk/reward choice and that it should be employed as a change of pace and just often enough to cause doubt or confusion in the opponent's minds.

These tactics are often effective in limiting the poacher from crossing with abandon.

lovin'it
05-27-2007, 08:35 AM
I play one of these types weekly, she has great hands, and wide spread, tall, just a great net girl. I hate the lob, too, but a point is a point, generally when I start that, she will move back to make me hit a better lob, then there is an opportunity to go cross court. I do try to humble her with an alley, when she is centered up a bit on the middle line, and close in. I think changing it up, and KEEPING THE BALL LOW are keys to this type of player, and yes, pulling your net person back a bit initially just to defend that first poach. Sometimes the hard flat alley shot is easier for them to defend by blocking it, than one that just goes over the net with a low bounce around their feet, then, at least, they will have to hit up on it. ALso, that lob into the back ad court corner is a great shot to hit, tough for the net one to get back to, and hit with a fh overhead, and tough for the other player to hit an effective shot running into a high bh.

Bagumbawalla
05-27-2007, 12:07 PM
If you are a 4.5 player, you should have all the shots at your command.

Having those shots, there is always more than one good return against any kind of opponent, the important part is anticipation and execution.

No matter how fast a poacher is, he/she cannot get their racket on an angled, crosscourt topspin drive that forces the server way out wide (and is often an outright winner).

Also, a "dink" (something between a slice and dropshot) a low and short, crosscourt shot to the server's side will force a weak(ish) response.

A lob (especially a topspin lob) over the net person's head is good. It often catches the server coming in with forward momentum and can be an outright winner.

If the net person has a habit of poaching, learn to anticipate the signals, hesitate for a brief moment, allowing him/her to commit to the motion, then hit behind them down the line. There is also a spot near the ribcage, below the racket arm's armpit where an palyer simply cannot move ther racket head. That can be an effective aiming point.

In any case, as mentioned by most of the other respondants, you want to keep the ball low, dipping down with topspin or "dying" at their feet with slice to force weak upward responses that alloy you to power the ball down for a winner/placement.

For practice lay a hula-hoop (or some kind of target) at your placement point. Have someone serve to you while you try to hit the various placement returns as described above into the center of the hoop.

Good luck,

B

dave333
05-27-2007, 12:09 PM
lobbing ain't macho, but it works. My partner has amazing skill in lobbing and its amazing how many points he has saved so many points from the baseline w/ chains of decent lobs until he can hit that killer lob.

Prince_of_Tennis
05-27-2007, 12:24 PM
If you are a 4.5 player, you should have all the shots at your command.

Having those shots, there is always more than one good return against any kind of opponent, the important part is anticipation and execution.

No matter how fast a poacher is, he/she cannot get their racket on an angled, crosscourt topspin drive that forces the server way out wide (and is often an outright winner).

Also, a "dink" (something between a slice and dropshot) a low and short, crosscourt shot to the server's side will force a weak(ish) response.

A lob (especially a topspin lob) over the net person's head is good. It often catches the server coming in with forward momentum and can be an outright winner.

If the net person has a habit of poaching, learn to anticipate the signals, hesitate for a brief moment, allowing him/her to commit to the motion, then hit behind them down the line. There is also a spot near the ribcage, below the racket arm's armpit where an palyer simply cannot move ther racket head. That can be an effective aiming point.

In any case, as mentioned by most of the other respondants, you want to keep the ball low, dipping down with topspin or "dying" at their feet with slice to force weak upward responses that alloy you to power the ball down for a winner/placement.

For practice lay a hula-hoop (or some kind of target) at your placement point. Have someone serve to you while you try to hit the various placement returns as described above into the center of the hoop.

Good luck,

B
This guy knows what he is talking about =)

Cruzer
05-27-2007, 05:59 PM
I play this guy several times a week in doubles..4.5, he is an amazing net player, plays a lot of squash so has great touch and a whole barrage of shots at the net. He is also athletic and very aggressive at the net and poaches very often. But he is also extremely close to the net, and if I crank one at him to keep him honest, he will block it right back, often for a winner.

So the easy solution is to lob him right? That sounds right but I really dont feel like lobbing every point in doubles. Are there any other tactics I can use to use against the aggressive net crowder who poaches often?? Even if I go up the line he is quick enough to get to it and punches it down. Frustrating!!

It seems hard to believe that at the 4.5 level this type of question is being asked. So you don't like lobs? Do you want to win or are you content to give this guy volley practice with your service returns? If he is as close to the net as your seem to indicate there is nothing wrong with a good topspin lob over him. After a few of those his partner will probably ask him to reduce the poaching since he is tired of running down the lobs over his partner's head. In my experiece nothing makes a poacher more honest than a couple of returns behind him in the alley. Those shots will also likely cause his partner to say something to him about poaching. At the 4.5 level you should be able to execute these shots with a good degree of success.

zapvor
05-27-2007, 08:02 PM
um.....whats wrong with lobs? they are fun to hit