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Cindysphinx
12-07-2009, 11:24 AM
OK, I haven't dealt with this one in a while, and I wasn't sure how to handle it.

When I served to the deuce court, my partner stood about 3/4 back in the service box with one foot on the singles sideline. She said she did this because she lacks confidence in her BH volley and doesn't want to be passed down the line. When I served to the ad court, she stood in the same place (way out wide and too far back). She said she did this because she lacks confidence in her BH volley and feels it is better for me to take those balls. I asked her to move to the middle of box and shift if serve goes wide. No dice.

As I stepped up to serve, I had no idea where to serve or what to do. Serving wide meant a big angle to cover on the return. Serving up the middle meant the return was often up the middle (with no partner in position to poach). I was a little nervous about S&V because of the amount of terrain I needed to cover under these circumstances. I found myself playing entire service games with my partner never touching a ball.

OK. What is the positioning adjustment for me when a partner positions in this way? In the heat of battle, I didn't have time to consider my options. I guess the variables include serving from a wider position, serving more from the center, serving to the center vs. serving out wide, staying back or coming in.

I know when I am returning I love it when someone positions in this way. My favorite return is to try to pierce their earlobe with the return. Their positioning telegraphs that they have no intention of poaching, and whistling the return past their ear means the server has a long way to go to reach the ball, especially if to her BH side.

GuyClinch
12-07-2009, 11:30 AM
Is she open to starting in a 2 back formation? I would look into that. If she is going to stand in the wrong postion it pretty much ruins the whole advantage of having a person up anyway. All she is doing is covering the line - and she could do that in the backcourt too. Honestly I think alot of female teams would be better off playing this way. They gain so little when up at the net.. Its actually not an uncommon situation at all - what your describing.

jrod
12-07-2009, 11:33 AM
^^^ Time to get a new partner?

Ok, now that we got that straight, seems to me you understand as a returner what this kind of positioning invites, so as the server you obviously need to be prepared for the higher percentage shots depending on where you serve. Off hand, it would appear the geometry favors a slice out wide since that takes the shot down the middle out of play. In addition, you would more than likely want to serve and volley if going out wide.

The other idea is to serve it to a convenient place for the returner to help you convince your partner they are standing in the wrong place....who knows, maybe they can do a better job convincing her than you can?

Nellie
12-07-2009, 11:45 AM
Well - it seems to me that if your partner is going to take away the alley (and the down the line lob!your focus become entirely the middle to crosscourt.

If you serve down the middle, you have the same duties/responsibilities except you know that your partner is not poaching, which is really not that unusual. Continue to move in (since that is your game).

By serving wide, you essentially force your partner into play (placing her in the middle of the return angle). If she cannot handle it, than you should serve down the middle.

Fedace
12-07-2009, 11:48 AM
Is she open to starting in a 2 back formation? I would look into that. If she is going to stand in the wrong postion it pretty much ruins the whole advantage of having a person up anyway. All she is doing is covering the line - and she could do that in the backcourt too. Honestly I think alot of female teams would be better off playing this way. They gain so little when up at the net.. Its actually not an uncommon situation at all - what your describing.

usually Women doesn't believe in 2 back formation and they don't know or Can't hit topspin passing shots. so that doesn't work well in women's tennis. with 2 back, you are trying to hit some topspin dippers and force the net person to pop up the volley so you can take the next one and pass them clean or shub it down their throat...

SirSweetSpot
12-07-2009, 11:51 AM
usually Women doesn't believe in 2 back formation and they don't know or Can't hit topspin passing shots. so that doesn't work well in women's tennis. with 2 back, you are trying to hit some topspin dippers and force the net person to pop up the volley so you can take the next one and pass them clean or shub it down their throat...

I agree FedAce, well said.

user92626
12-07-2009, 12:09 PM
Cindy,

Whats so bad about exchanging strokes? Your partner already covers her double alley and some. It's only bad if your partner doesn't or fail to cover any part of the court, and it's just too much for the one back to do it.

Second observation is that I would advice against asking a partner do anything he/she 's not comfortable to do. How in the world can anyone suddenly acquire any extra skill & knowledge and be able to give you more than what they know? Doing that would seem more counterproductive than if you let her play her best game.

Ripper014
12-07-2009, 12:23 PM
I think maybe you need to get down to the nuts and bolts as to her positioning... if indeed she is worried about her backhand, tell her not to worry about missing the ball. Just get her placed in the correct position on the court and tell her, "we can live with the results, we are all going to miss shots". If she is plain scared to be at the net... then you may need to play 2 back and start looking for a new partner.

On a side note... serve into the middle of the court to take away tha angles of the returner.

Cindysphinx
12-07-2009, 12:25 PM
What was so bad about exchanging strokes is that I just couldn't do it. I was basically playing Canadian -- covering all lobs, all drop shots, and everything else except that little strip of alley. And when the serve went up the middle, it was silly to protect against the most difficult shot -- the alley shot.

Even then, the shot our opponents used to best effect was the shot that would have been right to her racket had she been standing where she was supposed to be. Her merely standing in the right spot and doing nothing more greatly narrows the territory I need to protect, even if she never once poached.

As far as asking her to do something she wasn't comfortable with . . . it was team practice, so I felt it was OK. Also, I figure the server can always ask the partner to position differently at net (e.g. I have had partners ask me to stand wide because having someone in the middle of the box disturbs them).

So we have some saying to serve wide and some saying to serve up the middle. Hmmmm . . .

GuyClinch
12-07-2009, 12:25 PM
Second observation is that I would advice against asking a partner do anything he/she 's not comfortable to do. How in the world can anyone suddenly acquire any extra skill & knowledge and be able to give you more than what they know? Doing that would seem more counterproductive than if you let her play her best game.

If you take this attitude about tennis your not going to improve. You have to learn to play the game correctly sooner or later... Her partner obviously feels uncomfortable about her skill level and is unwilling to experiment for fear of being 'blamed' IMHO. I'd say I have been embarrased by a few DTL passing shots at net but you got to suck it up..

Cindysphinx
12-07-2009, 12:35 PM
None of us like to be passed down the alley.

But we all know that we can prevent this simply by shifting a bit wide based on the location of the serve. So why would anyone insist on starting well wide rather than shifting?

I think the reason is that they don't want there to be an alley shot, even if they are in perfect position to hit it. That's a shame, really. Picking off an alley shot is a Natural High. It is *so* high-percentage. Pretty much any crosscourt volley will get it done, and if you are leaning that way or expecting the passing shot, you will make far more than you miss.

So aside from leaving me the whole flippin' court to cover, my partner was trembling in fear when she should have been salivating.

larry10s
12-07-2009, 12:42 PM
OK, I haven't dealt with this one in a while, and I wasn't sure how to handle it.

When I served to the deuce court, my partner stood about 3/4 back in the service box with one foot on the singles sideline. She said she did this because she lacks confidence in her BH volley and doesn't want to be passed down the line. When I served to the ad court, she stood in the same place (way out wide and too far back). She said she did this because she lacks confidence in her BH volley and feels it is better for me to take those balls. I asked her to move to the middle of box and shift if serve goes wide. No dice.

As I stepped up to serve, I had no idea where to serve or what to do. Serving wide meant a big angle to cover on the return. Serving up the middle meant the return was often up the middle (with no partner in position to poach). I was a little nervous about S&V because of the amount of terrain I needed to cover under these circumstances. I found myself playing entire service games with my partner never touching a ball.

OK. What is the positioning adjustment for me when a partner positions in this way? In the heat of battle, I didn't have time to consider my options. I guess the variables include serving from a wider position, serving more from the center, serving to the center vs. serving out wide, staying back or coming in.

I know when I am returning I love it when someone positions in this way. My favorite return is to try to pierce their earlobe with the return. Their positioning telegraphs that they have no intention of poaching, and whistling the return past their ear means the server has a long way to go to reach the ball, especially if to her BH side.

this what i do in that situation. i ask the player to take 2 steps over and tell her if they beat you in the alley its MY fault. if there is resistance to that i ket them be a tree in the alley and accept 85% of the court is mine. i might still serve and volley but usually that only gets the opposing team lobbing so ill usually serve stay back and then come in to the service line. it is what it is and thats that. then i try to not play with that person again if possible.

jrod
12-07-2009, 12:56 PM
So we have some saying to serve wide and some saying to serve up the middle. Hmmmm . . .

With different objectives in mind, presumably. Out wide presumes your partner is capable of protecting her sliver of court. Probably a bad assumption based on what you've stated.

Down the middle presumably increases the chances you will play the 3rd ball instead of your partner. Not a bad strategy, but then why not just play real Canadian dubs instead?

My sense is you need to force your partner to learn the hard way. Make her play. Who knows, maybe she will eventually realize your advice isn't that bad. Or, maybe she will realize she is in over her head.

Fedace
12-07-2009, 12:59 PM
I say SERVE wide most of the time. and tell your opponents,, " I will bet you my kittens that you guys can't hit a down the line return off my powerful serve ",,, I dare you to try.............................LOL

user92626
12-07-2009, 01:29 PM
If you take this attitude about tennis your not going to improve. You have to learn to play the game correctly sooner or later... Her partner obviously feels uncomfortable about her skill level and is unwilling to experiment for fear of being 'blamed' IMHO. I'd say I have been embarrased by a few DTL passing shots at net but you got to suck it up..

oh I improve plenty. In fact when I am more aware of my partner's strengths and weaknesses, I could adapt my game or compensate and the game is usually much better. Also, if I need to step up that means even more improvement on my part. This is usually far better than asking my partner to suddenly perform a task he doesn't know and will inevitably fail. Like yesterday I teamed up with a guy who didn't come to the net at all. That's fine. He made a great back player/defender. Would you trade a great baseline player for a lousy net player?

I think the essense is that both Cindy and her partner have great deficiencies (hers is groundstroke exchange and dealing with lobs, etc and the partner's is better net coverage), and instead of addressing one's own deficiencies which is more feasible since...it's...your..own...and you have control over :) Cindy asked her partner to step up. Just different from how I would approach, that's all. :)

Cindysphinx
12-07-2009, 01:47 PM
What would have happened had I not asked her to change her position?

The answer is that the folks at TT would say in unison: **"Why didn't you just ask her to move?!?"**

So I asked. And she refused. (Well, she did it for one point, and then refused subsequent requests.)

Anyway, I was thinking about it, and I think I will serve wide the next time that happens, even though it is to the receiver's FH in the deuce court. The reason is that I shouldn't worry about this lady getting passed down the alley because if it happened it would be hilarious. The other reason is that I should be able to cover the wide return, as I would have to cover that anyway. I would just have to hope they don't go for her earlobe off of a wide serve.

Dave M
12-07-2009, 01:57 PM
I say SERVE wide most of the time. and tell your opponents,, " I will bet you my kittens that you guys can't hit a down the line return off my powerful serve ",,, I dare you to try.............................LOL

(Assuming your opponent is right handed.)
But they (if they have any ability) will take that option, plus keep serving there and they'll shift to the wide serve giving them more time on their forehand giving them a good match up against what your patner has said is their weak shot.
If you go down the middle to their backhand more regularly or jam into their body, you will often get weaker returns, makes your and your partners job easier.

papa
12-07-2009, 02:13 PM
It seems to me that if your partner takes up that position, she really doesn't want to hit the return/afraid of being hit.

I would certainly suggest she stay back on the baseline for the serve. Its not unusual, especially for women, to not wanting to actively play the net. Forcing them to do so, if they are not accustomed to it only invites errors and destroys their confidence more.

Cindysphinx
12-07-2009, 05:22 PM
The problem with having her play 2-back is that then there is zero chance we will ever have 2 at net. If I transition, then we are one-up, one-back -- the weakest formation. If I leave her up there and transition, then we are 2-up.

naylor
12-07-2009, 06:07 PM
I've actually experienced that (my partner parking on the tramlines) playing men's doubles - but this guy could volley, and I can serve (so, I wasn't going to hit him). So, I asked him to stand in the middle of the box when I was serving because that was the proper position for the partner if he was going to be at the net. It lasted one point. When serving from the other side, this joker moved to the trams again, so I reminded him again, to which he replied "I shouldn't tell him where to stand".

I made my service games short and sweet. I mainly served down the middle and effectively played S&V singles, so I froze him out of those points. But occasionally, particularly after I won a quick serve-return-volley winner, I served slow and wide to the side, inviting the opponents to have a crack at my partner as the easier passing option - which they often took.

The result is I got some hard volleying practice. And I also got the message across that the "success" of the person at the net doesn't depend on his/her minimising the area covered and risk of making a mistake, but in both players working as a team - particularly, when the server is good enough to protect his/her netperson with good serve placement which gives him/her at the net the ability to maximise the chances of making a winning interception.

I think he got the message - he hasn't been seen around again. Since (apart from actual competitive singles-league weekend matches against other clubs) just about all the tennis we play at other times is doubles, it's just as well because he'd be running out of partners pretty soon...

Rambler124
12-07-2009, 06:13 PM
The problem with having her play 2-back is that then there is zero chance we will ever have 2 at net. If I transition, then we are one-up, one-back -- the weakest formation. If I leave her up there and transition, then we are 2-up.

Yeah totally get what you are saying here. If you could I would till try to get her to drop back and move together as much as possible. Some of the better doubles teams I've seen stay together as much as possible. Perhaps when you are at the net with her she won't hug the alley quite so much any more. Lord knows she's not holding her end of the bargain up by sitting in the alley. I'd say it makes it about impossible for you to S&V as well if they have a competent return game. Its like asking someone to cover 80% of the court when she stands that close to it.

fruitytennis1
12-07-2009, 06:20 PM
Cindy how good is your serve comparable to the people your playing with. Mabey she is scared you'll send some puff ball to get whacked at her.(From what I read you seem to be confident with your serving so im guessing this is not true)

I really hate when i have a partner without a decent spin serve that gets my butt pounded.

Cindysphinx
12-07-2009, 06:35 PM
Cindy how good is your serve comparable to the people your playing with. Mabey she is scared you'll send some puff ball to get whacked at her.(From what I read you seem to be confident with your serving so im guessing this is not true)

I really hate when i have a partner without a decent spin serve that gets my butt pounded.

For this particular foursome, my serve was Da Bomb.

We'll see if it hold up tomorrow night for Combo Playoffs. Some of our opponents will be newly minted 4.5 women. : gulp :

I think I know why this is bugging me so much. See, once upon a time I played with one foot in the doubles alley too. Since then, I have had a bazillion doubles strategy clinics. And if I were to ever start a point way over to the side and back, the pro would call me out immediately. So I see that sort of positioning as bizarre, whereas a few years ago I would have thought it was dandy.

I think these clinics are ruining me for playing with people who haven't received the same instruction. I find myself expecting them to do X, and they do Y. And I am getting so used to X that I find I don't adjust as well, especially to poor positioning. I'm as alarmed when I find my partner way out of position as I would be if they suddenly sat down on the court mid-point.

Cindy -- who can feel her arm getting tight just thinking about serving tomorrow

Cindysphinx
12-07-2009, 06:43 PM
Yeah, Naylor. It was basically singles S&V. I held once and was broken once, so it wasn't a total disaster. It was stress-inducing, though.

How about this? Maybe I should have changed my serve starting position? Start wide for wide, start at the hash for up the middle. I'd be telegraphing my serve -- something I hate to do -- but the trade-off of better S&V angles might be well worth it.

jrod
12-07-2009, 07:08 PM
....Anyway, I was thinking about it, and I think I will serve wide the next time that happens, even though it is to the receiver's FH in the deuce court. The reason is that I shouldn't worry about this lady getting passed down the alley because if it happened it would be hilarious. The other reason is that I should be able to cover the wide return, as I would have to cover that anyway. I would just have to hope they don't go for her earlobe off of a wide serve.

For a second there, I thought maybe you were paying attention....until I read the last sentence that is. The best way to educate this type of player is by E X A M P L E. If you serve out wide and they take her ear lobe off, I'd place good $ on her adjusting her position next time around.

naylor
12-07-2009, 08:08 PM
... Maybe I should have changed my serve starting position? Start wide for wide, start at the hash for up the middle. I'd be telegraphing my serve -- something I hate to do -- but the trade-off of better S&V angles might be well worth it.

If you're going to change your serving position, then you should simply position yourself as if you were serving for singles - which is what you're effectively playing. When you serve out wide, then on that side you're covering only the singles half of the court - your partner is kindly minding the trams for you. When you serve down the middle, you deliberately leave uncovered the trams down your side. Basically, if you play S&V, then anything that goes deep to the trams on your side is within volleying reach, so the area exposed is the short wide angle (as widened by the trams) - that's your challenge to the returner, nail it for an outright winner or... if you put it out it's my cheap point!

The stronger your serve is - and the more dominant your S&V game is, overall - against that opposition, the more the odds are with you. If the levels of play are more even, then you can simply adopt a modified singles serving position between one and two feet away from the service line T, effectively the mid-point between the doubles sideline on the serving side and the singles sideline on the other side (again, your partner owns those trams). In fact, if you're a strong server that's the position you should always serve from in singles (rather than right next to the T), because your flat bombs still go pretty much down the middle over the low part of the net (the ones going over the lowest point of the net actually angle slightly into the receiver, quite an awkward ball to return), and it also gives you a bit more angle and service box for the sliced sliders from the right and the kickers from the left (for a righty server).

Bungalo Bill
12-07-2009, 08:21 PM
OK, I haven't dealt with this one in a while, and I wasn't sure how to handle it.

When I served to the deuce court, my partner stood about 3/4 back in the service box with one foot on the singles sideline. She said she did this because she lacks confidence in her BH volley and doesn't want to be passed down the line. When I served to the ad court, she stood in the same place (way out wide and too far back). She said she did this because she lacks confidence in her BH volley and feels it is better for me to take those balls. I asked her to move to the middle of box and shift if serve goes wide. No dice.

Sounds like she has no confidence period. There are two things that you should be concerned about.

If you are serving and you can not get your partner to move in the service box and to better guard the center of the net, you need to ensure you serve down the middle or into the body. Wide serves will mean you have to cover more court.

Second, if your partner is out there and you serve down the T, you can help her gain confidence and tell her to move in over toward the center when you do because she can then guard the center.

The other thing is she should allow returners to go down the alley because it is a lower percentage shot (shorter courter, higher part of the net, smaller place to hit in).

As I stepped up to serve, I had no idea where to serve or what to do. Serving wide meant a big angle to cover on the return. Serving up the middle meant the return was often up the middle (with no partner in position to poach). I was a little nervous about S&V because of the amount of terrain I needed to cover under these circumstances. I found myself playing entire service games with my partner never touching a ball.

OK. What is the positioning adjustment for me when a partner positions in this way? In the heat of battle, I didn't have time to consider my options. I guess the variables include serving from a wider position, serving more from the center, serving to the center vs. serving out wide, staying back or coming in.

I know when I am returning I love it when someone positions in this way. My favorite return is to try to pierce their earlobe with the return. Their positioning telegraphs that they have no intention of poaching, and whistling the return past their ear means the server has a long way to go to reach the ball, especially if to her BH side.

Got to serve up the T and plan on covering more court than you want. You also need to plan on no poaching. Next, get a new partner if you can.

LuckyR
12-08-2009, 10:04 AM
One thing to consider. Perhaps she was concerned about being struck in the back by your serve. This is not an uncommon concern for beginners and would make more sense than her verbalized explanation.

As to what to do about it. First I would realize that I was not going to be playing any high quality doubles that day and relax. Second, I would serve wide on both sides so that her standing in the alley would not be as great an error. Lastly, I would not be as concerned about playing one up/one back, as long as I had confidence that I could keep my groundies deep and wide.

papa
12-08-2009, 02:17 PM
The problem with having her play 2-back is that then there is zero chance we will ever have 2 at net. If I transition, then we are one-up, one-back -- the weakest formation. If I leave her up there and transition, then we are 2-up.

Well, that not necessarily the case. When you get a approach shot have her come up with you - "lets go, up". However, its not the worst of worlds if someone stays back either because it tells me something - they are afraid of being hit so you have to work on that.

However, many think that the two up formation is the ultimate goal for "all" player - actually, it isn't. Top juniors will often play one up one back because they actually can cover more court. Its often a very preferred formation for females but males will often play the same formation with success.