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View Full Version : New to doubles tourneys. A few things I don't understand


Maui19
11-08-2010, 07:07 PM
I just started playing tennis again after a 25 year hiatus. I played recreationally in high school and college--mostly just hitting with friends. Now I've moved into a community that has a tennis facility. So I started playing again, got a rating and joined some leagues. I'd never played doubles or on clay, but now I'm doing both.

I've played both mens and mixed matches, and enjoy it quite a bit. I am a little worried that I am clueless about some accepted behaviors during matches. For example, in my early mixed matches I tried to take it a easier when serving against the woman. After losing way too many points doing that, I decided to be an equal opportunity server. :wink: Then I see in another thread that some say it is uncool to serve a heater to a woman. Then other guys disagreed. So who knows.

I also see that it is considered bad to watch your partner hit the ball when you're at the net and he/she is at the baseline. Well, I find it helpful/lifesaving to see what my partner is up to. I did have one partner tell me not to watch her hit. I had to bite my lip not to tell her "then stop hitting those short low lobs to the net person!" :lol:

In matches, I am surprised how many people play with so little variety in their games, hitting baseline shots with the same pace and spin shot after shot. It became obvious to me pretty quickly that opponents weren't as consistent when I would vary the depth, spin and height of my shots. Same thing with serving. Not a lot of folks seem to vary speed and depth on their serves.

I got killed in one mens league doubles match. A few weeks afterward, I looked up the record of our opponents. The better player was something like 39-5 this year, with a ton of 2&1, 3&2 results. Apparently he has a reputation as being a sandbagger. How does a guy like that not get DQed? I didn't mind losing to him, because he was a much better player, and the results are going to be different next time. Hehehe But really--is league play fun for a guy like that?

There is some more stuff I've been wondering about, but I can't recall it now. Anyway, I'm am enjoying this message board, even though some of you are clearly insane. :)

jakemcclain32
11-08-2010, 07:26 PM
In my league, I've been doing research on players, and I notice there are a few that have been in the same division for like 12 years and running, and they have like 100 wins and 20 losses or something. These are guys that are deathly afraid to move up for fear of embarassment, and instead of improving their games, or moving up to their level(where they might lose a few more), they just choose to make it easier on themselves. Wimps live life like this.

Far as the lack of variety, you are now noticing why these are club level players and not pros. Very competitive within themselves, and they all want trophies or plates, but again, no knowledge or incentive to really improve. They might go up certain levels, but other people that go up levels might be the same way. It's always the few very good players that know how to play the game that will kick your *** every week.

By the way, serve the heater to the woman. That PC BS needs to go out the window in competition.

tennis tom
11-09-2010, 09:33 AM
For example, in my early mixed matches I tried to take it a easier when serving against the woman.

I also see that it is considered bad to watch your partner hit the ball when you're at the net and he/she is at the baseline. Well, I find it helpful/lifesaving to see what my partner is up to. I did have one partner tell me not to watch her hit. I had to bite my lip not to tell her "then stop hitting those short low lobs to the net person!" :lol:

I'm am enjoying this message board, even though some of you are clearly insane. :)

Don't take it easier on the woman because it will come back to bite you. If you don't want to look like an ogre by hitting 120 mph serves into her body, serve high bouncing top-spin serves instead, they are just as difficult to return and you don't look like a bad guy. In doubles you don't want to be hitting huge serves anyway because you won't be giving yourself enough time to get to the net and get set near your partner. You'll be having to run through your volleys and the ball will be coming back faster off your big serve.

As for watching your partner hit, you have it right. The paramount rule in all ball sports is to watch the ball. There was a thread about it here not long ago, where it was debated, until someone posted a video of the Bryan brothers watching each other hit the ball, end of debate. Your partner who admonished you for watching her is nuts and has some other hang-up, you were right for watching.

The only shot your told not to watch your partner hit is the serve, because you may get an eye-full of serve at 100 MPH. This makes sense but I know of a player who was a Wimbledon champion, Vic Seixas, who watched his partner as he served. He said it gave him a fraction of an instant advantage in knowing where the serve was going over his opponents. And, if he was going to be hit by the ball, it gave him the opportunity to get out of the way--makes a lot of sense actually. You don't get hit by the ball, it goes over the net instead, one more in serve for you guys. To not get hit in the face by your partner's serve, don't suddenly look back to see what your serving partner is doing. Do so cautiously, maybe holding the racket in front of your face (or crotch) firmly with both hands.

As for the sanity of those who post here, I would take that as a complement. I believe it's someone at this board who's signature sums it up well :

"It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society." Jiddu Krishnamurti

blakesq
11-09-2010, 09:57 AM
Maui welcome back to tennis!

In competition matches, do not take it easy on the women! In social matches, you can take it easy on whoever you like.

If you can safely watch the ball, go ahead and watch your teammate hit the ball. Just be careful about getting a ball to the face! If your teammate has a problem with it, find a new teammate.

dlk
11-09-2010, 09:58 AM
I only hold off my serves to females if it's obvious they are not a threat, even if their guy is smacking'em at my partner. But if the female is at my level (which is often), I serve to them just like anybody else; it helps my serving rhythm.

86golf
11-09-2010, 03:25 PM
Lot's of pros will tell you to keep your eye on your opposite net person when your partner is returning. I think the real issue is turning your body. If you glance back over your shoulder to see what shot your partner is going to make, then probably okay. If you open your shoulders or turn your hips to see what he /she is up to, then probably not advised.

I agree with the high bouncing topspin serves and the ones that kick off the court. Somewhere a pro is telling a lot of ladies to stand inside the baseline to return a male serve to keep it from bouncing high bc many of them stand inside the baseline. I find that kinda funny bc it just makes it easier to take some pace off, add more spin and bounce it over their head.

tennis tom
11-09-2010, 04:25 PM
For a discussion about why you should observe your partner as they hit, see this thread:

http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=338433&highlight=bryan+brothers

dizzlmcwizzl
11-09-2010, 05:22 PM
I only hold off my serves to females if it's obvious they are not a threat, even if their guy is smacking'em at my partner. But if the female is at my level (which is often), I serve to them just like anybody else; it helps my serving rhythm.

Somewhere a pro is telling a lot of ladies to stand inside the baseline to return a male serve to keep it from bouncing high bc many of them stand inside the baseline.

I have a big serve ... probably my only consistent weapon. However, if the woman is decent and can clearly handle herself I would not think twice about serving a heater to her.

Last season I had a 4.5 woman (I am a 4.0) stand about half way between the baseline and the service line on my first serve. No one stands there ... even the 5.0 guy I play with only rarely stands on the baseline and usually players are 2-4 feet behind the baseline.

Any who, I think she stood there because she thought a man would not hit big serves at a woman .... I immediately identified this as a mind game. After I hit her square in the chest twice on good serves she backed up.

So the moral to the story is this for me. I do not want the 5.0 guy to take it easy on me when we play. I would be offended if he did not do his best to serve up bagels. Likewise I assume that women do not want this either. I wont target them with volleys or overheads and I wont serve hard at them any more than I would a man ... but I also will not treat them as delicate flowers only to watch them take advantage of my good nature.

Maui19
11-09-2010, 05:24 PM
For a discussion about why you should observe your partner as they hit, see this thread:

http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=338433&highlight=bryan+brothers

Thanks that was very interesting.

Cindysphinx
11-10-2010, 05:19 AM
Regarding serving heaters to the woman . . .

I play mixed, and I can handle any "heater" a guy at my level can serve. By "handle," I mean "not get hit by." I might or might not get it into play, but you shouldn't fear that you will hit me by serving to me when I am behind the baseline.

Regarding looking at your partner, I think the answer is yes and no. If you look at your partner and someone were to freeze the action and ask you why you are looking at your partner, you should be able to give a specific reason. If you cannot, then you are looking out of habit and aren't playing good doubles.

For instance, our clinic pro taught covering high lobs by telling us to switch at net, go to the opposite T, and then have a look at our partner. If she is in trouble, continue fading back to the baseline. If she is in good shape, stay at net.

Still, I can tell when my partners are watching me when they shouldn't. I will be lining up an offensive shot, I'm about to hit the ball, and my partner is flat-footed at net, her head spun around looking at me. What information is she hoping to gather? How can she turn back around in time to observe the opposing net person *and* move to where she should be in reaction to my shot? Oy.

Nor'easter
11-10-2010, 05:36 AM
I have a big serve ... probably my only consistent weapon. However, if the woman is decent and can clearly handle herself I would not think twice about serving a heater to her.

Last season I had a 4.5 woman (I am a 4.0) stand about half way between the baseline and the service line on my first serve. No one stands there ... even the 5.0 guy I play with only rarely stands on the baseline and usually players are 2-4 feet behind the baseline.



Why not stand there to return serve? Not only are you gaining time on your return, the number of steps needed to get to net is now cut in half. This can be especially useful on chip and charge returns. I sometimes use this strategy against big servers and since I am considered to have a big serve opponents use it against me.

dlk
11-10-2010, 05:45 AM
Why not stand there to return serve? Not only are you gaining time on your return, the number of steps needed to get to net is now cut in half. This can be especially useful on chip and charge returns. I sometimes use this strategy against big servers and since I am considered to have a big serve opponents use it against me.

Against 3.5 & above players, I can always improve my return-serve percentage if I stand behind the baseline; it gives me time to run to serves I guessed wrong on. I often find people who stand up in the court, when I serve, & after several misses they scoot back. There are several guys where I have to stand 2-4 feet behind baseline, I couldn't imagine being only 3-5 feet behind the service-line; I still like my body too much:shock:

Nor'easter
11-10-2010, 05:57 AM
Why not stand there to return serve? Not only are you gaining time on your return, the number of steps needed to get to net is now cut in half. This can be especially useful on chip and charge returns. I sometimes use this strategy against big servers and since I am considered to have a big serve opponents use it against me.

Standing closer in can also be helpful if the returner is just blocking the ball back into play.

dlk
11-10-2010, 06:00 AM
I've not tried that, but maybe I will. you're saying just firmly stick racquet out & let momentum of serve send it back to server, so you're closer to the net?

Nor'easter
11-10-2010, 06:05 AM
Yes, that's the idea.

Has anybody else tried this?

Maui19
11-10-2010, 07:04 AM
Regarding looking at your partner, I think the answer is yes and no. If you look at your partner and someone were to freeze the action and ask you why you are looking at your partner, you should be able to give a specific reason. If you cannot, then you are looking out of habit and aren't playing good doubles.

The general answer is I don't want to be the last one on the court to know what my partner is doing with the ball. Specifically, there are some shots where having an extra 1/2 second to prepare myself can make the difference between winning and losing a point. If I see that my partner is in position to return the ball, then I don't really need to watch the shot. But if my partner is running to reach the ball, or is hitting it from his/her weaker side--well those are helpful things to know.

duketennisgal
11-10-2010, 07:27 AM
I have a big serve ... probably my only consistent weapon. However, if the woman is decent and can clearly handle herself I would not think twice about serving a heater to her.

Last season I had a 4.5 woman (I am a 4.0) stand about half way between the baseline and the service line on my first serve. No one stands there ... even the 5.0 guy I play with only rarely stands on the baseline and usually players are 2-4 feet behind the baseline.

Any who, I think she stood there because she thought a man would not hit big serves at a woman .... I immediately identified this as a mind game. After I hit her square in the chest twice on good serves she backed up.

So the moral to the story is this for me. I do not want the 5.0 guy to take it easy on me when we play. I would be offended if he did not do his best to serve up bagels. Likewise I assume that women do not want this either. I wont target them with volleys or overheads and I wont serve hard at them any more than I would a man ... but I also will not treat them as delicate flowers only to watch them take advantage of my good nature.

I'm a 4.5 woman and I move way in on my return if the guy has a really good serve, especially if they have a really good kick serve. The closer I stand the easier it is to take that ball before it kicks up too high or kicks out too wide. It's also much easier to block back the closer you stand.

Now if a guy just hits a hard flat serve I'll stand just behind the service line and take a cut at the ball, usually I can get around pretty well on a flat serve.

MNPlayer
11-10-2010, 08:00 AM
Yes, that's the idea.

Has anybody else tried this?

I stand in closer on guys who have good kick serves or who can hit angles consistently. Then I try to just chip it over with a short/no backswing. This can work pretty well in doubles particularly, you don't need a huge return and it takes time away from the server. Against big flat serves, I stand back. Against guys that can hit any serve they want at will, you're kind of screwed.

tennis tom
11-10-2010, 09:20 AM
If you look at your partner and someone were to freeze the action and ask you why you are looking at your partner, you should be able to give a specific reason. If you cannot, then you are looking out of habit and aren't playing good doubles.

For instance, our clinic pro taught covering high lobs by telling us to switch at net, go to the opposite T, and then have a look at our partner. If she is in trouble, continue fading back to the baseline. If she is in good shape, stay at net.

Still, I can tell when my partners are watching me when they shouldn't. I will be lining up an offensive shot, I'm about to hit the ball, and my partner is flat-footed at net, her head spun around looking at me. What information is she hoping to gather? How can she turn back around in time to observe the opposing net person *and* move to where she should be in reaction to my shot? Oy.


Sorry to have to break this to you Cindy but your pro is WRONG! You should be covering your own high lobs. The "YOURS" strategy may work at the club level (4.0 and below) but it's gonna' leave a gaping Grand Canyon for you opponents to hit into. So you're watching your partner and she appears to not be in trouble AND then she frames it and puts up a setter. Then you're in trouble!--you're a sitting duck. You can charge back to the baseline and then they'll drop-shot you. This strategy will not work in good tennis. Watch your pro play doubles with his peers and I bet he WON'T be doing this, he will be covering the high lobs on his side of the court.

As for looking back to watch your partner, good doubles players do this ALWAYS and it's a good habit. The purpose of it is to SEE what your partner has done with their shot. It gives you an instant extra to react--tennis is a game of instants. If your partner is "flat-footed" while watching you that's another problem and they're probably flat-footed whether they are watching you or not. The cardinal rule of any ball sport is: WATCH THE BALL!!!--even if you're not the one hitting it. Watching the ball at all times keeps you in rhythm with the point. It keeps your hands from getting "cold" if you haven't hit a ball in a while. It keeps your eyes focused when all the balls are going cross-court to your partner, who's in the retreat mode, a step from the showers. I'll bet you even in bowling, the guy sitting on the bench is intently watching as his opponent bowls.

If you're hitting, you shouldn't be seeing your partner observing you. You should be focused 100% on the ball, it's bounce and rotation. If you're seeing that your partner is flat-footed, you're also probably looking to where the open court is on the other side also--a sure fire formula for MISS-HITTING your shot. There is plenty of time for your partner to turn around after observing you, trust me, there's always plenty of time. The information your partner is trying to get is what you are doing with your return, which could be many different shots. Based upon what they see, they will make instantaneous conscious or subconscious decisions on how to react to your shot--hopefully not duck and cover or run for the hills.

Cindysphinx
11-10-2010, 09:53 AM
Sorry, Tom. You're wrong. Doubles teams need to know how to cover lobs in two ways: Smashing them, or switching. Even pros do not cover every lob with a smash. If the lob goes over the net player's head, then of course you will switch. The pro was teaching how this is done, as a whole lot of people do it badly (remaining at the net because they are unaware that their partner is struggling, or retreating even though their partner is in an offensive position).

I also think you are not correct that you should watch your partner hit for the sake of it. Really, you are not going to learn anything by watching me hit a routine rally ball.

But hey, go ahead and keep watching your opponent hit if you want. I'm playing 8.0 mixed with a really good 4.5 guy, and you know how often he watches me hit a routine shot? Pretty much never.

JRstriker12
11-10-2010, 10:19 AM
I just started playing tennis again after a 25 year hiatus. I played recreationally in high school and college--mostly just hitting with friends. Now I've moved into a community that has a tennis facility. So I started playing again, got a rating and joined some leagues. I'd never played doubles or on clay, but now I'm doing both.

I've played both mens and mixed matches, and enjoy it quite a bit. I am a little worried that I am clueless about some accepted behaviors during matches. For example, in my early mixed matches I tried to take it a easier when serving against the woman. After losing way too many points doing that, I decided to be an equal opportunity server. :wink: Then I see in another thread that some say it is uncool to serve a heater to a woman. Then other guys disagreed. So who knows.

I also see that it is considered bad to watch your partner hit the ball when you're at the net and he/she is at the baseline. Well, I find it helpful/lifesaving to see what my partner is up to. I did have one partner tell me not to watch her hit. I had to bite my lip not to tell her "then stop hitting those short low lobs to the net person!" :lol:

In matches, I am surprised how many people play with so little variety in their games, hitting baseline shots with the same pace and spin shot after shot. It became obvious to me pretty quickly that opponents weren't as consistent when I would vary the depth, spin and height of my shots. Same thing with serving. Not a lot of folks seem to vary speed and depth on their serves.

I got killed in one mens league doubles match. A few weeks afterward, I looked up the record of our opponents. The better player was something like 39-5 this year, with a ton of 2&1, 3&2 results. Apparently he has a reputation as being a sandbagger. How does a guy like that not get DQed? I didn't mind losing to him, because he was a much better player, and the results are going to be different next time. Hehehe But really--is league play fun for a guy like that?

There is some more stuff I've been wondering about, but I can't recall it now. Anyway, I'm am enjoying this message board, even though some of you are clearly insane. :)

1. Use your most effective serve against opponents regardless of gender. I think most women hate it when they feel like you're being condescending. I've never seen one of my mixed partners more ticked than when a guy hit a hard serve against me, then used an underhanded serve against her. If you can hit a effective heater, do it. If they don't like it, then they don't have to play mixed where they end up facing guys with big serves. It's fair play as long as you aren't aren't trying to hit them with the serve.

2. Watching your partner hit isn't a question of ettquite, it's a bad idea as far as playing doubles. You should be looking at the reaction of your opponents and trying to anticipate what they are going to do with the next shot so you can make your next move.

From Tennis.com: "Donít turn around and watch your partner hit the ball. By the time you turn around, if the net player has intercepted the ball, youíll have little opportunity to return a solid volley hit your way. Instead, watch the net person to see what kind of return it is. If he canít make a play, you can move forward and look to pick off a volley. If his eyes widen and you see him moving, you can better pre-pare yourself to defend and potentially get the ball back in play."
http://www.tennis.com/articles/templates/instruction.aspx?articleid=411&zoneid=15

If you cant trust your partner not to serve up a short ball, then get a new partner or play two-back.

3. Depends on who he played and who he beat. IIRC winning 3 and 2 or 2 and 1 is still considered competitive. If he lost those 5 matches to stronger teams, then that may have been enough to keep him from being DQ'ed. Keep in mind the difference between someone who is on the lower end of the NTRP and higher end can be fairly large. Does he enjoy going 39 and 5.... I bet he does. LOL!!!

tennis tom
11-10-2010, 10:59 AM
Doubles teams need to know how to cover lobs in two ways: Smashing them, or switching. Even pros do not cover every lob with a smash.


I also think you are not correct that you should watch your partner hit for the sake of it.


I was replying to your post where you only mentioned one way. Ideally you will be covering your own lob and "smashing" it. If you or a pro is switching you are in trouble and your opponents will be on the offensive.

As per watching your partner, watch any winning doubles team on the Tennis Channel and you will see what I'm saying.

This was already covered in a previous thread so I'm not going to keep covering the same old territory. If you've reached your pinnacle of tennis by being a 3.5 player, partnering with a 4.5, you can disregard this stuff as it is rather advanced and you won't need it to play at that level--to win, probably. But, if you ever aspire to compete in Age Group Tournaments it may come in handy.

Cindysphinx
11-10-2010, 11:10 AM
I was replying to your post where you only mentioned one way. Ideally you will be covering your own lob and "smashing" it. If you or a pro is switching you are in trouble and your opponents will be on the offensive.

This is simply not true.

Obviously, smashing is Plan A. If you are playing knuckleheads who keep giving you balls that are easily smashed, good for you.

Plan B is just as important as Plan A. For Plan B (switching), the deep player could be/should be on her way into the net. When my opponents lob my partner, I will hopefully be on my way in and will take that ball as an approach volley. I will do everything I can not to bounce it, because then I would be on the defense as you say. Then we will be two at net, assuming I didn't finish the point outright with my volley (if the deep player stays back, there is a lovely alley into which a solid volley can win the point).

There is *nothing* low level about handling a lob in this fashion (taking it as an approach volley). Every player who is 3.5 and up should practice this -- and it involves switching.

Ajtat411
11-10-2010, 12:05 PM
In perfect doubles tennis, each player covers his/her side of the court both back and front. Therefore everyone covers their own lobs whether it is an overhead or if it running back to retrieve. It is just that at the club level, many people switch because it is easier on the person at the net and not many club players have the footwork to backup for overhead or are fit enough to constiently run back to retrieve the ball. This is usually because the net person is not in the proper position (usually too close to the net) to smash/retrieve a deep lob.

The advantage of not switching on lobs is that you don't expose open areas of the court for your opponnet to hit and it just makes life a whole lot simpler on the court.

Gemini
11-10-2010, 12:54 PM
At my "level", I generally serve to the female at just about the same pace I serve to her male partner, but I tend to use an "85% of my ability serve with a premium on placement". If placed well, the male partner usually can't go on the offensive and the female partner either can't get back or hits more of a defensive ball that can be attacked.

Also, I almost never watch my partner hit the ball. I do tend to watch the ball cross the net into my court and sort of track it towards my partner. Once I've gauged where it's going, I immediately face forward (for the most part) again.

MNPlayer
11-10-2010, 01:11 PM
In perfect doubles tennis, each player covers his/her side of the court both back and front. Therefore everyone covers their own lobs whether it is an overhead or if it running back to retrieve. It is just that at the club level, many people switch because it is easier on the person at the net and not many club players have the footwork to backup for overhead or are fit enough to constiently run back to retrieve the ball. This is usually because the net person is not in the proper position (usually too close to the net) to smash/retrieve a deep lob.

The advantage of not switching on lobs is that you don't expose open areas of the court for your opponnet to hit and it just makes life a whole lot simpler on the court.

I totally disagree with this. The following alternative doubles theory is entirely stolen from my favorite teaching pro:

You should be moving to the ball constantly during doubles and almost never should both players be exactly even at the net - there is always a "weak" side player and a "strong" side player (the one closer to the ball). The strong side player should be closer to the net and takes most drives and volleys and the weak side pinches the middle and covers deep lobs. Obviously as the point progresses, you have to be moving constantly to maintain this configuration. If you keep both players even and a little off the net you are vulnerable both to a moderately good lob or drive. The strong-side-weak-side concept covers the maximum possible replies from your opponents. They are forced to hit either an extreme cross court angle or an extremely good lob (hard). This is just Wardlaw's directionals as applied to doubles.

Switches are a natural consequence of playing this way, and you see them all the time in the pro game. So I don't know why you think switching is particular to club players.

JRstriker12
11-10-2010, 01:38 PM
Switches are a natural consequence of playing this way, and you see them all the time in the pro game. So I don't know why you think switching is particular to club players.

Mostly agreed. But I'd also like to point out that when you have would class footwork and a 40-inch vertical and hours of overhead practice it probably makes it easier for the pros to cover lobs on their own sides.

Most of us rec players don't even have the footwork to move back for a lob properly (ie - running backwards) instead of crossing over then shuffling to get in position.

As for my vertical. You might fit a dollar bill under it - LOL!

So us average rec players will probably be switching more often.

MNPlayer
11-10-2010, 01:41 PM
Mostly agreed. But I'd also like to point out that when you have would class footwork and a 40-inch vertical and hours of overhead practice it probably makes it easier for the pros to cover lobs on their own sides.

Most of us rec players don't even have the footwork to move back for a lob properly (ie - running backwards) instead of crossing over then shuffling to get in position.

As for my vertical. You might fit a dollar bill under it - LOL!

So us average rec players will probably be switching more often.

Rec players also have lower quality lobs. So I'm not sure how it should break down :)

JRstriker12
11-10-2010, 01:52 PM
Rec players also have lower quality lobs. So I'm not sure how it should break down :)

The USTA is full of lob masters. I'd dare say 3.0 lob king/queens are highly deadly (at least according to these boards) ;)

dizzlmcwizzl
11-10-2010, 04:37 PM
Why not stand there to return serve? Not only are you gaining time on your return, the number of steps needed to get to net is now cut in half. This can be especially useful on chip and charge returns. I sometimes use this strategy against big servers and since I am considered to have a big serve opponents use it against me.

I did not say that strategy could not work, I only said very few ever do this when I am serving.

In this particular woman's case she clearly could not handle the hard flat serve. It ate her up and she had to move back. Now the strength of my serve should have been no surprise to her ... Her lack of ability to handle it suggested to me she had other motivation for doing so. Perhaps if she had been struggling on the return and chose to do this for a change of pace I migth have believed it was somehting other than a mind game.

dizzlmcwizzl
11-10-2010, 04:52 PM
It is just that at the club level, many people switch because it is easier on the person at the net and not many club players have the footwork to backup for overhead or are fit enough to constiently run back to retrieve the ball.

I disagree with this but not for the reasons mentioned so far. While pros certainly do lob ... I do not see it with nearly the frequency I do at our level.

In doubles in the ATP ... both teams usually get to the net quickly. The volleys are usually much crisper coming back so the is lob inherrently less effective and less used. Additionally a pro at the baseline knows his opponents can hit overheads if the lob is not pefectly struck leaving his partner (also a professional) exposed. Finally most pros would have a greater chance of success with a drive off the ground than hitting an offensive lob from a defensive position.

Putting this together it seems to me no wonder pro's rarely switch on lobs ... they dont see as many. When they do see them the other team is usually in a very defenisve position leaving plenty of time for a net player to take the lob even if it is deep in the court.

Contrast that with the club player, who can often times will be put in a one up - one back situation ... often times one of the opponents are also back. If you give your opponents soft volleys or ground strokes and you have one player attacking the net the smart play is to lob.

Quite simply rec players see more lobs and are more often in a position that switching is appropriate. While in a perfect world players would never need to switch because every lob could be attacked ... in practice this is simply not true.

Finally pros also switch when they have to. It just so happens they are so good they rarely need to.

tennis tom
11-11-2010, 09:31 AM
In perfect doubles tennis, each player covers his/her side of the court both back and front. Therefore everyone covers their own lobs whether it is an overhead or if it running back to retrieve. It is just that at the club level, many people switch because it is easier on the person at the net and not many club players have the footwork to backup for overhead or are fit enough to constiently run back to retrieve the ball. This is usually because the net person is not in the proper position (usually too close to the net) to smash/retrieve a deep lob.

The advantage of not switching on lobs is that you don't expose open areas of the court for your opponnet to hit and it just makes life a whole lot simpler on the court.

WELL SAID! I totally agree with this. When one player stands tight to the net, covering their tiny circle, the partner is forced to cover all the rest of the court, while trying to come to net--all at the same time. In doubles, the court expands with the addition of two alleys, becoming a considerably larger amount of real estate to cover. As players age, get arthritic and slow down, this becomes even more difficult to accomplish.

When the players are young, running around like chickens with their heads cut off while doing a Chinese fire drill looks flashy. When they start hobbling around it no longer looks or feels so great. I've seen players 70 and up who play quality tournament tennis, playing in tandem, hovering around the service line. This positioning allows little space to hit between them, it difficult to drop-shot or lob them. If it can be done, it will have to be a darn good shot! It's a shame how poorly tennis is taught today by "pros" who claim to be "professionals". Professional money grabbers is more like it.

Ajtat411
11-11-2010, 02:11 PM
I disagree with this but not for the reasons mentioned so far. While pros certainly do lob ... I do not see it with nearly the frequency I do at our level.

In doubles in the ATP ... both teams usually get to the net quickly. The volleys are usually much crisper coming back so the is lob inherrently less effective and less used. Additionally a pro at the baseline knows his opponents can hit overheads if the lob is not pefectly struck leaving his partner (also a professional) exposed. Finally most pros would have a greater chance of success with a drive off the ground than hitting an offensive lob from a defensive position.

Putting this together it seems to me no wonder pro's rarely switch on lobs ... they dont see as many. When they do see them the other team is usually in a very defenisve position leaving plenty of time for a net player to take the lob even if it is deep in the court.

Contrast that with the club player, who can often times will be put in a one up - one back situation ... often times one of the opponents are also back. If you give your opponents soft volleys or ground strokes and you have one player attacking the net the smart play is to lob.

Quite simply rec players see more lobs and are more often in a position that switching is appropriate. While in a perfect world players would never need to switch because every lob could be attacked ... in practice this is simply not true.

Finally pros also switch when they have to. It just so happens they are so good they rarely need to.

I agree that rec players see more lobs but this is mostly because they are either too close to the net or that their overhead is not strong. These are things that everyone can practice and fix to cut down on the number of times your team needs to switch. Practice better court positioning and overheads.

I don't think that a player that covers their own lobs needs to hit an overhead winner everytime. They can even dink it back over the net or they can just retrieve and hit a lob back over. This gives you the best chance at a 2-up scenario on your side without opening up your side of the court.

Ajtat411
11-11-2010, 02:18 PM
WELL SAID! I totally agree with this. When one player stands tight to the net, covering their tiny circle, the partner is forced to cover all the rest of the court, while trying to come to net--all at the same time. In doubles, the court expands with the addition of two alleys, becoming a considerably larger amount of real estate to cover. As players age, get arthritic and slow down, this becomes even more difficult to accomplish.

When the players are young, running around like chickens with their heads cut off while doing a Chinese fire drill looks flashy. When they start hobbling around it no longer looks or feels so great. I've seen players 70 and up who play quality tournament tennis, playing in tandem, hovering around the service line. This positioning allows little space to hit between them, it difficult to drop-shot or lob them. If it can be done, it will have to be a darn good shot! It's a shame how poorly tennis is taught today by "pros" who claim to be "professionals". Professional money grabbers is more like it.

I think the tendency is that, "pros", try to accomadate strategies to a particular person's skills and physical abilities. While this is fine, it does not mean it is the right strategy for all players.

If you have success with switching on lobs, then good for you. If not, then you may want to consider adjusting per the comments posted.

MNPlayer
11-12-2010, 06:04 AM
WELL SAID! I totally agree with this. When one player stands tight to the net, covering their tiny circle, the partner is forced to cover all the rest of the court, while trying to come to net--all at the same time. In doubles, the court expands with the addition of two alleys, becoming a considerably larger amount of real estate to cover. As players age, get arthritic and slow down, this becomes even more difficult to accomplish.

When the players are young, running around like chickens with their heads cut off while doing a Chinese fire drill looks flashy. When they start hobbling around it no longer looks or feels so great. I've seen players 70 and up who play quality tournament tennis, playing in tandem, hovering around the service line. This positioning allows little space to hit between them, it difficult to drop-shot or lob them. If it can be done, it will have to be a darn good shot! It's a shame how poorly tennis is taught today by "pros" who claim to be "professionals". Professional money grabbers is more like it.

Man, you sure are pessimistic. At reasonable rec levels (strong 4.0 and above) I often see pretty decent doubles played by young and old alike. Good doubles means MOVING constantly. If a decent doubles player sees his opponents hovering at the service line, which is called "no man's land" for a reason, he'll hit winners down the middle all day.

You are arguing that these players are just too old or not good enough to execute it, so they shouldn't even try. That has a certain logic, but some people like the challenge of learning to play better tennis, even if they are old.

MNPlayer
11-12-2010, 06:25 AM
I disagree with this but not for the reasons mentioned so far. While pros certainly do lob ... I do not see it with nearly the frequency I do at our level.

In doubles in the ATP ... both teams usually get to the net quickly. The volleys are usually much crisper coming back so the is lob inherrently less effective and less used. Additionally a pro at the baseline knows his opponents can hit overheads if the lob is not pefectly struck leaving his partner (also a professional) exposed. Finally most pros would have a greater chance of success with a drive off the ground than hitting an offensive lob from a defensive position.

Putting this together it seems to me no wonder pro's rarely switch on lobs ... they dont see as many. When they do see them the other team is usually in a very defenisve position leaving plenty of time for a net player to take the lob even if it is deep in the court.

Contrast that with the club player, who can often times will be put in a one up - one back situation ... often times one of the opponents are also back. If you give your opponents soft volleys or ground strokes and you have one player attacking the net the smart play is to lob.

Quite simply rec players see more lobs and are more often in a position that switching is appropriate. While in a perfect world players would never need to switch because every lob could be attacked ... in practice this is simply not true.

Finally pros also switch when they have to. It just so happens they are so good they rarely need to.

We must be watching different matches. :) In men's 4.0, if anything I think most guys lob too infrequently, not too much! There's one guy on my team that has an excellent topspin lob and it works great because nobody expects it. I recognize the lower levels and women's tennis tends to be different, that's where you see the endless lob wars. As you observed in contrast to the pros, that's mostly because of poor overheads. It seems like a lot of 4.0 and below women don't have really good overheads so the lob becomes a great strategy.

How can you say pros rarely switch? They switch all the time, often off a planned poach for example. Any poach, in fact often means a switch. They just do it so smoothly you hardly notice it. Another thing about the pros is that they have a lot more "set" plays. Because of the speed and skill at that level they have to plan ahead on each point and execute it nearly perfectly to win consistently. A lot of that planning involves poaching, switching, faking, etc to confuse the opponents.

tennis tom
11-12-2010, 08:37 AM
Man, you sure are pessimistic. If a decent doubles player sees his opponents hovering at the service line, which is called "no man's land" for a reason, he'll hit winners down the middle all day.



Yes, I'm very pessimistic, you got that one right! You have the definition of "no man's land wrong though". It's the space between the service line and the baseline, where a player is considered to be the most vulnerable. On the service line is where he will be the least vulnerable because it will be very difficult to drop-shot or lob him. If his partner is next to him, as he should be in quality doubles, then it will be very difficult to hit winners down the middle.

Yes we are seeing different matches, I'm watching Senior Age Group Tournament matches and Pro tournament matches.

You are making some broad generalizations about "switching" and fundamentals of doubles strategy. When doubles teams have to resort to whiz-bang unorthodox strategies, it's because they are desperate and have nothing to lose by changing a losing game.

I'm not saying you don't see such stuff ever, but only by players who don't understand the fundamentals of doubles or out of desperation.

I will stand by my premise that in quality, winning, doubles, the team that takes the "net" together (the space between the service line and the net, not right on top of the net) will win.
They will have effectively reduced their opponent's opportunities for angles, drop-shots and lobs.

Now, if they are 3.5/4.0 players, who don't possess sound fundamentals of stroke technique, (serves, volleys, BH, FH) as well as timing and footwork--then you can pretty much dodge around and do what-ever you want; that's a different game.

MNPlayer
11-12-2010, 09:06 AM
Yes, I'm very pessimistic, you got that one right! You have the definition of "no man's land wrong though". It's the space between the service line and the baseline, where a player is considered to be the most vulnerable. On the service line is where he will be the least vulnerable because it will be very difficult to drop-shot or lob him. If his partner is next to him, as he should be in quality doubles, then it will be very difficult to hit winners down the middle.

Yes we are seeing different matches, I'm watching Senior Age Group Tournament matches and Pro tournament matches.

You are making some broad generalizations about "switching" and fundamentals of doubles strategy. When doubles teams have to resort to whiz-bang unorthodox strategies, it's because they are desperate and have nothing to lose by changing a losing game.

I'm not saying you don't see such stuff ever, but only by players who don't understand the fundamentals of doubles or out of desperation.

I will stand by my premise that in quality, winning, doubles, the team that takes the "net" together (the space between the service line and the net, not right on top of the net) will win.
They will have effectively reduced their opponent's opportunities for angles, drop-shots and lobs.

Now, if they are 3.5/4.0 players, who don't possess sound fundamentals of stroke technique, (serves, volleys, BH, FH) as well as timing and footwork--then you can pretty much dodge around and do what-ever you want; that's a different game.

I'm not advocating "whiz-bang" strategies at all, and I'm not against 2-up doubles at all. It is of course possible to move around too much and some players do that, but I'm trying to make more subtle points about positioning than that. 2-up doubles *does not* mean standing shoulder to shoulder on the service line, no matter where the ball is!! What level of tennis do you actually play? It doesn't sound like you really understand what you are seeing. This is standard stuff I've been taught over the years and put into practice with some success in my own play.

All this talk about how teaching pros don't know what they are doing also bothers me. The teaching pro I got my best doubles advice from played pro futures for a while. He can play doubles against pretty much any rec players including 5.0 and beat them using exactly the techniques I describe. You think this is some kind of crazy anomaly?

MNPlayer
11-12-2010, 09:16 AM
On the service line is where he will be the least vulnerable because it will be very difficult to drop-shot or lob him.

This is like saying you should always stand in the middle of the court because it's hardest to pass you. But that ignores where the ball is! In doubles, just like singles, you have to move to the ball. With a partner, you can take away the net and the lob more effectively by staggering a little, the guy on the side where the ball is gets closer to the net. This is still 2-up doubles with both guys in front of the service line.

tennis tom
11-12-2010, 03:29 PM
What level of tennis do you actually play? It doesn't sound like you really understand what you are seeing.


All this talk about how teaching pros don't know what they are doing also bothers me. The teaching pro I got my best doubles advice from played pro futures for a while.


I'm actually only eight years old but very precocious, love tennis and messing on the internet. (joking)

Senior National Level 1 tournaments.

My coach, five years pro-tour, played Borg, Rosewall, etc., 30 years coaching. I should be charging you for this info, cost me a lot. I'm starting to think I'm hanging out at the wrong meaasge board. See ya'.

MNPlayer
11-12-2010, 09:28 PM
I'm actually only eight years old but very precocious, love tennis and messing on the internet. ya'.

That explains it.