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View Full Version : Who's fault is this? (doubles)


Zefer
08-11-2010, 09:03 AM
Okay, so in the last few doubles matches I've played with this guy on the same team I am, I've noticed the same situation arise in almost every other game we play. When I'm at the net and he's returning serve (on the ad side), whether it be off the return of the serve or after a small rally, he gives a weak ball to the net player, which is often put directly behind where I can reach (see diagram below, we're represented by blue dots, opponents red, I'm at the net and the yellow line is the path of the ball).

He seems to almost think (I can tell because he almost implies it) it's my fault, that he sets up a forehand volley and it gets angled behind me at considerable speed. Is it? I was always under the allusion that you should never (usually) give the ball directly to the net-player, and if you do, the loss of the point is ultimately "your fault".

http://i38.tinypic.com/302ypdu.jpg

If it is my fault, what am I meant to be doing instead of what I currently am? If I moved back a bit, then we'd be playing more defensively because of his weak ground play under pressure. And even then, the net guy would still have the angle to end the point and could even drop it short (we play on grass that's pretty hard to run on and doesn't have the highest bounce). It seems because the volley is going on my side once it has been hit, he thinks it is my fault.

Shed some light on the situation please!

spritchard81
08-11-2010, 09:11 AM
He shouldn't be giving weak balls to the net player, obviously. But if it's against a good server maybe he can't control it, and is just doing his best to get it back. If he has a tendency to do this, you might consider taking a couple steps back when you see him hit the weak return. Really there's not much you can do.

SplitStepper
08-11-2010, 09:14 AM
You are both "at fault" in this sutuation. When your partner is striking the ball, you should be at the service line, not all the way at the net. When your partner hits his shot PAST the opponent at the net, THEN you can creep in closer to the net. It would be nice if your partner could keep the ball away from the net man, but in the mean time you have to be prepared to cover the hole in the middle by standing closer to the middle and further back.

Nellie
08-11-2010, 09:18 AM
^^^ right - you are leaving too much of a gap by sticking the net, but regardless, your partner is screwing you because there is not you can do. let's say the netman hits a powerful overhead - are you supposed to return it?

polski
08-11-2010, 09:18 AM
4 options seem obvious to me:

1) Your partner needs to stand out wider to force the server to commit to going down the middle. It is easier to take the poaching opponent out of the picture from here. If the server still goes wide, your partner should be able to drive a ball down the alley.

-or-

2) You are too close to the net. You need to play back about three steps & position yourself at an angle facing the net man. If he volleys at an angle to you, you punch it back in between the two opponents toward the cross court alley.

-or-

3) You & your partner need to switch sides of the court & let you receive the ad court & him the duece side. If you have a weak BH return (righty?), see option #1. Then refer your partner to option #2.

-or-

4) You need to find a new partner. If he won't change his tactics, he's not worth the frustration.

Ajtat411
08-11-2010, 09:21 AM
^Bingo! You see the pros doing it on 2nd serve returns but that shouldn't mean you can do it.hehe

If you partner is a strong returner, then by all means take a few steps in closer to the net, if not, then you're just opening up your middle half of the court for intercepted returns.

You really just need to adjust to what your partner can/can't do. Take your normal position and align yourself up with the netman and don't keep your eyes off him during your partners return. Reflex vollies come in really handy in these situations.

FloridaAG
08-11-2010, 09:41 AM
You need to be further from the next that shown in that diagram. I agree with that and how are you calling the service line from that position?

It is ultimately more on your partner for serving up a sitter

tennisdad65
08-11-2010, 09:50 AM
1) A great doubles player never blames his partner... yeah right.. lol. Make it your goal to improve your reflex volleying/half volleys and pick up on his bad returns. If you play with a weaker partner, you may lose matches, but it forces you to play better and better.

2) Move back from the net. Stand at the service line, and sometimes even back into no mans land or deeper. Try to get back any balls, that he serves up to the net man.

larry10s
08-11-2010, 09:59 AM
first of all when the back player hits the ball to the net player when there is a back player option its usually his fault if you at the net get creamed.
that being said
by being so close to the net you are giving a large area to hit thru.
if you come closer to the center service "t" and angle yourself towards the net player you #1 can call in/out on the serve
#2 you are in abetter position in the hot seat since most balls hit to the net player will go thru the middle you have shrunken the gap AND given yourself some more time to react (since you are farther away)
#3 after the ball passes the net player you go further in the service box. #
#4 try playing 2 back

polski
08-11-2010, 10:06 AM
good rule of thumb #1 - try to always be 10 feet apart from your partner (no more, no less).
- you won't leave many holes if you do this.

good rule of thumb #2 - try to make your opponent take the most difficult shot every time (position yourself to take away the angle of the easiest shot).
- if they make a lot of winners in doubles, they are either really good or you are giving up easy shots.
- this works well in singles too, but is easier to implement in doubles

HeavyDluxe
08-11-2010, 10:07 AM
Here to reiterate what others have said.

If you picture is accurate, you're hugging the net too closely on the serve. Hang back a little until you're sure your partner has hit a decent return. Otherwise, you give the net opponent player a really wide angle to attack weak returns.

If that isn't the case, then perhaps switching return sides would be helpful.

gatorskb12
08-11-2010, 10:12 AM
You are both "at fault" in this sutuation. When your partner is striking the ball, you should be at the service line, not all the way at the net. When your partner hits his shot PAST the opponent at the net, THEN you can creep in closer to the net. It would be nice if your partner could keep the ball away from the net man, but in the mean time you have to be prepared to cover the hole in the middle by standing closer to the middle and further back.

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LuckyR
08-11-2010, 11:08 AM
A lot of good bits of information in this thread, maybe this can tie them together.

A good guideline in doubles is: long to long and short to short, that is if you are at the baseline you should be hitting to the other baseline player and if you are the netman you should be hitting at the other netman (assuming you can punish the ball). Not rules but guidelines.

By this, your partner is in error, tactically (assuming he is intentionally hitting at the netman). Of course if the server is excellent and he can't get his return away from the netman, that is OK. Then the error is both of yours in not deciding to play both back on first serves.

It is true that even if he starts playing better tactical doubles, on occasion the other netman will poach or your partner will go at the other netman to keep him honest, or he will make a stroke error and his shot will drift over to the netman. Because of this, it is true you should be closer to the T until you are certain that the other netman won't have a play on the ball, when you can return to second volley position, but even with you in that position your partner should NOT be hitting weak balls to the other netman, you have changed position to have a play on the ball if he does, but you are in a terrible position to hit with authority.

Djokofan
08-11-2010, 02:27 PM
a little both. you both should step back if the server is that powerfull. but mainly your doubles partneers fault

Vyse
08-11-2010, 02:49 PM
It is possible you shouldn't be so far up but in this case I would say it is your partners fault. You generally should not return the ball to the net person (unless your drilling it low/bad net player/mixing it up, etc). The reason you don't is exactly what is happening. You need to tell your partner to return it crosscourt.

Turbo
08-11-2010, 02:55 PM
Or a lob...

Rui
08-11-2010, 03:29 PM
Your thread responders are correct.

You guys need to take a doubles clinic to get the basics down. A clinic would provide even more doubles info.

TenS_Ace
08-11-2010, 05:53 PM
If he consistently gives weak returns, the both of you should start at the baseline to return. What's the point of getting beat while being up front if you already know the result of the return from your partner. Just sayin'...

athiker
08-11-2010, 06:16 PM
Agree with most comments above. Most receiving net guys start at the service line so they can call the opponent's serve in or out and to cover "the hole" if the return of serve is weak. They then move closer to the net once the return of serve has passed the opposing net player.

Its called "shading". All players, whether they have touched a ball yet during the point or not should be constantly adjusting their position both horizontally and vertically based on where the ball is at that moment.

Check out the video on shading in this link...its about the 10th one down and called: Double Positioning: Shading

http://www.essentialtennis.com/video/

The same guy has just come out with a doubles oriented online product. The first section deals with horizontal and vertical shading and is free in hope you will like it and buy the full product...you just need to give them an email address. The product is called: Doubles Domination

http://doublesdomination.com/?hop=fuzzyyel


If the server is very strong and/or the returner particularly weak one tactic is to play "2 back". Both receiving players play back giving them more time to react to a poached ball. If they are able to play a deep groundstroke at some point they both move in together. A big part of doubles is covering your weaknesses and trying to discover and exploit your opponents via adjusting tactics. Good luck.

tennismonkey
08-11-2010, 06:52 PM
agree with what the previous posters have been recommending.

on both 1st and 2nd serves while your partner is returning - you should be facing and preferably have your shoulders squared up to the opposite netman. in your diagram posted - you would likely be a couple feet back in the service box and facing 10 oclock to the opposing net guy. he is the one who you need to have the most reaction time for. and you will at least have a chance at a reaction volley if necessary.

saigonbond
08-11-2010, 08:25 PM
It doesn't matter who's fault it is. However with that being said, if your partner can't keep his return away from the other team's player at the net, you should move back to at least the service box line or even back to the baseline. Also, if your return is stronger try taking the ad side and put him on the duece. As the adage goes, "Descretion is the better side of valor."

Cheers!

813wilson
08-12-2010, 04:03 AM
There have been some good points made here. Here are two more thoughts:

1 - if he has a decent groundstroke(you mentioned it is return of serve OR a short rally), maybe he is expecting you to poach and impart the same sort of shot on your opponents.

2 - Ask him! A good doubles team communicates w/each other.

SplitStepper
08-12-2010, 05:11 AM
I'm surprised that you haven't been hit in the back by your own partner. You're making his crosscourt window VERY SMALL by standing so close while he is hitting. Looks like he has about 12 inches of space to hit in before letting the opponents net man get a stick on the ball.

larry10s
08-12-2010, 05:15 AM
^^^^^ thats a good point. another reason to be around the service line near the center t to start

Turbo
08-14-2010, 11:25 PM
In most cases it's good for your partner to be on the service line, but if you are a great returner (maybe playing mixed doubles, too), your partner should stand closer.

I used this tactic effectively when there was a big disparity in skill level between my partner and I. She stuck close to the net and got everything back when they hit it at her. Since the level was lower I was able to return everything with pace and they didn't poach. It worked much better than her hanging around the service line and getting balls at her feet, especially because she wouldn't be super active in shifting back and forth. Who knows if she would have gotten them anyway - they would all be at her feet.

Obviously they are hurting you in this situation, but if they can't hurt you by poaching (maybe on their 2nd serves) you should definitely be closer to the net to start with an advantage.

Cindysphinx
08-15-2010, 06:56 AM
You are both "at fault" in this sutuation. When your partner is striking the ball, you should be at the service line, not all the way at the net. When your partner hits his shot PAST the opponent at the net, THEN you can creep in closer to the net. It would be nice if your partner could keep the ball away from the net man, but in the mean time you have to be prepared to cover the hole in the middle by standing closer to the middle and further back.

+1.

I'll add this.

Sometimes people get kind of confused on where they should stand during a rally. It becomes Too Much Information, what with all the references to 10-foot ropes, distance from the service line, distance from the net, creeping in, creeping back, moving sideways. I know one lady who looks totally paralyzed and seem to lose track of what she should be doing when she is at net -- Too Much Information Syndrome.

Maybe think of it this way when you are at net. When your partner is hitting, your are on defense. When your opponents are hitting, you are on offense. You are constantly shifting between offense and defense and reacting to what kind of shot your partner hit or your opponents hit.

In the situation you diagram, you are *way* too close to net because you are supposed to be playing defense when your partner is hitting. You don't know where your partner will hit and what kind of ball he will hit or what the opposing net player is planning. So *get away from the net* so you can play some defense.

As soon as your partner's ball gets past the opposing net player, you are on offense. Get up to that net and act like you're going to make something happen. Split when opponents hit. Watch the player who is hitting the ball, and stay in front of them. Racket up and pounce. Offense, offense, offense. If you don't intercept the ball, you are back on defense while your partner hits.

In the situation you diagram, you would be positioned at about the service line, plugging the diagonal hole and facing the opposing net player. To win the point, the net player must get the ball through you or around you. You will get some lucky stab replies, or if the opposing net player isn't a good volleyer you will get some chances to win the point outright off of his volley. It is frustrating as the deep player when your partner at net never, ever even attempts to return some of the sitter volleys the opponents hit, simply because they are positioned wrong or they roll over and concede the point.

I like thinking of net play as offense and defense because it frees you from all of those rules that are impossible to implement in a split second. Instead, you position according to what is happening that moment among those players, with a focus on doing what makes sense under the circumstances.

Good luck!!

LeeD
08-15-2010, 07:12 AM
First of all, he sucks, so dump him.
Never hit to a netman when they are positioned at the net!
Knowing he himself can't volley whatsoever, he does so repeatedly. So you have to move back into defensive position about 2' inside the service line, to cut off the volley and lose the point yourself.
Cure?
Very simple.
When he's at the net, clue the opposing netman that you are tossing him a cupcake, do so to his or her forehand volley, and allow your netman to EAT a few balls.

chatt_town
08-31-2010, 09:45 PM
Okay, so in the last few doubles matches I've played with this guy on the same team I am, I've noticed the same situation arise in almost every other game we play. When I'm at the net and he's returning serve (on the ad side), whether it be off the return of the serve or after a small rally, he gives a weak ball to the net player, which is often put directly behind where I can reach (see diagram below, we're represented by blue dots, opponents red, I'm at the net and the yellow line is the path of the ball).

He seems to almost think (I can tell because he almost implies it) it's my fault, that he sets up a forehand volley and it gets angled behind me at considerable speed. Is it? I was always under the allusion that you should never (usually) give the ball directly to the net-player, and if you do, the loss of the point is ultimately "your fault".

http://i38.tinypic.com/302ypdu.jpg

If it is my fault, what am I meant to be doing instead of what I currently am? If I moved back a bit, then we'd be playing more defensively because of his weak ground play under pressure. And even then, the net guy would still have the angle to end the point and could even drop it short (we play on grass that's pretty hard to run on and doesn't have the highest bounce). It seems because the volley is going on my side once it has been hit, he thinks it is my fault.

Shed some light on the situation please!


Well I'm a little late but I like talking about this kind of stuff. What you just described to me is totally his fault. The reason I say that is it is @$$hole stupid to me to hit to the net man when he can take his shot at the guy at the baseline and come to the net and form a wall and then when they hit it back to him he can drill his partner in the chest or you can angle behind his partner before they do you. Now I can't wait to see what others said about this. I'm speaking as someone who has won a truck load of doubles and mixed doubles tourneys with probably some 21 or so different people in men's and mixed at the 4.0 and a few at 4.5 in almost 8 years. some of those people I've won 5 or 6 tourneys with. it just makes sense to come to the net and take advantage of the people at the other baseline. The only time I think you should come back is when they return a ball deep and off the court to your partner. At that point you should go back and over to cover the middle of the court. The middle of the court is determined to me by where the ball is. If the ball is just inside the alley then you need to be clearly on the other side of the service line and even with your partner. To me two people that move with the ball and stay even are very hard to beat especially if they are constantly coming to the net. I don't think there is ever any excuse for hitting more than two ground strokes from the baseline in doubles. I can see if you shank a return but by the second stroke you should be coming in at all costs. He he controls the net controls the match.

Peace,

Chatt_town

chatt_town
08-31-2010, 09:50 PM
You are both "at fault" in this sutuation. When your partner is striking the ball, you should be at the service line, not all the way at the net. When your partner hits his shot PAST the opponent at the net, THEN you can creep in closer to the net. It would be nice if your partner could keep the ball away from the net man, but in the mean time you have to be prepared to cover the hole in the middle by standing closer to the middle and further back.

The only problem with what you are saying is this. According to this picture, he hit the first ball to the guy at the baseline...then stayed back on the baseline and then took the second and drove it at the net person. His own net guy was where he should have been which was at the net but because he left the net open on his side, the guy had a "safe" place to hit the ball. His partner should have came in on the first ground stroke....according to this layout. I agree with you about the return of serve especially on the first serve. If that is the case he may want to stay back but if he's returning to the baseline then he should be following the ball in. In which case the guy on the other baseline doesn't have any choice but to lob at this point which is again probably going to get his partner drilled in the chest with an overhead.

Peace,

Chatt_town

chatt_town
08-31-2010, 09:59 PM
A lot of good bits of information in this thread, maybe this can tie them together.

A good guideline in doubles is: long to long and short to short, that is if you are at the baseline you should be hitting to the other baseline player and if you are the netman you should be hitting at the other netman (assuming you can punish the ball). Not rules but guidelines.

By this, your partner is in error, tactically (assuming he is intentionally hitting at the netman). Of course if the server is excellent and he can't get his return away from the netman, that is OK. Then the error is both of yours in not deciding to play both back on first serves.

It is true that even if he starts playing better tactical doubles, on occasion the other netman will poach or your partner will go at the other netman to keep him honest, or he will make a stroke error and his shot will drift over to the netman. Because of this, it is true you should be closer to the T until you are certain that the other netman won't have a play on the ball, when you can return to second volley position, but even with you in that position your partner should NOT be hitting weak balls to the other netman, you have changed position to have a play on the ball if he does, but you are in a terrible position to hit with authority.


You first of all should in the warm up be able to tell if you are going to catch hell with one of the guy's serves. Most of the time one is not as bad as the other. You should then do everything in your power to force him to if you can serve in the sun. Then what I do personally is lob the return and see how proficient they are at hitting overheads from the service line and further. I also tell my partner what I'm doing so they can sag back. That's just one defense against a kick @$$ server. I remember once playing a mixed match against a guy who clearly had a serve better than mine. So once he won the toss and decided to serve, I immediately put his @$$ in the sun. Now we did go through about 3 cans of balls as he was bouncing ***** over the fence but guess what. We broke him 3 times in three sets and won the match. So there are many things you can do to even things out or hide weaknesses. If you don't have the sun and if both can serve their @$$ off you are probably in for a long evening no matter what you do.

Peace,

Chatt_town

chatt_town
08-31-2010, 10:08 PM
Well I'm a little late but I like talking about this kind of stuff. What you just described to me is totally his fault. The reason I say that is it is @$$hole stupid to me to hit to the net man when he can take his shot at the guy at the baseline and come to the net and form a wall and then when they hit it back to him he can drill his partner in the chest or you can angle behind his partner before they do you. Now I can't wait to see what others said about this. I'm speaking as someone who has won a truck load of doubles and mixed doubles tourneys with probably some 21 or so different people in men's and mixed at the 4.0 and a few at 4.5 in almost 8 years. some of those people I've won 5 or 6 tourneys with. it just makes sense to come to the net and take advantage of the people at the other baseline. The only time I think you should come back is when they return a ball deep and off the court to your partner. At that point you should go back and over to cover the middle of the court. The middle of the court is determined to me by where the ball is. If the ball is just inside the alley then you need to be clearly on the other side of the service line and even with your partner. To me two people that move with the ball and stay even are very hard to beat especially if they are constantly coming to the net. I don't think there is ever any excuse for hitting more than two ground strokes from the baseline in doubles. I can see if you shank a return but by the second stroke you should be coming in at all costs. He he controls the net controls the match.

Peace,

Chatt_town


Okay hold up. I looked at the diagram wrong. Yea, you need to hang back on the return. You should also consider if they run him off the court to move to the middle of the court, most net players try to go right where you are talking about which is the hole created when your teammate went into the next court to return the ball. Also if it is that good of a serve he needs to throw it about 700 feet into the air(preferrably deep) and both of you get back and work your way back in. It's much better than just keep letting the the ball go between you. The other option is switch sides and see if your return is any better.

Peace,

Chatt_town

LuckyR
09-01-2010, 07:16 AM
You first of all should in the warm up be able to tell if you are going to catch hell with one of the guy's serves. Most of the time one is not as bad as the other. You should then do everything in your power to force him to if you can serve in the sun. Then what I do personally is lob the return and see how proficient they are at hitting overheads from the service line and further. I also tell my partner what I'm doing so they can sag back. That's just one defense against a kick @$$ server. I remember once playing a mixed match against a guy who clearly had a serve better than mine. So once he won the toss and decided to serve, I immediately put his @$$ in the sun. Now we did go through about 3 cans of balls as he was bouncing ***** over the fence but guess what. We broke him 3 times in three sets and won the match. So there are many things you can do to even things out or hide weaknesses. If you don't have the sun and if both can serve their @$$ off you are probably in for a long evening no matter what you do.

Peace,

Chatt_town


Well, if you are in for a "long evening", there isn't going to be much of a sun issue, though to be honest my competition isn't bothered by playing outdoors, regardless of the conditions. Don't worry though, you'll get there.

H@v3 a n!c3 d@y.

chatt_town
09-01-2010, 07:48 PM
Well, if you are in for a "long evening", there isn't going to be much of a sun issue, though to be honest my competition isn't bothered by playing outdoors, regardless of the conditions. Don't worry though, you'll get there.

H@v3 a n!c3 d@y.



You talk a good game over the computer. I don't know about where you live, but here I've never heard of 5 o'clock in the afternoon and the sun is still very well out here at 5. Maybe you play in Alaska or some ***** during the time when it's night like 23 hours out of the day and that's why it's not an issue for you.

Peace,

Chatt_town

LuckyR
09-02-2010, 08:51 AM
You talk a good game over the computer. I don't know about where you live, but here I've never heard of 5 o'clock in the afternoon and the sun is still very well out here at 5. Maybe you play in Alaska or some ***** during the time when it's night like 23 hours out of the day and that's why it's not an issue for you.

Peace,

Chatt_town

Uuummmm... we all talk a good game on the computer, it's an Internet Forum after all. I can't decipher your second sentance, but the reason sun position is not an issue is because at a certain level you learn to adjust your service motion/toss to compensate for the position of our star.

And peace to you, my brother...

chatt_town
09-05-2010, 07:58 PM
Uuummmm... we all talk a good game on the computer, it's an Internet Forum after all. I can't decipher your second sentance, but the reason sun position is not an issue is because at a certain level you learn to adjust your service motion/toss to compensate for the position of our star.

And peace to you, my brother...

That's funny....I hear all the time where even the pros have problems with the sun. I understood what you were saying. My point to you is this. I don't care what level you think you are on. The sun can and will be an issue for you just as it does the people playing in the quarters of the US Open. You are no exception.

Peace,

Chatt_town

tennisdad65
09-05-2010, 09:50 PM
SplitStepper in post 23 is right. It is mostly the OP's fault.
It is not easy to hit that 6-8 ft window next to OP's left shoulder.