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View Full Version : Little things n Doubles


5263
12-08-2012, 07:36 PM
Like to hear of little things that have a big effect in doubles play.

I have a couple to mention that I have not heard mentioned.
1st one=
Like when you are in the deuce ct hitting a mid ct Fh and your partner, who
tends to hang in NMsL around the svc line, ends up right in line with your contact
point...and he decides to make a quick move to "somewhere" right as you are
swinging to contact. Not sure why they have to hang in NMsL, but at least they
could stay still during your shot when they are right on the visual path of your
contact point.
And where the heck are they going anyway????
They have no read to go on and don't know where you are hitting yet... so
where are they going in such a darned hurry as you try to focus on sweet spot
contact for your shot??
Wonder how many shots are poorly hit or missed due to this, without players
even knowing what happened?
Hope to see SA comment if he has ever noticed this, as it interesting how the
depth and speed perception is affected by movement of references in the direct
background.

VeeSe
12-08-2012, 09:00 PM
I've never been bothered by this.

LeeD
12-09-2012, 10:00 AM
Since you are predominantly going CC on your shot, he can only be in front of your target if he made an unsuccessful poach attempt and landed in your court.
If he's half way into your court, he should continue on and you switch after your shot.
If he's by the center line, he should retreat immediately back to his side of the middle center of his service box, allowing you to maintain alignment and you to hit CC.

LeeD
12-09-2012, 10:01 AM
Oh, if he's just a doubles partner and not your g/f, crush it into his upper back.

Off The Wall
12-09-2012, 10:20 AM
I think it makes more sense if you're hitting your shot from the ad side (for righties). Is that what you meant? Or is LeeD's take accurate?

LeeD
12-09-2012, 10:31 AM
LeeD faces this quite often because the level of tennis at our RoseGarden courts have dropped sharply in the last 3 years, going from a high 5 years ago around 4.5 average doubles to a now low 3.8 with ONE 4.5 level doubles player, who totally dominates. Not me.
Often, ball hit up the middle and past the netperson, the netperson stays one step towards the center, to take away his partner's sharp angle CC shot into the alley, forcing him to hit up the middle, where the opposing netman is headed ready to volley away the center ball.
That netperson, of course, just can't move quick enough, and should be playing in the old fart's games, and not against 4.0's.
Yes, I have hit one old fart in the face with a super slow sliced forehand short ball, trying to draw the opponent IN. My partner was standing astride the center line, service line deep, on my side as I hit a lefty slice from the middle of the court.

Nostradamus
12-09-2012, 10:32 AM
if it is a young girl I like then I would not. I want a chance to be able to makeout afterwards

sureshs
12-09-2012, 10:52 AM
Someone is talking in the third person.

5263
12-09-2012, 10:24 PM
I think it makes more sense if you're hitting your shot from the ad side (for righties). Is that what you meant? Or is LeeD's take accurate? Yes,
Hitting from ad ct as a righty on a shorter ball where you step inside the BL. Your
partner is on his...the deuce side, but hanging back a bit closer to the svc line.

I'm thinking Lee is missing the point. It's not so much about hitting him,
although that can play into it depending on where he moves to, but more
about him being a primary reference in your line of sight as related to the contact
point. As the ball is approaching the contact point, your brain is using the items
in the immediate background as reference to the balls path and speed. If the
partner is directly in that line of sight and becomes a reference with a poorly
timed movement, then it can affect you timing to a greater or lesser extent.
I expect many have had shots affected and not been aware of what the cause
was.

5263
12-09-2012, 10:31 PM
I've never been bothered by this.

At least that you know of :neutral:

anubis
12-10-2012, 05:12 AM
One of the "little things " in doubles that I find is that I, being primarily a singles player, still has a lot to learn about getting the ball back over the net. Shots that would be "awesome" in singles are at best, "just OK" in doubles, and at worst, easy targets for an aggressive net player.

accuracy is so much more important in doubles than in singles IMO. In singles, sometimes you just have to get the ball back by any means necessary, including a low shot, 1 foot over the net, right down the middle.

but in doubles, you have to be mindful of where you're hitting the ball at all times. there's always 50% of the court that you simply can't hit the ball to, otherwise it's going to get pummeled. You either have to be able to always hit CC, or hit DTL -- but you have to make up your mind and stick to it.

"just getting the ball back" in doubles isn't enough, and can cost you many points.

I think its good for singles players to play a lot of doubles: it can teach you control through necessity.

86golf
12-10-2012, 06:10 AM
What was your second one ? bc I don't get your first one, unless your left handed. If you are right handed, your contact is to your side and your only attention might be to your opposing net player. This scenario to me is a cookie cutter rip right over the net strap. I have no concern what my partner doing or not doing.

The biggest one I see is whether you or your partner have a tendency to cross and come back. I always make it clear that I cross and stay.

Like to hear of little things that have a big effect in doubles play.

I have a couple to mention that I have not heard mentioned.
1st one=
Like when you are in the deuce ct hitting a mid ct Fh and your partner, who
tends to hang in NMsL around the svc line, ends up right in line with your contact
point...and he decides to make a quick move to "somewhere" right as you are
swinging to contact. Not sure why they have to hang in NMsL, but at least they
could stay still during your shot when they are right on the visual path of your
contact point.
And where the heck are they going anyway????
They have no read to go on and don't know where you are hitting yet... so
where are they going in such a darned hurry as you try to focus on sweet spot
contact for your shot??
Wonder how many shots are poorly hit or missed due to this, without players
even knowing what happened?
Hope to see SA comment if he has ever noticed this, as it interesting how the
depth and speed perception is affected by movement of references in the direct
background.

Dave M
12-10-2012, 10:09 AM
At least that you know of :neutral:

He s the only one who would know if it bothered them or not?

I think i see what you meant by the OP but unless you communicate it to your patner that you find it off putting they probably think they are doing something more lke distracting your opponent than you.

LeeD
12-10-2012, 01:02 PM
When you play tennis, you concentrate on the incoming ball, get ready to hit it, and KNOW where your opponent's court is, so you don't need to look up before hitting the ball.
If your partner is standing between your contact point and your target, you should NOT be aware of it, and you should just hit your shot normal.
AFTER the point is over, tell him to continue to the switched position.

5263
12-10-2012, 02:03 PM
He s the only one who would know if it bothered them or not?
.

Maybe you are right, but just because they don't realize it, does not mean it
didn't impact the quality of their shot. I'd been playing and instructing for
years before I picked up on this, but have been able to share it with a couple
of students who were able to see the effect. They confirmed that in the past,
they not had a clue about how this, but after playing around with it, found it
quite helpful to them and their partner make adjustments to acct for it.

Just because you don't know why you mis-timed or misjudged a shot, does
not mean there is not cause that can be corrected.
This is somewhat like players who have trouble serving at nite due to toss
being up in the dark with little to know reference; but in this case, you have
a reference that moves and fools you.

5263
12-10-2012, 02:08 PM
When you play tennis, you concentrate on the incoming ball, get ready to hit it, and KNOW where your opponent's court is, so you don't need to look up before hitting the ball.

Not talking about looking up Lee...talking about tracking the ball into the
contact point with your partner being the background and primary visual
reference for speed of the incoming ball. If he moves at the wrong time, he
will affect your ability to judge the approach of the ball and possibly distract
as well.

5263
12-10-2012, 02:19 PM
What was your second one ? bc I don't get your first one, unless your left handed. If you are right handed, your contact is to your side and your only attention might be to your opposing net player.

Can you explain how- with your contact to your side, you have your attention on the
opposing net player who is in front?
Shouldn't your attention be on your contact point as you hit the ball?
and how would a lefty in the ad court hitting a Fh be distracted by a player
in the deuce court???

Either way though....my contact point is more in front than to the side, so
this is all about the line of sight, directly beyond the contact point....which
optimally would be a background of stationary things vs things that are moving
and distracting.
If something does move during my swing, it SHOULD be the opponent in an
effort to improve his position and not my partner imo. If someone has a reason
he should be moving during my stroke, I'm interested.

LeeD
12-10-2012, 02:34 PM
Basically, your partner made a MISTAKE, by moving to center and not hitting the ball. So, after the end of the point, tell him to either keep moving to your side of the service court, or move back to his side, if he can change directions.
Whether he blocks your view or reference point doesn't matter, he made the mistake of standing in the path of the ball. A mistake is just that, a mistake.
Yes, it can bother you. Yes, he made the mistake. And yes, you can always lob over his head...either his or your opponent's netman's.

5263
12-10-2012, 02:52 PM
Wow...
this seems to be a tougher concept for folks to get than I expected.
Here is an example that might help.

You are sitting still in your car with a car beside you at an intesection.
All of the sudden, it seems like are starting to roll forward into traffic
or something.....

but it was just the car beside you starting to roll back up for some reason and
since they were your stationary reference for a moment, it made you feel
like you were moving forward. This actually happens to pilots in their cockpit at the
gates at the airport alot. The big plane next to you starts to move and you feel
like your plane is going to roll into the terminal for a second there.
It would take far less of this effect to throw off the timing of your shot in a
situation something like this.
My bigger point is they shouldn't be moving anyway that I can see, and imo
it shows they are jumping the gun with their positioning.

5263
12-10-2012, 03:06 PM
What was your second one ?

Here is another that is related at times. When you call you have a ball in the
middle, but they continue to move in with their racket back as you make
your stroke.

Imo, once it's called...get out of the way and be ready to cover some court
after the ball is returned. Don't stand there breathing on the hitter...only to
be out of position for the next shot.

ZMaster
12-10-2012, 03:12 PM
If I am at net and I poach and miss and I am at the center service line, I will crouch down and stay still so my partner still has the option of hitting directly over me straight down the middle if he can. After the shot has been sent back over the net by my partner, I will adjust my position back to where I started from. If my poach takes my whole body across the center service line, I will stay there and my partner will switch sides behind me.

5263
12-10-2012, 03:16 PM
If I am at net and I poach and miss and I am at the center service line, I will crouch down and stay still so my partner still has the option of hitting directly over me straight down the middle if he can. After the shot has been sent back over the net by my partner, I will adjust my position

Now that's my kind of teamwork!

When you crouch like that, you send a clear msg to your partner, and
he only has to deal with opponents...not your running in front of his shot
or any other extra moving around.
You have also open all lanes of attacking the opponents, so he can have
best chance of setting you up for a good volley opportunity while you are
up there!

LeeD
12-10-2012, 03:28 PM
Can a netperson actually duck under 3'2"?
I don't think so, not at 4.0 doubles anyways. For a ducker to be clear, they need to be at least an inch below the netcord.
I can't fold myself that low, and still recover to be an effective team member after that shot.
Keep moving across is the best choice, as the backcourter still has a clear shot at a CC or a DTL return, and he shouldn't be hitting at the opponent's netperson.

ZMaster
12-10-2012, 03:31 PM
I first started crouching when along time ago I had a very fast serving partner who nailed me in the head. Lesson learned the hard way! I know I it can still get beaned while crouching, but my partner does not have to worry about hitting me unless his ball is going to be a fault in the net anyway, and because my head is now about 3 feet off the ground instead of 6 feet off the ground my chances of getting hit have been reduced.

LeeD
12-10-2012, 03:37 PM
Court dynamics.
IF you can crouch below 3', you are still in your baseline partners way. The scenario adds a SHORTBALL by the opponent, inside the baseline. You are now in the way. If it's a SOFT high ball, you should have put it away. If it's a LOW short ball, you are in the way, as your partner's contact point is below waist high.

ZMaster
12-10-2012, 03:43 PM
My partner and I use the center service line as the reference point of when the net-man should fully cross or not. Since all of us playing in our group are 50 plus in years, it is less steps for me to move from the center service line back then it is for my baseline partner to completely switch sides. At this age group both myself and my partner have been caught at times on the same side of the court leaving too much open court for our opponents and alas we no longer have enough of the youthful speedy footwork required to quickly cover the open court.

ZMaster
12-10-2012, 04:08 PM
If my partner gets a low short ball, I am in his way, in terms of line of sight but if I stay low and still, he can still look over me at the target he wants to hit to. If my partner can’t make the shot he wants because the ball stays low and short, he will say “Back” and then sends up a high lob, which gives me the chance to move back at least a few steps towards the baseline to help defend against the incoming smash. My partner and I, and I am sure most teams don't always communicate this well, but we try to do so as much as possible. We do however after we make strategic mistakes, discuss it briefly before the next point starts.

ZMaster
12-10-2012, 04:19 PM
5263, it sounds like we would make a good dubs team!

LeeD
12-10-2012, 04:24 PM
If you need to look into your opponent's court to see where to hit the ball, I question the level of your doubles play.
You know where the netman is standing. You know where the baseliner is headed. Why do you need to look at them AND the approaching ball? CAN you see both and still hit the ball cleanly?
The net is not jumping up and down.
Your opponent's court is not moving left and right, then shorter and deeper.
You should have a 70% idea WHERE to hit your ball before their ball comes over the net.

5263
12-10-2012, 04:32 PM
5263, it sounds like we would make a good dubs team!

Absolutely!

And to Lee's comment about being in the way...we can argue all day about
what is in the way or not, but the key is minimizing how much you are in the
way and sending a clear signal to your partner that the ball is his and the
path is as clear as possible. Since the partner is making all these good moves,
(including being still at the right time)
it gives you confidence in where he will go to cover after your shot...
meaning he will read where it goes and respond to that vs running off willy-
nilly during your shot....with nary a clue where he needs to go! :)

ZMaster
12-10-2012, 04:55 PM
5263 Agree!

LeeD - If the net-man is a statue then I know where he is forever, my opponents actually move at the net. Have you never glanced at the net man before striking the ball, because if you saw him move and expect a poach, can you not make a split second change in your shot placement and drill it where the net man just was? Granted this is more difficult to pull off, but the alternative is the net-man can feast on your shot if you do not hit it perfectly. As you mentioned the vast majority of the time, I have already decided what I want to hit once I have seen and heard the ball leave my opponents racket. When the ball enters my strike zone my eyes focus on the ball.

ZMaster
12-10-2012, 05:12 PM
Have a good night everyone! I am going to watch some Monday Night Football.

LeeD
12-10-2012, 05:19 PM
I doubt any one of us can react and change our shots while watching an incoming ball. We are not playing beginner doubles, and the opposing netperson WAITS until you start your forward swing to start his move, if he's going. If he's staying, he can fake a move early, then stay.
You need to know tendencies, and commit to DTL on certain shots IF history shows the netperson likes to commit towards the center for a poach. Watching the incoming ball, AND the netperson, AND your baseline opponent, AND where your partner is standing, is a guarantee you will miss your shot.

5263
12-12-2012, 09:11 AM
I doubt any one of us can react and change our shots while watching an incoming ball. We are not playing beginner doubles, and the opposing netperson WAITS until you start your forward swing to start his move, if he's going.

Sure some of us can and do. Last time I played I went 4 for 4 when the netman
tried that and each time took him dtl for a winner. Reason I remember
was the opponents were discussing afterwards how they gave up on that in
the 1st set.

Now clearly we can't always be 100%, but my odds work out real good in
this area. I've seen some others who do well with it too. I think the modern
Fh helps a ton with this, as it makes it pretty easy to just pull the ball harder
as you work across it.

LeeD
12-12-2012, 10:15 AM
I'll agree to disagree.
If the would be poacher commits TOO early, we can go DTL. A smart poacher doesn't commit until you start your forward swing. He can go two full steps while you're swinging and the ball travels to the net. That is enough, as it takes him 3' to the other side of the center of net.
Dumb poacher's will lose whether they get discovered or not.

5263
12-12-2012, 03:49 PM
Yep, you always have those who don't think it can be done because they can't
do it.
Whole point is off topic anyway, and doesn't relate to the op.

ericwong
12-12-2012, 11:37 PM
If I am at net and I poach and miss and I am at the center service line, I will crouch down and stay still so my partner still has the option of hitting directly over me straight down the middle if he can. After the shot has been sent back over the net by my partner, I will adjust my position back to where I started from. If my poach takes my whole body across the center service line, I will stay there and my partner will switch sides behind me.

This is the type of strategy I've adopted ever since I've started playing competitive doubles game.

One thing though, my partner, most of the time, would not shout 'back' after his lob. On my part , I would have to watch the reaction of my opponents and react from there...like stay put and wait for a weak return at the net if the lob is deep or out of way if the lob is short.

LuckyR
12-13-2012, 08:07 AM
The OP is bringing up two somewhat unrealated issues, first why is his partner making the wrong play on the shot? That is backing up into NML when his partner has a short ball that he can crush and approach off of? Second, the whole deal about objects (your partner) in the "incorrect" position on the court giving your subconscious mind the wrong reference point to judge where to hit the ball.

I cannot agree more on the first issue that he is in the wrong strategic position, so I would speak with him between matches and get that straightened out.

On the second, I have to admit it never occured to me that I would use anything other than the running visual cues of the lines (on either side of the court) to extrapolate where I am in relation to the court regardless of where I am on the court or where I happen to be looking.

LeeD
12-13-2012, 04:38 PM
Yes, don't look at anything but the incoming ball.
Your partner knows your hi percentage return is to the backcourt opponent's side, somewhat low to prevent poachers, hard enough to force a weak return.
Your normal other shot is hard DTL.
So your teamate that is blocking your shot should head to center of YOUR service court position, so the only shot he blocks is your shot directly AT the netman, something you shouldn't do anyway.
He can't get back to his original position, so he has to be SOMEWHERE.

Off The Wall
12-13-2012, 05:49 PM
I had a different take on OP's situation. Namely, 5263's partner normally hangs around the service line or behind it. 5263 steps inside the baseline to crack a forehand. His partner waits until his windup and then moves forward.

Partner is anticipating 5263 to hit low to the opponent in front of him. And, I'm sure he'd be right most of the time. However, his timing (during the swing) can be disconcerting to the hitter.

It's also a constraining move. In the off chance 5263 was considering taking it DTL, he'd have to abort due the opening the size of a trolley his partner created.

5263
12-13-2012, 08:35 PM
I had a different take on OP's situation. Namely, 5263's partner normally hangs around the service line or behind it. 5263 steps inside the baseline to crack a forehand. His partner waits until his windup and then moves forward.

Partner is anticipating 5263 to hit low to the opponent in front of him. And, I'm sure he'd be right most of the time. However, his timing (during the swing) can be disconcerting to the hitter.

It's also a constraining move. In the off chance 5263 was considering taking it DTL, he'd have to abort due the opening the size of a trolley his partner created.

Very good response. I find it very interesting that several on here can't
understand how a player, who is just a few feet away and directly in line
with your view of the ball at or very near contact, would become part of your
reference on the rate of the incoming ball. That partner essentially becomes
the background of your shot. It's the way Disney makes you feel like you are
going 90 mph, when in fact you are moving about 2mph in a little cart;
they have the background blazing by what you are looking at. If your partner
is in a position as the background, then starts to move, there is no way it
won't have some effect on your ability to gauge the ball. The fact that you
don't realize it affects you does not change that :) It won't make you
whiff or even miss the shot usually, but can easily affect the precise control
you might normally have... as well as the concern about where they are going
and how that will affect the coverage for your shot.
I realize that many dubs player don't take into account coverage when they
chose their shot, but some better players do.

5263
12-13-2012, 08:44 PM
The OP is bringing up two somewhat unrealated issues, first why is his partner making the wrong play on the shot? That is backing up into NML when his partner has a short ball that he can crush and approach off of?

And also, what's the big problem with him backing up into no mans land?
Imo it is a pretty good move as long as you follow the shot back in properly.
If he stays up tight to the net, he can either be blocking part of the court or
off to one side where he would then need to move laterally to follow the shot.
He would also have poor position if my shot gets poached.
By getting back a bit and being stable, he can be in a better position to respond
to my shot by either following it in, or backing up more and defending if the odd
situation required it.

LuckyR
12-14-2012, 07:28 AM
And also, what's the big problem with him backing up into no mans land?
Imo it is a pretty good move as long as you follow the shot back in properly.
If he stays up tight to the net, he can either be blocking part of the court or
off to one side where he would then need to move laterally to follow the shot.
He would also have poor position if my shot gets poached.
By getting back a bit and being stable, he can be in a better position to respond
to my shot by either following it in, or backing up more and defending if the odd
situation required it.


A couple of things: unless I am playing the well known Lob Queens of elder doubles (who lob any tough shot from the baseline), I am looking to do the poaching when my baseline partner has a short ball he can punish. The last thing I am worrying about is his aggressive shot getting poached. Secondly, the only time I consider myself a possible hinderance to my partner is either a serve up the T or if I try to make an opportunity poach but have to let the ball go through. In both cases I duck below net level. Your response, of course is, well there are probably many other times (like the OP) when you are probably hindering your partner, you just don't consider that. I understand, but funny, I'm not hindered by situations other than what I described, so why would my partner be hindered?

5263
12-14-2012, 08:58 AM
The last thing I am worrying about is his aggressive shot getting poached.

Your response, of course is, well there are probably many other times (like the OP) when you are probably hindering your partner, you just don't consider that. I understand, but funny, I'm not hindered by situations other than what I described, so why would my partner be hindered?

Since over the years posting here, you sound like a guy who plays a lot of pretty
good quality doubles...often giving very good advice, I'm surprised you don't
recognize that there are so many ways to be aggressive that don't require big
power. Actually I'm pretty sure you do know this, although your post does not reflect it.
Even a short ball attack with power may get poached with a good guess
and a move, especially if the short ball is not ideal to really T-off on. Just cause it is not your
worry, doesn't mean it won't happen :???: .....As I'm sure
you know, a nice skidding slice can be an excellent aggressive dubs shot with a
short ball like this, & while it can be the perfect shot choice against those who
thrive on your pace & serving as a nice ticket to the net, but...
it also holds more risk of getting poached. It won't happen
often, but I don't like giving any free points unless their is a payoff. Big point
here is there is no payoff for moving early; BUT there are several prices to pay!

As stated several times earlier, Just because you don't think you are hindered, doesn't
mean it didn't happen. There is a ton of stuff going on below the surface that we
are not aware of and some that we can take notice. I played for years before realizing
this effect.
Very odd that so many here are sure they are not hindered, when sports like golf ensure
everyone very still, & tennis only allows seating at changeovers.

5263
12-14-2012, 12:24 PM
The idea of this thread is to for posters to share little things you have noticed
that many people don't see or understand; things that can make quite a difference.
The idea I posted is a fact, so if you are one of the ones who cant get it or
understand what it's about...there is really no need to fess up that you are one
of the ones who doesn't get it. It would make sense to take note of it and/or
share a post of things like that you have noticed.

I get it that people don't notice or realize many of these things & that is half the
point. Saying it's not so because you don't realize it is like a person with 20/200
vision telling a person with 20/40 vision.... You can't see that because I can't
see it; or a person saying you can't read Latin because they can't...
Your lack of awareness or knowledge doesn't mean things aren't so :)