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View Full Version : australian ("aussie") formation : doubles


TennisPlayer11
10-06-2005, 06:09 PM
ive heard of this but dont know what it means. whats the formation and what do the people do?

Matthew
10-06-2005, 06:11 PM
I've heard "Australian style" being used to describe 2v1 tennis. The doubles team has to hit within the singles lines and the single player can hit anywhere in the court.

TennisPlayer11
10-06-2005, 06:12 PM
well ya i know that but the "aussie" formation

Ash Doyle
10-06-2005, 06:25 PM
I've heard "Australian style" being used to describe 2v1 tennis. The doubles team has to hit within the singles lines and the single player can hit anywhere in the court.

Thats called "Canadian Doubles". In the Australian Doubles formation (not really a "style"), the servering teams netman positions himself directly in front of the opposing teams netman so they are on the same side of the court.

It really just makes the returner think about what to do with the return now that the cross court oppotion is blocked by the netman. However, if they go up the line the netman may be prepared to poach anyway. It's different positioning, but in effect the same idea as the I-Formation. It just puts some doubt and confusion into the returner.

Bungalo Bill
10-06-2005, 06:39 PM
ive heard of this but dont know what it means. whats the formation and what do the people do?

The Australian formation is a poaching formation it is an aggresive formation. The serving team knows they are poaching and so does the returning team. It is a very quick play and it is designed to end the point real quick. This makes this formation a risky formation.

Additionally, because the Australian formation is riskier for the serving team, you would want to employ the formation on 40-0 in a game, or you are up in games big, or if you know you have a high chance to win the point (i.e. weak returner, etc.).

The initial positioning difference between the Australian and the I is that in the Australian your netman (assuming your team is serving and you are the server) will position himself in the opposite serving box he would normally stand in when you are serving to a certain side of the court. In other words, he is in front of the opposing teams netman - not kitty corner. In the I, the netman lines up in the middle of the court and ducks down to allow the serve to go through.

The Australian is a lot like when a football team runs a play to get a 1st down with inches to go. Or in baseball when a runner is on first and they want to move him to second so they bunt him over. Everyone knows they are going to run a short yardage play, everyone knows the guy is going to bunt sacraficing himself to move the runner over so the infield plays in, and everyone knows you are going to poach when you setup with the Australian. It is almost like saying "hey, we are poaching, try and stop it".

The serve for the Australian needs to go down the T. It is imparative that it does. The server lines up at the Center Mark just like singles. The reason the serve goes up the middle (or the T) is so that you take away the angles the returner has and that you get the most likely return from him which keeps the ball between you and your partner.

When the netman poaches, he needs to make sure he does not send his volley behind him or to the side of the court he just vacated. If he does, and the opposing netman is good, the server that is coming in to cover will most likely see an aggressive hit towards him.

The Australian formation is more like a BOOM, BOOM, BOOM - point over. With the last BOOM being the putaway volley. Well at least that is how it should go.

A lot how successful your Australian works depends on the servers ability to serve well, your team's movement, and how aggressive the first volley is (from the incoming server) or the putaway volley is (from the poaching netman).

Geezer Guy
10-07-2005, 12:45 PM
Not to take away from what BB says, but my doubles partner and I will occasionally set up in the Austrailian formation (as described above) when we're playing against someone with a really GREAT cross-court return. This forces them to return up-the-line, which they're (hopefully) not as good at.

Usually, when starting from the Aus formation the netman will NOT poach. He just stays where he is (because that's where those great CC returns are coming). However, occasionally the netman WILL poach just to get in the head of the returner.

We find this works best when serving from the Ad side, because it's easiest for the righthanded server to slide over and handle the DTL returns with his forehand. From the deuce side, the server has to handle DTL returns with his backhand.

There might be more about this in OperationDoubles.com.

Bungalo Bill
10-07-2005, 04:31 PM
Not to take away from what BB says, but my doubles partner and I will occasionally set up in the Austrailian formation (as described above) when we're playing against someone with a really GREAT cross-court return. This forces them to return up-the-line, which they're (hopefully) not as good at.

Usually, when starting from the Aus formation the netman will NOT poach. He just stays where he is (because that's where those great CC returns are coming). However, occasionally the netman WILL poach just to get in the head of the returner.

We find this works best when serving from the Ad side, because it's easiest for the righthanded server to slide over and handle the DTL returns with his forehand. From the deuce side, the server has to handle DTL returns with his backhand.

There might be more about this in OperationDoubles.com.

That may work for you and I wouldn't argue with you going against the "norm" or the "grain" to win a point against a certain team. I would applaud anyone that "found" a way to win the point.

However sometimes as the serve is hit, and the returner has to take his eye off you to look at the ball, you as the netman can "hide" behind the opposing teams netman (who is in front of you) so that the returner can not pick you up in his peripheral vision. A smart opposing netman will move in such a away so that you are not hidden and his partner can return the ball and see you as well.

But! The Aussie is a poaching formation not a "pretend" poaching formation.

By not poaching a good "heads-up" return team will end up poaching on you as you are starting and staying in a switched position. Just be aware of this in case you run up against a savvy team.

If you like to "pretend" poach or force the returner to go DTL instead of crosscourt I would much rather see your team use the I formation.

GregOz
10-08-2005, 04:24 AM
I wouldn't advocate using that formation just because you're ahead in a match. If you're up 40-0 or well ahead in the set there's pretty much no need to change anything. You've got your lead by playing conventionally so there's no sensible reason to change for one point. If it's not necessary its just showboating.

Where the Australian formation comes in useful is where you have a very good understanding of your opponents shot pattern on the return of serve.
If you know that your opponent has a weak down-the-line shot and will be hitting almost everything cross-court then it can be a good tactic to use.

If you had much chance to watch Woodbridge and Woodforde play doubles you'd have seen a lot of teams employ that tactic when serving to Mark. He would invariably hit his backhand cross-court, teams knew it and they positioned themselves accordingly. If he wanted to hit a damaging return it forced him to move out of his comfort zone and go down the line.

Sometimes you don't need to move far for the intercept but you've got to move. Watch Bjorkman, a master of the tactic. Even if he doesn't go far he is always on the move. I'd also say that it's a rotten tactic to use in the hopes someone can't hit down the line. You need to know that they can't before using it.

The other thing is, don't try it unless the server has a strong and reliable delivery.

jackabee
10-08-2005, 04:50 AM
Thats called "Canadian Doubles". In the Australian Doubles formation (not really a "style"), the servering teams netman positions himself directly in front of the opposing teams netman so they are on the same side of the court.

It really just makes the returner think about what to do with the return now that the cross court oppotion is blocked by the netman. However, if they go up the line the netman may be prepared to poach anyway. It's different positioning, but in effect the same idea as the I-Formation. It just puts some doubt and confusion into the returner.

Here in Hampshire UK :D We call it "American Doubles!"

Return_Ace
10-08-2005, 06:53 AM
Here in Hampshire UK We call it "American Doubles!"

i was thinking that it was american and not canadian (i'm from the uk too, oxfordshire)......... guess diff. places call it diff. things.

Bungalo Bill
10-08-2005, 10:33 AM
I wouldn't advocate using that formation just because you're ahead in a match... If you're up 40-0 or well ahead in the set there's pretty much no need to change anything...

I guess that is your cup of tea, I would run it on the other hand for one reason - I have the option to do so and I would want a more aggressive team. I would run it because it shows a different look and that also sends a message to the other team about the confidence we have over them. So, I guess this goes to show everyone has a different style to using the Australian.

You've got your lead by playing conventionally so there's no sensible reason to change for one point. If it's not necessary its just showboating.

What makes you think we got our lead playing Conventional? We may have got our lead running the I formation.

Additionally, running the Australian is not showboating. It is a doubles play. It is an aggressive formation used in doubles for doubles and is hardly "SHOWBOATING". It is a poaching formation and an aggressive formation. Poaching in doubles is NOT SHOWBOATING! IT IS A PLAY! Showoating is hitting the ball behind your back or through your legs.

Where the Australian formation comes in useful is where you have a very good understanding of your opponents shot pattern on the return of serve.
If you know that your opponent has a weak down-the-line shot and will be hitting almost everything cross-court then it can be a good tactic to use.

You dont run the Australian just because he doesnt have a good DTL shot. It is very difficult for almost everyone to hit a DTL shot from a serve going up the T with a paching netman! At club level give me a break!

The Australian is simply an aggresive formation that starts your team in the switched position. It is pretty darn simple to understand and for most of us who play at club level, it is a poaching formation - period.

If you had much chance to watch Woodbridge and Woodforde play doubles you'd have seen a lot of teams employ that tactic when serving to Mark. He would invariably hit his backhand cross-court, teams knew it and they positioned themselves accordingly. If he wanted to hit a damaging return it forced him to move out of his comfort zone and go down the line. Sometimes you don't need to move far for the intercept but you've got to move. Watch Bjorkman, a master of the tactic. Even if he doesn't go far he is always on the move. I'd also say that it's a rotten tactic to use in the hopes someone can't hit down the line. You need to know that they can't before using it.

Dude, this is one ploy. One tactic. They used the Australian to exploit this. But it does not mean the Australian is ONLY designed for this situation. It absolutely does not. The Australian (once again) IS a poaching formation. It is a riskly formation. It is an aggresive formation that can be used in the situation you described above, or if you are up big, or as you say based on taking advantage of a certain shot.

I do not care if the player is a good DTL to use the AUSSIE!!!!! My God! Where are you! It is my server that will dicate this formation. If he has a tough serve up the T - guess what - we are using it no matter what! If the returner is excellent and my server is excellent - guess what? WE ARE USING IT ON GAMES WE ARE UP 40-0. We are, we will, we want to, we are going to! That is our style and is our play.

The other thing is, don't try it unless the server has a strong and reliable delivery.

No kidding. didn't we already mention this? :rolleyes:

Tim Tennis
10-08-2005, 11:36 AM
Hi guys,

What is all this discussion about? All the returner has to so is hit a lob deep down the line. Who cares if it is Australian or the "I" formation. The serve is nullified and it is anybodys point.

So BB, how is that doubles game coming? Are you still beating up on those measly 5.5 players?

You got to love the game.

Bungalo Bill
10-08-2005, 05:20 PM
Hi guys,

What is all this discussion about? All the returner has to so is hit a lob deep down the line. Who cares if it is Australian or the "I" formation. The serve is nullified and it is anybodys point.

So BB, how is that doubles game coming? Are you still beating up on those measly 5.5 players?

You got to love the game.


Well I think Mr. Greg Oz seems to think that the ONLY time to use an Australian is if a returner can't hit a good DTL. This is not true.

The Australian is an aggressive formation and can be used for various tactics including what GregOz said. The Australian is employed when you are in the lead, want to take advantage of a weakness in your opponents or want to play aggressive to putaway a point. However, it really does depend on how good the server is serving up the T. The serve is what sets up the Australian.

This leads me into your point about the lob. When a server serves up the T, it is difficult for the returner to consistently execute a lob that will actually place the serving team at a disadvantage. Most of the time the serving team will eat it up for lunch. Kinda of like what you are doing to your foes!

Anyway, things are so-so for me in tennis. I am playing but have not taken getting in good shape seriously. Too much family stuff going on. It seems to be a distraction for me taking things seriously. I have the desire to compete but not the will power. I spend too much time at my "kids" events then what I would like to do. Plus, neing a family man now I just dont have the time to devote a whole weekend to compete in a tournament!

Maybe I should start a league for the family man were a tournament only lasts for one day over the weekend.

Burt Turkoglu
10-08-2005, 10:49 PM
....my partner and I haved turned matches around switching to the Australian and/or the I formation....these formations don't work all the time but sometimes they do and, for us, they seem to work a little better on big points when the returner may be a little more tight....only thing is.....you must practice using these formations so that you are comfortable....be aware that if your partner doesn't poach off your serve, you are vulnerable to being poached on by the receiver's partner....communication is vital...still I find the "I" formation more effective....

GregOz
10-09-2005, 03:55 AM
Bill,
What was the point of all the sarcasm? I don't agree with everything you've said but I didn't see the need to personalise my comments. You presented one opinion and I presented another. That's it. Did I criticise you for not mentioning it can be a tactic used when you're behind and looking for something to break up your opponents rhythm? No, although it can be. I gave you some professional curtesy even though I didnt fully agree. Going on the tone of your post you seem to have decided I don't deserve the same. I had the odd notion that these threads weren't given over to one person and one person only. Obviously that isn't the case.

Bungalo Bill
10-09-2005, 10:09 AM
Bill,
What was the point of all the sarcasm? I don't agree with everything you've said but I didn't see the need to personalise my comments.

Greg, I really think you need to reread your first post here and find the words you used to downplay another persons suggestion on when to use the Aussie. You do not have the only insight as to when to use it.

No one will argue with you that you can run the Aussie with an opponent that has a weak DTL. But the truth is going DTL on the return of serve is going to be difficult whether one has a good one or not. This is only because the serve is going down the T, while the netman is poaching.

Secondly, you can disagree all you want, the truth is there are MANY times you can introduce the Aussie. Teams can run it at times you mentioned and at the times I mentioned and at times neither of us mentioned.

You presented one opinion and I presented another. That's it.

It is fine to introduce your opinion without downplaying anothers. If you do downplay, given this medium, you will be challenged. Maybe you dont realize how your words are percieved.

Here is what you said: "You've got your lead by playing conventionally so there's no sensible reason to change for one point. If it's not necessary its just showboating."

First off, I do not give out "tips" to get anyone to showboat so I find that rather offensive.

Secondly, I do not give out advice that doesn't make sense. That is offensive as well.

Thirdly, it is perfectly acceptable for a team to introduce the Aussie when they are up. If that is not your style that is fine. It is mine.

You need to keep in mind that:

1. The majority of players here are club players who for the most part do not have the speed, practice, talent, coaching, volleying skills, serving skills as the pros.

2. With a solid serve down the T, it is going to be difficult for a player with a good DTL to hit a winner or a shot that will render the Aussie formation movement useless. So your "weak DTL" as the ONLY tine to introduce the Aussie is false. It is "a" time but not the only time.

Did I criticise you for not mentioning it can be a tactic used when you're behind and looking for something to break up your opponents rhythm?

Actually you did criticize my mentioning that it can be run when you are up. You said it was showboating and that it is not "sensible". If that isn't criticizing I dont know what is. You have to understand something. If you criticize others here, expect to be criticized as well.

No one can write every possibility here. If you have something to say, do so as a compliment or as an addition to other coaches opinions and insights.

I too have played doubles a long time in college and now. There are MANY times you can run the Aussie with yours being one of them.

I gave you some professional curtesy even though I didnt fully agree. Going on the tone of your post you seem to have decided I don't deserve the same. I had the odd notion that these threads weren't given over to one person and one person only. Obviously that isn't the case.

I think you really need to reread your tone. It was very condescending. Saying another coaches advice is "senseless" is pretty unprofessional. The truth about the Aussie is there are many times you can run the play including when you are up given the risk in the formation. Doubles teams can mixz things up and that includes formations. They can take advantage of a formation on big points and when they are up.

The threads arent given over to one person. Which is why I will challenge you when you say my information is not "SENSIBLE".

Excatly. So dont downplay anothers insight.

The Aussie formation does not need to be run only when someone has a weak DTL. It is hard to go DTL with a serve up the T.

I run the Aussie when we are up or when we want to make something happen quickly. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. It is a style and a compliment to our teams style to play aggresively.

I think you need to reread your own post.

NoBadMojo
10-09-2005, 02:01 PM
Didnt read all of this, but I think sometimes going Aussie can be a defensive move rather than an agressive move, when an opponent is cleaning your clock with their service return. I also agree wit Greg that if you are winning handily or even winning not so handily by not going Aussie, why would you want to change? It's one change that could disrupt your advantage, so why do it?

Bungalo Bill
10-09-2005, 02:59 PM
Didnt read all of this, but I think sometimes going Aussie can be a defensive move rather than an agressive move, when an opponent is cleaning your clock with their service return. I also agree wit Greg that if you are winning handily or even winning not so handily by not going Aussie, why would you want to change? It's one change that could disrupt your advantage, so why do it?


Yeah I dont agree that a team shouldnt run the aussie to take advantage of a large lead.

It has always been a clear strategy to introduce an aggressive formation when you are ahead.

If it is 40-0 the server has less pressure on his serve and can take a whack at it going up the T. Clearly a good time to do it and get it going. It is the same as adding some pace to the second serve when you are up big.

When a team runs the aussie they have run it before and know what to do with it. Running it when the score is 40-0 is a perfect opportunity to warm it up and get coordinated with it during the match.

The aussie is never defensive and disagree to run the play when you are hurting. If you are hurting and the other team is beating you on the return the last thing you would want to do is run the Aussie.

You should run the I instead of a poaching formation when you are getting burned on the return. The major reason someone is getting killed on the return is because the server is not posing a threat. The last thing you want to do is run the Aussie.