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View Full Version : Deciding who plays which side returning in dubs.


J011yroger
07-18-2009, 07:57 AM
I am forever having trouble deciding which side my particular skillset is best suited to playing.

I am equally comfortable on either side, and usually tell my partner that I don't care, and am the same on both.

Most of the time I end up playing Ad, because I find that most of my partners like playing the Deuce side. I would say I play Ad 75-80% of the time.

My backhand return is I would say the best, or one of the best aspects of my game. I can basically return offensively off all but the very best serves I face. All returning is done with the 2hbh, I have hit 4 slice/chip BH returns in my life, despite multiple people telling me that I should do it more often.

My FH return is a good amount more shaky. I can play it safe if I need to, or let it fly if I want to, but against the better servers I block it back still because I am a little mentally tentative still even though my wrist is healed.

In play on my FH, I can comfortably hit angles either way. On the deuce side, I tend to hit bullets XC or DTL, from the Ad side, I tend to hit heavy topspin ISO and bullet ISI.

On the BH with my 2h I can do pretty much anything I want. My XC angle is one of my better shots, and I am much more comfortable with that than the ISO angle BH. I don't slice much in dubs, mostly using that for singles.

Off the ground I can hit topspin lobs or bump lobs equally comfortably off either wing, on either side.

At net, I have no preference, and volley equally well (poorly lol) on either side. On overheads I have some days that are shaky and some days that I am lights out. All considered, I would consider my overhead the weakest part of my net game. Fortunately being 6'3" with ape arms, people are usually hesitant to lob me, and I try to make a point of absolutely nuking the first one to discourage further lob attempts.

Movement wise, I think I move slightly better to my right.

That is all that I can think of.

Would appreciate imput for people who know me in real life, and have actually seen me play because perhaps they can add things that I have left out or don't notice when I am playing in my own little world.

J

tangoll
07-18-2009, 08:52 AM
I haven't seen you play so can't comment on your strokes. One factor you did not mention in your self-analysis is that the ad-side would be receiving in a game deciding ad-in or ad-out point in a game that went to deuce. And so, I think the partner who is the more steady returner, always gets the return into play, rarely gets aced or allows a service winner, should be the one who plays the ad side.

As to a lefty-righty combination, the conventional tactic is to have the lefty play the ad side because the forehand covers the tramline shots better. But I think a case can be made to have the lefty play the deuce side, so that the forehands would cover the middle of the court, where the majority of shots in doubles land.

J011yroger
07-18-2009, 11:30 AM
^^^ I am generally reguarded as the more mercurial big hitter. But I can play steady if I have to. I am at my best when I have the green light to swing away though.

J

strcmp
07-18-2009, 11:39 AM
I haven't seen you play so can't comment on your strokes. One factor you did not mention in your self-analysis is that the ad-side would be receiving in a game deciding ad-in or ad-out point in a game that went to deuce. And so, I think the partner who is the more steady returner, always gets the return into play, rarely gets aced or allows a service winner, should be the one who plays the ad side.

As to a lefty-righty combination, the conventional tactic is to have the lefty play the ad side because the forehand covers the tramline shots better. But I think a case can be made to have the lefty play the deuce side, so that the forehands would cover the middle of the court, where the majority of shots in doubles land.

I watched the Bryan brothers play this way last week.
Lefty on Deuce side, Righty on Ad side.
I thought it was strange as I would have thought it'd be the other way around, but what you've said makes sense.

maleyoyo
07-18-2009, 12:04 PM
Consider the fact that in doubles the majority of serves go down the middle, the player with stronger forehand return should play the Ad side and vice versa.

naylor
07-18-2009, 02:04 PM
^^^ I am generally reguarded as the more mercurial big hitter. But I can play steady if I have to. I am at my best when I have the green light to swing away though.J

... in doubles the majority of serves go down the middle, the player with stronger forehand return should play the Ad side and vice versa.

There you have it. If you play the ad side, you're looking to run around and hit forehands all the time, most particularly on second serves. That's the forcing shot that will set your team up to win the game when you're break-point up, or will get you back to deuce when you're break-point down. But obviously it has to go in pretty much all the time, and it has to have some weight also to edge you ahead in the rally.

On the deuce side, you can be more mercurial. Most serves will come down the T to your backhand strength. If you blaze a winner, you set your partner up. If you miss, he's there to rescue you back to deuce.

mtommer
07-18-2009, 04:08 PM
(I've seen your videos in real life. Does that count? :D)

I am curious though, Jolly. You say you are on the ad side most of the time and that your BH tends to be reliable. Do you think this is a result of practicing in general or is it possible you're better on that side because that's what play most of the time. You might get more comfortable (and hence better) on the Deuce side just by playing there more often.

Dark_Angel85
07-18-2009, 07:58 PM
Most of the veteran doubles players i've met have always talked about game strategy rather than focusing on strokes and who hits which shot better in doubles.

Normally, the one that goes to the ad side is the one with a steadier game and is most likely to get the point (most probably being the averagely better player overall) cause a lot of game ending points are on that side. Having said that, in a case of a lefty-righty combo, most of the time the lefty goes to the ad side. Even though most of the balls(especially on passing shots) go to the middle, I see the combos of veteran players work really well with the lefty on the ad side.

Bryans.... well... being so good, probably you could try out the lefty at the deuce instead?

Kevo
07-18-2009, 07:58 PM
I'm kind of like you. I typically don't care which side I play but I do tend to play the Ad more often since it seems most rightys are more comfortable on the deuce side.

I will tell you though, one time I was playing doubles with an older gentlemen and we were doing OK, but lost the first set. I didn't think about it until we had already started the second set, but he was struggling a bit with wide returns because of his movement. If I'd been paying more attention, I would have noticed that neither of our opponents had a solid serve wide on the ad side.

We should have switched sides at the beginning of the second set, but didn't and I think that could have given us a solid chance at the match. So regardless of which side you pick, always be open to changing it up if needed.

baek57
07-18-2009, 08:24 PM
Usually the better player goes on the ad side because the majority of the important points are played on that side. In addition, as a right hander poaching from the ad side gives you forehand volleys, as well as forehand overheads in the middle. Typically the deuce side player let's the ad side player take the overhead. So if you are the stronger player take the ad side in my opinion. Of course the reverse can be true about left handers on the deuce side.

naylor
07-18-2009, 10:50 PM
I'm kind of like you. I typically don't care which side I play but I do tend to play the Ad more often... one time I was playing doubles with an older gentlemen and... he was struggling a bit with wide returns because of his movement. If I'd been paying more attention, I would have noticed that neither of our opponents had a solid serve wide on the ad side.

I play the Ad side in mixed doubles. Apart from the obvious reason of being the stronger / steadier player in that format, my backhand is stronger than my forehand. Also, not many righty players can serve well and consistently wide to the ad side. So, if something does come wide, I just let my backhand take care of it, but more often than not I'm looking to run around it to play a more forcing forehand of any serve that doesn't go to the far corner of the box. And the trick here is to take a very compact backswing and punch through the ball, to put the server under extra pressure.

For mens doubles, I switch to the deuce side. Here, I rely on my partner to do the running around his backhand - again, the bit about righty men players not being able to serve well and consistently wide to the ad side holds. The only exception is if we're playing a lefty or someone with a topnotch kicker second serve, where I might discuss with my partner whether I stick to the ad side to neutralise it. Otherwise, from the deuce side I can be the more aggressive player. I love taking early inside-out backhands coming down the T, and it's normally a safe, deep return, which neutralises that serve. Really, the only problem for me is the wide, sliced first serve. I'm forever telling myself to step in to cut it, and shorten my backswing to punch it (rather than just block it) cross-court or at the netman (I can do it from the ad side, as running around the backhand sets me in a closed forehand stance; on the deuce side, starting from an open stance, I find it a lot more difficult).

I think you should try returning from the deuce side more often. Like me, you'll have no problem on anything to your backhand down the T. And on the forehand side, it will help shorten your stroke for when you need to fire off a quick return on a ball taking you wide.

The next question, however, is your volleying. By definition, you'll win a doubles match if you consistently steal the net from the opposition in their service games - and then use that advantage. How good is your volleying on the backhand for that first approach volley, taken at a variety of heights, but always put deep back to the server on the deuce side? And how good are you on the backhand poach / put-away volley?

J011yroger
07-19-2009, 04:15 AM
The next question, however, is your volleying. By definition, you'll win a doubles match if you consistently steal the net from the opposition in their service games - and then use that advantage. How good is your volleying on the backhand for that first approach volley, taken at a variety of heights, but always put deep back to the server on the deuce side? And how good are you on the backhand poach / put-away volley?

It's ummm... A work in progress.

http://vimeo.com/3515029

That is from over the winter.

I guess it is about the same now.

Been mostly working on the FH.

I feel equally comforable on both sides I would say.

You know, I do the best I can, but I don't think I will ever have great hands, but I keep working on it, because I enjoy dubs, and I think it will make me a better singles player.

J

J011yroger
07-19-2009, 04:17 AM
(I've seen your videos in real life. Does that count? :D)

I am curious though, Jolly. You say you are on the ad side most of the time and that your BH tends to be reliable. Do you think this is a result of practicing in general or is it possible you're better on that side because that's what play most of the time. You might get more comfortable (and hence better) on the Deuce side just by playing there more often.

Nah it is just a function of the stroke.

My BH is just more reliable, and better. Doesn't matter which side I play, singles or dubs.

J

naylor
07-19-2009, 05:23 AM
It's ummm... A work in progress...
I feel equally comforable on both sides I would say...You know, I do the best I can, but I don't think I will ever have great hands, but I keep working on it, because I enjoy dubs, and I think it will make me a better singles player.J

I agree, it will make you a better singles player, when you throw in some S&V points to get your opponent out of his return comfort zone.

Watching your video, I think you need to be more positive off both wings, split-step and step in, rather than wait for the ball to come to you. Three reasons:- 1) the contact point on the volleys will be higher, so you'll have to hit up less; 2) the stroke will be more of a punch, and less of a scoop under the ball; and 3) your body positioning will be more conducive to a positive stroke. What I mean by 3) is, if you split-step and wait you usually stay square to the net, so you have to steer the volley with your wrist to place it left or right off either wing. But if you split-step and move forward, then you place yourself for a natural / easy out-in cross-court volley as the default shot (but you still have the option of punching it down the line if you've worked hard and got in position early for the volley).

I do exactly the same scooping when I'm slow/lazy, to get it up over the net and then to put backspin to place it deep but in. To get away with it consistently you need hands like Edberg or Nastase. It's much easier to force yourself to step in to play a higher / easier short-punch shot needing a lot less hand action (and a fractionally earlier ball gives your opponent less time, so it needn't be as perfect as when you're scooping it off your shoelaces).