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Fedace
10-31-2011, 08:07 AM
To all you wonderful intelligent TW members whom i respect greatly. How would you and or do you compensate for older partner who lacks mobility in Doubles match ???
Ok, i play fairly high level doubles, 4.5 level. Even at this level, you sometimes end up with Older gentleman for your partner. I am talking about 55-65 years old. I am not a young gun either but definitely younger than that.

I played 2 matches in a row last weekend with this Older guy at pretty high level doubles. He is a new guy on the team. One of the first things he tells me before the match,,,,," I need you to cut off anything and everything in the Middle of the court, especially when i am serving " I sensed trouble right away but i told him ,,,,,,,"OK, i will try my best" :neutral:

Now i don't have trouble intercepting balls in the middle but his serve was NOT exactly Big,,,,if you know what i mean. Our opponents were hitting some returns in the middle but HUGE returns LOW. I find this tough to intercept,,,,,Sorry. and when i OVER-compensated, they would rip returns in my alley.

and the Gul of this older guy,,,,,"What are you doing ?? cover your Alley.." and i am like "What ???????????? I am trying to help you here":???:

How do you guys deal with or cover a Older guy whom Lacks Mobility and you are covering like 60-70% of the doubles court against 2 solid opponents ?

Thank you so much for you Input.:)

wihamilton
10-31-2011, 08:55 AM
Hey Fedace,

Waddup. I know exactly what you're dealing with. I frequently play doubles with a college teammate of mine, my dad (he's 72), and one of his tennis buddies (generally 50+ years old). Most of the time my college teammate and my dad team up to play me and my dad's friend.

Here's what me and my teammate do...

You need to be REALLY active at net. I'd recommend the I-Formation on the first serve, particularly if your opponents are teeing off on the ball. You have to give the returner something to think about. Make sure you're right on top of the net so you can create as many angles as possible and most shanks and mishits will go in.

If you don't play I, you should still poach regularly, and when you "stay" you should still be faking.

I'd also recommend you freelance a lot on the second serve. This is something Bob & Mike Bryan do all the time, and again, it's designed to throw off the returner and pick off a return here or there.

Don't worry about getting beat down the line, especially on the second serve. If he stays on you about that, tell him that Bob & Mike said to do it... tough to argue w/ that =)

Hope that helps!

- Will

LeeD
10-31-2011, 10:02 AM
How to compensate for a slower, lower level player?
You gotta try to be active, take the DTL winners, balanced out with a higher number of YOUR winning poaches.
If lousy player doesn't want to let those DTL's go for winners, then HE'd better up his game and cover both his wide shots and hit up the middle shots by hitting harder with more spin and placement.
No matter age, playing with a puffballer is NOT a good winning combination.

Fedace
10-31-2011, 10:27 AM
Hey Fedace,

Waddup. I know exactly what you're dealing with. I frequently play doubles with a college teammate of mine, my dad (he's 72), and one of his tennis buddies (generally 50+ years old). Most of the time my college teammate and my dad team up to play me and my dad's friend.

Here's what me and my teammate do...

You need to be REALLY active at net. I'd recommend the I-Formation on the first serve, particularly if your opponents are teeing off on the ball. You have to give the returner something to think about. Make sure you're right on top of the net so you can create as many angles as possible and most shanks and mishits will go in.

If you don't play I, you should still poach regularly, and when you "stay" you should still be faking.

I'd also recommend you freelance a lot on the second serve. This is something Bob & Mike Bryan do all the time, and again, it's designed to throw off the returner and pick off a return here or there.

Don't worry about getting beat down the line, especially on the second serve. If he stays on you about that, tell him that Bob & Mike said to do it... tough to argue w/ that =)

Hope that helps!

- Will


Will, you are truly the GOAT of all tennis advice and tips. Matts Wilander has nothing on you, my friend. :) This advice is so good, i almost feel like i owe you a fee......I think i am going to subscribe to your site NOW. Sorry, i haven't done so already. I will also recommend your site to all my friends.

Only one question is if i am really close to the net to cut off and poach everything, would that not open me up for the Lob returns ??? Crafty opponents will lob return,,,,no ?? How do you counter this ?
One other thing is that older guy i played with I might be afraid he might tag me in the HEAD,,,, if i do the I formation and crouch down in the middle of the court......:):???:

Fedace
10-31-2011, 10:29 AM
^^^ Oh and one other thing Will,,,is that sometimes when i am that active at net and jumping around on everything,,,i also make myself vunerable to injury. Last year, i was really active at net and poaching Alot and ,,One time i jumped to get the high backhand volley and landed on my right foot the wrong way and sprained it pretty bad......
took me out for 3 weeks.............

Ducker
10-31-2011, 10:38 AM
Im not Will but i think the lob shouldnt be a problem off the serve. Your partner should be able to get to the lob and at least lob it back if they lob you at net.

Fedace
10-31-2011, 10:41 AM
Im not Will but i think the lob shouldnt be a problem off the serve. Your partner should be able to get to the lob and at least lob it back if they lob you at net.

I know but this older guy doesn't move very well.:???:

wihamilton
10-31-2011, 12:05 PM
Will, you are truly the GOAT of all tennis advice and tips. Matts Wilander has nothing on you, my friend. :) This advice is so good, i almost feel like i owe you a fee......I think i am going to subscribe to your site NOW. Sorry, i haven't done so already. I will also recommend your site to all my friends.

Only one question is if i am really close to the net to cut off and poach everything, would that not open me up for the Lob returns ??? Crafty opponents will lob return,,,,no ?? How do you counter this ?
One other thing is that older guy i played with I might be afraid he might tag me in the HEAD,,,, if i do the I formation and crouch down in the middle of the court......:):???:

Thanks!

Yes, you'll open yourself up to the lob. But here's the thing - don't worry about being vulnerable to a particular shot because you can't cover every shot. So you want to cover what's most likely. If you get beat by a low-percentage shot from time to time it's no biggie.

If your opponent starts lobbing you, that's awesome because it means you've forced him to change up his game plan. You're dictating play. He's reacting. If the lob is working, hang back occasionally and you'll be in perfect position to hit an overhead.

The main thing is you can't just stand there at net when your partner is serving. That gives your opponents carte blanche to wail away.

^^^ Oh and one other thing Will,,,is that sometimes when i am that active at net and jumping around on everything,,,i also make myself vunerable to injury. Last year, i was really active at net and poaching Alot and ,,One time i jumped to get the high backhand volley and landed on my right foot the wrong way and sprained it pretty bad......
took me out for 3 weeks.............

Yikes that's no good! I've found a high-quality warm up really reduces your risk of injury. Also, I've recently started Pilates and it's had an awesome impact on my game. Generally much more flexible now, which means I can swing more freely and have better command of the racket.

- Will

LeeD
10-31-2011, 12:18 PM
So now you're gonna try to win with a lame weak, soft hitting partner who can't move, YOU can't move quickly, he's forcing you to poach AND cover your own DTL shots, right?
Give up now!
You're injury prone, you can't move that quickly.
He's not able to hold his own court.
He hits soft and weak, so you have nothing to poach off of.
Give it up, find a stronger partner.

Fedace
10-31-2011, 12:42 PM
So now you're gonna try to win with a lame weak, soft hitting partner who can't move, YOU can't move quickly, he's forcing you to poach AND cover your own DTL shots, right?
Give up now!
You're injury prone, you can't move that quickly.
He's not able to hold his own court.
He hits soft and weak, so you have nothing to poach off of.
Give it up, find a stronger partner.

I don't play with this old man all the time. in our team, we change partners often. but mark of a good player is being able to Win with weaker older partner as well. Sure, if you play with 30-35 year old that can rip 90 + MPH serves all the time, its easy then. I can Poach offf that serve all Day and night.
Even in doubles, Court positioning and being able to anticipate you opponent's move is Critical to winning. and that is usually the difference between winning and losing. and if your partner is putting in 50 mph serve, up the middle all the time and ask you to cover 60-70 % of the court,,,,,you can't anticipate much of anything...

Off The Wall
10-31-2011, 12:49 PM
So, what can old guy do?

Fedace
10-31-2011, 12:53 PM
So, what can old guy do?

I think for older gentleman, it really helps to have pinpoint accuracy on the serves and change up placement on the serves.
Also develop a Great offensive lob. volley deep and consistant. and hit some dipping angle passing shots.

wihamilton
10-31-2011, 12:57 PM
So, what can old guy do?

Short low volleys are also sneakily effective, particular when directed to the backhand. Many players struggle moving forward and hitting low backhands.

Off The Wall
10-31-2011, 01:06 PM
I mean, what does your particular old guy do? Especially when he's serving. But, also when receiving.

Larrysümmers
10-31-2011, 01:27 PM
I would play every point SV. It sounds like you almost have to if your partner is that slow. He can serve and shuffle to the net and hope that the return goes to you, or a return that he can easily reach.

wihamilton
10-31-2011, 01:51 PM
I mean, what does your particular old guy do? Especially when he's serving. But, also when receiving.

Goal #1 is for the net guy (young guy) to pick off the return. For example, Bob & Mike Bryan only hit about 15 first volleys per match... maybe less. That's crazy. But the net guy can do so much more w/ the ball because he's right on top of the net - it's just a much more aggressive position to be in.

If the return goes to the server, the goal is to volley it back deep (and low if possible) w/ out creating an angle for the returner to work with. In other words, hit your first volley so that your opponents have to hit through or over you. Don't give them a window and some open court via an angle.

Fedace
10-31-2011, 03:42 PM
Goal #1 is for the net guy (young guy) to pick off the return. For example, Bob & Mike Bryan only hit about 15 first volleys per match... maybe less. That's crazy. But the net guy can do so much more w/ the ball because he's right on top of the net - it's just a much more aggressive position to be in.

If the return goes to the server, the goal is to volley it back deep (and low if possible) w/ out creating an angle for the returner to work with. In other words, hit your first volley so that your opponents have to hit through or over you. Don't give them a window and some open court via an angle.

Ok, i played Twice with older gentleman and lost Both matches. Only thing is Looking back,,,i did try to help him out by cutting off anything and everything up the middle,,,,even the Rocket returns. but i stopped about middle of the 1st set. Reason is this.
my opponents saw that i was overplaying the middle and shading more to the middle to play more of the court like 60-65% of the court to start. and they were no fools and had very good control of their shots. They hit couple of rockets into my alley for clean winners. and this ungrateful older guy said,,,"what are you doing ?? Watch you alley"..........urrrrrrr......:???:

So i became even More cautious and stopped being aggressive and we ended up losing the match.

Will, only thing is when i become this Ultra Agressive at net, i tend to make more errors and sometimes even get caught out of position. I think the thing to do is not to let this deterr you and continue to go for it. but When your Ungrateful partner starts to get Negative, this is impossible.

One other thing is that i use and expand much more energy than usual, and i can get tired if the match goes deep 3 sets.

dennis10is
10-31-2011, 06:08 PM
To all you wonderful intelligent TW members whom i respect greatly. How would you and or do you compensate for older partner who lacks mobility in Doubles match ???
Ok, i play fairly high level doubles, 4.5 level. Even at this level, you sometimes end up with Older gentleman for your partner. I am talking about 55-65 years old. I am not a young gun either but definitely younger than that.

I played 2 matches in a row last weekend with this Older guy at pretty high level doubles. He is a new guy on the team. One of the first things he tells me before the match,,,,," I need you to cut off anything and everything in the Middle of the court, especially when i am serving " I sensed trouble right away but i told him ,,,,,,,"OK, i will try my best" :neutral:

Now i don't have trouble intercepting balls in the middle but his serve was NOT exactly Big,,,,if you know what i mean. Our opponents were hitting some returns in the middle but HUGE returns LOW. I find this tough to intercept,,,,,Sorry. and when i OVER-compensated, they would rip returns in my alley.

and the Gul of this older guy,,,,,"What are you doing ?? cover your Alley.." and i am like "What ???????????? I am trying to help you here":???:

How do you guys deal with or cover a Older guy whom Lacks Mobility and you are covering like 60-70% of the doubles court against 2 solid opponents ?

Thank you so much for you Input.:)

List the posters that you think are intelligent and you respect, so that we are clear.

Off The Wall
10-31-2011, 06:58 PM
Ok, i played Twice with older gentleman and lost Both matches. Only thing is Looking back,,,i did try to help him out by cutting off anything and everything up the middle,,,,even the Rocket returns. but i stopped about middle of the 1st set. Reason is this.
my opponents saw that i was overplaying the middle and shading more to the middle to play more of the court like 60-65% of the court to start. and they were no fools and had very good control of their shots. They hit couple of rockets into my alley for clean winners. and this ungrateful older guy said,,,"what are you doing ?? Watch you alley"..........urrrrrrr......:???:

So i became even More cautious and stopped being aggressive and we ended up losing the match.

Will, only thing is when i become this Ultra Agressive at net, i tend to make more errors and sometimes even get caught out of position. I think the thing to do is not to let this deterr you and continue to go for it. but When your Ungrateful partner starts to get Negative, this is impossible.

One other thing is that i use and expand much more energy than usual, and i can get tired if the match goes deep 3 sets.

The reason I ask if old guy can do anything, like keep a rally going or sneak into the net, or make plays that make the other team work, is maybe you can take away 60% of the court and "guide" the ball to your old guy, who would find sneaky ways of getting you into the point.

To do that, you'd want to stand as close to the center as possible and still look like you're covering your alley. To discourage lobs, stand back a couple of steps to show them you're expecting to cover a lob. Your opponents should just hit safely CC to your partner's FH.

Will's ideas are great, but if you don't have the energy... Still, incorporate what you can from him.

Fedace
10-31-2011, 07:22 PM
The reason I ask if old guy can do anything, like keep a rally going or sneak into the net, or make plays that make the other team work, is maybe you can take away 60% of the court and "guide" the ball to your old guy, who would find sneaky ways of getting you into the point.

To do that, you'd want to stand as close to the center as possible and still look like you're covering your alley. To discourage lobs, stand back a couple of steps to show them you're expecting to cover a lob. Your opponents should just hit safely CC to your partner's FH.

Will's ideas are great, but if you don't have the energy... Still, incorporate what you can from him.

how do you get real close to center and yet still look like you are covering the alley ?:confused::confused:

Off The Wall
10-31-2011, 07:42 PM
how do you get real close to center and yet still look like you are covering the alley ?:confused::confused:

Basically, the middle of the box. You can usually see a lob coming, so if you don't, more forward.

If the ball gets by you CC, it will go to your partner's FH. (I hope that's okay. Otherwise, it's big trouble.)

Most returns DTL will be FHs. If you see the server go to their FH, slide over. (Normal stuff.)

5263
10-31-2011, 07:46 PM
Goal #1 is for the net guy (young guy) to pick off the return. For example, Bob & Mike Bryan only hit about 15 first volleys per match... maybe less. That's crazy. But the net guy can do so much more w/ the ball because he's right on top of the net - it's just a much more aggressive position to be in.
.

Little ambitious here IMO. Bob and Mike both serve bombs and often get pretty good looks at net. They also have a pretty good idea what kind of rtn each serve location is going to illicit. Fedace has none of these advantages with his old partner. You can be sure he is like a deer in headlights trying to volley the rtns off this old guys serves.

If the old guy can place his serves, call the location for him and this will help you to favor middle or dtl coverage. If he can't the only thing you can really do is go 2 back, which really makes sense if the server can not do any damage with spin or pace. The only reason you have a netman when serving is to punish mistakes forced by good serves and augment his good serves effectiveness with fakes. No need for a net man if the serves don't force mistakes and less reason if his serves are almost a set up for the returners. From the back position you can really help him cover and often throw off the returners oddly enough, but you must realize that you have to cover the drop shot as well.
It's your only shot in this case.

Fedace
10-31-2011, 07:50 PM
Basically, the middle of the box. You can usually see a lob coming, so if you don't, more forward.

If the ball gets by you CC, it will go to your partner's FH. (I hope that's okay. Otherwise, it's big trouble.)

Most returns DTL will be FHs. If you see the server go to their FH, slide over. (Normal stuff.)

I know what you mean by forehand return going in the alley. but in my last match,,,this guy ripped 2 backhands off the return into my alley for clean winners. This is off Lefty slider serve up the middle to his backhand. Normally, this is a good serve but this guy serves like 50 MPH at best so it was not a difficult backhand for him.

wihamilton
10-31-2011, 09:17 PM
Little ambitious here IMO. Bob and Mike both serve bombs and often get pretty good looks at net. They also have a pretty good idea what kind of rtn each serve location is going to illicit. Fedace has none of these advantages with his old partner. You can be sure he is like a deer in headlights trying to volley the rtns off this old guys serves.

If the old guy can place his serves, call the location for him and this will help you to favor middle or dtl coverage. If he can't the only thing you can really do is go 2 back, which really makes sense if the server can not do any damage with spin or pace. The only reason you have a netman when serving is to punish mistakes forced by good serves and augment his good serves effectiveness with fakes. No need for a net man if the serves don't force mistakes and less reason if his serves are almost a set up for the returners. From the back position you can really help him cover and often throw off the returners oddly enough, but you must realize that you have to cover the drop shot as well.
It's your only shot in this case.

It was fun and interesting working w/ Bob & Mike because they do some things that aren't obvious or intuitive. For example, the net man is extremely aggressive on second serves (they refer to it as freelancing) - always trying to pick off the return. This is something that isn't communicated... the net guy just goes if he thinks he has a shot at the return.

Why do they do this?

Because despite the fact that their opponents are blasting most second serve returns, they still stand a better chance of winning the point if the net guy hits the volley. He's closer to net, the ball is higher, more angles, etc. If the server has to hit that first volley... bad news.

So it stands to reason that the same aggressive philosophy, when executed properly, will work at the recreational level.

- Will

P.S. Not a fan of two back in this situation. IMO, it's too reactive and too easy to exploit, especially if your partner has a weak serve. Obviously there are exceptions based on the caliber of return you're facing, but as a general rule I'm not feelin' it.

TennisCJC
11-02-2011, 10:42 AM
If guy hits 50 mph lefty slice, he is likely not a 4.5 player unless he has another amazing strength to offset this weakness. I currently play around 4.0-4.5 singles and doubles in leauges. Most 2nd serves are significantly faster than 50 mph at his level.

I suggest the only thing you can do is try to be as aggressive as reasonable. Play off his serve - if he serves wide, just step straight in to close net a bit but don't close mid as this exposes DTL. He he serves body or down mid, step in and toward mid to crowd middle.

Split step just before returner contacts ball so you can explode to pick off as many weak or neutral returns as you can.

Also, consider planned plays. Call a poach will you go 100% across and he switches to cover behind you.

Also, mix it up. Play Australian if returner is grooved on CC return.

Be patient because if he is throwing 50 mph serves in at 4.5 level, it is going to be a long day unless he has very, very wicked spin on the ball.

5263
11-03-2011, 02:27 PM
- Will

P.S. Not a fan of two back in this situation. IMO, it's too reactive and too easy to exploit, especially if your partner has a weak serve. Obviously there are exceptions based on the caliber of return you're facing, but as a general rule I'm not feelin' it.

I'm not a fan of 2 back either, but if the guy is floating in 50 mph serves, it's all you've got. I think you could put both Bryan bros at net and they will get hurt with a good returner on these serves. ( yes, slight exaggeration , but I'd like to give it a shot )

Fedace
11-04-2011, 02:50 AM
I'm not a fan of 2 back either, but if the guy is floating in 50 mph serves, it's all you've got. I think you could put both Bryan bros at net and they will get hurt with a good returner on these serves. ( yes, slight exaggeration , but I'd like to give it a shot )

I can reflex back any bullet returns. It is the big return up the middle and low, i can't really cut off. but gul of this guy asking me to cut all of those off. and he would rag on me if i miss some of those.

wihamilton
11-04-2011, 08:19 AM
I can reflex back any bullet returns. It is the big return up the middle and low, i can't really cut off. but gul of this guy asking me to cut all of those off. and he would rag on me if i miss some of those.

I would just tell the guy you can either move a lot (making his life easier) but sometimes you'll get beat, or you can stay put and let him hit a bunch of tough first volleys. If he's being that difficult just let him decide.

If you want to gently nudge him in a particular direction, say that Bob & Mike do the former and they get beat frequently, but in the long run they end up ahead =)

LeeD
11-04-2011, 11:31 AM
Fedace...
Your old fart demanded that you cut off all up the middle returns. You are now free to miss as many as you want.
If he wants you to be perfect, tell him to ask one of the Bryan bros to be his partner next set.

Fedace
11-04-2011, 08:28 PM
Fedace...
Your old fart demanded that you cut off all up the middle returns. You are now free to miss as many as you want.
If he wants you to be perfect, tell him to ask one of the Bryan bros to be his partner next set.

You are Awsome. I might just tell him that...:)

Fedace
11-04-2011, 08:31 PM
I would just tell the guy you can either move a lot (making his life easier) but sometimes you'll get beat, or you can stay put and let him hit a bunch of tough first volleys. If he's being that difficult just let him decide.

If you want to gently nudge him in a particular direction, say that Bob & Mike do the former and they get beat frequently, but in the long run they end up ahead =)

Problem with this old guy is that he doesn't understand his Young Glory days are well behind him. and his level has fallen off significantly. but his brain is still living in the glory days and want to play at 4.5 level. but i painfully saw that he is NO longer 4.5. I am not sure if he is a solid 4.0 even ???:???: Some people just Can't accept the fact that they have gotten OLD and their level isn't what it Used to be.............

Ryoma
11-05-2011, 12:01 AM
Play it as if it's a single match. That's pretty much the only way to survive. In my club, the men's night is double night round robin. You partner up with each player. With this format, the result are usually dictated by the weakest link. There is pretty much nothing you can do if you bomb first serves generating weak returns and your partner pouch all of them into the net.

So what I try to do is avoid letting my partner touch the ball. Not hogging the ball, though. For example, serve out wide on the ad court and control the point with aggressive inside out forehands forcing the opponent to hit the ball up, and coming in to the net.

inside out forehands => inside out forehand approach => poach down the line to the feet => overhead down the line => poach down the line finish

So basically you force you opponent to set you up to kill their net man.

Bud
11-05-2011, 12:11 AM
Park them close to the net on whatever is their better side and you cover everything else, including lobs. If they suck at the net, then you're basically screwed.

If the weaker partner is serving, use the I-formation and always go for the cross court poach if the serve is to the receiver's BH and the DTL poach if served to the FH (very few people below 4.5 can hit a consistent BH return DTL). Then, tell your partner to try and cover the opposite baseline behind your poach attempt. As quickly as possible or feasible, have your weaker partner move in to park themselves at the net.

In this situation, I'll always play one up one back (me always back covering 75% of the court) and only approach the net if I make a really strong approach shot. I'll then prepare for volley or a defensive lob from my approach.

I'll also use the above tactics if I'm partnering with a woman (who is 4.5 or below) versus two guys who are 4.0 or above. I can really identify with your issue Fedace as I play the challenge court 2-3 times per week at Balboa and my partner can run the gamut from open player to ancient / old guy to woman.

halalula1234
11-06-2011, 03:36 AM
i cant do much....i just try my best to smile and enjoy the game...thers no much you can do really.