PDA

View Full Version : I need Doubles help


zebra_cam
01-12-2009, 06:14 AM
I started playing in this junior team tennis league yesterday, and i played more doubles then singles. I'm normally a sigles player, and i'm haveing trouble at the net in doubles. when do i know when i should poach, becuase some of the times when i did i would end up putting me in a dangerous situation with my partner

fuzz nation
01-12-2009, 07:11 AM
Doubles requires a skill set that's obviously different from singles and you need to develop the instincts for covering the width of the court with a partner. A lot of this comes with experience (and some patience!), but if you can get a lesson under your belt to learn good volleying habits, you ought to be a lot more "in charge" up at net. That lesson can include the poach if you're out there with the pro and one or two other players - when a ball from your opponents is in your range, you'll want to cut it off with either a putaway or a shot that will leave your opponents in trouble. Recognizing that ball that's in your range will also be an instinctive issue, but a productive lesson should set you up with some basic ideas of what to do and when to do it.

That "dangerous situation" you mentioned can usually be avoided if you and your partner set some ground rules. Communication is key for a doubles team to function properly. If one of you says "yours" or "mine", then the other knows who is taking the shot. Very useful on some balls that are right up the middle, right? Call "mine" as you're pouncing on a ball and your partner will know enough to stay out of your way.

Another thing to agree on is the case of one of you crossing the middle to go after a ball. To avoid that mess where both of you are in close proximity, you just need to plan on the other player switching behind the teammate that crosses for the ball so that the open space that they left is now covered. Basic communication here. If one of you calls "switch" or "stay", you're telling your partner where to set up. Just figure out these basic things with your partner before you start your next match.

Djokovicfan4life
01-12-2009, 08:33 AM
The first thing you need to learn is when to poach on your partner's serve. You should stand in the middle of the service box and fairly close to the net. Don't be a coward and stand around the singles line covering the down the line return at all costs. This is a sign of an inexperienced doubles player.

If your partner serves out wide, you should take a step towards the alley because this opens up the down the line return. If he serves up the middle, stay where you are, but look for a volley if the return is weak or up the middle of the court. If he serves up the T, you should be looking to poach. It's almost impossible for the receiver to get the ball back down the line from this position, so you should be looking to intercept this ball.

As you make your move towards the center, you should also move forwards towards the net. Moving sideways only is another sign of an inexperienced doubles player. The closer you are to the net, the easier the volley will be. The receiver will not be able to lob you unless the serve is really weak, so don't be afraid to close in very tight to the net when poaching.

LeeD
01-12-2009, 09:09 AM
Good stuff above....
Remember, with doubles, you have twice the players and a barely larger court, so many many more variables there.
Talk to your partner after a match, to see what lies. You can talk after a point, but only for 15 seconds or so.
You need to be on the same wavelength.
Hard to poach with a weak serving partner, but you still have to occasionally.
Almost don't have to poach with a really huge serving partner, as the floater return is easy for you to get to.
Try not to poach on too many low returns (under the netcourt), or backhands unless you can hit it past the service line consistently.
As said above, communication is the key...with your partner.

Djokovicfan4life
01-12-2009, 09:20 AM
Good stuff above....
Remember, with doubles, you have twice the players and a barely larger court, so many many more variables there.
Talk to your partner after a match, to see what lies. You can talk after a point, but only for 15 seconds or so.
You need to be on the same wavelength.
Hard to poach with a weak serving partner, but you still have to occasionally.
Almost don't have to poach with a really huge serving partner, as the floater return is easy for you to get to.
Try not to poach on too many low returns (under the netcourt), or backhands unless you can hit it past the service line consistently.
As said above, communication is the key...with your partner.

Hmmm, from what I've seen that all depends on the player. I'm much stronger off of the backhand volley myself, as are both my brothers. For a lot of players it's much easier to form bad habits on the forehand side. Many players tend to swing more on the forehand side and take the racquet back with the arm instead of their body. On the backhand you can't take the racquet back as far with your arm, which for some leads to much less swing and a better unit turn off of that side.

LeeD
01-12-2009, 10:59 AM
Good stuff....
Yes, player ability varies... but generally, most players can punch a deep forehand volley, while the backhand goes much more underspin with less depth.
In your case, if you also have the backhand overhead, then poach backhand at will !!
My problem is mostly I'm paired with the weakest of the foursome, and weakest might mean weakest serve and abililty to cover lobs. So poaching becomes more problematic. A weak serve by your partner to the oppositions stronger forehand is not a great ball to consistently poach on.
We all have varied weakness's and strengths, and have to play accordingly.
I know few players below 4.5 level who can put away high backhand volleys hit from hard, topspin balls. Most block it back as hard as possible, but maybe without the best placement.
If you're the exception, good for you and I hope your game gives every opponent the willys.

Bungalo Bill
01-12-2009, 11:07 AM
Good stuff above....
Remember, with doubles, you have twice the players and a barely larger court, so many many more variables there.
Talk to your partner after a match, to see what lies. You can talk after a point, but only for 15 seconds or so.
You need to be on the same wavelength.
Hard to poach with a weak serving partner, but you still have to occasionally.
Almost don't have to poach with a really huge serving partner, as the floater return is easy for you to get to.
Try not to poach on too many low returns (under the netcourt), or backhands unless you can hit it past the service line consistently.
As said above, communication is the key...with your partner.

WHAT THE HECK ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT!!!!!!!!!!! No kidding communication is key.

"almost dont have to poach with a really huge serving partner?" LOL!!!!

Well that depends on whether the return is a very good returner!!!! And even still, the doubles team should know when they are going to poach or not poach.

And what is with this "try not to poach on too many low returns or the backhand side? Are you talking about poaching without telling your partner you are poaching?

So, I guess if you are on the backhand side, I can play assuming you are not going to poach on that side? LOL!

What kind of doubles do you play? 2.0? Beginners?

LeeD
01-12-2009, 11:15 AM
Nice comments Bill...
"but still, you have to poach occasionally".... did that slip by you, like my return would???
yeah, no kidding, "communication is the key....with your partner".
"almost don't have to poach with a huge serving partner"...gee whiz, ya dink?
You might like to poach when the return is hit low up the middle to your forehand volley, but I often let it go if it's dipping with tons of spin. Your volley might be 6.0, but mine is only 4.0, as I've said many times, and it's a tough volley off a hard topspin ball from thigh level ....for me.
As far as backhand poach's, I still say you do it occasionally, but against a strong return off your partner's weak serve, it's basically suicide....at my 4.0 level.
So what more can you knock about my comments?

Bungalo Bill
01-12-2009, 11:20 AM
Nice comments Bill...
"but still, you have to poach occasionally".... did that slip by you, like my return would???
yeah, no kidding, "communication is the key....with your partner".
"almost don't have to poach with a huge serving partner"...gee whiz, ya dink?
You might like to poach when the return is hit low up the middle to your forehand volley, but I often let it go if it's dipping with tons of spin. Your volley might be 6.0, but mine is only 4.0, as I've said many times, and it's a tough volley off a hard topspin ball from thigh level ....for me.
As far as backhand poach's, I still say you do it occasionally, but against a strong return off your partner's weak serve, it's basically suicide....at my 4.0 level.
So what more can you knock about my comments?

I warned you.

GeoffB
01-12-2009, 11:24 AM
Good thread - I've been trying to figure out how to play doubles lately myself. I've been playing 4.0 singles for the last year or so, and I joined an 8.5 combo league with my brother (who is a strong 4.5).

It was fine at first, because he has a very strong serve and he is good at net (and is an experienced doubles player with college experience). So I rarely had to deal with anything other than junk at the net, and he could poach well on my serve. I really wasn't making any meaningful doubles-specific changes to my game, though - I pretty much just covered the line and didn't poach or follow my serve or groundstokes to net. You can get away with that kind of thing provided your overall game is stronger - and we went 5-1.

Our last couple of outings have been harder, though, because we've started to play friendlies against teams where both players are 4.5 or 5.0. It just doesn't work anymore. Good strokes and serves help keep us in the match, but we rarely take a set.

I'm loving it, though, because it's a great opportunity to learn something new and to get more aggressive in my game, especially at net.

Anyway, here's a list of singles habits I need to break in doubles... the interesting thing is many of these things are good to do in singles...

1) return of serve: If someone kicks a serve to my backhand, I am able to roll a high but heavily topspun return to the backhand corner. It works great in singles against all but the best serve-and-volleyers... but against a good doubles player, this gets cut off instantly at the net for a volley winner. You really do have to catch the ball earlier and be aggressive with those returns in doubles.

2) I spend a lot of time building points in singles before taking the net, and I often slow down my strokes and move my opponent around the corners for a while to open up the court. In doubles, I quickly find myself looking at two perfectly positioned net players, with almost nowhere to go for an easy passing shot. With half the court covered by my partner, I need to come in much earlier, because the entire risk to reward calculation has changed. You only have to cover your half in doubles, and if you don't get to the net, they will!

3) I just need to be more aggressive at net. I don't have the instincts to move forward and hunt down any opportunity to put away a volley winner. Ground strokes are great, but the team that can do this at net almost always wins at doubles. The only way a groundstroke based team can win is by being far better technically.

LeeD
01-12-2009, 11:31 AM
True a groundie team has to work hard, but nowadaze, there's less and less good volleying teams to play against.
That return of yours, crosscourt, should be considered a topspin lob, over the netmans head, or a low angled pass, hard to volley.
Go down the line if the netman is continueing to poach, but go down the line topspin lob.
Since you can roll your backhands, a topspin lob can be used over and over. Just make sure to really hit the ball solid, with lots of spin, but aim deep past the service line so the retreating overhead is not smashed down your partner's throat.
If you need more aggresive volley, consider hitting it deep but LOW down the middle. Lower than the netman can poach, deep so the baseline guy has to half volley.
Keep playing, it's tough for one 4.0 and one 4.5 to beat TWO 4.5's.

GeoffB
01-12-2009, 01:18 PM
True a groundie team has to work hard, but nowadaze, there's less and less good volleying teams to play against.
That return of yours, crosscourt, should be considered a topspin lob, over the netmans head, or a low angled pass, hard to volley.
Go down the line if the netman is continueing to poach, but go down the line topspin lob.
Since you can roll your backhands, a topspin lob can be used over and over. Just make sure to really hit the ball solid, with lots of spin, but aim deep past the service line so the retreating overhead is not smashed down your partner's throat.
If you need more aggresive volley, consider hitting it deep but LOW down the middle. Lower than the netman can poach, deep so the baseline guy has to half volley.
Keep playing, it's tough for one 4.0 and one 4.5 to beat TWO 4.5's.

Yeah, there's really nothing mysterious about a 4.0/4.5 team losing to a 4.5/4.5 team. The interesting thing is, there's nothing overwhelming about the teams we lose to. I can definitely get their serves back - actually, they probably have more trouble with my serve than I do with theirs. And my brother is a very strong 4.5 - with an especially strong serve and volley game. So even though I essentially never poached, we still managed to go 5-1 in the 8.5 combo season. I'd just stand guard over the line and take the occasional slop that came my way, and he'd cover the center of the net through serve and volley.

The difference here against the 4.5/4.5 teams is that there's no longer a weaker player we can pick on with groundies and serves - i.e., no way to get cheap points. And with both opponents closing the net effectively, they can pretty much shut us down. They are also very good at kicking the serve high to the backhand to generate that poachable ball.

I'm definitely working on some of the things you suggested. A deep lob can work, as well as an occasional slice up the line if the poaching is getting very predictable. The low return is trickier, because that takes quite a bit of talent to hit. When the kick it wide, I pretty much have to take it on the rise and control it with a low margin of error.

But eh, playing good teams is one way to get better - mainly because your old tools are no good anymore. ;)

Bungalo Bill
01-12-2009, 01:39 PM
I started playing in this junior team tennis league yesterday, and i played more doubles then singles. I'm normally a sigles player, and i'm haveing trouble at the net in doubles.

What trouble are you having? Picking up the ball? Volleying the ball? Do you think you are using good technique?

when do i know when i should poach, becuase some of the times when i did i would end up putting me in a dangerous situation with my partner

Because you are new to doubles, I will give you some common tips on when to poach:

1. For the most part, you should tell your partner when you are going to poach so he can make the proper adjustments on his end to keep your court closed off as much as possible.

2. In general, you want to poach on serves that go up the T. If you poach on a wide serve, you leave your alley (and then some) wide open to hit too.

3. If your opponent normally hits a weak reply try to understand why. This comes from studying what your opponent has trouble with or which side (forehand or backhand) is having trouble.

Good poachers know how to read the ball off the opponents racquet and develop a sense on when to go or stay. If you are the type of person that wants to be a tiger at the net, make sure you communicate with your partner so he can move properly and work with your energy at the net.

Make sure you dont poach just to poach. Know why you are poaching and also realize that some of your ad-hoc poaches may backfire. Especially if your partner gets confused and you both line up on the same side of the court.

If I were you, I would get the book The Art of Doubles and read through that. I would also simplify your poaching to only go at times if a ball goes up the T or when you told your partner that you are going.

fuzz nation
01-13-2009, 09:01 AM
GeoffB: A good deal of competence in doubles comes from developing the instincts that you need to cover the court with your partner - that comes with experience, so keep on truckin'! A lot of success in doubles also comes from being more proficient up at net - the easier it is for you to "stand your ground" up front, the easier it is to impose your will on your opponents. They can't easily chase you off the net when you're comfortable with touch shots and reaction volleys. The high school kids that I coach enjoy a lot more success when they can go to the net without fearing that they'll take one on the forehead.

If you have a hitting partner or you're considering a lesson, work on those reaction volleys. If you and a hitting partner have a bucket of balls and a few minutes, you can trade off peppering each other with a bunch of balls in a row. Pop-pop-pop where you hit a quick volley and recover immediately for the next one. The feeder does not hit fast balls here! Just medium pace with high frequency - this makes footwork much more efficient and gets rid of a lot of unnecessary extra motion. Watch out for stray balls rolling under the hitters feet and STOP whenever you need to clear them. This is the one best drill I use for getting my fledgeling doubles players a whole lot more comfortable at net.

GeoffB
01-15-2009, 10:20 AM
fuzz nation -

You definitely honed in on the problem when you mentioned "unnecessary movement". Strangely, it gets worse under pressure. When I warm up my volleys, my stroke is decent. Nothing great, but a reasonable, compact volley. But when I had to react quickly, I actually tried to do a mini loop with my forehand. Bizarre. Anyway, yeah, I definitely need to build the right instincts... strange that my instinct is to make the stroke *more* complicated, but I suspect it isn't unusual.

W Cats
01-15-2009, 02:10 PM
Poaching opportunites that I have my doubles team look for include but are not limited to:

Sometime early in the first 2 games of a match to establish a little added preasure on the returns when they're still a bit rusty and to put them notice that you're capable of poaching.

If you've figured out a pattern to crosscourt shots.

When yur partner hits an effectively deep return (that lands deep)because the reply coming back will have a greater chance of; having less pace, being in the air longer, and fewer effectively sharp angles.

When balls are hit low to their feet and their reply has a greater chance of coming up at you.

Hope this helps.

LuckyR
01-15-2009, 02:19 PM
I started playing in this junior team tennis league yesterday, and i played more doubles then singles. I'm normally a sigles player, and i'm haveing trouble at the net in doubles. when do i know when i should poach, becuase some of the times when i did i would end up putting me in a dangerous situation with my partner


Poaching is an integral part of doubles play, not an option. However, every partnership is different both from a technical and a social perspective. For example, there are times when a signalled poach may be the best option on how to deal with a particular team, but if you have a partner who is unfamiliar with this tactic and hasn't played it with you specifically, it may end up losing you guys more points than winning (in this particular match).

So how to play with your regular partner and a pickup game partner is going to vary. But since you are on a set team, I would advise getting a set partner (or two) and deciding on the poaching technique you guys prefer and grooving that play. When your partner knows what you are likely to do, he has his options on how to respond so your team is not in a "dangerous situation".

Failed
01-15-2009, 10:50 PM
The first thing you need to learn is when to poach on your partner's serve. You should stand in the middle of the service box and fairly close to the net. Don't be a coward and stand around the singles line covering the down the line return at all costs. This is a sign of an inexperienced doubles player.

If your partner serves out wide, you should take a step towards the alley because this opens up the down the line return. If he serves up the middle, stay where you are, but look for a volley if the return is weak or up the middle of the court. If he serves up the T, you should be looking to poach. It's almost impossible for the receiver to get the ball back down the line from this position, so you should be looking to intercept this ball.

As you make your move towards the center, you should also move forwards towards the net. Moving sideways only is another sign of an inexperienced doubles player. The closer you are to the net, the easier the volley will be. The receiver will not be able to lob you unless the serve is really weak, so don't be afraid to close in very tight to the net when poaching.

Well... standing on the singles line is justified when
A: Your partner can't serve and hits you to the back often.
B: His serve is so attackable that you might lose your paternity.

Captain Tezuka
01-16-2009, 02:27 PM
In doubles communication is key also trust this can be described in many ways. e.g. sign(al) play, T line close proxi chat, between points or crucial point chats ect. Some ppl don't like sign play so most don't force it another reason is that sign play can be turn against you from the spectators but usually in league or tourney maybe their are some crowds? I dunno too much since I live in aus but if there are crowds then don't use sign play use some of the other methods mentioned above. :lol:

Also developing a good sense of serve placement and consistency is important in doubles along with volleys, smashes, lobs, forcing groundies ect. For more info visit: http://www.operationdoubles.com/.