PDA

View Full Version : I Think I've Figured Out 4.0-ish Doubles


Cindysphinx
10-29-2010, 05:45 AM
Well, the losing continues. Lost another match last night. And I am starting to see a pattern.

Successful 4.0 female players seem to have something in common: They will come into net a lot, and they can volley -- sometimes with good technique, sometimes with poor technique but fast hands.

What is lacking in my and my partner's play and the reason we lose to teams like this, I think, boils down to one main thing: Lack of a passing shot.

The formula is becoming quite predictable. Someone serves, someone returns. The serve is usually not strong enough to force an outright error, and the return is usually good enough to avoid a poach. One deep player comes to net quickly, usually the returner. Which isolates the opposing deep player in the corner.

And that is where the rubber meets the road.

If the deep player lacks a good, consistent passing shot, hitting the ball any old place will lose the point most of the time. The passing shot *must* reach the net players lower than the height of the net. It is not possible to generate enough pace to beat these volleyers with pace. In fact, they will volley better the harder the incoming ball. The only thing that will get them to miss, stay back, or pop it up is the threat of a ball that is dipping so much that they must bounce it or close very fast.

I am starting to think that my main priority if I want to start winning these matches is to learn to hit any ball from anywhere with enough topspin so that it bounces short of the service line. Pace is not important. Direction isn't all that important -- down the middle works nicely. Threading the needle down the alley or other fancy stuff is too low percentage, particularly against teams that position well -- as most do at this level.

And um. I have to start playing with partners who can do this also and agree with this philosophy. Better still would be if they are willing to come to net now and then also!

JackB1
10-29-2010, 06:02 AM
What is lacking in my and my partner's play and the reason we lose to teams like this, I think, boils down to one main thing: Lack of a passing shot.


Sorry, but if you don't have a decent "passing shot", it's hard to believe you are really a 4.0.

Also, if both opposing players are at the net, why not lob? Usually a good lob to the right corner will force a "switch" and get them out of position.

spot
10-29-2010, 07:02 AM
Seriously... a topspin lob is your friend. Very few women can take a few steps back and attack an overhead, when you get in trouble toss that lob up crosscourt. I know many women hate getting into a lob war but when a team goes 2 up that is the easiest way to break them out of it.

bcart1991
10-29-2010, 07:02 AM
I kind of agree with Jack. At 4.0 you have to have some weapons (especially in doubles), not just outlast your opponents with consistency.

JackB1
10-29-2010, 07:28 AM
Seriously... a topspin lob is your friend. Very few women can take a few steps back and attack an overhead, when you get in trouble toss that lob up crosscourt. I know many women hate getting into a lob war but when a team goes 2 up that is the easiest way to break them out of it.

Remember, the best lob is one that "just" goes over their reach. The lower
you can make it, the less time they have to get back to get it. The really high lobs that take forever to come down are easy to get to.

blakesq
10-29-2010, 08:00 AM
seems like the answer is simple. Come to net and volley. hitting balls that are short of the service line, even with lots of topspin, is a prescription for losing. keep your shots deep, and that will put your opponents on the defensive.

Well, the losing continues. Lost another match last night. And I am starting to see a pattern.

Successful 4.0 female players seem to have something in common: They will come into net a lot, and they can volley -- sometimes with good technique, sometimes with poor technique but fast hands.

What is lacking in my and my partner's play and the reason we lose to teams like this, I think, boils down to one main thing: Lack of a passing shot.

The formula is becoming quite predictable. Someone serves, someone returns. The serve is usually not strong enough to force an outright error, and the return is usually good enough to avoid a poach. One deep player comes to net quickly, usually the returner. Which isolates the opposing deep player in the corner.

And that is where the rubber meets the road.

If the deep player lacks a good, consistent passing shot, hitting the ball any old place will lose the point most of the time. The passing shot *must* reach the net players lower than the height of the net. It is not possible to generate enough pace to beat these volleyers with pace. In fact, they will volley better the harder the incoming ball. The only thing that will get them to miss, stay back, or pop it up is the threat of a ball that is dipping so much that they must bounce it or close very fast.

I am starting to think that my main priority if I want to start winning these matches is to learn to hit any ball from anywhere with enough topspin so that it bounces short of the service line. Pace is not important. Direction isn't all that important -- down the middle works nicely. Threading the needle down the alley or other fancy stuff is too low percentage, particularly against teams that position well -- as most do at this level.

And um. I have to start playing with partners who can do this also and agree with this philosophy. Better still would be if they are willing to come to net now and then also!

LuckyR
10-29-2010, 08:12 AM
Well, the losing continues. Lost another match last night. And I am starting to see a pattern.

Successful 4.0 female players seem to have something in common: They will come into net a lot, and they can volley -- sometimes with good technique, sometimes with poor technique but fast hands.

What is lacking in my and my partner's play and the reason we lose to teams like this, I think, boils down to one main thing: Lack of a passing shot.

The formula is becoming quite predictable. Someone serves, someone returns. The serve is usually not strong enough to force an outright error, and the return is usually good enough to avoid a poach. One deep player comes to net quickly, usually the returner. Which isolates the opposing deep player in the corner.

And that is where the rubber meets the road.

If the deep player lacks a good, consistent passing shot, hitting the ball any old place will lose the point most of the time. The passing shot *must* reach the net players lower than the height of the net. It is not possible to generate enough pace to beat these volleyers with pace. In fact, they will volley better the harder the incoming ball. The only thing that will get them to miss, stay back, or pop it up is the threat of a ball that is dipping so much that they must bounce it or close very fast.

I am starting to think that my main priority if I want to start winning these matches is to learn to hit any ball from anywhere with enough topspin so that it bounces short of the service line. Pace is not important. Direction isn't all that important -- down the middle works nicely. Threading the needle down the alley or other fancy stuff is too low percentage, particularly against teams that position well -- as most do at this level.

And um. I have to start playing with partners who can do this also and agree with this philosophy. Better still would be if they are willing to come to net now and then also!


That is a very good assessment. You are clearly a good observer. Among equals, better positioning is "free" in the sense that unlike hitting low percentage, spectacular shots, you can't lose the point by deciding to run to the net, whereas if you decide to pass DTL, you have a decent chance of hitting wide or in the net.

Those who try to downplay the importance of positioning by implying that better shotmaking skills can overcome it, are either describing an unequal skill level among players or are fooling themselves. Yes, we all have hit that great shot, passing two up in doubles or that great topspin lob into the corner that gets a standing O, but that is not a winning strategy over the length of a match.

crystal_clear
10-29-2010, 08:16 AM
Whoever moves up to the net first gets the upper hand. 80% of doubles' points finished at the net.

I have the same experience. One up one back usually lose to two up teams.

Steady Eddy
10-29-2010, 08:26 AM
I agree with the people who say you should lob when two people are at the net. The trouble with lobs in the pros is that the other pro sizes up the lob immediately, has the footwork to get back, then performs that scissor-kick while uncorking a devastating smash.

You don't lob because the ladies in your 4.0 league can do that? Where I live, hardly any of the men have an adequate smash. True, if your lob is short, many can put it away, but if you have some good touch, at anything but the highest levels, the lobber beats the net guy.

The strategy I see used against determined lobbers in doubles is usually to shame them for using such a technique. If you're serious about winning your 4.0 matches, you'll learn how to lob within 6" of the baseline, with those, you'll damage them more than they'll damage you.

JRstriker12
10-29-2010, 08:28 AM
Just some other thoughts. If they are rushing in, throw up a lob to keep them honest. Rather than trying to thread the needle, I'd rather hit a top spin lob and make them run, then have a chance to approach the net.

A low slice is another option that can make a volley more difficult. Last mixed match I had, the woman on the other team had a nasty, low slice with good placement that was tough to volley.

If you can't pass them outright try to give them a difficult ball to volley - how is their high backhand volley? Can they stick away a volley of a shot that jams them? Can you place it where they are going to have to stretch for the ball, even it your shot isn't a clean winner.

The other side of this is, if the problem is that the server is getting stuck deep, maybe work on placing the serve and having your partner be more agressive about poaching at the net. Hit a body serve or go down the "T" more to give them less of an angle and have the partner be really agressive. If the partner makes a few poaches they may be less eager to rush in off the return.

spaceman_spiff
10-29-2010, 09:30 AM
Well, the losing continues. Lost another match last night. And I am starting to see a pattern.

Successful 4.0 female players seem to have something in common: They will come into net a lot, and they can volley -- sometimes with good technique, sometimes with poor technique but fast hands.

What is lacking in my and my partner's play and the reason we lose to teams like this, I think, boils down to one main thing: Lack of a passing shot.

The formula is becoming quite predictable. Someone serves, someone returns. The serve is usually not strong enough to force an outright error, and the return is usually good enough to avoid a poach. One deep player comes to net quickly, usually the returner. Which isolates the opposing deep player in the corner.

And that is where the rubber meets the road.

If the deep player lacks a good, consistent passing shot, hitting the ball any old place will lose the point most of the time. The passing shot *must* reach the net players lower than the height of the net. It is not possible to generate enough pace to beat these volleyers with pace. In fact, they will volley better the harder the incoming ball. The only thing that will get them to miss, stay back, or pop it up is the threat of a ball that is dipping so much that they must bounce it or close very fast.

I am starting to think that my main priority if I want to start winning these matches is to learn to hit any ball from anywhere with enough topspin so that it bounces short of the service line. Pace is not important. Direction isn't all that important -- down the middle works nicely. Threading the needle down the alley or other fancy stuff is too low percentage, particularly against teams that position well -- as most do at this level.

And um. I have to start playing with partners who can do this also and agree with this philosophy. Better still would be if they are willing to come to net now and then also!

The whole idea in higher-level doubles is to hit shots that force your opponents to hit weak or predictable shots so that you have an easy-putaway (or just rush the net over and over). Hitting a dipper is one way to do that when your opponent is rushing the net or has left too much space between herself and the net. But, you do need to focus on improving other aspects of your game as well.

On serve, you need to be able to exploit your opponents' weaknesses. It's no use hitting solid serves if every one goes right to your opponent's strength. Probe for weaknesses and mix it up. If you can serve well (not just hard), then that should set you up with some easy put-aways or at least make it easier to get to the net.

On return, you need to be able to consistently hit solid, low (against net rushers) or deep (against baseline huggers) returns to trouble your opponents. Don't let them have an easy stroll to the net or give them all the time they could ever want to set up for a groundstroke.

Cindysphinx
10-29-2010, 09:35 AM
Yes, lobbing is important. I think my partners and I lob too much. Add the ones that are short to the ones that go long, and I think it is mighty tough to have lobbing as your primary weapon.

You have to get to net yourself, and you have to hit a dipper on your way in if they are in.

That's three separate skills: Getting to net, hitting topspin dippers, hitting topspin lobs.

I am also noticing that if you think you are just going to run up to net because you want to be there, you have another think coming against these good teams. They will bounce it off your tennis shoes, regardless of where those shoes happen to be. You'd better wait for the right opportunity and seize it quickly, or you'd better have a beast of an approach volley.

larry10s
10-29-2010, 09:42 AM
seems like the answer is simple. Come to net and volley.
hitting balls that are short of the service line, even with lots of topspin, is a prescription for losing. keep your shots deep, and that will put your opponents on the defensive.

i agree with your first answer.
trying to hit deep with 2 at the net gives the net player a nice high ball to cream the opposing net person with.
as cindy said you have to get the ball below the level of the net. that usually means a topspin dipper that lands in the service box.

larry10s
10-29-2010, 09:45 AM
I am starting to think that my main priority if I want to start winning these matches is to learn to hit any ball from anywhere with enough topspin so that it bounces short of the service line. Pace is not important. Direction isn't all that important -- down the middle works nicely. Threading the needle down the alley or other fancy stuff is too low percentage, particularly against teams that position well -- as most do at this level.

And um. I have to start playing with partners who can do this also and agree with this philosophy. Better still would be if they are willing to come to net now and then also!

you need 4.0 partners. they will be willing to come to net all the time.
your concept of "passing "shot im not sure i understand.
is it what do i do when im back and facing 2 at the net.?????

sphinx780
10-29-2010, 09:50 AM
I agree with your assessment Cindy, down the middle solves the riddle. If you can find the right trajectory on the down the middle shot it's going to consistently do two things for you. 1. It will limit your opponents options at net for angled winners and overall court control. 2. You will be forcing your opponents to hit up on the ball more often than not giving you time to hit another probing shot and work on taking the net back.

Most likely in league, you will find that doubles teams can get caught up in deciding who takes those middle volley's as well. The dipper you're describing is one of the best neutral shots in doubles and can be used to set up a high to low finisher or a well disguised lob.

Yes, lobs are a great point reset and should be used as well, you want to keep your opponents off balance so they can't cheat and counteract your strategy.

Cindysphinx
10-29-2010, 10:01 AM
you need 4.0 partners. they will be willing to come to net all the time.
your concept of "passing "shot im not sure i understand.
is it what do i do when im back and facing 2 at the net.?????

When I say "passing shot" I am talking about a groundstoke calculated to get the opponent in trouble. Usually, this will be a topspin dipper. It can also be an alley pass, but that is lower percentage.

It can be what you do when you have 2 at net and you are back. But if I am bound and determined to get to net myself, it is often a ball I strike from behind the service line. If I am inside the baseline, it is tougher to pull off a lob, especially off of a low ball when I'm moving forward. So I need a passing shot.

Last night, my partner and I started off great guns, charging the net. We fell behind 0-5 and lost the first set -1. There were many problems, but the main one is that my partner doesn't move well, so any ball that is lobbed over me is a winner. If we stayed deep enough to defend the lob, we had a shoetops problem.

In the second set, I suggested that we Stop Coming In. I said the deep player was to *stay back there* and hit four quality groundstrokes before doing anything crazy, and the net person was supposed to finish some points. Soon we were on serve at 3-2. It was working. We ultimately lost 3-6 due to some yippy play, but we were doing much better by being smart about coming in and hitting good passing shots when they did.

Cindysphinx
10-29-2010, 10:03 AM
Remember, the best lob is one that "just" goes over their reach. The lower
you can make it, the less time they have to get back to get it. The really high lobs that take forever to come down are easy to get to.

Yes, and I am noticing something else from these 4.0 women.

If you hit a high lob, they can bounce it, run under it and can hit a smash from the baseline good enough to win the point. Very impressive, that.

Steady Eddy
10-29-2010, 10:57 AM
Yes, and I am noticing something else from these 4.0 women.

If you hit a high lob, they can bounce it, run under it and can hit a smash from the baseline good enough to win the point. Very impressive, that.
Yes they can.

There's a tendency to think of all lobs as being equal. A lob is a lob is a lob. But like any other shot, they can range from weak to deadly. If your lob doesn't work in 4.0 tennis b/c so many are short and so many go out, I think the lob needs some work. It's easier to become a good lobber than a great smasher, so I'd improve the lob and stay back before going to the net. We know that playing the net it's what it's about at the highest levels, so it's nice to think "I'm now at the level that lobbing doesn't work, I must go to the net." But 4.0 isn't that level yet.

For example, Bobby Riggs destroyed Don Budge's net game by lobbing. You might say, "But that was back in the day." Yeah, but a 7.0 from back then is still way better than weekend players of today. Riggs' lobs weren't even topspin lobs and Margaret Court couldn't handle them, and as a two time Grand Slam winner, she was the real deal for serve and volley.

Don't lob so high. As the other poster said, just lob slightly higher than they can reach with their racquet and they won't even get to make an attempt. I've heard it said that no one can consistently hit good lobs. Not true, I've seen club players who can paint the baseline with excellent lobs. They'd never win Wimbledon, but they can't be hurt at the club, even by the teaching pros!
http://www.tribuneindia.com/2000/20000122/2102b.gif
Unless the ladies you play can smash lobs that force them to do this (see pic), a lob can still beat them. Sorry, but saying, "We got to get to the net, we're too advanced for lobbing." feels good to say. But that's not the weekend tennis I see.

tennislefty
10-29-2010, 11:35 AM
I agree with Hall of fame in alot of ways..

Cindy..i diasgree with more topspin and only middle shots being the answer. that is only "a way a player hits a ball" not a shot selection.
If one really pays attention to what seperates a 3.5 from a 4.0 womens doubles players its clearly:
1. Consistancy
2. patience-not attempting to "put the ball away" too soon.
3. Huge variety in shot selections- this is key: down the lines, lobs, and most noticeably they can change direction of the ball much easier. (unpredictable players)
4. siginficantly better volley-most importantly noted-better at the mid court volley. (most 3.5 cannot mid court volley at all)
5. high percent of first serves.

my 5.0 pal returns says she returns serve 50% of the time in matches.

one must have the low percentage shots on their game to move to the next level. :)

Cindysphinx
10-29-2010, 12:18 PM
I dunno. It sounds like you're suggesting that things like stroke mechanics don't matter. Stroke mechanics and footwork are the things that allow a player to do the things you suggest consistently, I'd say.

I didn't follow what you said about your 5.0 pal. She only gets half of her returns into play? Nah, that can't be it! :)

ibeeskeef
10-29-2010, 12:20 PM
In my experiene at 4.0 and 4.5 men's doubles, the dipping groundstroke is a weapon but usually is only effective against someone as they are coming to net, such as the return of serve against a serve and volley player. In men's doubles at 4.0 and higher, most players are going to serve and volley so being able to make them pick the first ball up on the short hop or on their toes is a weapon. After they make it to the net, dipping one short is very difficult because there is very little room once they get in close. Also, at the risk of sounding very sexist, most men hit harder spin that women at the same level. Dipping a ball requires a lot of spin and unless you are really creating a huge amount of topspin you are probably not playing the smart shot. A lob as mentioned above may be the better option.

The obvious answer in my opinion is for you and your partner to beat the opponent to the net. This is especially true if you are the serving team but even when you receive. If I ever play someone who is serving and staying back, my first reaction is to follow my return to net and force them into the one up one back situation. Many times the server and the returner end up rushing the net together and all 4 players end the point at net. Great reaction time and solid volleys are required on your part but if you want to be competitive at 4.0 and above doubles then these are the prerequisites anyway.

tennislefty
10-29-2010, 01:54 PM
sorry--i guess i was not clear-yes, stroke mechanics always matter, but dont confuse them with shot selections. a gorgous cross court heavy topspin ball means alot less when its predictable, means a whole lot more when it has variety. have you ever tried a heavy, slower paced, topsin ball down the line? deadly weapon by those who have it!
I agree footwork and stoke mechanics add to the constisitancy part of a game.

my 5.0 pal says we 3.5 gals are so very predictable because 95% of the time our return of serves are cross court, our comfort shots...she returns serve 50% of the time with a good lob, and beats many guys..i saw her win a match in 45 minutes against 2 power hitting 4.5 gals. she never broke a sweat, they ran, ran, ran, she dropped, dropped, lobbed..you get the picture?
now..i wont tell you all my secrets! :)

Nor'easter
10-29-2010, 02:28 PM
The team that controls the net will definitely win the match. Also, your points should end quickly in doubles. I have found that the stronger teams at 4.0-4.5 level will almost always follow their serves and returns to the net. I have also noticed that service returns sliced short and wide are very effective in putting your opponent in a defensive position and forcing them to return on the run; resulting in a weak and high ball that can be put away by the net person. Yes, well placed topspin lobs are a necessary part of the game. Throwing in some lob service returns is also a good way to get yourself in an offensive position. Play to the score and do take some chances with low percentage shots too...ripping some service returns down the line.

I (a recently bumped up 4.0 and the weak sista) had the chance to play a doubles match with three seasoned 4.5 gals the other day. Wow, I think I got to experience what well executed "first strike tennis" is all about. I was amazed at the shots these gals came up with. Amazing directional control and crazy angles at net. They took most balls out of the air. They put us on defense immediately. I noticed they didn't give up any free points either...no double faults and all serves returned and placed well. Most points ended with winners at net; either with extreme angles or low and through the middle shots. It was great to see how consistancy translates into winning. They rarely missed. (We lost 4-6, 0-6).

Cindysphinx
10-29-2010, 02:31 PM
[Edit: Responding to TennisLefty]Yeah, that's one of the drills my pro would have us run in clinic. The rule was that you could not hit the same return twice in a row. So if you play the first return crosscourt, your options for the next one are drop shot, slice, drive at net player, lob over net player, or DTL.

I did this recently in a match against some 3.5 players, and they were endlessly frustrated by it.

I guess flexibility is very important. Like, in my match yesterday we climbed back into it by being disciplined about playing from the baseline rather than crashing the net.

Still, failing to get to the net is like playing Russian Roulette. It will work now and then as its own form of change-up, but not often!

Then again, there's something to be said for doing something that is working until they make you stop. Our tougher opponent returned every ball crosscourt except she lobbed the net player perhaps three times. She had that return dialed in, so why mix it up when you don't have to and it works?

Eh, I'm just navel gazing now. I need to get my first volleys to be more penetrating, and I need to topspin the crap out of the ball to bounce it before the service line. Just gotta do it!

Steady Eddy
10-29-2010, 04:44 PM
my 5.0 pal says we 3.5 gals are so very predictable because 95% of the time our return of serves are cross court, our comfort shots...she returns serve 50% of the time with a good lob, and beats many guys..i saw her win a match in 45 minutes against 2 power hitting 4.5 gals. she never broke a sweat, they ran, ran, ran, she dropped, dropped, lobbed..you get the picture?
now..i wont tell you all my secrets! :)
Drop shots followed by lobs? That sounds like someone winning from the backcourt. And it worked even though the others were power players.

The team that controls the net will definitely win the match. Also, your points should end quickly in doubles. I have found that the stronger teams at 4.0-4.5 level will almost always follow their serves and returns to the net. I have also noticed that service returns sliced short and wide are very effective in putting your opponent in a defensive position and forcing them to return on the run; resulting in a weak and high ball that can be put away by the net person. Yes, well placed topspin lobs are a necessary part of the game. Throwing in some lob service returns is also a good way to get yourself in an offensive position. Play to the score and do take some chances with low percentage shots too...ripping some service returns down the line.

I (a recently bumped up 4.0 and the weak sista) had the chance to play a doubles match with three seasoned 4.5 gals the other day. Wow, I think I got to experience what well executed "first strike tennis" is all about. I was amazed at the shots these gals came up with. Amazing directional control and crazy angles at net. They took most balls out of the air. They put us on defense immediately. I noticed they didn't give up any free points either...no double faults and all serves returned and placed well. Most points ended with winners at net; either with extreme angles or low and through the middle shots. It was great to see how consistancy translates into winning. They rarely missed. (We lost 4-6, 0-6).
I'd qualify that first statement a little more. The team at the net is in a position to control the point. They still might lose if they don't volley well, or especially, if their overhead is weak. (A very common trait of middle-class players.) So there's more to winning in doubles than just running up to the net.

I agree with the second bold statement. When I watch doubles teams that make it to the finals of a local tournament, I notice that they're not overwhelming, but that they're very solid. They just grind up their opponents. Improvement is more a matter of tightening up what we have than adding new, exotic weapons.

decades
10-29-2010, 04:57 PM
at 4.0 a good lob is more effective than passing shots. those who say you should be able to pass two people at the net from the back of the court are "ambitious" thinkers....

larry10s
10-29-2010, 05:47 PM
do you want to play 4.0 - 4.5 doubles tennis????
or do you want to win 3.5 -4.0 doubles tennis????
one up one back wont work, you only do that because you cant play the next level skill set:cry:
listen to the posts that tell you you have to come to net and win by angled volleys or or overheads or stick volleys thru the middle.

still dont understand "passing shots " in doubles.:confused:
approach shots???

Steady Eddy
10-29-2010, 06:14 PM
do you want to play 4.0 - 4.5 doubles tennis????
or do you want to win 3.5 -4.0 doubles tennis????
one up one back wont work, you only do that because you cant play the next level skill set:cry:
listen to the posts that tell you you have to come to net and win by angled volleys or or overheads or stick volleys thru the middle.

still dont understand "passing shots " in doubles.:confused:
approach shots???I have a friend who hardly even plays tennis, yet he won his clubs mixed doubles championship, (against the club pro and his wife, who had won this tournament for years), by staying back and hitting nothing but lobs. They'd smash, he'd lob, they'd smash again, he'd lob again. Yet he won! The guy he beat is even out there teaching "to win in doubles, you need to be at the net". But he couldn't practice what he preached. Yes, this guy had quickness, touch, yet no form. Also, I know he couldn't beat the really good players with this method, but it does work at a higher level than you might think. People think it works at 3.5 but not 4.0. I'd say it works against 4.5 men, and certainly works against 4.0 women.

The worst thing to try against 4.0 women at the net is to hit through them. This way they don't have to make any pace when they volley. They can even smash the skyscraper lobs that give them lots of time get to it, catch their balance, and then put their weight into the shot. But they can't consistently smash a deep, low, lob that requires them to hit while their weight is going backwards. That takes real athletic ability. The lob is tricky too, but it's easier to learn that lob, than that smash.

larry10s
10-29-2010, 06:21 PM
I have a friend who hardly even plays tennis, yet he won his clubs mixed doubles championship, (against the club pro and his wife, who had won this tournament for years), by staying back and hitting nothing but lobs. They'd smash, he'd lob, they'd smash again, he'd lob again. Yet he won! The guy he beat is even out there teaching "to win in doubles, you need to be at the net". But he couldn't practice what he preached. Yes, this guy had quickness, touch, yet no form. Also, I know he couldn't beat the really good players with this method, but it does work at a higher level than you might think. People think it works at 3.5 but not 4.0. I'd say it works against 4.5 men, and certainly works against 4.0 women.

The worst thing to try against 4.0 women at the net is to hit through them. This way they don't have to make any pace when they volley. They can even smash the skyscraper lobs that give them lots of time get to it, catch their balance, and then put their weight into the shot. But they can't consistently smash a deep, low, lob that requires them to hit while their weight is going backwards. That takes real athletic ability. The lob is tricky too, but it's easier to learn that lob, than that smash.

if the club pro could not put away an overhead.....
C'MON MAN
if you stop at the service line unless they can continually hit perfect lobs im all for the team that comes to the net.
at weak 4.0 and below lobb queens and kings will win. just like pushers.
once your skill set is past that you only see them in your rear view mirror.
at least thats been my expeience:)

Steady Eddy
10-29-2010, 06:34 PM
if the club pro could not put away an overhead.....
C'MON MAN
if you stop at the service line unless they can continually hit perfect lobs im all for the team that comes to the net.
at weak 4.0 and below lobb queens and kings will win. just like pushers.
once your skill set is past that you only see them in your rear view mirror.
at least thats been my expeience:)I didn't see the match, but he loves to talk about this point. The pro was getting more and more frustrated, finally he gets a sitter while my friend is at point-blank range. He drills one about 15 inches below the guy's crotch, he reflexively, volleys it back by putting the racquet behind his back, and hitting it from a spot between his legs. This 'lob-volley' goes over the outstretched racquet of the pro and lands inside the baseline for a winner. After that, the pro completely lost it. :) Since then, I've explored what kind of players can deal with lob meisters. Most people just say that it's not sportsmanlike to lob too much.

If you've learned to crush lobbers, my hat's off to you. Many people think they can, but, in fact, cannot. Must have been fun when you became able to smash that well.

Cindysphinx
10-30-2010, 01:56 PM
I don't agree with hitting a lob every time you get two opponents on top of the net. It's an ok shot if you are really great at pinning the corners with the picture-perfect lob, but if it's a so-so lob, a good player will run it down and cram it down your throat, or step back and hit a winner smash.

Yeah, there is something to that.

The reason I tend to agree that lobs are not the be-all, end-all is how I feel about lobs when I am being lobbed.

Often, we'll be in a match, we come to net, and the opponent hits a lob winner. And the very first thing my partners will say is, "OMG. We have to stop coming in!! We'll get lobbed!!"

Eh. It's not that big a deal. It is pretty unusual for more than 50% of an opponent's lobs to fall for winners that cannot be smashed and cannot be run down. Sure, you adjust -- you might play the net a bit less tight, you might take care to stay in a staggered net formation. And of course, you are on notice that if a lob goes up you'd better *move your butt*.

So if I don't see my opponents' lobs as fatal, then I shouldn't see my own lobs as devastating. It's important to have a lob for when a lob is the right shot, but the mere fact that the opponents are taking the net doesn't mean a lob is always the best response. IMHO.

Steady Eddy
10-30-2010, 05:43 PM
Instead of always lobbing, use the lobs to prevent your opponents from crowding the net. This gives you more of a shot at their knees, make them have to hit half-volleys from below the net, that they have to hit defensively.

But if a team has a philosophy of "no lobbing", whether it's because they think lobs aren't fair, or that it's a sissy shot, this makes them way too predictable, IMHO.

Still I'm afraid that we're making it seem like strategy plays are larger role in winning than it really does. Players should just take care to play within their ability, and then the results will be fair. Concentrate more on execution than strategy during a match. I mean, does Nadal need alot of strategy in his matches?

spot
10-31-2010, 06:35 AM
Yes, and I am noticing something else from these 4.0 women.

If you hit a high lob, they can bounce it, run under it and can hit a smash from the baseline good enough to win the point.

Seriously? I don't think I have ever seen a 4.0 female player do that a single time. You are talking about someone at the net getting lobbed- them running back to the baseline and hitting an overhead smash on a ball after it bounces?

Cindysphinx
10-31-2010, 06:51 AM
Seriously? I don't think I have ever seen a 4.0 female player do that a single time. You are talking about someone at the net getting lobbed- them running back to the baseline and hitting an overhead smash on a ball after it bounces?

No, not if they are already at the net.

In my last match, we played a short lady who has bounced between being 3.5 and 4.0. She is currently a 3.5. My partner hit a high lob over the net player and followed it to net. This 3.5 ran under it and hit a smash with such accuracy and power that it nailed my partner's shoetops and she couldn't return it.

I also attended a clinic recently with a strong 3.5 woman and a 4.0 woman, and we worked on that exact shot. I struggled with it some because I don't like how the bounce isn't high enough to get under it, but when the bounce was high enough I was able to hit a slice overhead. I've never once done it in a match, though. I try to take lobs out of the air whenever possible and consider it a personal failure if I have to bounce them.

gameboy
11-01-2010, 09:52 AM
If you are facing two players at the net, hitting a lob over their head is going to be much more effective than trying to hit a dipper.

As others have said already, the dippers are more effective against the player coming in than a player already at the net. It is also very difficult to pull off unless you have tremendous racquet head speed. I don't see much shots like this from 4.0 ladies, who usually hit hard flat shots.

If you lob it over the net player and the baseline player smashes it back, I would keep trying it to make sure that that player can do it consistently. It is not easy to move across the court an execute and overhead smash. That is not a high percentage shot.

I have to agree with everyone here. If you want to win your matches against aggressive net doubles players, you need to learn to control and hit effective lobs.

burosky
11-01-2010, 02:32 PM
Lobbing is a good way to push your opponents off the net. However, depending on the situation, hitting a lob might not be the best option.

I just want to add my .02 cents. Don't forget about the 2 shot passing shot. All this means is hitting the first shot to put your opponent out of position thereby giving you a bigger opening or an easier ball for the second shot which is the actual passing shot.

Blade0324
11-02-2010, 08:01 PM
Cindy a couple of thoughts that I have here. As steady Eddy said you can use the lob to keep your opponents honest. If you mix in lobs pretty often your opponents will be less likely to get right on top of the net. This will open the door for you to hit your low shot that get's below the height of the net in front of your opponent forcing them to hit the ball up, immediate advantage to you. As for the other team bouncing a lob deeper to the baseline and then hitting a good overhead that gets low on you. I would advise that if you hit a lob good enough to force them to bounce it and they are at the baseline or beyond you need to get to net, and tight to net. If you are within about 4 feet of the net there is no way your oponenet can hit the overhead such that it will get low on you. Just watch their setup for the shot and be ready to retreat if they change their plan and lob you back. Usually if they plan on hitting an overhead and change to a lob the lob will not be very good allowing you or your partner to finish the point.

Just some other thoughts to consider. you are very observant and seeing the right things now you just have to play smart and beat them to the punch. If all else fails you can employ a tactic that I have used with my partner on numerous occassions. Just put a bulls eye on one of the players and try to put a hole through them.

Fedace
11-02-2010, 08:08 PM
Yes, lobbing is important. I think my partners and I lob too much. Add the ones that are short to the ones that go long, and I think it is mighty tough to have lobbing as your primary weapon.

You have to get to net yourself, and you have to hit a dipper on your way in if they are in.

That's three separate skills: Getting to net, hitting topspin dippers, hitting topspin lobs.

I am also noticing that if you think you are just going to run up to net because you want to be there, you have another think coming against these good teams. They will bounce it off your tennis shoes, regardless of where those shoes happen to be. You'd better wait for the right opportunity and seize it quickly, or you'd better have a beast of an approach volley.

Lob is NOT all same. as the old wise Ken Rosewall said. Offensive lob and defensive lob, you have to master both at 4.0 or above level. I think at 4.0 level, you don't have to have masterful Topspin lob. You have to master Depth and accuracy,,,much more important than Topspin lob.
use Varying amounts of Slice to control the ball. in drill,,try heavier Slice and hit it lower and little bit Harder, you will find you can control the accuracy much better. Practice hitting to the Backhand side with offensive Slice lob. Lower trajectory and faster and deeper with slice. also practice hitting the corners with this slice offensive lob. You will find that you have to hit the slice lob pretty hard to make it in the corner. Hard lob means opponent has less time to react and it is to the backhand side which means they will mostly likely to miss if they can even reach the ball.:)