PDA

View Full Version : "Just Start The Point Already" Doubles


Cindysphinx
11-30-2010, 09:12 AM
Now that the dust has settled on ratings, I'm mulling what I want to do differently for next year. I had an interesting experience over the weekend that perhaps provides a clue.

I was playing social doubles with 3.5/4.0 teammates. One lady in particular is notorious for making UEs. Can sometimes DF 3 times per service game in league matches. Lots of missed returns, especially if the serve has no pace. Misses sitters and overheads. Let's not even get into the sorts of ghastly UEs I can make. Several times this year, we have handed over matches on a silver platter.

She and I partnered for this social match, and I decided to suggest something before we started. I said, "Let's have a contract. We cannot miss more than one return of serve per service game. If I miss the first return from the deuce court, for example, then neither of us can miss again." She agreed.

And we proceeded to play the most solid match we have played all year. For most service games, we got all of our returns in play (even hitting a bad shot to the net person counts as "in play" because you still have a chance to win the point).

Now I find myself wondering if maybe I should play that way all the time. Rather than seek an advantage off of the serve, just hit a conservative return and Start The Point Already. And on service games, perhaps allow each partner one DF for the entire match.

How well would this work at the 3.5/4.0 level, do you think? It might be necessary to adjust and be more aggressive if the net player was active and good, but usually they are not.

jdubbs
11-30-2010, 09:19 AM
Now that the dust has settled on ratings, I'm mulling what I want to do differently for next year. I had an interesting experience over the weekend that perhaps provides a clue.

I was playing social doubles with 3.5/4.0 teammates. One lady in particular is notorious for making UEs. Can sometimes DF 3 times per service game in league matches. Lots of missed returns, especially if the serve has no pace. Misses sitters and overheads. Let's not even get into the sorts of ghastly UEs I can make. Several times this year, we have handed over matches on a silver platter.

She and I partnered for this social match, and I decided to suggest something before we started. I said, "Let's have a contract. We cannot miss more than one return of serve per service game. If I miss the first return from the deuce court, for example, then neither of us can miss again." She agreed.

And we proceeded to play the most solid match we have played all year. For most service games, we got all of our returns in play (even hitting a bad shot to the net person counts as "in play" because you still have a chance to win the point).

Now I find myself wondering if maybe I should play that way all the time. Rather than seek an advantage off of the serve, just hit a conservative return and Start The Point Already. And on service games, perhaps allow each partner one DF for the entire match.

How well would this work at the 3.5/4.0 level, do you think? It might be necessary to adjust and be more aggressive if the net player was active and good, but usually they are not.

I can definitely speak to this. It works at the 3.5 to low 4.0 level. Decent to good 4.0's will make you pay by either running you ragged or putting shots away or coming to the net for easy putaways.

As I was just getting back into tennis, I was pushing a lot of shots...the better 4.0's were beating me. Now I've developed a lot deeper, harder shots, and that helps me immensely.

r2473
11-30-2010, 09:22 AM
Pushing works great in singles. Usually not so well in doubles. But, it certainly beats UE's.

You didn't tell us how it worked for you this time. Did you win? Was it close(r)?

ohplease
11-30-2010, 09:28 AM
Will work against 3.5s and 4.0s with unreliable net coverage. Will get you killed against a decent net player or serve and volleyer.

But the basic philosophy is sound - take only enough risk to keep the serving team from hurting you. Against a good server with a rangy partner, that amount of risk will be pretty high.

jswinf
11-30-2010, 09:47 AM
It sounds like a good approach, but what's the enforcement if someone goes ahead and makes the second UE? Whipping? Something like strip poker?

rufusbgood
11-30-2010, 10:13 AM
It sounds like a good approach, but what's the enforcement if someone goes ahead and makes the second UE? Whipping? Something like strip poker?

Strip tennis! JSWINF, that's genius! Count me in as a spectator! Ladies 3.5 strip tennis! Should be easy to get sponsors too.

Cindysphinx
11-30-2010, 10:53 AM
Ha! I love it. Make an UE, remove one wristband. Make another, remove another. Then goes the ponytail holder. Then hair clips. Then headband.

Then the set would be over!! :)

And yes, we did win the set where we played like this. Then, because it was team practice, we switched sides and played a bit less well and lost the set and tiebreak. Still, that's better than blowing our own brains out like we usually do.

SweetH2O
11-30-2010, 11:04 AM
Still, that's better than blowing our own brains out like we usually do.

I would get so bored with playing that style of tennis that I would want to blow my brains out anyway.

I don't double fault that much, but if after one double I needed to be 100% on my second serves I would just be dinking serves in the box. Sometimes you just have to swing and learn from mistakes instead of being afraid of the mistakes.

Maui19
11-30-2010, 11:13 AM
I think someone said that at the 3.5/low 4.0 level far more matches are lost than are won. The number one thing is the get the ball in play. If that means pushing for some, so be it.

I have yet to figure out how to overcome a partner who's best shot is the UE. A lot of times, you have to manage your partner in addition to managing your own game. It sounds like you did a great job of doing this, and we rewarded for it. Great going.

rufusbgood
11-30-2010, 11:24 AM
http://i56.tinypic.com/2dulevc.jpg

Cindysphinx
11-30-2010, 11:44 AM
I would get so bored with playing that style of tennis that I would want to blow my brains out anyway.

I don't double fault that much, but if after one double I needed to be 100% on my second serves I would just be dinking serves in the box. Sometimes you just have to swing and learn from mistakes instead of being afraid of the mistakes.

I wouldn't have to dink serves to avoid DFs. I have plenty of matches where I DF 0-1 times. But I have had matches where I've DF 6-8 times.

At some point, I have to figure I've done all the learning I can do from mistakes. It's time to keep the ball in play, dang it.

I played a 4.0 lady in mixed recently. Both of us had 4.0 male partners, although her partner was considerably stronger than mine. And of course this lady was stronger than me. We lost -- maybe we won five games? Who can remember?

Anyway, I detected a pattern in how she played. She got her serves in, always. She got her returns in very often. She came to net and made ugly (technique-wise) volleys that stayed low. Her balls were always medium paced. And when we came in, she lobbed to one of the corners.

She was bumped up to 4.5.

MNPlayer
11-30-2010, 12:20 PM
I wouldn't have to dink serves to avoid DFs. I have plenty of matches where I DF 0-1 times. But I have had matches where I've DF 6-8 times.

At some point, I have to figure I've done all the learning I can do from mistakes. It's time to keep the ball in play, dang it.

I played a 4.0 lady in mixed recently. Both of us had 4.0 male partners, although her partner was considerably stronger than mine. And of course this lady was stronger than me. We lost -- maybe we won five games? Who can remember?

Anyway, I detected a pattern in how she played. She got her serves in, always. She got her returns in very often. She came to net and made ugly (technique-wise) volleys that stayed low. Her balls were always medium paced. And when we came in, she lobbed to one of the corners.

She was bumped up to 4.5.

Sounds like your opponent would be a good model for you, other than the ugly technique. I think doubles is basically a game of keeping the ball in long enough to get the other guys to miss or pop something up you can easily put away. It is very tough to hit winners in doubles unless they pop it up. Usually this happens in less than 4 shots.

I've historically had pretty good success in doubles because I have a naturally conservative tendency to hit a shot just good enough to keep the opponent from killing me (i.e. a neutral shot). I'm pretty aggressive with my positioning at net but not with how hard I hit. With a fairly consistent partner (who stayed back all the time, by the way), this was good enough to go undefeated at men's 3.5 for a couple seasons. Now as I play the stronger 4.0 players, the definition of a neutral shot has changed, my returns have to be lower and harder, serves have to be bigger, etc. And it really helps to have a partner that comes to net with me. But the principle remains the same.

PinkTennisNinja
11-30-2010, 12:20 PM
Now that the dust has settled on ratings, I'm mulling what I want to do differently for next year. I had an interesting experience over the weekend that perhaps provides a clue.

I was playing social doubles with 3.5/4.0 teammates. One lady in particular is notorious for making UEs. Can sometimes DF 3 times per service game in league matches. Lots of missed returns, especially if the serve has no pace. Misses sitters and overheads. Let's not even get into the sorts of ghastly UEs I can make. Several times this year, we have handed over matches on a silver platter.

She and I partnered for this social match, and I decided to suggest something before we started. I said, "Let's have a contract. We cannot miss more than one return of serve per service game. If I miss the first return from the deuce court, for example, then neither of us can miss again." She agreed.

And we proceeded to play the most solid match we have played all year. For most service games, we got all of our returns in play (even hitting a bad shot to the net person counts as "in play" because you still have a chance to win the point).

Now I find myself wondering if maybe I should play that way all the time. Rather than seek an advantage off of the serve, just hit a conservative return and Start The Point Already. And on service games, perhaps allow each partner one DF for the entire match.

How well would this work at the 3.5/4.0 level, do you think? It might be necessary to adjust and be more aggressive if the net player was active and good, but usually they are not.

Yay you've come back to doubles!! :)) It's funny that you posted this because I just played my first decent doubles match in a LONG time last night (since it's been singles season :( ) and I have thoroughly missed it! It was me and my partner (3.5 and 3.0) against two other 3.5s. On each side there was one person who went for winners and one who played to keep it in. I was the winner hitter and my partner was the one who kept it in. I'm normally very consistent with my winners. I don't have to paint the lines but I hit very hard and low and lots of slice and angles that it doesn't come back often. However I'm only consistent once I get into the point. I am the absolute worst at going for winners off the return haha. However at the beginning I normally wail a few at the net player and most scoot back and play both back so when I do return I don't have to worry about an aggressive net man. However my partner doesn't hit as hard as I do so the net man normally comes back up to put pressure on her. She either lobs it deep with no pace or cuts is short at an extreme angle where the net man can't get it and the server has to haul it up there. IMO all we're trying to do is keep it away from the net man on that first shot. That is normally the one most net women go for (at least around here) then you hear a lot of "Yours!" lol. So yes push/place that first one in and then go for the winners :) Oh and as far as DF go I allow myself 3 a set (has been my rule since the very beginning and has actually caught on with other girls). I never DF 3 times a set though. Normally it's once a set which I think is good.

MNPlayer
11-30-2010, 12:33 PM
Thinking about this a a little more, I think sometimes people confuse playing aggressively with hitting hard. In doubles, hitting hard is really a minor part of an aggressive game because you really can't use just pace to force errors against good players like you sometimes can in singles.

Here's what I think smart, aggressive doubles means:
1) come to net
2) move a lot, poach, etc
3) hit lobs and drop shots
4) place your serves well

None of this means hitting hard, but they are aggressive techniques because they can be risky. You might miss your serve wide, you might hit that lob 2 inches deep.

Conservative doubles (what I tend to do) means hitting down the middle almost all the time. Serve down the middle, return low down the middle. Force the opponent to play every ball. "Down the middle solves the riddle". DTL, wide serves, drop shots are hero shots. You either look awesome or like an idiot for trying it.

Thoughts?

r2473
11-30-2010, 12:49 PM
^^ That sounds about right MNplayer.

Doubles is an "aggressive game of angles and percentages", not a power game at all really. Singles players often fail miserably in doubles because they don't understand the court angles and just try to hit hard. A losing formula.

PinkTennisNinja
11-30-2010, 12:59 PM
^^ That sounds about right MNplayer.

Doubles is an "aggressive game of angles and percentages", not a power game at all really. Singles players often fail miserably in doubles because they don't understand the court angles and just try to hit hard. A losing formula.

I do agree with some of this. Doubles is about angles and percentages but just because you have those doesn't mean you can't have power too. I use placement and power. But I don't use that the whole time. It all depends on the situation. I can use drops and lobs and angles but I love my power. That is the one thing that really throws most of the women I play. That I can hit as hard as I do and still be consistent. However I do think I'm the only one in my area that plays like that :)

As a side note, I'm the bomb at doubles but I SUCK as singles :)

MNPlayer
11-30-2010, 02:50 PM
I do agree with some of this. Doubles is about angles and percentages but just because you have those doesn't mean you can't have power too. I use placement and power. But I don't use that the whole time. It all depends on the situation. I can use drops and lobs and angles but I love my power. That is the one thing that really throws most of the women I play. That I can hit as hard as I do and still be consistent. However I do think I'm the only one in my area that plays like that :)

As a side note, I'm the bomb at doubles but I SUCK as singles :)

Yeah it is kind of a balance of course. There is a level of consistent power above which I lose the ability to accurately place the ball, which is what I'm trying to avoid.

The power game is probably a little less common in the womens game, I can see it maybe working a little better. When I play mixed though, I often find that heavy spin is even tougher for female opponents.

SlapShot
11-30-2010, 03:18 PM
Thinking about this a a little more, I think sometimes people confuse playing aggressively with hitting hard. In doubles, hitting hard is really a minor part of an aggressive game because you really can't use just pace to force errors against good players like you sometimes can in singles.

Here's what I think smart, aggressive doubles means:
1) come to net
2) move a lot, poach, etc
3) hit lobs and drop shots
4) place your serves well

None of this means hitting hard, but they are aggressive techniques because they can be risky. You might miss your serve wide, you might hit that lob 2 inches deep.

Conservative doubles (what I tend to do) means hitting down the middle almost all the time. Serve down the middle, return low down the middle. Force the opponent to play every ball. "Down the middle solves the riddle". DTL, wide serves, drop shots are hero shots. You either look awesome or like an idiot for trying it.

Thoughts?

I don't think I'm allowed to chime in because I play goofy (read: hit it hard and play like a Neandrethal) doubles, but I do win a lot.

I hit hard, and prefer a partner that hits hard. That doesn't mean hit with reckless abandon, but rather someone who will take the offensive shot when it is given.

IMO, pace can still frazzle guys up through the 4.0 level if it's done at the right time and the right spot. If you rifle a forehand at me when I'm at net, but it's sitting up, it's going to come back and you're going to be put on defense. If, however, you rifle one low and flat, and I have to get it over the level of the net, that's a tough shot, angled or up the middle.

I will never fault a partner for missing an aggressive shot if it was the right play. I will fault them, however, if they play too conservative and cost us the point by not having the guts to take the shot when it is given to them.

For the record, I've played doubles with and against MNPlayer, and he is a solid doubles player with good shots. When we have played against each other, my strategy has been to force him to be more aggressive by being more aggressive myself, with mixed results.

kylebarendrick
11-30-2010, 04:23 PM
"Safe" and "Aggressive" have different meanings at different levels. Safe for a 3.0 generally means pushing. Safe at the pro level is Roddick's spinning forehand. I think everyone needs to have a good understanding of their "just get it in" shots as well as their more aggressive shots. The shots you use in a given match will depend a lot on your opponents. If you can win points with your safe shots, then by all means keep hitting them. But if your opponents are taking advantage of them then you'll need to try something else.

If your safe shots are good enough to win most of your matches, then you are a good candidate for playing at a higher level (where they won't be as effective).

Cindysphinx
11-30-2010, 07:14 PM
No, I mean 3 DFs *per game.* And she can still win at doubles because she only has to serve 1-2 times per set. Which seems to translate into winning at -3 and -4.

JavierLW
11-30-2010, 07:50 PM
Cough......Choke....Cough....A 3.5/4.0 player df 3 times in a service game? I don't know what league your playing in unless you did the math wrong.....ahhhh yes....maybe if you took the square root of your 3.5/4.0 player that might be more reflective of their true ability....
Maybe you should play first ball in and don't even keep score....

for what its worth

He's back.....

Douggo
12-01-2010, 08:47 AM
As silly as it sounds, I find it effective to remind myself throughout the match to get returns in and get serves in.

larry10s
12-01-2010, 10:55 AM
"Safe" and "Aggressive" have different meanings at different levels. Safe for a 3.0 generally means pushing. Safe at the pro level is Roddick's spinning forehand. I think everyone needs to have a good understanding of their "just get it in" shots as well as their more aggressive shots. The shots you use in a given match will depend a lot on your opponents. If you can win points with your safe shots, then by all means keep hitting them. But if your opponents are taking advantage of them then you'll need to try something else.

If your safe shots are good enough to win most of your matches, then you are a good candidate for playing at a higher level (where they won't be as effective).

serves dont have to be aces. returns dont have to be winners.
returning away from the net player and deep if server stays back or short and low if the server comes in is what you are striving for on the return
on serve its pick your target and serve it there.
safe does not = dink
quality shot hit with a controllable amount of pace/spin to a high percentage target.
usually errors occur because you are trying to do too much

Inner Game
12-01-2010, 01:49 PM
He's back.....

Did you miss me Junior?

stapletonj
12-01-2010, 02:56 PM
frankly, I think the better results are MOSTLY due to concentration on the shot (which your self imposed rules got both of you to do), not "pushing".....

BTW - That's not meant as an insult, I think it is a good thing.

Inner Game
12-01-2010, 06:20 PM
Cough......Choke....Cough....A 3.5/4.0 player df 3 times in a service game? I don't know what league your playing in unless you did the math wrong.....ahhhh yes....maybe if you took the square root of your 3.5/4.0 player that might be more reflective of their true ability....
Maybe you should play first ball in and don't even keep score....

for what its worth

Ken Honecker
12-02-2010, 05:23 AM
Heck I double faulted something like 6 times in a doubles game once and we still won it cause they couldn't return the ones that were in. I was on fire, and no I don't believe in second serves.

Fedace
12-06-2010, 08:13 AM
If you made a contract and did much better than your UE's are Clearly a Mental issue. so it goes to confidence, i think. so read Dr. Allen Fox's mental toughness book and you will be solid 4.0 player or better....

Cindysphinx
12-06-2010, 11:10 AM
"Lots of missed returns, especially if the serve has no pace. Misses sitters and overheads."

Clearly, this is not a 4.0 player. Missing no pace returns, sitters and overheads? Double faulting three times in a row? Hard to believe that you have to make a "pact" not to miss a return. Sounds more like 3.0 tennis to me. If you don't have a strong return then certainly "getting it back into the court" is a good strategy. Stay with that until you're more confident about playing aggressively. Consistency is always the first goal.

She is a newly-minted 4.0 player.