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Cindysphinx
11-15-2009, 06:42 PM
I have had a couple of partners who are somewhat particular about where I stand when they are serving. Some want me near the doubles alley when they serve to the deuce court. Others want me near the alley when they serve to the ad court. Still others want me near the alley on both sides. Another partner wants me farther back from the net.

This is a minority of the people I play with, but I am struggling to understand it. Personally, I don't care where the net person stands when I serve (although I don't like it if they stand far back because then they are more likely to screw up a volley). I have only hit my partner in the back once or twice, and on those occasions the problem wasn't their positioning -- it was a shank on my part. I feel like whether I hit my targets or not has nothing to do with their positioning at net.

So what is it that these partners are having a problem with? Am I blocking their view, distracting them in some way, what?

When asked to move over, I move, of course. I just find it a lot harder to be useful at the net if I have to start near the doubles alley. I have a lot of ground to cover to poach, which pretty much takes poaching off the table . . .

Cindy -- who is delighted when her opponents start with the net player in the alley

OrangePower
11-15-2009, 06:58 PM
I agree that it's up to the net player to decide where exactly they position themselves. As the server, however, I have asked partners to crouch down more - so that I can serve without having to worry about hitting them. I've hit partners in the back (and even the back of the head) before, and felt bad about it... and felt even worse about them costing me a service winner :)

Nellie
11-15-2009, 07:48 PM
Yes - I have had some people ask me to stand out of the box because (1) they want a better view of the box or (2) they are afraid to hit me

If someone asks this, I can tell that they are not that comfortable playing doubles, so I go ahead and move, knowing that we are likely in a lot of trouble. oh well.

dbusiness
11-16-2009, 03:42 AM
For me I don't want my partner standing to close to the net or in the center
depending on their height and stance. I have to ask a couple of them to step back or crouch when I'm serving because they stand so close to the net
they block my serve path.

I think of it this way how many times have you mishit a volley at the net when it was going to hit your opponent in the head or chest?

Also if you are playing doubles you should be communicating with them if
you have a solid serve to let them know what type of return they will see
so they will adjust their position.

Steady Eddy
11-16-2009, 05:42 AM
I've had partners like that. I think they're worried about the serve hitting me, (they're not worried about the ball hitting me as much as it costing them a fault I think :) ).

I agree that a partner won't be much help out in the alley. Would it be ok with them if you crouched so low that your head is underneath the net? If the ball hits you now, at least you know it wasn't going over the net anyway. I think it takes alot less time to stand up from that spot than to move over from the alley. This way you're still a factor in the point.

raiden031
11-16-2009, 05:52 AM
The closer towards the center you stand, the more you should crouch down. I've had net partners stand straight up to where it is very uncomfortable for me to hit a serve anywhere but down the T out of fear that they are in direct path of the ball. I had a mixed partner at a tennis social tell me that I was distracting her by standing too close to the center, even though I was practically kneeled down on the court.

I think the net person should have enough common sense not to get in the way of the server, but at the same time the server shouldn't be so rigid that they can't serve a ball because the net person is within their peripheral vision. I think when there is an issue it usually shows a lack of experience in at least one partner. Thats where you need to step up and communicate.

runningmann
11-16-2009, 06:19 AM
i second the crouching method....

if you get hit whilst crouching.....bad server!

larry10s
11-16-2009, 06:21 AM
So what is it that these partners are having a problem with? Am I blocking their view, distracting them in some way, what?




have you tried asking THEM this question? and sharing with us their responce??

goran_ace
11-16-2009, 06:24 AM
Let them know that by asking you to stand in or near the alley they are taking you out of play. In particular you will be out of coverage of the middle and also you will not be able to poach. Unless they can serve a lot of aces/service winners they will have a hard time holding serve.

JavierLW
11-16-2009, 06:40 AM
I have had a couple of partners who are somewhat particular about where I stand when they are serving. Some want me near the doubles alley when they serve to the deuce court. Others want me near the alley when they serve to the ad court. Still others want me near the alley on both sides. Another partner wants me farther back from the net.

This is a minority of the people I play with, but I am struggling to understand it. Personally, I don't care where the net person stands when I serve (although I don't like it if they stand far back because then they are more likely to screw up a volley). I have only hit my partner in the back once or twice, and on those occasions the problem wasn't their positioning -- it was a shank on my part. I feel like whether I hit my targets or not has nothing to do with their positioning at net.

So what is it that these partners are having a problem with? Am I blocking their view, distracting them in some way, what?

When asked to move over, I move, of course. I just find it a lot harder to be useful at the net if I have to start near the doubles alley. I have a lot of ground to cover to poach, which pretty much takes poaching off the table . . .

Cindy -- who is delighted when her opponents start with the net player in the alley

I had one of those yesterday.

It's because he's serving from the center hash (ie... like you would in singles) and then yes, Im in his way then if I stand in my normal spot (which is halfway between the singles sideline and the center line).

He also wanted me to "stand closer to the net" to get even more out of the way, but I refused. (which also doesnt makes sense anyway, the closer I am to the net the more Im blocking his way)

tennytive
11-16-2009, 07:26 AM
If the server stands out wide on either side, and you stand near the service box line about midway between the singles and center lines, then there should be no problem with you being in the way. Although this seems farther away, it's actually easier to poach from this position by moving forward and to the ball. It also defends the middle of the court better, forcing the returner to hit a sharper cross court angle than if you were all the way over near the alley.

Many people stand too close to the net, which is the biggest reason they're in the way. I was guilty as charged until I learned to move back several steps, which not only helped in poaching, but defended against the lobs much better as well.

Maybe give it a try and see if you like it.

Cindysphinx
11-16-2009, 07:36 AM
have you tried asking THEM this question? and sharing with us their responce??

No.

The dialogue goes something like this:

"Hey, can you move over by the doubles alley?"

"Uh, sure."

It wouldn't feel right to me to try to debate the point.

Now that some of you have responded, I will bet the problem is that they are serving from a singles position. In which case I would block their attempt to serve out wide. A couple of the partners have been primarily singles players, so that could explain it.

blakesq
11-16-2009, 08:27 AM
Where are you standing? I generally stand about a step or two behind the center of the server's box, and start moving up as the server serves, in order to have forward momentum when the returner hits the ball, so i can move at an angle towards the alley or towards the center of the court.

Ask them discreetly why they want you to move. IF they are afraid they are going to hit you, then thats a nice thing they are doing. If they are micromanaging your play, you tell them that you will cover the alley if need be, that they should concentrate on their serving and not where you are standing (assuming you are standing in generally the correct spot). If they are standing right next to the hash mark, then they are serving from a singles spot, you might suggest to them to stand out wider, but of course they are going to do what they are more comfortable at.

If they are standing next to the hash mark, and their serves are almost hitting you when you stand in the center of the box, i would suggest you crouch down low (but don't put all the strain on your back, bend your knees, like a squater would, or a baseball pitcher, and rise up as the ball goes past you). Good luck!




No.

The dialogue goes something like this:

"Hey, can you move over by the doubles alley?"

"Uh, sure."

It wouldn't feel right to me to try to debate the point.

Now that some of you have responded, I will bet the problem is that they are serving from a singles position. In which case I would block their attempt to serve out wide. A couple of the partners have been primarily singles players, so that could explain it.

catfish
11-16-2009, 08:49 AM
When a server's partner stands close to the net and/or in the alley, they are:
1.) making it very difficult for themselves to poach since a poach is moving forward and diagonally and not a straight side-to-side move
2.) leaving most of the court for the server to cover off the return
3.) not putting any pressure on the returners since they're easy to lob over and not much of a poaching threat

If the server is asking you to move forward and into the alley, they probably aren't the greatest strategists anyway. If they can't see the giant gaps left in the court from that type of positioning it probably is best to just nod politely, say OK, and then do whatever you normally do anyway.

Ken Honecker
11-18-2009, 01:50 AM
Maybe that is how they liked the positioning when they started playing tennis and never changed. Lets face it if you start playing and are self taught you probably would hit your partner more often than the service square for the first year or two.

(Ken, hanging his head in shame because Cindy already talked about this earlier) I am like those guys. Maybe it is because I hit a flat serve that only clears the net by a couple of inches. I also used to straddle the alley line when I was playing up with my old doubles partner Larry behind me but now that I am teaming with my daughters who are low 3.0 at best I play farther from the net and a bit into the court to cheat their way.

eagle
11-18-2009, 02:59 AM
I normally tell my partners my serve tactics. On the deuce side, I serve over 80% of the time to my opponent's backhand side. On the ad side, I send the ball with almost equal distribution to both sides. This tactic exploiting the opponent's weaker side seems to work most of the time and also cuts off their return angle for an easier put away by my partner at net. So having made this known, my partner knows where to stand.

I don't tell them where to stand but if they happen to stand upright in the middle of the box, I tell them to crouch down. Not only will this open more of the service box to me, it also won't make it too obvious to our opponents where the ball will likely go. For example, if my partner is crowding the forehand side of the box, then the opponent will figure and anticipate the ball to be sent to his backhand since that is the open side of the box.

2 cents

r,
eagle

Jagman
11-18-2009, 04:47 AM
At your level of play, are servers more apt to place the ball short in the service box? Short balls open up the options of the returner and generally tend to get spanked down the line. The DTL return doesn't have to be hit that hard either, as the shorter distance lessens the reaction time of the opposing net player. If your partners regularly offer up weak serves, they may have seen this scenario played out enough to want you positioned to take away the DTL, being willing themselves to cover more court on the return.

All of the suggestions in response to your post are plausible. For the most part, they all revolve around a lack of confidence and experience on the part of the server. As the presumably more experienced player, since you at least recognize that there may be a problem, it is incumbent on you to address the issue. The fact that there are so many possibilities as to why the server might want to postion you closer to the alley, makes communication even more critical. How else are you going to determine whether this placement makes sense?

If you are playing a series of purely social, pick-up matches with various partners, I can see why you might want to refrain from comment. But then, don't dwell on it, either. You can always satisfy your curiosity, if piqued, by simply bringing the subject up during post-match cocktails --- or whatever your ritual happens to be.

On the other hand, if these players are likely to be paired up with you on a semi-regular basis in league play, this is something, IMO, that definitely needs to be discussed as a matter of tactics.

Just another two cents, I know, but soon you'll have a dollar!

kennydoe
11-18-2009, 06:46 AM
I'm surprised nobody has mentioned the return of serve yet...

If your partner prefers you in the alley on the deauce side and closer to the middle ont he ad side, he/she might want you to protect the alley from the returner's forehand (presuming it's a righty returner) and doesn't expect the alley return as much from the returner's backhand on the ad side (again, presuming righty).

If you're a very good poacher, taking you out of that on the serve isn't a great strategy, but it sounds like you and your partner should do some talking before the match.

I tell all new partners that my serves is pretty strong, and i can place it where i want most of the time. my legs work well and i'm good at the net/poaching. I'm not offensive enough at the baseline and sometimes need to be reminded to come in to be useful. I'll tell them to put their serves out wide or tell them that i'm going to serve out wide, so be ready for a reply up the middle or down the line.

From there it's just about reaction time...can you see where a serve lands and make a decision in that 1/4 second whether to go or not? and can you stop on a dime and reverse if the returner goes up the line after you've started your poach?

some people can and some people can't...and you have to let your partner know where your personal strength is.

I hit my wife with serves a couple of times a few years ago - it wasn't a good thing. :confused:

~KF

kennydoe
11-18-2009, 06:47 AM
btw, if i know the returner to be somebody who hits/returns up the line very well, I'll let my partner know to make sure he/she covers the line, and i can cover anything else that comes back....

JavierLW
11-18-2009, 07:06 AM
I'm surprised nobody has mentioned the return of serve yet...

If your partner prefers you in the alley on the deauce side and closer to the middle ont he ad side, he/she might want you to protect the alley from the returner's forehand (presuming it's a righty returner) and doesn't expect the alley return as much from the returner's backhand on the ad side (again, presuming righty).

If you're a very good poacher, taking you out of that on the serve isn't a great strategy, but it sounds like you and your partner should do some talking before the match.

I tell all new partners that my serves is pretty strong, and i can place it where i want most of the time. my legs work well and i'm good at the net/poaching. I'm not offensive enough at the baseline and sometimes need to be reminded to come in to be useful. I'll tell them to put their serves out wide or tell them that i'm going to serve out wide, so be ready for a reply up the middle or down the line.

From there it's just about reaction time...can you see where a serve lands and make a decision in that 1/4 second whether to go or not? and can you stop on a dime and reverse if the returner goes up the line after you've started your poach?

some people can and some people can't...and you have to let your partner know where your personal strength is.

I hit my wife with serves a couple of times a few years ago - it wasn't a good thing. :confused:

~KF

Usually when someone says they are doing it to "protect" the line, I figure that's a pretty "newbie" response on their part. (I dont mean you, but I mean whoever throws up that excuse)

You have to figure you have a certain range to the right of you and the left of you. If you're standing RIGHT in the alley then some of that range is way off the court.

(in other words you can always move INTO the alley so it's not worth giving up the entire rest of the court.....)

Usually I think if you figure you can cover even half the alley that's good enough, if they want to aim into a tiny little narrow area where the net is the highest, you shouldnt really mind too much.

Also depending on where your partner serves, you dont necessarily have to worry much about the alley. If they serve to your right, you can step up to the right a step, if they serve to your left (which is out wide onthe deuce side), you can take a step to your left. Serves down the "T" half of the box are less likely to get pounded down the alley. (and if you really wanted to protect the alley you hope and pray your partner can serve there)

kennydoe
11-18-2009, 07:14 AM
i have to admit... putting your partner IN the alley is pretty disrespectful.

As a server, i have moved a partner closer to the alley, but never INTO it

eagle
11-18-2009, 07:18 AM
Agree with Javier.

If the returner gets the alley, then applaud him/her for getting a risky and low percentage shot.

The Bryan brothers recommend serving to the T to reduce the returner's angles. If good enough for them, it's probably good enough for us.

r,
eagle

cghipp
11-18-2009, 07:20 AM
The only time I have ever asked a partner to move while I was serving was when I was playing mixed and my partner was very tall. Just crouching down a little, or maybe a half-step toward the side does the trick - or it SHOULD.

Ripper014
11-18-2009, 07:35 AM
I have had a couple of partners who are somewhat particular about where I stand when they are serving. Some want me near the doubles alley when they serve to the deuce court. Others want me near the alley when they serve to the ad court. Still others want me near the alley on both sides. Another partner wants me farther back from the net.

This is a minority of the people I play with, but I am struggling to understand it. Personally, I don't care where the net person stands when I serve (although I don't like it if they stand far back because then they are more likely to screw up a volley). I have only hit my partner in the back once or twice, and on those occasions the problem wasn't their positioning -- it was a shank on my part. I feel like whether I hit my targets or not has nothing to do with their positioning at net.

So what is it that these partners are having a problem with? Am I blocking their view, distracting them in some way, what?

When asked to move over, I move, of course. I just find it a lot harder to be useful at the net if I have to start near the doubles alley. I have a lot of ground to cover to poach, which pretty much takes poaching off the table . . .

Cindy -- who is delighted when her opponents start with the net player in the alley



The obvious reason would be either one of three things... the first would be that your partner is afraid of hitting you with the ball... he/she is not able to manage the direction of his/her serve, he/she as mentioned is serving from the hash mark and your positioning is reducing the amount of court he/she can serve into.

Second... he/she is not comfortable with your level of play, moving you over is to reduce the amount of court you have to cover, and moving you back is to provide you with a little more time to react to the tennis ball.

Third... you partner has no logical reason to do it... because they are clueless.

cak
11-18-2009, 09:14 AM
Second... he/she is not comfortable with your level of play, moving you over is to reduce the amount of court you have to cover, and moving you back is to provide you with a little more time to react to the tennis ball.

Now this one might be really obvious, but never occurred to me. You are basically saying if the net partner is not doing well at net and poaching the server would suggest they move? I have always assumed that my partner would know if they can't deal with returns at net, and move off themselves. I certainly do. I might remind them I have a patsy second serve, but I wouldn't tell them they should pull off and let me hit take the balls down the middle. Should I be doing that? And if just a poll, if someone told you that would you be hurt?

LuckyR
11-18-2009, 09:16 AM
No.

The dialogue goes something like this:

"Hey, can you move over by the doubles alley?"

"Uh, sure."

It wouldn't feel right to me to try to debate the point.

Now that some of you have responded, I will bet the problem is that they are serving from a singles position. In which case I would block their attempt to serve out wide. A couple of the partners have been primarily singles players, so that could explain it.


I have my opinions why these guys are saying this, but I would not let them get away with it. I would have this conversation:

"Hey, can you move over by the doubles alley?"

You: "Oh, are you going to slice the serve out wide?"

"Uummm... oh, yeah"

You: "Well actually I follow serve placement routinely so if you go out wide, I will have the alley covered, but thanks for the heads up (cheerfully)"

Ripper014
11-18-2009, 09:51 AM
Now this one might be really obvious, but never occurred to me. You are basically saying if the net partner is not doing well at net and poaching the server would suggest they move? I have always assumed that my partner would know if they can't deal with returns at net, and move off themselves. I certainly do. I might remind them I have a patsy second serve, but I wouldn't tell them they should pull off and let me hit take the balls down the middle. Should I be doing that? And if just a poll, if someone told you that would you be hurt?

There are alot of players that poach and miss a lot... the good thing about their games is that they remember the good shots and quickly forget the bad. The bad thing is that a point or two on their partners service game in a tight match is hard to over come.

An analogy would be pro football teams that have quarterbacks that are ask to just not make mistakes... and let the team win. I don't need you to win it for us... just limit your mistakes.

Polite partners will ask you to move over... to protect the alley. They will make any excuse to position you without stating, that it is hard enough playing against two opponents they don't help.

Ripper014
11-18-2009, 12:58 PM
When you stand too near the alley on your partner's serve, you're signaling your opponent that they have 3/4 of the court to work with. Are you that concerned the returner will sneak one by you down the line? You are giving up the poach, in most cases, so that's a weak position.

If the returner is consistently ripping one by you, then ok. But in my opinion the server's partner should stand closer to center of the court, whether in front of the service line or at the baseline (and that position should be discussed with the server). By standing closer to the middle you have more options of volleying a down the line or center return shot, if you keep your feet moving.

You are missing the reason for the thread... the OP's partner is asking her to move closer to the alley... and she is wondering why.

JavierLW
11-18-2009, 02:39 PM
Agree with Javier.

If the returner gets the alley, then applaud him/her for getting a low risky and percentage shot.

The Bryan brothers recommend serving to the T to reduce the returner's angles. If good enough for them, it's probably good enough for us.

r,
eagle

Right. I always say if the returner gets a nice clean shot down the alley, that's usually more of the server's fault then the net person's fault.

They either misplaced their serve or they accidently hit a weak one, happens to me occasionally and I always tell my partner not to worry about it, that one was my fault. (id rather they focus on the middle, then worry about the alley so they can help me serve and volley without worrying about 3/4th of the court)

Cindysphinx
11-18-2009, 02:58 PM
Upon reflection, there have been times when I have asked my partner to move over toward the alley when I'm serving. But I feel justified! :)

See, there are some folks who are not very good at the net. That's OK. We're all not good at something. They're not going to poach. Or fake. They're just, you know, there.

The trouble is sometimes they repeatedly get passed DTL. The serve or rally ball goes out wide, and zippo! Another DTL winner.

I don't mind if my partner gets passed DTL if they are poaching, faking, or otherwise trying to help out up there. It happens, and if it doesn't happen you probably aren't poaching enough. But if they are flat-footed, immobile and not doing anything at net, the least they can do is not leave the line wide open when the ball goes out wide.

When I think I have that situation on my hands (it happens a lot in 6.5 combo), I'll ask my partner in some way to cover the alley no matter what or suggest that they move over. In any event, it will be a loooong match, but at least we will go down in a ball of flames with that alley covered.

fe6250
11-18-2009, 03:09 PM
^^ Sounds like a painful match!!

eagle
11-18-2009, 03:57 PM
Ooops.. meant to say "risky and low percentage shot".

Fingers can't keep up with my thoughts. Sorry. :)

r,
eagle

Ripper014
11-18-2009, 09:33 PM
Upon reflection, there have been times when I have asked my partner to move over toward the alley when I'm serving. But I feel justified! :)

See, there are some folks who are not very good at the net. That's OK. We're all not good at something. They're not going to poach. Or fake. They're just, you know, there.

The trouble is sometimes they repeatedly get passed DTL. The serve or rally ball goes out wide, and zippo! Another DTL winner.

I don't mind if my partner gets passed DTL if they are poaching, faking, or otherwise trying to help out up there. It happens, and if it doesn't happen you probably aren't poaching enough. But if they are flat-footed, immobile and not doing anything at net, the least they can do is not leave the line wide open when the ball goes out wide.

When I think I have that situation on my hands (it happens a lot in 6.5 combo), I'll ask my partner in some way to cover the alley no matter what or suggest that they move over. In any event, it will be a loooong match, but at least we will go down in a ball of flames with that alley covered.


Next time just serve up the middle of the court... this makes the DTL shot a lot less appetizing.

Ken Honecker
11-19-2009, 12:30 AM
Another thing that hasn't directly been mentioned is the fact that the person asking you to straddle the alley might not be a regular doubles player. I'm sure that someone who has mostly played singles would be somewhat distracted by their partner standing between them and the target even if the odds of them striking them are pretty small. Sort of like in golf of pool where it isn't polite to stand in a place where you might distract the player hitting the ball.

GuyClinch
11-19-2009, 12:02 PM
Next time just serve up the middle of the court... this makes the DTL shot a lot less appetizing.

This is standard doubles tactics - and of course decent advice provided all the players are good. However if the server is the stronger player its not my preferred strategy any longer.

The problem is a good serve down the middle often leads to weak floaty return to the net player. If the net player is poor and you have gone ahead and postioned them properly - well they get that shot and you LOSE the point. :P

And especially on the ad side - a serve out wide will often give you a free point even with a SPIN serve. So serving up the middle while an ideal strategy for the pros isn't always best depending on the makeup of your team..

So getting back to the original premise -

Two reasons to park the net person out wide.

1) The server is afraid they will hit them.

2) The net player sucks.

In Cindy's case we can assume it's reason one but then again I don't know who she is playing with..

Pete

Ripper014
11-19-2009, 12:10 PM
This is standard doubles tactics - and of course decent advice provided all the players are good. However if the server is the stronger player its not my preferred strategy any longer.

The problem is a good serve down the middle often leads to weak floaty return to the net player. If the net player is poor and you have gone ahead and postioned them properly - well they get that shot and you LOSE the point. :P

And especially on the ad side - a serve out wide will often give you a free point even with a SPIN serve. So serving up the middle while an ideal strategy for the pros isn't always best depending on the makeup of your team..

So getting back to the original premise -

Two reasons to park the net person out wide.

1) The server is afraid they will hit them.

2) The net player sucks.

In Cindy's case we can assume it's reason one but then again I don't know who she is playing with..

Pete

It doesn't matter if Cindy can volley or not... it is what the server believes. My point about serving down the middle is to take away as much angle from the returner as possible... making it easier for the server to cover the court. Once you serve wide you open up the court giving the server more area to cover.