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crystal_clear
11-25-2009, 07:07 PM
I tried to move up to the service line after serve or FH ground stroke in today’s ladies double. My opponent lobbed over my partner's head and won a few points.

Any suggestions? Is it true we should be responsible for lobs over our heads?

Ripper014
11-25-2009, 08:07 PM
Ideally you want to cover your own overheads... but it depends on the level of play. At lower levels of play the competitors may not have the athletic ability to cover their overheads... in which case their partners may need to cover, bringing both of you back to the baseline.

user92626
11-25-2009, 08:37 PM
I think the baseline person, which in this case is the OP, is responsible for such lobs. Why did you run forward with such a weak serve or FH that can easily be turned into a lob?

Nellie
11-25-2009, 09:33 PM
Don't listen the advice above - any shot can be turned into a lob and lobbing is not a sign that your approach or server were weak.

What you should do, prior to the match, is to talk to your partner to discuss roles. If you are coming fast to the net, as you should, it is really hard for you to cover the lob over your partner. It is far easier for your partner to take two steps back and take the lob as an overhead. If your partner cannot cover this shot, than you may need to switch with you staying back to cover the lob. However, this may lead you to a situation in which you are constantly being yo-yo'ed side to side with lobs, while your partner watches.

I would recommend starting with the plan of the netperson covering the lob down the line. If the netperson is struggling, then have her stay near to the service line. If the netperson is really struggling, it may even be better to play two back. All of this is discussed prior to the match and can be changed depending on the opponent's strategy.

naylor
11-25-2009, 10:11 PM
I've personally found - playing mixed doubles - that the more forcing my approach shot (or serve), the more likely some opponents (both male and female) will throw a lob over my female partner at the net.

In that situation, the objective of my forcing approach - playing S&V, for instance - is to join my partner at the net. And while I do so, my partner's job is not to look behind and watch me play the serve / approach, it's to watch the player opposite her on the opposition's baseline (to look for a possible poach if I put him/her in trouble with my shot), and also keep an eye on the opponent diagonally opposite her to defend any attempted poach of my shot. Hence, they are in the best position to first "see" the lob being thrown up by the opponent on the baseline.

From then on, my first preference is that my partner takes the lobs on her side, and I take those on mine. But if my partner is not confident with her overhead, or her mobility to get back quickly enough, then my second preference is that she makes the call on the lobs on her side:-

"mine" - in which case she will attempt to take it, and my job is to position myself to watch the opponents while she retreats, and cover the rest of the court by reference to her likely best play (smash on a short lob; groundie on a medium lob she lets go over her and bounce but can get to comfortably; return lob on a deep lob); or

"yours" - in which case, she makes absolutely no attempt to play the ball and immediately switches across to my side to give me an unimpeded line of play when I get to her side. Here, I expect her to initially move to a defensive volleying position (on the service line, a couple of feet from the T), and then - depending on whether I can play aggressively (smash or volley, or at least a deep groundie approach) or I have to play defensively (deep lob) - she needs to further adjust her positioning, either moving forward to an attacking volley position to match mine (I'll be coming back up if I can play an attacking shot), or moving back to join me on the baseline if I have to play defensively.

The key in all this is that my partner has to move. And if I take the lob over her, the only thing I'm doing is buying her a little bit more time to move - but she still has to move, and position herself to play from "my" side, so that we can continue the play as a team, attacking or defending together. If the only thing she does is get stranded - immobile in her original net position, or in the middle of the court after a weak switch - that's not enough to get us out of trouble, because it opens up the next hole for the opponents to exploit.

Ripper014
11-25-2009, 11:06 PM
I've personally found - playing mixed doubles - that the more forcing my approach shot (or serve), the more likely some opponents (both male and female) will throw a lob over my female partner at the net.

In that situation, the objective of my forcing approach - playing S&V, for instance - is to join my partner at the net. And while I do so, my partner's job is not to look behind and watch me play the serve / approach, it's to watch the player opposite her on the opposition's baseline (to look for a possible poach if I put him/her in trouble with my shot), and also keep an eye on the opponent diagonally opposite her to defend any attempted poach of my shot. Hence, they are in the best position to first "see" the lob being thrown up by the opponent on the baseline.

From then on, my first preference is that my partner takes the lobs on her side, and I take those on mine. But if my partner is not confident with her overhead, or her mobility to get back quickly enough, then my second preference is that she makes the call on the lobs on her side:-

"mine" - in which case she will attempt to take it, and my job is to position myself to watch the opponents while she retreats, and cover the rest of the court by reference to her likely best play (smash on a short lob; groundie on a medium lob she lets go over her and bounce but can get to comfortably; return lob on a deep lob); or

"yours" - in which case, she makes absolutely no attempt to play the ball and immediately switches across to my side to give me an unimpeded line of play when I get to her side. Here, I expect her to initially move to a defensive volleying position (on the service line, a couple of feet from the T), and then - depending on whether I can play aggressively (smash or volley, or at least a deep groundie approach) or I have to play defensively (deep lob) - she needs to further adjust her positioning, either moving forward to an attacking volley position to match mine (I'll be coming back up if I can play an attacking shot), or moving back to join me on the baseline if I have to play defensively.

The key in all this is that my partner has to move. And if I take the lob over her, the only thing I'm doing is buying her a little bit more time to move - but she still has to move, and position herself to play from "my" side, so that we can continue the play as a team, attacking or defending together. If the only thing she does is get stranded - immobile in her original net position, or in the middle of the court after a weak switch - that's not enough to get us out of trouble, because it opens up the next hole for the opponents to exploit.

Nice post...

papa
11-26-2009, 05:27 AM
The answer to the original question depends on what level your playing. At higher levels "most" players cover their own lobs "most" of the time. It also depends on court positioning when the lob comes - when you get caught up tight your probably not going to cover a deep lob --- one of the reasons you don't want to close on net so much that you get constantly lobed.

At lower levels and with players who either can't move well or have poor overheads, switch sides and let your partner cover the ball. In most cases its easier to run diagonally to get to a lob that back pedal. You have longer to go but its safer also. One thing to be watchful of is that those that sport "front porches" should not back pedal - their center of gravity is so bad that the chance of going over backward and hitting the head is too great - its a bad/serious injury that should really be avoided.

One of the mistakes many make is getting drawn in too much and as a result they are easily lobed.

If you can't put away your short ball and have closed on net, back up and take a position around the service line -- do not stay up at the net unless you expect another short ball because you might have just dinked the ball over the net yourself and they have no choice but to hit up.

PimpMyGame
11-26-2009, 05:35 AM
It's true that a shorter, weaker shot from the baseline will give rise to an easier lob or passing shot, so a couple of things here from a fairly "normal" club hacker:

1. If I'm at the net and my partner is prone to approaching off a short ball, I'll probably take a couple of steps back to make it more difficult for my opponents to lob me. I don't need to be able to smash the lob away if it's well executed - back in play deep, and (at the level I play) my opponents most likely chip the ball back so my opponent or I can put away the easy volley.

2. I never, ever approach on anything less than say 5 feet of the baseline (and usually needs a fair amount of pace too). It's just asking for trouble.

And it just pays time and time again to keep it simple with doubles. At our level it's all about who makes the fewest errors, not who makes the most winners.

LeeD
11-26-2009, 07:00 AM
..and unless the net person can cover his/her own lobs, you have to position them just inside the service line, not at the net. If they insist on net positioning, you should be wary of approaching net.
You, when you approach the net, needs to stop just inside the service line, no further towards the net. That way, you can cover lobs too. After you first DEEP or forcing volley/half volley, THEN you may move forwards inside the service line, but never closer than 6' from the net before your opponent hits the return.

LuckyR
11-26-2009, 09:12 AM
If the netman can't cover their own lobs the server usually has a better angle on the ball and should cover the shot. However, the key isn't this fact, it is that certain returners will lob the netman routinely when the server plays S&V. Your netman should clue into this pattern and line up in second position and back up after the serve is struck to take these lobs (even very good lobs) as easy overheads.

5263
11-26-2009, 01:24 PM
One of the mistakes many make is getting drawn in too much and as a result they are easily lobed.


You mean for a person who doesn't like to defend lobs. Otherwise it is great to force them to lob, for good players who like to pressure the opponents and bust overheads on their lobs.

papa
11-26-2009, 02:11 PM
You mean for a person who doesn't like to defend lobs. Otherwise it is great to force them to lob, for good players who like to pressure the opponents and bust overheads on their lobs.

Well, you can only hit what you can get too. So if your in too close you certainly run that risk. Topspin lob run away from you quickly and unless your extremely fast you might be in trouble with that approach.

However, you make a valid point.

Rambler124
11-26-2009, 02:25 PM
Just adding more here. One thing I've found in coaching some doubles teams as well is how little used the short angle approaches or service returns (especially on 2nd serves are used). Coaching doubles always seems to bring big emphasis towards coming to the net. Which I agree with 100%, but over time you notice that people who have solid lobs often drool at this prospect. Sometimes we have to ask why people are lobbing and how do we apply more pressure in a different way to prevent them from lobbing. Sometimes a good answer is to get them moving. Short angle returns or approach shots tend to work well and force the opponent to move off court hitting a shot on the run. It seems to work most of the time and creates a nice mix when used with a crushing approach shot back to the baseline (or 2nd serve return).

JISTUINS
11-26-2009, 05:43 PM
For our juniors, we also follow what many have already said here. For higher level of play, we encourage the two-front formation. As the level of play is high, they can usually cover their own lobs, and actually, with their fast hands, want to force the lob or high volley for the easy put away. As cc lobs are more higher percentage shots, if the opponent on the right is hitting, the net man on the right moves up more in front closer to the net (primarily targetting the straight cover & poach) while the net man on the left is not as far into the net as his partner.

For lower level players, we encourage the one-front one-back formation (sometimes one is the designated baseliner and the other the designated net man). This is often because one is better at strokes while the other is better at net play. The stroker covers lobs and puts pressure on shorter balls while the net man's role is to poach/smash/cover own side (if not deep lob). We've gotten some successes in this way of training against some opponents who would normally win when playing singles because they don't know doubles movement so well and the lob takes away their other techniques. Hope this helps.

crystal_clear
11-26-2009, 08:16 PM
Thanks everyone for your input.

papa
11-27-2009, 11:27 AM
For lower level players, we encourage the one-front one-back formation (sometimes one is the designated baseliner and the other the designated net man). This is often because one is better at strokes while the other is better at net play. The stroker covers lobs and puts pressure on shorter balls while the net man's role is to poach/smash/cover own side (if not deep lob). We've gotten some successes in this way of training against some opponents who would normally win when playing singles because they don't know doubles movement so well and the lob takes away their other techniques. Hope this helps.

Although I think I understand where you coming from the one up one back is certainly not something for lower level players. It might be used in the manner you describe but it is a very popular option these days.

Cindysphinx
11-27-2009, 01:17 PM
Yeah, I've had troubles with this too.

If your opponent at baseline is a 3.5 women and you hit a deep, hard groundstroke to her at baseline and follow it in, the odds that she will lob are 99.999%. Knowing this fact, it is smarter to defend the lob rather than the crosscourt dipping passing shot.

Which is why, when I tell my partner I will be following my return to net, my partner should be thinking of positioning a few steps deeper to get the lob that is so obviously coming.

Alas, if I tell my partner to expect me to come in, I tend to get a response that roughly equates with "Good luck with that." If I say, "I'm coming in and she's probably going to lob, so be ready," I have even had partners respond with, "Well, if the lob goes over my head, that's your ball." Which rather misses the point, which is: *We both know it's going to be a lob, so don't let the ball go over your head if you can help it.*

Ugh.

LeeD
11-27-2009, 01:43 PM
Never allow your netman to move back during the point, and before the opposition hits the ball.
If you can't cover lobs, move back before your partner hits the ball.
Worst and dumbest thing is to move back when the point is in play, but not lobbed over your head. For sure, the next dipping bullet will go your way, and you're recovering from moving BACKWARDS!!!

crystal_clear
11-27-2009, 02:22 PM
We are 8.0 combo ladies' doubles. All strong doubles team move up to the net and I am working on it.

My partner is good at net and weak at baseline so she stays very close about 2 feet to the net. I need to let her know I will come in so she could prepare for lobs as I can't cover her back once I move in.

crystal_clear
11-27-2009, 02:26 PM
I think the baseline person, which in this case is the OP, is responsible for such lobs. Why did you run forward with such a weak serve or FH that can easily be turned into a lob?
I run forward after a good serve or deep FH but sometimes the return is even better. Anyway, I will move up just for practice.

JISTUINS
11-27-2009, 02:48 PM
Although I think I understand where you coming from the one up one back is certainly not something for lower level players. It might be used in the manner you describe but it is a very popular option these days.

I agree, and certainly I concede that it is even seen used at pro level. I did not mean to say that the one up one back formation is only for lower level players. We just prefer to start teaching doubles from the one up one back formation for lower levels. I personally actually do find the one up one back more difficult to master, and prefer the two up formation myself.

For us, however, we found it difficult to teach newbie high schoolers/juniors the two up formation mainly because (i) serve is weak, (ii) serve and volley or chip and charge fails at the first volley low volley technique and also due to lack of athleticism, (iii) net coverage/control is lacking (don't want to sound sexist so I'll say that in my experience at least, especially the girls here are not so confident at volleying and prefer to hit strokes). However, we do try to transition into the two up formation as soon as possible, and again not to sound sexist so I'll say again that in my experience at least, especially the boys want to try the two up formation as soon as possible whether they are ready for it or not.

Just initially, the one up one back formation was easier since among the crop of high schoolers at any given time, there are a few who love to volley, have that poaching attitude and athleticism to be netman if lacking in groundstrokes, and then there are strokers with adequate control or at least the lob for the netman to run his formations. True that the netman formations are very complicated and we do spend a lot of time running these drills so that the netman knows where to efficiently position himself and cover high percentage shots from opponents.

Side note (region-specific info): The advantage of teaching one up one back is also mainly due to perhaps one key specific situation in Japan, and not one that I particularly like, though. It is that there are very few junior high schools with tennis teams, but many junior high schools with "soft" tennis teams (tennis with a soft rubber ball). And in that, students learn the one up one back formation already, so there are already specialized roles of stroker or netman that make it easier to teach.

naylor
11-27-2009, 04:26 PM
... If I say, "I'm coming in and she's probably going to lob, so be ready," I have even had partners respond with, "Well, if the lob goes over my head, that's your ball."...

Did it occur to you to respond “Actually, no, it’s yours, because you’ll see it being thrown up while I’m still moving forward, so you have more time to adjust your position for it than me!” And see what happens…


...My partner is good at net and weak at baseline so she stays very close about 2 feet to the net. I need to let her know I will come in so she could prepare for lobs as I can't cover her back once I move in...

When you say “good at net”, do you mean that she manages to return over all balls hit straight at her, or do you also mean that she’s also a good mover and poacher of balls drifting into the middle of the court? Because the latter is very difficult to achieve being that close to the net, as she can’t possibly be able to step diagonally forward to intercept the incoming balls (which brings the racketarm back to make room for the punch you need for good volleying) so instead she’ll have to do most intercepting by running across parallel to the net – much less efficient.

You also say “… I can’t cover her back once I move in…” Is this for practical reasons – because your momentum is forward but the ball’s going to the back, and you don’t think you’ll be able to stop, turn and run to fetch her lob as quickly as she’ll be able to fetch it herself, and therefore you’ve agreed to fetch your own lobs? Or is it for the much simpler reason that “strong doubles teams move up to the net" and then go back and fetch their own lobs when they have to – i.e. a tactical decision?

LeeD
11-27-2009, 04:34 PM
If you need to stand 2' from the net to defend your position, you're not good at the net, you actually SUCK at volleying and net play. You can't cover overheads and you will get smacked upside your head by the opposition passing shots.
Good volleyers stand halfway from net to service line, and move forwards for putaway volleys. Turn sideways and back to hit overheads up to within landing 6' from the baseline, at which point they allow for one bounce.

Cindysphinx
11-27-2009, 04:57 PM
Did it occur to you to respond “Actually, no, it’s yours, because you’ll see it being thrown up while I’m still moving forward, so you have more time to adjust your position for it than me!” And see what happens…


No, I don't respond in that fashion. I used to, but I don't anymore.

The reason is that people can only do what they can do. If someone mentally believes that lob going over their head is not their problem, telling them otherwise will achieve nothing but a protracted argument. I mean, there are players who firmly believe that the deep player should call all lobs -- meaning the deep player will be fetching the lobs. If someone has that view, my telling them to do it differently will not work.

Which means I must stay back and cover 75% of the court while my partner covers nothing but her own service box.

Which means it is best to just go find a partner who *will* try to cover more court.

Which is what I did!

Ripper014
11-27-2009, 04:58 PM
If you need to stand 2' from the net to defend your position, you're not good at the net, you actually SUCK at volleying and net play. You can't cover overheads and you will get smacked upside your head by the opposition passing shots.
Good volleyers stand halfway from net to service line, and move forwards for putaway volleys. Turn sideways and back to hit overheads up to within landing 6' from the baseline, at which point they allow for one bounce.



2' is really tight... but the closer to the net the more effective volleys you can make... better angles... and less chance or putting a ball in the net. I may start a little closer than halfway between the service line and net... but I am going to close that distance as soon as I can... tennis is a transitional game, so during a point I may move closer and I may have to give ground to hold good positioning on the court. But ideally I want to be right on top of the net... and I want you to lob... there is no better angle into the court.

What is more important is that my partner and I keep good positioning between us... doubles is a team game that gets really difficult if you try to win a match by yourself.

Ripper014
11-27-2009, 04:59 PM
No, I don't respond in that fashion. I used to, but I don't anymore.

The reason is that people can only do what they can do. If someone mentally believes that lob going over their head is not their problem, telling them otherwise will achieve nothing but a protracted argument. I mean, there are players who firmly believe that the deep player should call all lobs -- meaning the deep player will be fetching the lobs. If someone has that view, my telling them to do it differently will not work.

Which means I must stay back and cover 75% of the court while my partner covers nothing but her own service box.

Which means it is best to just go find a partner who *will* try to cover more court.

Which is what I did!

I agree with you.. lobs belong to the net man/woman until they cannot reach them... there is no reason to argue the point if they cannot reach the lob, they cannot reach it... there is nothing to argue about.

Cindysphinx
11-27-2009, 05:09 PM
2' is really tight... but the closer to the net the more effective volleys you can make... better angles... and less chance or putting a ball in the net.

Here's a thought. Not a revolutionary thought, but a thought nonetheless.

In our doubles clinic, our pro is trying to teach us how to play 2 up effectively. To do this, he must undo *years* of one-up, one-back thinking. It's a rough assignment, believe me.

He is teaching us something that is working really well. He calls it the "V". It is a staggered formation. What is interesting about it is that your distance from the net keys off of the position of the ball in the ad vs. the deuce court.

Say I'm playing deuce court. My shot goes crosscourt, and I decide to follow it in. My partner will shade to her left and stay close to the net. I will shade toward the center but I will stop short of the service line. I am able to cross and volley a lob that gets behind her if necessary, but I can also hit a defensive volley if the returner smacks a crosscourt angle/dipper.

Say the next ball comes back to me as I am at the service line, and say I hit a lob volley into my opponents' ad deep corner. I would adjust forward and to my right, and my partner would *back up* to the service line and adjust to the center.

That part about one player backing up mid-point is what was new to me. It solves so many problems. In the past, we might start out with a staggered formation, but if I needed to move drastically forward my partner would stay close to net and then no one was defending the back of the court. We were also failing to reverse our stagger based on the position of the ball.

Anyway, if that made sense . . . it is working *brilliantly.* Aside from good court coverage, we are all moving our feet more and staying more ready and engaged at the net. It probably wouldn't have worked for us a year or two ago, because we lacked the volley skills to volley from a deep position. Now, we can handle it.

naylor
11-27-2009, 05:10 PM
If you need to stand 2' from the net to defend your position, you're not good at the net, you actually SUCK at volleying and net play. You can't cover overheads and you will get smacked upside your head by the opposition passing shots. Good volleyers stand halfway from net to service line, and move forwards for putaway volleys. Turn sideways and back to hit overheads up to within landing 6' from the baseline, at which point they allow for one bounce.

Lee - you know that! I know that! I just wanted to know how ladies define being "good at net" in a ladies' doubles environment (here, I assume 8.0 combo doubles means the pairs' rankings add up to 8.0, so two 4.0s, or one 3.5 and one 4.5?).

The point for me is, I play with this level of partner in mixed doubles. Now, I have read the "men from Mars, women from Venus" stuff (my wife made me!) and now live in New Zealand, which is a very PC country (again, my wife made me!). So, I have learnt that if I see my partner camp 2' from the net, because she hopes to swat volleys back by holding her rackethead parallel to the net and moving it left-right-up-down (using the same hand/arm movement one uses to clean a pane of glass - including odd jumps left-right-upwards when a little bit of extra reach is called upon), in all honesty I just CANNOT tell her "you suck at volleying and net play, stand in the middle of the box, move properly diagonally - and sharpish - to intercept, etc. etc.!".

I need to reach into my feminine side, tap into my "soft" skills, use PC language, to get them to tell me what "good at net" is in Venusian tennis. Then, I have a teeny, weeny chance to get them to change things, just so they can hold a bit more of their own when we're playing away in Mars, and there's a hairy Martian opponent hitting bullets at her at the net - or his wily Venusian expat partner is throwing lobs over her as soon as I play a hard serve or approach. That's plan A.

Plan B is... guess???

LeeD
11-27-2009, 05:14 PM
Guaranteed, even if your partner has a 5.5 level serve, if you insist on standing 2' from the net, I will knock you down or embarrass you with hitting side hip shots, then lob you just to see you and your partner run.... :):)
Nothing loosens a returner's shots more than a netman standing on top of the net. Rip it right up the middle, favoring CC side. You poach, you get a crotch high rocketship. You don't, you get it quicker and right into your right hip if you're rightie.
Now if you really HAVE 5.5 volleys, then my shots won't work, will they?

Cindysphinx
11-27-2009, 05:14 PM
Lee - you know that! I know that! I just wanted to know how ladies define being "good at net" in a ladies' doubles environment (here, I assume 8.0 combo doubles means the pairs' rankings add up to 8.0, so two 4.0s, or one 3.5 and one 4.5?).



:slow smile:

Yeah, you're right.

Being "really good at net" for a lot of my fellow females means exactly what you describe: putting away balls that come directly to their racket. Being "good at net" means hitting balls that come directly to their racket but not putting them away because the volley is short and bounces really high.

I know this because I once told my own pro I believed I was "good at net" and he replied, "Who told you that?"

Ouch.

LeeD
11-27-2009, 05:19 PM
Being good at the net doesn't really mean you put away every ball. Of more importance, is your ability to volley low and deep, just out of reach of the opposing netperson, on low volleys. You can cover most overheads back to within 6' of the baseline, you overhead around service line depths with good side to side placement, and you have your racket out to counter volley any shot intended inside your rackethead's reach.
Putaways are just a result of the above skills.
Mens or womens, don't matter. I've seen women as old as 60 volley 5.0 incoming shots just like that.

naylor
11-27-2009, 05:24 PM
No, I don't respond in that fashion. I used to, but I don't anymore... Which means I must stay back and cover 75% of the court while my partner covers nothing but her own service box... Which means it is best to just go find a partner who *will* try to cover more court... Which is what I did!

Which is ultimately the right answer!

You said "... people can only do what they can do...". I prefer to look at it as "... people only do 1. what they think they can do; or 2. what they want to do...".

So, my approach is slightly different, because I first test them on 1. and ask them if they can do differently - and you never know, they may have been told (mistakenly) that all lobs over them are for their partner to take. If they respond and start minding their own patch behind them, then they become better players and all of a sudden you also have a better partner - win-win.

It's only when the answer is "not what I (want to) do" that I go to Plan B - what you did. But then my ex-partner knows exactly what the "grounds for divorce" are, so if she gets serially dumped by other partners she has a belated chance to realise that perhaps the reason is not "them" but "me"...

naylor
11-27-2009, 05:29 PM
2' is really tight... but the closer to the net the more effective volleys you can make... better angles... and less chance or putting a ball in the net. I may start a little closer than halfway between the service line and net... but I am going to close that distance as soon as I can... tennis is a transitional game, so during a point I may move closer and I may have to give ground to hold good positioning on the court...

I entirely agree with you. My normal attacking position is middle of the box - or if anything, slightly forward. But when I'm threatening or intercepting, my move is always diagonally forward, so I try to make my contact point somewhere within the quarter of the service box nearest to the net.

LeeD
11-27-2009, 05:41 PM
Of course, normal net position with partner serving is just forward of the halfway point between service line and net. Depends on placement, spin, and pace of your partner's serves.
2' from the net is not normal net positioning. 2' from the net after you/partner hits the baseline on an approach is sound positioning, but still too close.
Any volleyer can put balls away about 5' behind the net, and won't stuff it into the net unless they're bored or hate you.

5263
11-27-2009, 07:21 PM
2' is really tight... but the closer to the net the more effective volleys you can make... better angles... and less chance or putting a ball in the net. I may start a little closer than halfway between the service line and net... but I am going to close that distance as soon as I can... tennis is a transitional game, so during a point I may move closer and I may have to give ground to hold good positioning on the court. But ideally I want to be right on top of the net... and I want you to lob... there is no better angle into the court.

What is more important is that my partner and I keep good positioning between us... doubles is a team game that gets really difficult if you try to win a match by yourself.

Nice point. I've mentioned it several times over the last year, but most on here are very fearful of getting lobbed. Must hate to run or have bad overheads, or maybe just remember it that way from when they first started learning tennis. (if you are older and/or don't move too well, then that is understandable)
I feel this fear of getting lobbed is robbing them of their best pressure tennis and chances to hit down more often. The team that is hitting down more in dubs in charge of points.

papa
11-28-2009, 05:57 AM
Nice point. I've mentioned it several times over the last year, but most on here are very fearful of getting lobbed. Must hate to run or have bad overheads, or maybe just remember it that way from when they first started learning tennis. (if you are older and/or don't move too well, then that is understandable)
I feel this fear of getting lobbed is robbing them of their best pressure tennis and chances to hit down more often. The team that is hitting down more in dubs in charge of points.

Well, as you point out this often is a matter of mobility/age and so forth. This idea of never backing up, might sound good, and to a certain degree is right. However (again, my focus is doubles) if you close on net and are unable to put the ball away, or unable to make them hit up, you best bet is to back up on not stay on top of the net. If you, or partner, have given them an easy overhead and one of you is up tight, get back because your chances of playing the overhead from up front are slim - not impossible but slim.

Shifting and changing positions is what good doubles is all about. Taking the position that you never back up during a point is not consistent with today's game. Might have been a good idea once, but not now.

If you feel your in a strong position then hold. If you feel your position has been greatly compromised, try to improve it. Should you be going backwards when they hit the ball - absolutely not.

Cindysphinx
11-28-2009, 06:13 AM
This whole subject is very complicated. I mean, what is good net play?

I am finding that a lot of people think Good Net Play means you must end the point with one swing. To do that, most people need to be fairly close to the net to either hit a sharp angle or hit down at the opponents.

In practice, trying to maintain a position really close to the net to end the point with one volley is difficult. You are *so* vulnerable to being lobbed. And if you are that close to the net, most players (women, anyway) will have more confidence in their lob than their passing shot.

I think to be Good At Net you have to be able to play the net effectively from a deeper position. In other words, if you watch the top doubles teams, they will often hit a succession of defensive volleys (volleys that are deep and challenge the opponent to hit several strong groundies in a row). If you can't do that, I question whether you are Good At Net.

crystal_clear
11-28-2009, 07:35 PM
When you say “good at net”, do you mean that she manages to return over all balls hit straight at her, or do you also mean that she’s also a good mover and poacher of balls drifting into the middle of the court? Because the latter is very difficult to achieve being that close to the net, as she can’t possibly be able to step diagonally forward to intercept the incoming balls (which brings the racketarm back to make room for the punch you need for good volleying) so instead she’ll have to do most intercepting by running across parallel to the net – much less efficient.


She is good at net means she can put away balls with sharp angle and she can put away lobs from baseline (overhead smash). She is good at net compared to her baseline ground strokes. She is good at net compared to many recreational female players. However, she has room to improve her net game. She can cover more court if she stays between net and service line.


You also say “… I can’t cover her back once I move in…” Is this for practical reasons – because your momentum is forward but the ball’s going to the back, and you don’t think you’ll be able to stop, turn and run to fetch her lob as quickly as she’ll be able to fetch it herself, and therefore you’ve agreed to fetch your own lobs? Or is it for the much simpler reason that “strong doubles teams move up to the net" and then go back and fetch their own lobs when they have to – i.e. a tactical decision?
She didn't even know I move in as she stayed so close to the net. She expected I went for the lobs. I didn't intend to cover her back once I move in even I could get it.

We need to talk about this and practice if we want to improve the doubles net game.

crystal_clear
11-28-2009, 07:43 PM
If you need to stand 2' from the net to defend your position, you're not good at the net, you actually SUCK at volleying and net play. You can't cover overheads and you will get smacked upside your head by the opposition passing shots.
Good volleyers stand halfway from net to service line, and move forwards for putaway volleys. Turn sideways and back to hit overheads up to within landing 6' from the baseline, at which point they allow for one bounce.

That is where I stays (a little close to the net). The further away from the net, the more difficult the volley becomes. I sometimes volley to the net. My mixed double partner asked me to stay close to the net and he covered my back.

I don't expect to cover deep lobs on my side in mixed doubles. :(

crystal_clear
11-28-2009, 07:52 PM
How to cover my own deep lobs? Do I just move back and barely hit overhead or turnaround and run for the lob? Those topspin lobs seem to run ahead of me. :(

crystal_clear
11-28-2009, 08:01 PM
Yeah, I've had troubles with this too.

If your opponent at baseline is a 3.5 women and you hit a deep, hard groundstroke to her at baseline and follow it in, the odds that she will lob are 99.999%. Knowing this fact, it is smarter to defend the lob rather than the crosscourt dipping passing shot.

Which is why, when I tell my partner I will be following my return to net, my partner should be thinking of positioning a few steps deeper to get the lob that is so obviously coming.

Alas, if I tell my partner to expect me to come in, I tend to get a response that roughly equates with "Good luck with that." If I say, "I'm coming in and she's probably going to lob, so be ready," I have even had partners respond with, "Well, if the lob goes over my head, that's your ball." Which rather misses the point, which is: *We both know it's going to be a lob, so don't let the ball go over your head if you can help it.*

Ugh.

Cindy, you have a lots of experience. If my partner cann't cover her own lobs or I cann't cover mine then I cann't move in and we cann't practice and improve our doubles net game.

We have to play one-up one-back forever and we cann't compete with those strong doubles net game team at summer league (8.0~9.0).

naylor
11-28-2009, 10:34 PM
... The further away from the net, the more difficult the volley becomes. I sometimes volley to the net...

The way I look at it, if I'm standing in the normal volleying position in the middle of the service box, then an incoming ball is a put-away volley candidate only if I can hit it with a contact point between my position and the net, and only if I can hit it to bounce somewhere between the baseline and about three feet in front of the service line.

This means that if I take it at "maximum range" - standing in the middle of the service box - I can hit a hard high volley right at the feet of my opponent standing defensively across me, or can aim anywhere either side of him from about hip height downwards and if I hit the ball past him it will still bounce in. Obviously, if I can take it further forward, then I can take a lower ball and still hit it hard at his feet and past him for a winner. So, for me the measure is to be able to volley the ball past the opposing netperson occupying a defensive volleying position for an outright safe winner. And if I can do that, then by the same token I know can change the angle to the other side and volley short and away to the trams, to beat his partner on the baseline with a short angled shot.

If I cannot do that - play a hard volley for a winner - then the choice is to still go for a winner past the opposing netman but relying more on placement than on pace (going straight at him, or to his right hip), or if the odds on that shot are low - or there's no netman because he's also defending at the back and the volley is low - then to go for a defensive placement volley. By this, I mean placing it deep to the baseline and right in between the opponents.

By placing it deep, it usually takes out the topspin lob - to play a really good one, you have to be moving forward into the shot. So the better options for the opponents are a defensive lob or, if they want to be aggressive, a pass. But again, because the ball is between them, the likely target for the pass is between me and my partner at the net, so we both can try to defend it. And because to defend it we will both have to move forward and into the middle, if it's not a good low pass then it might just come into our putaway range; if it's a good one, then we'll simply try to put another defensive volley deep between them and let them try again.

In short, you need to decide whether you can play an attacking volley, or you need to volley defensively, by reference to how far and how high your contact point is in relation to the top of the net that you must clear.


How to cover my own deep lobs? Do I just move back and barely hit overhead or turnaround and run for the lob? Those topspin lobs seem to run ahead of me. :(

If they hit a topspin lob at you and it gets over and past you, then the short answer is leave it and say "good shot". Your previous ball was not deep enough and they were able to move into it and hit it before it dropped too much, so effectively they had a choice of topspin pass or topspin lob - if you're both close to the net, they choose the lob, if you're volleying a bit deeper then they go for the dipping pass, either way the odds were against you.

If they hit a deep underspin lob and it goes over and behind you, then you have a chance to get it. But if you actually have to turn around and run back with your back to the court, then I think your only choice is to hoist a high deep lob back. It's only when you're able to retreat by turning sideways and sidestepping that you retain a better choice of shot - either a sliced smash (probably, off the bounce) if it's past the service line but not right on the baseline, or if right on the baseline then a normal groundie (and having got there shifting sideways you already have the unit turn for it).

raiden031
11-29-2009, 04:12 AM
How to cover my own deep lobs? Do I just move back and barely hit overhead or turnaround and run for the lob? Those topspin lobs seem to run ahead of me. :(

When in the two-up position, you should play the net in a staggered formation. If you are at the net to start, you should be between the middle and front-third of the service box. If your partner hits an approach shot from the baseline, they should approach to a deeper position near the service line. If your opponent lobs, then depending on your abilities you go for the overhead if you can reach it. If its too good a lob, then you let your deeper partner get it because they have the better angle and they are already in a deeper position.

If your partner is too slow or refuses to get the lob because its "on your side", then you have no choice but to play the service box deeper in order to cover your own lobs. You basically have to adapt based on what your partner can do. Same with the roles being reversed. If you have a partner who insists on being 2' from the net at all times, you have to plan to run down alot of lobs over their head.

Ripper014
11-29-2009, 09:55 AM
Well I obviously agree with Naylor... in that you want to be agressive and on top of the net... because it is much easier to make volleys from that position. Having to play volleys from mid court makes it much more difficult to be offensive. Playing that deep can put you at risk if your opponent hits soft dipping shots where you will need to hit the ball back up from a defensive position.

Getting back for lobs is not about being fast as it is about being quick and alert. You need to be able to recognize the lob sooner... and you need to have a quick first and second step back. Recognition is key... when an opponent has his/her weight on the back foot... with the racket face open... you can count on it being a lob.

It sounds to me that your doubles teams need to practice hitting overheads... in doubles you want the opponent to lob you... it is an opportunity for you to win a point outright. Practice until your team is comfortable and like hitting overheads.. WANTS TO HIT THEM... When I warm up in competitive play... I make it a point to hammer every practice overhead... I like to make an impression on my opponent that they do not want to be lobbing me and early in a match I try to hit every overhead with an exclamation point. If I can do that... I feel I can close off the net even more... since choosing to lob would no longer be their first choice.

And as Naylor said if the lob has topspin on it... and it gets over you head... give them the point... you only look silly trying to chase it down.

Cindysphinx
11-29-2009, 11:33 AM
Cindy, you have a lots of experience. If my partner cann't cover her own lobs or I cann't cover mine then I cann't move in and we cann't practice and improve our doubles net game.

We have to play one-up one-back forever and we cann't compete with those strong doubles net game team at summer league (8.0~9.0).

It's true. If your partner has no overhead or cannot help with lobs, you are doomed to play 1-up, 1-back. There is nothing on this planet that I know of that can *prevent* opponents from lobbing, and the better your shot, the more likely they will lob.

The real fix is to do what Ripper says: Eat up lobs with overheads. I pull my hair out when my partners go to pieces because we are being beaten by lobs. If our opponents lob, most of the possible outcomes benefit us: We smash, they miss long or wide, or they nail the baseline). So what's all the trembling in fear about?

I'm going to play a match with a partner who, IMHO, is overly concerned about lobs. I'm going to start the match telling this partner that, by gum, we should be ready for lobs and welcome them with overhead smashes. Let's see what happens.

LeeD
11-29-2009, 11:52 AM
I suspect when you up your approach shots or serves, all those great lobs become short lobs or out lobs. Key is approaching with shots closer than 3' from the baseline, with some odd spin (I use side/underspin, and lefty, it's wierd).
And when you know they're going to lob, move back to the service line to cover overheads.

crystal_clear
12-08-2009, 01:08 PM
If they hit a deep underspin lob and it goes over and behind you, then you have a chance to get it. But if you actually have to turn around and run back with your back to the court, then I think your only choice is to hoist a high deep lob back. It's only when you're able to retreat by turning sideways and sidestepping that you retain a better choice of shot - either a sliced smash (probably, off the bounce) if it's past the service line but not right on the baseline, or if right on the baseline then a normal groundie (and having got there shifting sideways you already have the unit turn for it).
That's what I need to do "to retreat by turning sideways and sidestepping" instead of running after the lob.




Getting back for lobs is not about being fast as it is about being quick and alert. You need to be able to recognize the lob sooner... and you need to have a quick first and second step back. Recognition is key... when an opponent has his/her weight on the back foot... with the racket face open... you can count on it being a lob.

It sounds to me that your doubles teams need to practice hitting overheads... in doubles you want the opponent to lob you... it is an opportunity for you to win a point outright. Practice until your team is comfortable and like hitting overheads.. WANTS TO HIT THEM... When I warm up in competitive play... I make it a point to hammer every practice overhead... I like to make an impression on my opponent that they do not want to be lobbing me and early in a match I try to hit every overhead with an exclamation point. If I can do that... I feel I can close off the net even more... since choosing to lob would no longer be their first choice.

And as Naylor said if the lob has topspin on it... and it gets over you head... give them the point... you only look silly trying to chase it down.

Yes, try to improve anticipation for lobs.

It sounds a good ideal to impress opponents by smashing overheads during warm up if it doesn't make them hate me. :D

I suspect when you up your approach shots or serves, all those great lobs become short lobs or out lobs. Key is approaching with shots closer than 3' from the baseline, with some odd spin (I use side/underspin, and lefty, it's wierd).
And when you know they're going to lob, move back to the service line to cover overheads.

True~
They made errors when I moved up.

papa
12-08-2009, 02:59 PM
It's only when you're able to retreat by turning sideways and sidestepping that you retain a better choice of shot - either a sliced smash (probably, off the bounce) if it's past the service line but not right on the baseline, or if right on the baseline then a normal groundie (and having got there shifting sideways you already have the unit turn for it).

Good post. The only point I would debate would be that sidestepping back is a "better choice". It is "sometimes", depending on the player of course and where he might be in relation to the lob, but sidestepping often will take too much time and your not going to be able to catch up with a good topspin lob. Players who do a sideways shuffle step often have problems getting back very far.

LeeD
12-08-2009, 03:07 PM
OK, lots of negatives on sideways crabhopping...
So what POSITIVE can you provide for getting back to cover deep lobs?

naylor
12-08-2009, 05:10 PM
Frankly, if it's a good topspin lob, then the only way I'll attempt to cover it is if it's over my own head and I can just reach it with an overhead before it bounces - because once it gets over and past me and bounces, I know I won't get it even if I turn and sprint after it (so, I don't bother wasting a good sprint).

If the topspin lob is over my partner and we're both up at the net, then even if I'm slighly behind him in a more defensive volleying position I don't even bother. If he manages to reach it, fine, we're still in the point but he's out of position so I need to cover him; but if I see it'll beat him (because it'd beat me if I was in his position), to fetch the lob I'd have to run even further than him from where I am. So I just say "good shot" and move on to the next point.

Even if the topspin lob goes over my partner at the net and (for some unknown reason) I'm still loitering on the baseline on my side, in most cases I still let it go. The reason the opponent has played a good topspin lob is because he's been able to move into the shot and hit the ball when it was still high - in other words, he was able to attack the ball. While he was doing that, if I was still camping on the baseline I would have been focusing on covering the court in front of me for a forcing shot anywhere from deep on my baseline to a short, sharp angle. Therefore, the fact that he flicked it over my partner instead will likely catch me by surprise, and I will lose that initial split-second to reach. And after I've lost the chance of an early start, I know I've lost the race. Again, good shot.

I regularly use topspin lobs as passing shots in doubles, particularly when I see the incoming ball has little pace and will bounce high, and I can take it early. To get a clean pass I need to inject pace - and this is what the netperson expects, I can see them setting a firm base and bending the knees to try to block a flat pass wall-like. And when they go like that, in fact the biggest gap they open is above them, so instead of swinging hard and flat I swing hard but mostly topspin - by the time they react, the ball is over and past them. And it also catches their partners by surprise.

papa
12-09-2009, 04:18 AM
OK, lots of negatives on sideways crabhopping...
So what POSITIVE can you provide for getting back to cover deep lobs?

Well, there aren't a lot of options here. If you can sidestep, fine do it but otherwise run making sure the ball doesn't either hit you or your completely out of position to play it - my suggestion always is, run in an arc and try to come in behind the bounce. Its not that difficult, we practice it all the time. For most right handed players going in a arc off to their left is the most efficient. When the lob goes up and your caught in close, you have some idea where the ball is going - the trick is to reposition yourself accordingly.

If you cannot get off some type of reasonable bounce overhead, you still have the option of hitting a decent ground stroke (maybe) or sent up another lob and regain/try to anyway, as much of your former position as possible. In doubles, your partner has to retreat also if you lob is going to be short - yell "back".

LeeD
12-09-2009, 09:31 AM
I just hate to concede the point while there's still a chance for an overhead.
To retrieve a really good deep lob, of course turn and run back, but you've conceded the point, basically just retrieving and fetching.
Sidestepping is when you want to take control of the point with a powerful or well placed overhead. Both of course is best.
Backpeddling is something you do when YOUR team throws up a weaker lob. Backpeddling because it allows you to react to shot on either side of you or directly at you.