View Full Version : Overruling Your Partner (But Not On Line Calls)

04-30-2009, 04:58 AM
We've talked about the delicate situation of overruling your partner on line calls. What about overruling partners during points?

It seems to come up in two ways.

First, there is "Bounce it!" My partner cries bounce it, but I think the ball is going to land in. If I don't take it in the air, I will have no play on it. The way I have been handling this is that I go ahead and play the shot if I am in good position and am 100% sure I will not botch it. If I am not in good position, I let it go and hope like heck my partner was right.

I have considered just pulling my racket down in these situations, but I am worried that abiding by an errant "Bounce it!" will result in a lost point and, more importantly, make my partner more hesitant to say "Bounce it!" the next time. Even if we get this worked out, there is the problem of the late "Bounce it!" where the call comes after I've committed to the shot and can't stop myself from hitting it.

Second, I have been in situations where my partner calls "Mine!" and I take the ball anyway. One recent situation was when I was at net and my partner was back. Opponent hit a lob over my head. For once in my life, I actually took a few steps back and set up to hit an overhead. My partner said "Mine!" I said, "No, I've got it" and hit the smash. Afterward, we had a mutual apology-fest, where she said she thought the ball was going deeper than it did, and I said that I figured there was no confusion because she could see me preparing to take the shot.

And of course there are the situtations where my partner and I are at net in a staggered formation and I am closer to net. She calls "Mine!" from behind me, but I play the shot anyway. Should I pull my racket down in that situation if I am in good position?

I have to say it is nice to have these problems. For years, it seemed that I was playing with mute partners who were unable to communicate during points. Now that we've finally begun talking, I guess we have to learn how to do it right.

04-30-2009, 05:26 AM
I watch every ball like it's coming to me. I've always told my partner "if we collide because we're both shouting mine, I'm fine. It's the awkward stare as we both watch a ball fly by that's worse"

As we've played more often (going on, I dunno, 20 matches?), we rarely have an issue. Seems to work out.

I do have a couple of rules: never go "you!". I only 'hear' a couple of words during a point. "Mine", "help", "switch" and "watch it". And, as we're playing faster players, "watch it" at the net is almost useless. I just take the ball.

04-30-2009, 05:30 AM
What is "watch it?" If I heard that, I'd turn around and look for a masked gunman.

I like to hear "you." It means "You have a clear field; I'm getting out of your way."

04-30-2009, 05:43 AM
Neither you nor your partner is infallable in your reading of the flight path of the ball from your different positions on the court. You can just do your best with these tight situations, and it sounds like that is what you are doing. Continuing communication will help to prevent hard feelings. But if you're playing with a Johhny Mac type who is "always" right, some hard feelings will still result. (Many would love to play with Mac, arguably the greatest doubles player of all time. Many would hate it.)

04-30-2009, 05:57 AM
Regarding your overhead (nice shot by the way), if you are in front, you have final call on any high ball, even if your partner calls you off. Just yell something, like "I got it" to let your partner know to get back to the other side of the court in case your overhead is returned.

04-30-2009, 06:17 AM
I believe you overthink things too much. If you have a sitter, just hit the damn ball.

04-30-2009, 06:29 AM
^^^ I agree with Drak here. Good tennis is about playing the percentages. I don't give a rats ***** what my partner says...If I'm in a position to spank the ball, I'm going to spank it. If not, I'll bounce it and take my chances. It's a pretty simple decision really.

04-30-2009, 06:29 AM
I haven't run across a partner that expects me to take any calls during the point as gospel. I certainly am not at all offended if I yell "bounce" or "I got it" and she takes the ball.

(And I only yell watch it if I threw up a defensive lob that might be short. It really means run like hell, they are probably going to nail you.)

04-30-2009, 06:33 AM
#1 bounce it its a judgement call. if you miss too many than your partner gets upset with you missing "out " balls. if you listen to your partner and the ball lands in they feel like a jerk and you dont trust their judgement. this one is the relationship thing with doubles partners. #2 the person closest to the net has first dibs on all balls because they have the strongest position to hit an offensive shot

04-30-2009, 07:11 AM
What is "watch it?" If I heard that, I'd turn around and look for a masked gunman.

I like to hear "you." It means "You have a clear field; I'm getting out of your way."

watch it == bounce it == let it fly

And Drak's made my other point. Don't think, just do and if you collide/mess up, you mess up. I'd rather that than great talking and no hitting

04-30-2009, 07:20 AM
Oh, once CAK said "Watch it" meant "Careful up there, I just hit a short lob," it rang a bell. I haven't heard "Watch it" as a substitute for "Bounce it." Makes sense, though . . .

I notice that when one of the pros says to bounce it, the other player snatches his racket down immediately. I don't see them go ahead and hit it anyway.

04-30-2009, 07:30 AM
....I notice that when one of the pros says to bounce it, the other player snatches his racket down immediately. I don't see them go ahead and hit it anyway.

When you see this happen, are you also able to assess the risk associated with the player who lets it bounce vs. just hitting it? Many tennis pro's have excellent footwork and are very often in an position that affords them the option of letting it bounce. If this is the case then there is very little risk in bouncing it.

04-30-2009, 08:35 AM
Cindy, when you are at net and your partner is at the baseline, *you* are in charge! If there is a ball that you want, you take it! Furthermore, like you already mentioned, your partner can *see* you (and you can't see her), so they can see if you are setting up, and should position themselves accordingly.

04-30-2009, 08:36 AM
Also, I use the following:

'Mine' - means I'm taking it

'Yours' - means I'm letting it through

'short' - means I just hit *another* 'effin short lob, and you better get out of dodge!

04-30-2009, 09:23 AM
Also, I use the following:

'Mine' - means I'm taking it

'Yours' - means I'm letting it through

'short' - means I just hit *another* 'effin short lob, and you better get out of dodge!

I rarely play doubles ( I suck at it, still have not read The Art of Doubles) but when I do, I also use

"Oh Gooood serve": when I miss returning any serve.
"WHAT THE ..": when my parter misses a serve return.

04-30-2009, 10:19 AM
watch it and short ball mean the same to me . the net guy is about to get clobbered

04-30-2009, 10:55 AM
If a partner says bounce it, I will still do what I think is best. If I realize I made a mistake afterwards, I'll say a quick 'sorry' for not listening to their recommendation.

If a partner says 'mine', I will let them take it. If they then let it go thinking I was going to take it, I'll tell them that in the future if they call 'mine', then they better get it.

If I think the ball could equally be mine or my partners but I'm not sure what my partner will do, I call 'yours' so that my partner has no doubts that I'm letting them have the ball. I don't think its a problem to do this despite some opinions on the board that 'yours' is bad. Like anything, when said at the appropriate time it is good.

04-30-2009, 12:47 PM
I have found that my partners have sometimes called things out, and even if I don't listen (or they don't listen to something I called out), there is the understanding that it is a call that has to be made so quickly, that it is okay to mess it up once and a while. We smile, laugh, and get on with the next point.

If it is due to some serious lack of communication, then that can be addressed with a quick chat with your partner.

04-30-2009, 12:51 PM

I personally think you are almost always better off letting it go if your partner yells bounce, UNLESS you are absolutely sure they are wrong. The better the player, the better there radar is in making that call. Nothing annoys a better player more than a partner who still hits balls that are definitely out when told to let it go. In my experience, the player who hits a ball that they were told to let go loses many more points hitting that shot or tying to hit it than those where the partner told them to let it go and were wrong. Now if your partner’s radar is bad, then I would ignore it.

In regards to a situation with one partner back and one more forward, the person who is closer to the net, in the more offensive position has priority, they can and should hit any shot they can be aggressive with even if their partner behind them calls mine. No discussion on this one IHMO. Of course this only applies if you can be aggressive with the shot, hit it in front of you and generally speaking, above the net. If you are late reacting or cannot hit it in front of you, you are almost always better off letting it go, especially at the lower levels. Why? All players, especially at lower levels can’t get enough on a shot when their momentum is moving only sideways or backwards to hit a shot. So when they try it, they will invariably get it just back into play (to the service line if they are lucky), setting up their opponents to win the point easily. For every time you win the point in this situation, you will lose many multiples of this. Think percentage tennis.

When in doubt just think that whoever is closer to the ball coming to your side of the net has priority on hitting it, no matter what the other plays says or thinks. You should also work out in advance based on each of your strengths who will take certain shots. If you communicate well with your partner, you are ahead of the game in my book.

Good tennis


04-30-2009, 12:54 PM
Ha- I thought this was going to be about overuling your partner when they come up with crazy strategy that makes absolutely no sense.