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View Full Version : I'm thinking of playing 100% dubs, advice/comments please


Ballinbob
12-29-2008, 04:31 PM
Hey guys

My friend and I are planning to do a dubs tournament next month. Some backround info before I start.

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We're both 15
Both S&V in singles
Both have our net games as our strongest point, both of us have quick hands
Both have solid/reliable serves. I have the faster serve, he has better consistency. No we don't serve 100mph, but we're hard to break
Both have mediocre return games. We float alot of returns in singles, and I dont think itll be much different in dubs.
Our groundies suck for our level. We're both trying to improve, but they are way behind our net games. If you didn't get that, they S-U-C-K:)
Both are on the track team. He does 110m hurdles, I do open 100m dash. Point is, we both can run/move better than the majority of the people out there.
He wears a bandanna when he plays and it annoys me.alot
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Anyway, we were talking. He plays #2 singles for our school, and I play #3. We're pretty even. He was talking one day and he said we should do a USTA doubles tournament. I'm like I don't know dude, we have no doubles experience at all. He pushes it though and tells me we can probably get far in dubs because our volleys are good. He tells me that all dubs is a S&V anyway, and we don't have to worry about groundies as much. He then goes on and tells me that we both want to make it to a DII school when we graduate, and this might be a good opportunity. I'm like fine, I'll do the tourney. He then went on telling me I have some mental deffenciency because I like Taylor Swift's music...but Im not going to go there lol:)

I know how to play dubs and the strategies, but I'm nervous, im not used to relying on another person nor do I know if I can actually apply the strategies. Has anyone played completley singles then tried dubs for the first time late in his career? How is it like? 2 S&Vers won't have much trouble getting the hang of it will we..? If we enter the tournament (16 and under) with no dubs experience whatsoever but can volley better than our opponents will we have a chance? Also, aren't returns really critical in dubs?? We just float everything, and I know we'll get eaten up. Then again we are hard to break... I really like this idea though, and if it works out like I hope, I might just start playing dubs 100% of the time. Besides, S&V looks pretty hard to play for singles at the higher levels. Oh, and how do colleges construct their teams? Like my highschool has 1,2, and 3 singles and then 1,2,3,4 doubles for a total of 11 people. Is that how colleges work? Is this whole thing just a "try it,and if it doesn't work go back to what you were doing" thing? I over complicate alot of stuff, so if Im doing that here just say so with a good reason and Ill close the thread

Thanks guys

Kevo
12-29-2008, 04:58 PM
I don't think you even need to be as good a volleyer in doubles as you do playing singles with a serve and volley strategy. In doubles, it's much easier to get into net, because you've got a partner to cover one half of the court.

IMO, most important thing is a good serve. Second, is a reliable volley. I've played both singles and doubles. A lot of succeeding in doubles is having a partner that you can communicate and work with. Having compatible playing styles is good as well.

As far as playing 100% doubles goes, I don't see anything wrong with that as long as you like it. I personally like to get some singles matches in as well, because it's a different game mentally and I like both challenges. Give the tournament a shot and see how you like it. It is really fun to compete with a partner.

LeeD
12-29-2008, 05:01 PM
Serve, volley and OVERHEAD!!!!!!!!
Hard to hit penetrating volleys without good serves.
Impossible to put away soft, short volleys.
Need 100% overheads, mostly from just beyond the service line, hitting them deep and up the middle, then one sliced wide. Pace should be close to first serve, but not quite as fast.
You can volley return of serves, just stand inside the baseline against first serves, and 6' inside on second serves.
Key is keeping it low and angled, with occasionals down the line, but low.
Any experience is better than standing on the sidelines, so good luck, have fun, and make the opponents WORK !!

hellonewbie
12-29-2008, 09:30 PM
I think you two would make a fine doubles team if you can figure out how to work together, cover each other, etc. Definitely try to improve your return game, maybe doing some service return drills? You could face some good servers and if you float your returns and they don't, you would probably not win, since floaters are usually easy pickings for the net person.

junbumkim
12-29-2008, 09:38 PM
I am not sure at which level you plan to compete. This would determine a lot on how you should approach the tourney.

First of all, serve-volley is only half of the battle in doubles. If you have somewhat of a reasonable volleying skills, then I would say your return is probably much more important.
In singles, you have entire court to hit your returns, but in doubles you have less than half the court to hit your return into when you take the net man into the account.
Also, a lot of 3.5 / 4.0 guys miss their returns when they have to deal with serves w/o much pace.

In doubles, you can't really float your returns like you do in singles. You have to be able to direct your returns crosscourt and away from the net man.

Also, I'd work on your overhead, and putting away high volleys as you may have to hit these shots a lot in 3.5 doubles.

In addition, a lot of doubles is about positioning. Who plays which side, who covers the mid ball, and how do you defend the court when your partner is being pulled off..

psp2
12-29-2008, 10:13 PM
The return of serve is REALLY important in doubles. If you can't break serve, then you better hold yours every time. I would practice service returns as much as possible.

pro_staff
12-29-2008, 11:53 PM
You won't win many doubles matches thinking that it's just serve and volley. There is so much strategy that goes into doubles that you can't just hit the ball mindlessly like you can in singles. You have to communicate with your partner where you're going to hit your serve, if you're going to come in behind it, where your first volley is going, if your partner is going to poach, etc etc. And when you're returning, if you're gonna lob the return, chip and charge on the return, stay back after the return, if your partner will poach after the return, etc etc. There are a million possibilities in doubles and you and your partner must be on the same page.

My recommendation is to play as much doubles as you can together and come up with a couple good strategies.

kelz
12-30-2008, 12:14 AM
Perhaps you could show us a video or something of you guys playing (as a doubles team).

Have some signals to tell each other what you're doing, where you're going, what you want them to do etc.

naylor
12-30-2008, 02:29 AM
On the return, you need to develop an early-taken cross-court block for your standard safe return. If you take it early, you don't give the netman too much time to intercept, and a block uses the pace from the incoming serve and quite often dumps the ball on the service line at the feet of the incoming volleyer - the perfect doubles return. A return floater will just get you killed - even if the netman guesses wrong, he still has time to get back and put it away. And to win the set, you have to break service at some point.

As for the serve, I think you have to forget completely about singles S&V, because chances are if your partner doesn't know where your serve is going he'll actually miss simple volleys (he'll be late, or going the wrong way) and will lose you the odd service game. As a few people have already mentioned, your partner has to know where your serve is going, and you then have to agree whether/when he'll try to intercept so you can cover the gap.

The key on serve is that you have to be able to place your serve reliably where you say you're going to put it, on both first and second serves. On first serves, it's quite common to go down the middle to reduce the target for the returner (and give your partner some intercept opportunities), and for variety you can throw the occasional slider from the deuce court - here, you're basically playing for a return into your crosscourt volley (like in singles S&V), and to make sure that your partner does not get exposed his job is simply to cover the down-the-line by sliding leftwards. If the returner does go down the line, your partner has a "simple" putaway between the opponents; most often, you'll still get a return cross-court for you (rather than your partner) to volley between the opponents or to the feet the opposition netman.

On second serves, I usually find it better to go for the weaker wing (normally, the backhand), so still down the middle from the deuce court, but quite possibly wide from the ad court (rather than tee it up to the returner's forehand, where he can drill your partner at the net or target your half of the court). But the key here (and, indeed, on all serves where you go wide rather than down the service T) is that your partner has to move in the same direction as your serve - so, if you go wide from the ad court, your partner has to cover the tramlines on that side. What you're trying to avoid is your partner staying put (or worse, trying to anticipate a cross-court return) which in fact opens the tramlines for the returner to simply block/push the ball past him.

When I play doubles, I tell my partner that my standard service pattern is always down the middle from the deuce side, and from the ad side the first serve will be down the middle and the second will be a kicker to the backhand. On a first serve, the better my serve is, the greater the chance he can intercept a weaker return; on a second serve, we each cover our half of the court from the deuce court, but from the ad side his job is to cover the trams and I cover both volleys. After that, it's up to him to ask me to vary my placement to try something different, and we can agree who covers what return.

Another important thing is that you move together during the rally - so, if you get pulled to one side, he also tracks across with you to cover more of the court and close the gap between you both.

raiden031
12-30-2008, 03:59 AM
The return of serve is REALLY important in doubles. If you can't break serve, then you better hold yours every time. I would practice service returns as much as possible.

No doubt. I would say at least 80% of all points lost in a doubles match that are my fault occur during the return of serve (either errors or poached returns). I have a very hard time blowing out opponents in doubles regardless of how weak they are because I can't seem to break even mediocre servers.
---

My transition from singles to doubles was rather painful. You will probably get disoriented alot with your position because you really have to instinctively move around the court based on what is currently happening, and I think it takes longer to learn this in doubles than in singles because its more complex. But I had crap volleys as well so that didn't help either. I would say since you seem to have good all-court skills (and are probably a better player than I was when I first started playing doubles), you will pick it up faster than I did.

I would most certainly NOT playing dubs 100%. If you want to become a well-rounded player you should play BOTH alot.

LuckyR
12-30-2008, 07:58 AM
To jumpstart your doubles career I would recommend you read about doubles, either on-line, or there are quite a few books on it. Second, I would believe what you read. It is fairly common to try to reinvent the wheel in your age group, but trust me, the classic doubles strategy is classic because it takes advantage of the shape of the court and you can't change that.

As to your strokes, you're both pretty young and things like improving your second serves and returns are necessary but probably pretty easily accomplished if you focus on them.

Good luck. Doubles is uncommonly prefered at your ages, so you guys could really clean house if you chose to really concentrate your efforts there.

go13illy
12-30-2008, 08:14 AM
taylor swift ftw!!!!!!
dun worry about it, alot of people in my high school listen to taylor swift ;-)

Bungalo Bill
12-30-2008, 08:15 AM
I know how to play dubs and the strategies, but I'm nervous, im not used to relying on another person nor do I know if I can actually apply the strategies. Has anyone played completley singles then tried dubs for the first time late in his career?

Yes, I played #2 singles for my high school (well, a long time ago). Then a kid from Newport Beach moved to our area and took the #1 spot. He was really good. So I got bumped down and decided to try for the #1 doubles teams.

I didnt know jack about doubles. Nada, zilch, zero, nothing...well, you get the point.

I ABSOLUTELY LOVE DOUBLES NOW!!! It is a lot of fun, especially when both you and your partner really take it serious and try to learn the strategies, teamwork, etc... that are involved.

Jump in with both feet. Review Bryan Brother videos. Get Luis Cayors Doubles Tactics video. Read the ART OF DOUBLES. When you start to feel like both of you are moving and gaurding the court together, it is a very fun game.

Do not approach doubles like singles players, just be patient with yourself and really try to learn to be a good doubles player and you will really like it. Start learing the drills for doubles to help improve your play like the Romanian Volley drill. This is good stuff man! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nH2l9khi5RU

fuzz nation
12-30-2008, 08:43 AM
One thing I'll point out right away - in doubles, there's a serious issue with chemistry between partners. Compatibility can be almost impossible to predict until you go out and play together and even though the two of you are pals, it's entirely possible (but not so probable I think) that you'll be oil and water in a doubles setting. If you guys try it and one of you doesn't dig it, the other needs to understand and NOT take it personally. Enough about that...

What you can do to improve your experience and chances for success is to learn to communicate effectively on the court. "Yours" and "mine are two words that take lots of guesswork and headaches out of points. You both need to expect input from the other so that you can effectively adjust your attack as a team and you both need to be able to be positive for you teammate's sake. When one of you makes a mistake, the other needs to help "shake it off" and keep the focus in a light and positive direction. Signals and planned points can give you a distinct advantage against tougher opposition, even when you are the receivers.

As for drills, you guys can work each other - one more benefit of a doub's partner. For working on returns, one of you can serve to the other from up near the service line. This doesn't wear out the server and it gives the returner lots of real balls to hit. Simple block returns are fine if you can place them away from the net person. You also need good reaction volleys so again, one of you can hit rapid fire balls to the other from up near the "T". Keep in mind that these are quick feeds - one after the other so that the volleyer has to react and recover for the next ball. They are NOT high velocity feeds. Just quick bang-bang-bang and the feeder needs to keep an eye out for stray balls rolling under the volleyer's feet. Keep it safe!

One more consideration, aside from studying on your own, is to think about getting a lesson together. Since you guys want to work on the same things, you could probably have a really productive session with a pro and get used to functioning more effectively on the same side of the net.

naylor
12-30-2008, 09:39 AM
Obviously, you have to get on well, and support each other after a mistake. But also quite important is for both players to know which balls the netman takes, and which ones the server has to cover - so, on a crosscourt return, the ball will cross in front of the netman, but if his job is to cover the trams after a wide serve then it's actually your volley. And for those balls between you, it's not who has the stronger play (forehand, rather than backhand), but who can get to the ball earlier and still play a good shot - so, at the net, who can move forward and attack the ball earlier and higher over the net, to play a more forcing volley.

Bungalo Bill
12-30-2008, 09:56 AM
Obviously, you have to get on well, and support each other after a mistake. But also quite important is for both players to know which balls the netman takes, and which ones the server has to cover - so, on a crosscourt return, the ball will cross in front of the netman, but if his job is to cover the trams after a wide serve then it's actually your volley. And for those balls between you, it's not who has the stronger play (forehand, rather than backhand), but who can get to the ball earlier and still play a good shot - so, at the net, who can move forward and attack the ball earlier and higher over the net, to play a more forcing volley.

Not all the time. Some teams play the diagonal ball. Whoever is diagonal to the ball on the opponents side has the middle. This allows your partner that is in front of the ball to mirror their opponent and you can close court.

ayuname
12-30-2008, 10:24 AM
challenge someone and try it. practice is wonderful.

Ballinbob
12-30-2008, 11:36 AM
No doubt. I would say at least 80% of all points lost in a doubles match that are my fault occur during the return of serve (either errors or poached returns). I have a very hard time blowing out opponents in doubles regardless of how weak they are because I can't seem to break even mediocre servers.
---

My transition from singles to doubles was rather painful. You will probably get disoriented alot with your position because you really have to instinctively move around the court based on what is currently happening, and I think it takes longer to learn this in doubles than in singles because its more complex. But I had crap volleys as well so that didn't help either. I would say since you seem to have good all-court skills (and are probably a better player than I was when I first started playing doubles), you will pick it up faster than I did.

I would most certainly NOT playing dubs 100%. If you want to become a well-rounded player you should play BOTH alot.

Was really hoping you would post raiden. For everyone that wants to know my level, I'm 15 so I don't have a NTRP. However, judging by others on this board I would say im an upper end 3.5 and my friend is around the same but could probably pass for a low 4.0. I'm rating myself honestly and I'm pretty sure that that's my real NTRP and im not inflating it. When GWB posted his vid, whos around my age, people rated him a 3.5-low 4.0. Judging by that and assessing my skills fairly I would say I'm around that level as well. This is not the only vid I've assessed myself on though. Anyway, point is, thats where I'm at.

Judging by what everyone has saying, it seems like volleys arent the #1 important thing in dubs which disappoints me a bit. My friend and I can match even the best highschool players in our area when it comes to volleys, and i was really hoping that would be more of an asset for us but I guess not. And I have a similar problem to you with returns and also like you, I play aggressively and am hard to break. When you played dubs at the 4.0 level, did you hold serve pretty easily and was the whole match just a struggle to break serve? Also, did you use signals and did they help any? Did you S&V on serve or did you stay back? What was one thing that really worked for you in dubs, like what stroke of yours really gave you an edge? Was there alot of "volley wars" or points where you volleyed back and forth with the other team really fast? If there are alot of those then I would say that we have a good chance.... Oh, and what was the average point like while serving/returning? Like how were most of the points played while returning/serving?

You don't have to answer all of those b/c I know its alot, but if you could answer the ones that you think would help me the most that would be great. I'm asking this of you b/c we have alot in common with this whole thing and I think i'll experience stuff similar to what you would

Thanks!!:):)

Ballinbob
12-30-2008, 11:52 AM
What you can do to improve your experience and chances for success is to learn to communicate effectively on the court. "Yours" and "mine are two words that take lots of guesswork and headaches out of points. You both need to expect input from the other so that you can effectively adjust your attack as a team and you both need to be able to be positive for you teammate's sake. When one of you makes a mistake, the other needs to help "shake it off" and keep the focus in a light and positive direction. Signals and planned points can give you a distinct advantage against tougher opposition, even when you are the receivers.

As for drills, you guys can work each other - one more benefit of a doub's partner. For working on returns, one of you can serve to the other from up near the service line. This doesn't wear out the server and it gives the returner lots of real balls to hit. Simple block returns are fine if you can place them away from the net person. You also need good reaction volleys so again, one of you can hit rapid fire balls to the other from up near the "T". Keep in mind that these are quick feeds - one after the other so that the volleyer has to react and recover for the next ball. They are NOT high velocity feeds. Just quick bang-bang-bang and the feeder needs to keep an eye out for stray balls rolling under the volleyer's feet. Keep it safe!

One more consideration, aside from studying on your own, is to think about getting a lesson together. Since you guys want to work on the same things, you could probably have a really productive session with a pro and get used to functioning more effectively on the same side of the net.

I think we would work very good together. I'm one of those guys that shows absolutely nothing when I play and am just emotionless on the court. He on the other hand is the opposite, and I think when he's being hard on himself I can calm him down and when I'm playing poorly I'm sure he could pump me up. Also, the "mine" and "yours" calls seem really basic. Do people struggle with this...? I may be overlooking the importance of these calls. And for reaction volleys, that's a good point. We have pretty good reflexes, but in singles balls don't come at you that fast like in dubs. I think for the tourney we're going to be ultra-aggressive with volleys so we can avoid these exchanges until we get more practice. This is in our ability so it's no big deal for us. I for one like to go for angle volleys when I can, but I can really put some pace on the ball when needed. I don't get many fast exchanges for volleys in singles, but I love it when I do. I feel like the guy is challenging me to see who has the better volleys, and this is where I step it up and show him who's king of the net around here:-D

For returns, should we stay back because our returns aren't the best? If I'm going to have to make impossible half volleys then maybe I shouldnt even bother chipping and charging here. I was thinking stay back at the baseline, do a simple topspin lob over the netmans head and charge the net? What's a high percentage strategy for a team that has weak returns?? I wonder if there is any lol..

raiden031
12-30-2008, 11:57 AM
Judging by what everyone has saying, it seems like volleys arent the #1 important thing in dubs which disappoints me a bit. My friend and I can match even the best highschool players in our area when it comes to volleys, and i was really hoping that would be more of an asset for us but I guess not. And I have a similar problem to you with returns and also like you, I play aggressively and am hard to break. When you played dubs at the 4.0 level, did you hold serve pretty easily and was the whole match just a struggle to break serve? Also, did you use signals and did they help any? Did you S&V on serve or did you stay back? What was one thing that really worked for you in dubs, like what stroke of yours really gave you an edge? Was there alot of "volley wars" or points where you volleyed back and forth with the other team really fast? If there are alot of those then I would say that we have a good chance.... Oh, and what was the average point like while serving/returning? Like how were most of the points played while returning/serving?


I don't think I'm a good person to answer these because I'm new to 4.0 (never played 4.0 league before), but I'll do it anyways. Today I played a practice match against a 9.0 mixed pair for the first time ever (me and 4.5 female vs. 4.5 male/female pair). I think I held half my service games and didn't break the opponents at all (Against 3.5s I usually can hold serve easily). I did ok and hit alot of good shots, but the 4.5 guy on the other side was controling the court too much. I always S&V in doubles unless I'm getting tired or having a bad serve day. I never use signals because I don't like them. Maybe I will want to use them with good 4.0 partners. Definitely the higher the level of play, the more volley wars because both sides seek to get to the net more and can hit cleaner volleys. My strengths in doubles are my serve, blasting cross-court forehands, and high backhand volleys.

One thing I didn't do well today was I didn't pick on the woman. Against 3.5s I can hit it to the guy and still control the match but when the guy outclasses me, I should hit more shots away from him. I'm not used to that.

naylor
12-30-2008, 12:04 PM
Whoever is diagonal to the ball on the opponents side has the middle. This allows your partner that is in front of the ball to mirror their opponent and you can close court.

Run how that works for me again, please? If I go wide cross-court from the ad court, does that mean I take returns back to my backhand (naturally) and also to my forehand down the middle - so my partner at the net has only the trams to watch? If so, then that's what I was saying about wide balls, when your partner's job is to move wider to cover the pass down his line, and your job is to cover your half and also the middle.

Bungalo Bill
12-30-2008, 12:32 PM
Run how that works for me again, please? If I go wide cross-court from the ad court, does that mean I take returns back to my backhand (naturally) and also to my forehand down the middle - so my partner at the net has only the trams to watch? If so, then that's what I was saying about wide balls, when your partner's job is to move wider to cover the pass down his line, and your job is to cover your half and also the middle.

In this strategy, if you hit the ball cross-court (especially if it is wide), you will have the ball that comes through the middle as you indicated. The backhand and forehand thing are nonissues.

And unless the ball is obviously your partners, you will still control the middle ball even if your partner can nail it. In other words, the middle ball is your responsibility even though your partner can poach and kill it. This strategy has more to do with closing off the court and giving your opponents the tough angles if they want to hit it by you. Otherwise, they will have to go over you or through you which is what you want. I think you got it.

If you do not go crosscourt, movement will need to take place by your team to once again give your opponents the tough angles if they want to get one by you and your partner is now responsible for the middle ball.

naylor
12-30-2008, 12:51 PM
... volleys arent the #1 important thing in dubs ... Did you S&V on serve or did you stay back? What was one thing that really worked for you in dubs ... Was there alot of "volley wars" ... Like how were most of the points played while returning/serving? :):)

In doubles, the pairing that takes command of the net wins - it's as simple as that. Command doesn't just mean come to the net and hope, you get yourself up there to put balls away - and from there as well as being able to clear the net more easily (often, you're hitting down from above net height), you have a lot more angles to play for.

For that, either you have to be prepared to S&V even on second serves, or (if you stayed back) you have to be ready to play an approach off the return of serve. In either case, your (often, second) serve cannot be a sitter that allows the returner to put you or your partner under pressure. So, quite often people put less heat on their first serve and go for more placement, to ensure they get more first serves in, and also to build more rythm and reliability (so their second serve can be closer to their eased-up first serve). But you have to do it, because if you end up playing one up one back, if your opponents can play a bit of doubles they'll kill you.

As for volley wars, they very seldom happen - if you get 2 / 3 in a close set, that's tops, so substantially less than 10% of the points. Most points develop into one pair at the net and the opposition defending, and even on those instances where all four might happen to end up at the baseline, if you get a shorter ball then you play an approach to move in and your partner has to also move in with you - you move forward or back (or left or right, for that matter) together as a team.

Finally, the team that commands the net wins, but not necessarily by playing winners all over the place. A very high %age of their points will still come from their opponents' forced errors, and also from unforced mistakes (even on easier balls) because they play a low %age shot to try to win the point from the back with an eye-of-the-needle pass. Looking at it the other way, if you're defending but you get a weak ball from the pair at the net, forget about turning defence into outright victory with the one shot (unless it's a complete sitter), instead focus on turning defence into attack so you can go take the net.

Bungalo Bill
12-30-2008, 12:57 PM
In doubles, the pairing that takes command of the net wins - it's as simple as that. Command doesn't just mean come to the net and hope, you get yourself up there to put balls away.

That is correct. You are creating a wall for your opponents to hit over, under, around, or through. Your positioning, awareness, skill, tenacity, and assertiveness should close off the court so that their only choice is to go through the middle which gives you or your partner the opportunity to put the ball away.

Good doubles position is such that you or your partner has a reasonable opportunity to take a stab at putting the ball away. This means the ball is usually inbetween you. You want to keep the ball inbetween you so you can run your plays.

naylor
12-30-2008, 01:08 PM
In this strategy ..
If you do not go crosscourt, movement will need to take place by your team to once again give your opponents the tough angles if they want to get one by you and your partner is now responsible for the middle ball.

Thanks, it's what I thought.

What's your experience when you do not go cross-court? I tend to think that - unlike in singles when you generally approach down the line - for doubles the better shot is the approach down the middle. Basically, it narrows the angles the opposition can play (regardless of which of the opponents takes it), and also gives your partner at the net the chance to intercept the middle ball.

Bungalo Bill
12-30-2008, 01:18 PM
Thanks, it's what I thought.

What's your experience when you do not go cross-court? I tend to think that - unlike in singles when you generally approach down the line - for doubles the better shot is the approach down the middle. Basically, it narrows the angles the opposition can play (regardless of which of the opponents takes it), and also gives your partner at the net the chance to intercept the middle ball.

I like it, it keeps the ball inbetween you and your partner. That is also why I serve 80% of the time up the T. :)

Ballinbob
12-30-2008, 04:25 PM
I don't think I'm a good person to answer these because I'm new to 4.0 (never played 4.0 league before), but I'll do it anyways. Today I played a practice match against a 9.0 mixed pair for the first time ever (me and 4.5 female vs. 4.5 male/female pair). I think I held half my service games and didn't break the opponents at all (Against 3.5s I usually can hold serve easily). I did ok and hit alot of good shots, but the 4.5 guy on the other side was controling the court too much. I always S&V in doubles unless I'm getting tired or having a bad serve day. I never use signals because I don't like them. Maybe I will want to use them with good 4.0 partners. Definitely the higher the level of play, the more volley wars because both sides seek to get to the net more and can hit cleaner volleys. My strengths in doubles are my serve, blasting cross-court forehands, and high backhand volleys.

One thing I didn't do well today was I didn't pick on the woman. Against 3.5s I can hit it to the guy and still control the match but when the guy outclasses me, I should hit more shots away from him. I'm not used to that.

No, I think your just the person I need to ask. I don't know anyone else who played singles primarily then switched to dubs. Your a 4.0, I'm a 3.5, so I'm sure I can use some of your advice and be able to apply it to my dubs game. And I've never played mixed dubs, sounds fun though. Also, how did the 4.5 male control the court? You mean he was placing everything perfectly? Also, when your talking about your strengths in dubs, are they any different than in singles? I remember awhile ago you made a thread stating you were being bumped to the 4.0 level and you wanted advice playing dubs. I suggested you use spin serves and keep the flat serves for singles. This is what I've read online and in books and stuff, but what do you think of this? Did your spin serves work better than your flat serves in dubs or was I wrong?

And BB and naylor, you've confused me with all these dubs strategies lol. I'll have to take a deeper look at them later

fuzz nation
12-30-2008, 08:08 PM
It's smart to avoid the one up/one back alignment when you can, since it puts you and your partner at a disadvantage. As a team, you want to use good positioning so that together, you cover the width of the court. If you have trouble charging the net off your returns, consider starting the point with your partner back with you around the baseline and when one of you gets a ball that you can follow to net, you can move forward together.

As a singles convert, you need to consider that although there are two of you in doubles, the court isn't twice as wide as it is for singles. This means it's a lot tougher to hit strokes away from your opponents, so resist the urge you may have to hit really big groundstrokes. When you go to the net, you have much bigger angles to volley into (along with drop shots) and you can often drive the ball down onto your opponent's feet. Create the opportunity to hit those sorts of shots by keeping a lot of your shots low, especially as you're trying to move forward. If you can make the other guys shovel a low ball up, you can step up for a free lunch. Returns of serve are no exception - if a server is following his ball to net, you can block a low return right back at his feet and turn the tables in a hurry.

I've coached high school varsity and j-v teams for a few years and that reaction volley drill I mentioned is the one best way I know of to get players a lot more comfortable up at net in a hurry. You can't just learn those shots from playing matches or you'll donate a lot of points along the way. Get quicker and more confident up front and you'll be able to hold your ground when the opposition tries to push you off the net.

KerryJ
12-30-2008, 09:38 PM
I love doubles. I played yesterday and destroyed. My partner and I won 8-1 (pro set because we needed to string). Most importantly (I think), the key to doubles is not to miss. You'd be surprised about the errors in doubles because some people try to play it like singles and hit passing shots and blast the opponents off the court. It's hard to hit a winner from the baseline in doubles (it's not impossible though) because you have less open court.

Here's how I play doubles

1. Don't miss
2. Poach
3. Make all serves
4. Lob

Another thing I do is (I return on the deuce side) is when it's a second serve on a big point (30-Love, 40-15), I try to drill the net guy. It works a lot

raiden031
12-31-2008, 02:39 AM
No, I think your just the person I need to ask. I don't know anyone else who played singles primarily then switched to dubs. Your a 4.0, I'm a 3.5, so I'm sure I can use some of your advice and be able to apply it to my dubs game. And I've never played mixed dubs, sounds fun though. Also, how did the 4.5 male control the court? You mean he was placing everything perfectly? Also, when your talking about your strengths in dubs, are they any different than in singles? I remember awhile ago you made a thread stating you were being bumped to the 4.0 level and you wanted advice playing dubs. I suggested you use spin serves and keep the flat serves for singles. This is what I've read online and in books and stuff, but what do you think of this? Did your spin serves work better than your flat serves in dubs or was I wrong?

And BB and naylor, you've confused me with all these dubs strategies lol. I'll have to take a deeper look at them later

The 4.5 guy could hit good angles and keep the ball away from me when I was at the net. Also whenever he was at the net it was hard to get the ball past him.

In singles I can move well in addition to my other strengths. My forehand is alot more effective and important in singles because its used alot more. So in doubles its more of a collaboration of strengths that puts me where I am, whereas in singles I could take away my serve and still be good because of my forehand.

My spin serves aren't offensive enough to use as first serves yet. I still do alot of flat first serves, but mix in some spin ones as well. My spin serves are effective against the 4.5 women, but against the 4.5 guy they need to improve. Lately my flat serves have been so consistent I haven't really felt pressured to change this up.

5263
01-01-2009, 08:15 AM
Here is the good news!
Dubs will really help your returning skills.

You will be forced to take a few more chances with your return by being a little more aggressive and more precise. Yes, you will miss more, but you will get better quickly as you are forced to practice this. Notice I said get better, not be great right away. You will improve fast if you try.

I think Naylor's point about the net man in front deciding if he has a strong play on the middle balls. If you are momentarily in 1 up, 1 bk, the player at net should take anything he has a strong, forcing play on. This assumes he can keep the ball in front of him and cut off the angle. He has to cover balls at him and in his ally at all costs (almost anyway) , but on middle balls it is determined by if he can make the play out front and forcing. If not, he should let the ball thru to the player who is back. This middle, thru ball, often provides a good look for the deeper player, along with a great opportunity to join at net with very good positioning!

When both players are a net, it helps to have a stagger. This means that the netplayer who has the ball in front of them should be tighter to net than usual, which cuts off the angles for the hitter. This really pressures the hitter by cutting down the angles available greatly, while making quick, aggressive volleys easier to make from so close to net. The off side net man in turn, can soften his position by hanging back just a step or so from normal, which does a couple of nice things. It allows him to see his partner better, who is ahead of him in the court, and also makes chasing the avg lob a snap.

Being able to see his partner helps by giving him an early que of whether he must cover that middle ball or is his partner breaking for a forcing play on it. If his partner moves so strong that it requires a switch, it is no prob and no call is required, cause he can see his man crossing right away.

If the closer to net player lets the ball thru, then the deeper netman should volley that middle ball back in front of his closer partner unless he can really be aggressive with it, because it keeps their formation sharp. If he were to hit a half ***** volley back down his own ally, then they have to quickly reverse the formation with him in tight and the partner softening to the offside softer positioning. This volley would make it tough to get back and cover his line. This stagger positioning, along with good shifts side to side, really gives you a chance to play an opponent 2 on 1 into a shrunken court for most shots.