PDA

View Full Version : Doubles "Weaker Player"


Jassy_B
08-27-2006, 09:36 PM
Ok so im playing in a junior tornament and me n my partner are playin against two players that have never played together before (mind you since its round robin they will get one match before us yet it will be an easy match) One of the players is far superior to the other where ( my partner played good guy and lost 6-2 6-1) while the other guy we could each take 6-2 6-1 ^^. I was jus wondering if i could get any strategies / tips on playing doubles versus these guys. So far im thinkin hold and break the crappy guy but thats a bad mentality. ty :p

kchau
08-27-2006, 09:37 PM
I formation is the solution to everything

Jassy_B
08-27-2006, 09:44 PM
I formation is the solution to everything
u serious?

kchau
08-27-2006, 09:51 PM
im kidding, but if you pull it off right, it makes the other team VERY nervous

damasta55
08-27-2006, 09:54 PM
Hit all balls to the weaker player? Better yet, aim it at them, lol.

Swissv2
08-27-2006, 10:16 PM
on serve to the good player go out wide to open up the court, then hit at the weaker player. On serve to the weaker player, find their weak side and exploit it. on rallys, pressure the weaker player.

kevhen
08-28-2006, 05:49 AM
You can hit at the weaker player, but if his vollies are decent then you may have to hit into the open court or lob over the weaker player. Hitting down the middle is always good too as both players may get upset at each other for taking or not taking the ball. When you have the choice always hit at the weaker player. The stronger player will get cold and not do quite as well when he does get a ball. Have fun, try to win every game even when returning the stronger player's serve as the weaker partner may mess up his putaways.

thursdayisgod
08-28-2006, 08:18 AM
If they don't play together often or if it's their first time playing together you can go down the middle of the court sometimes a lot of times neither player will get it assuming the other player would.

Supernatural_Serve
08-28-2006, 08:23 AM
your entire strategy should be to hold serve and to break the weaker servers serve.

Its a crime letting a weak server hold in doubles.

oldguysrule
08-28-2006, 10:24 AM
Some points to keep in mind...
1. Doubles is the great equalizer. I have seen poor singles players be very good doubles players.
2. It is harder than you think to break the weak player's serve. That strong player at the net can create problems. I agree with an earler poster that sometimes the stronger player can be broken because of errors from the weaker partner.
3. Hitting to the weaker player is a good strategy when they are both at the net or both on the baseline. However, don't stop hitting the right shot for the situation just because it is to the strong player. For example, I play mixed doubles with my wife and in a tournament lots of teams have the strategy of playing to the woman. This backfires on them because they become predictable and I can effectively take 2/3's of the court away from them. Unless they go to me or behind me, I just keep getting more and more aggresive at the net. My wife is pretty steady and a typical point when she is returning serve will be...backhand return, backhand, backhand, volley winner by me.
4. When in doubt, hit it down the middle.

kevhen
08-28-2006, 11:02 AM
I agree that sometimes it has backfired for me to go directly at the weak player when they are already at the net (if they have a decent volley) with their partner still at the baseline. Better to just hit back to the center of the court and make them reach for their volley. If both up or both back then go at the weaker player always!

Bungalo Bill
08-28-2006, 11:28 AM
I agree that sometimes it has backfired for me to go directly at the weak player when they are already at the net (if they have a decent volley) with their partner still at the baseline. Better to just hit back to the center of the court and make them reach for their volley. If both up or both back then go at the weaker player always!

It is still not a bad strategy.

Jassy_B
08-28-2006, 08:07 PM
aite heres wat happen guys.. the stronger player pulled out because he lost his singles finals. so the weaker player is now the stronger player makin thing a lot easier.. ill let u guys know how we did!! thx

LuckyR
08-29-2006, 07:36 AM
Some points to keep in mind...
1. Doubles is the great equalizer. I have seen poor singles players be very good doubles players.
2. It is harder than you think to break the weak player's serve. That strong player at the net can create problems. I agree with an earler poster that sometimes the stronger player can be broken because of errors from the weaker partner.
3. Hitting to the weaker player is a good strategy when they are both at the net or both on the baseline. However, don't stop hitting the right shot for the situation just because it is to the strong player. For example, I play mixed doubles with my wife and in a tournament lots of teams have the strategy of playing to the woman. This backfires on them because they become predictable and I can effectively take 2/3's of the court away from them. Unless they go to me or behind me, I just keep getting more and more aggresive at the net. My wife is pretty steady and a typical point when she is returning serve will be...backhand return, backhand, backhand, volley winner by me.
4. When in doubt, hit it down the middle.


Listen to the "oldguy"... doubles is not singles with two people on the court. A lot of what might make someone a "weaker" player in singles (like playing S&V against power baseliners) would make the guy one of the best doubles players out there. Similarly, having a kick serve for a first serve would be a singles liability and might be great in their doubles game.

kevhen
08-29-2006, 07:40 AM
True, I know plenty of guys who are a half level difference in abilities either being better at singles because of great footspeed or better at doubles due to great volley skills and experience. Most younger players are a little better at singles and most older players are a little better at doubles but you never know.

Jassy_B
08-29-2006, 08:53 PM
we won 6-1 6-4 so thats good almost in the finals now jus gotta beat 2 guys who we know.

Kathy
08-30-2006, 10:39 AM
:confused: "Hold your serve and break the weaker opponent's serve" is no strategy.

It's just a goal. And that goal may be harder than aiming to "Hold your serve and break the stronger opponent's serve." For, when the weaker player is serving, the stronger one is at net. He may do you more damage there than when he's serving.

Don't underestimate such teams. Those teams (comprised of players of widely differening ability) are usually surprisingly good at winning. That's because they naturally role-play.

If this team is any match for you, just hitting everything to the weaker opponent will not work. That too is no strategy: it's just a tactic. And if you use it, it's your only tactic.

Hey, are you going to "hit to the weaker player" when he is at the baseline instead of volleying through the Hole (http://www.operationdoubles.com/hole.htm) because the stronger player (at net) may get a racket on that shot? I hope not.

In doubles, the SITUATION is usually more important than who you hit to. Which is why you play "deep to deep" and "short to short." No matter which opponent is in which spot.

True, when they are both up or back, then you can pick on the weaker player. By all means DO if that works.

Kathy K
www.operationdoubles.com (http://www.operationdoubles.com/)

Rickson
08-30-2006, 01:11 PM
Ok so im playing in a junior tornament and me n my partner are playin against two players that have never played together before (mind you since its round robin they will get one match before us yet it will be an easy match) One of the players is far superior to the other where ( my partner played good guy and lost 6-2 6-1) while the other guy we could each take 6-2 6-1 ^^. I was jus wondering if i could get any strategies / tips on playing doubles versus these guys. So far im thinkin hold and break the crappy guy but thats a bad mentality. ty :p
This is an easy one; hit everything to the weaker guy. If the strong guy poaches, lob him, but make sure you keep going to the weak guy.

Kathy
08-30-2006, 03:13 PM
:confused: I have yet to see anyone able to lob in reaction to a poach!

And, everything that's been said about not just hitting everything to the weaker guy calls for a REASON or a valid ARGUMENT in favor of just hitting everything to the weaker guy. But give no reason or argument, you just "Yesbut-hit-everything-to-the-weaker-guy" us.

Kathy K
www.operationdoubles.com/narc/npd-blog/ (http://www.operationdoubles.com/narc/npd-blog/)

Rickson
08-30-2006, 03:16 PM
:confused: I have yet to see anyone able to lob in reaction to a poach!

And, everything that's been said about not just hitting everything to the weaker guy calls for a REASON or a valid ARGUMENT in favor of just hitting everything to the weaker guy. But give no reason or argument, you just "Yesbut-hit-everything-to-the-weaker-guy" us.

Kathy K
www.operationdoubles.com/narc/npd-blog/ (http://www.operationdoubles.com/narc/npd-blog/)
I lob poachers all the time, but then again, I was gonna lob regardless.

Kathy
08-30-2006, 03:26 PM
I lob poachers all the time, but then again, I was gonna lob regardless.Oh, so you just happened to be lobbing when he poached.

Lucky you. That's great. But it's beside the point, because that isn't what you advised. You said, "If he poaches, lob." Impossible.

And still no arugument to back up your assertion against all that's been said about hitting to the right spot, not the weaker opponent, unless both opponents are up or back.

Kathy K
www.operationdoubles.com/narc/ (http://www.operationdoubles.com/narc/)

LuckyR
08-30-2006, 05:20 PM
I lob poachers all the time, but then again, I was gonna lob regardless.


Sounds like some wimpy poachers....

Bungalo Bill
08-31-2006, 07:05 AM
This is an easy one; hit everything to the weaker guy. If the strong guy poaches, lob him, but make sure you keep going to the weak guy.

lol, Rickson, you crack me up. Now you can read minds.

oldguysrule
08-31-2006, 07:24 AM
Guys, give Rickson a break. It might work. Besides, I just sent him an entry form for our doubles tournament next week.

kevhen
08-31-2006, 07:30 AM
If the weaker guy is a really weak volleyer then you can go at him even when he is at net. I will start ripping balls or dipping balls at the weak volleyer or crank up the slice spin and watch him net his vollies. But if his vollies are strong enough, then you need to hit more down the middle or over his head.

Supernatural_Serve
08-31-2006, 10:09 AM
:confused: "Hold your serve and break the weaker opponent's serve" is no strategy.I don't think I know the distinction between a goal, strategy, or tactic when it comes to doubles. They seem semantically all the same but I would like to understand why:

goal, strategy, tactic: Break a weak server's serve

is not a strategy but something like

goal, strategy, tactic: Hit deep down the middle

is a strategy

They both simply sound like specific things to do in doubles.

I consider tennis a game of errors, so any chance I can take advantage of a weak player's propensity to make errors, or weak replies, I am going for that because the probability of winning a point exceeds that which happens when hitting to a stronger player. Stronger players can take control of the point in many ways, weak players usually can't.

Especially, a weak server. A weak server gives me many opportunities to take control of the point regardless how strong his partner at the net is.

oldguysrule
08-31-2006, 10:38 AM
I don't think I know the distinction between a goal, strategy, or tactic when it comes to doubles. They seem semantically all the same but I would like to understand why:

goal, strategy, tactic: Break a weak server's serve

is not a strategy but something like

goal, strategy, tactic: Hit deep down the middle

is a strategy

They both simply sound like specific things to do in doubles.

I consider tennis a game of errors, so any chance I can take advantage of a weak player's propensity to make errors, or weak replies, I am going for that because the probability of winning a point exceeds that which happens when hitting to a stronger player. Stronger players can take control of the point in many ways, weak players usually can't.

Especially, a weak server. A weak server gives me many opportunities to take control of the point regardless how strong his partner at the net is.

The difference is what you have control over. You may say your goal is to "break the weak server's serve", but it isn't a tactic, because a) you should always be trying to break serve anyway. and 2) you don't really have control over it. On the other hand, "hit deep down the middle", would be a tactic or strategy, because you have control over where you hit the shot.

Nobody is saying that you shouldn't be aware of your opponents weaknesses (including the relative abilities of your opponents) and plan your play accordingly. However, most good doubles players recognize that it is more important to play the right shot for the situation rather than always force the ball to the weaker player. If that concept doesn't make sense, then I suggest spending some time at the website on doubles given in an earlier post. (Or, read a book on doubles tactics.)

Kathy
08-31-2006, 12:37 PM
To what oldguysrule said, I would add that many people use the terms "strategy" and "tactics" interchangeably. I don't, because the result is usually just a hodgepodge of tactics unoriented to THE strategic objectives in a match. You end up using some counterproductive tactics that way.

For example, taking something off your first serve is usually a good idea in high-level doubles. But not when playing Australian Doubles. If you don't know the goals of Australian Doubles strategy, you can't know that letting up on your first serve is usually (unless you double-fault more than couple times per match) is a counterproductive tactic in Australian Doubles.

To be exact, these words mean the same as in military science. Strategy is what generals do. Tactics is what captains do. Strategy locates the strategic objectives and devises a general plan of action to achieve them. So General says to Captain: "Attack the net. Use serve-and-volley doubles and Australian doubles. That's how we are going to win this match." Now the captain has to decide the details of how to go about attacking the net in various situations. With underspin approach shots? or topspin approach shots? What kinds of serves? Positioning shallow? Tactics = the little picture.

Another way to view it is that strategy is about playing points, and tactics is about playing shots.

In general, strategy is about positioning and maneuvering by the whole team. tactics is about shot selection and perhaps maneuvering by one partner (as in following an approach shot to the net).

As I said, loose use of these words has made many people view them as interchangeable, but the result of that is tactics without strategy. Since tactics are means of achieving strategic objectives, you end up with tactics aimed at unstrategic objectives that way.

Kathy K
www.operationdoubles.com (http://www.operationdoubles.com)

Supernatural_Serve
08-31-2006, 02:00 PM
Another way to view it is that strategy is about playing points, and tactics is about playing shots.Would positioning the net man in an "I" formation or playing 2 back be considered a strategy or a tactic or neither?

Neither seem to be about playing points or playing a shot. Its an initial formation and the return player is required to return the ball (with many different possible shots or tactics) regardless of his partner's position.

Kathy
08-31-2006, 05:14 PM
Formations are strategies. Well, actually, the strategic way to play a formation is a strategy.

The I-Formation isn't static. It changes as the point evolves. It changes the server's normal starting position too, not just the net player's. The great thing about it is that the net player is going to poach, but the receiving team doesn't know which direction. So they don't know which side the server will take, either. If the server may also follow serve occassionally, you have a formation/strategy that really pressures the receiver. He doesn't know which side to return to, and he doesn't know whether to return deep or to about service-line depth. he's got too much to watch while trying to return the serve.

There is also a strategic way to play both-back. In fact, one of the aspects of playing it is getting out of it if possible. It actually covers less territory than either of the other two formations. But, you can make your team a virtual wall between the sidelines, playing the percentages and requiring high percentage shots from the opposition to beat you. Your odds still are bad, but you are also daring opposing volleyers to set themselves up for the kill by angling a volley to the alley that you can reach. Boom, point over, because the both-back team just hit a winner.

So formations correspond to strategies. But the strategy is just the strategic way to play a formation. For example, in the both-back formation it would be unstrategic to take any unnecessary chances with your shots: doing that sabatoges one of the few things in your favor back there. Again for example, both-back strategy requires that you play as shallow as possible. This makes up a little for those wide open wings.

Note: I said "unnecessary" risks. There are times when your best bet is to let 'er rip and go for a low-percentage shot. But these have to be calculated risks, not reckless ones.

Kathy K
www.operationdoubles.com

Jassy_B
08-31-2006, 07:15 PM
kk i won my singles and am in finals also won doubles and am in final now :D

Supernatural_Serve
09-01-2006, 07:06 AM
Formations are strategies. Well, actually, the strategic way to play a formation is a strategy. I appreciate the way you think. You communicate well also.

Here's what I do when I see an I formation or 2 back.

I always hit the ball right up the middle, right at the net man in the I formation (where he crouches, so that when he moves, he's reaching or leaning), whether I am returning serve, or not, I always signal or tell my partner to do the same.

And right between the 2 men back, hopefully getting both out of position (forcing both to pinch the center of the court but since they are back, they are deep) with the hope that they crash racquets, confuse each other, run into each other, or like I said, they are hopelessly both out of position for an angle shot against their reply from either me or my partner.

In my opinion both of those actions are both a strategy and a tactic.

Kathy
09-01-2006, 09:32 AM
As for hitting down the center to a team both-back, I agree that is effective, and I recommend it in lessons on that. For the reason you state and others. I don't know why, but players fear both going for shot.

But so what if they do? Rackets sometimes clash but seldom does that affect the shot. And it dosn't hurt the rackets. Nonethless, you can get many teams to let the ball pass like a con artist between them. I think that says the players would RATHER have their partner hit the ball. Not a real positive attitude. I regard letting the ball pass between you as a mortal sin in both-back play. I say, when in doubt, swing. You win more than a point when your center shot goes for a winner because they didn't hit it -- there's a psychological dividend.

Also, many players don't realize that without a partner at net, they must position closer to center in the Both-Back Formation. If they don't, there may well be a hole down the center, because neither both-back player can reach it.

Another good thing about that center shot (which you mention) is that it draws both-back players toward the center, and that opens their wings for an angle volley to an alley on the next shot. You need them out of position for that attempted winner, because if they reach it, they can easily kill you with their return. The attacking team needs them inside the singles sidelines and well behind the baseline before attempting the angled-shot winner. You achieve that by a deep, penetrating shot down the center beforehand.

As for returning serve right at the server's partner in the I-Formation, I can see where that might often work well. But if the server's partner really can't handle that shot, he probably shouldn't be playing the I-Formation. He should be moving forward at the sound of the serve and then break one way or the other as the receiver's forward swing starts.

Many net players in the I-Formation hurt themselves with their stance (http://www.operationdoubles.com/i_formationtactics.htm). To get low, they either spread their feet a mile apart and squat or get down on one knee. Your muscles have no leverage then. It takes a huge effort and too much time to get moving. It's best to position farther back to give the serve more clearance, bend over at waist, and BLEND the other two methods. By that I mean, spread your feet farther apart, but don't go so far as to do the side-splits out there. Flex the knees, but not so much that your bottom drops below your knees. Then you can MOVE much better in reaction to the service return.

Returning serve right at an I-Formation player who does squat so low it takes a crane to get him moving will be very effective. You are probably having such good success with that by taking advantage of opponents who can't move quickly enough to even get out of their own way for a shot hit right at them. Either that or their poaching move is poor -- too soon and too far to handle a shot hit to where they originally positioned.

That said, I must confess that I sometimes do that myself. And I HATE it when the service return goes right back to where I was and I can't reach it.

Kathy K
www.operationdoubles.com

brucie
09-01-2006, 10:39 AM
The fact that you want to break the weaker players serve is interesting, afterall the better of the 2 will be the net player and as a good player i would expect he steps across cutting off your shots you may well find the easier game to break is wiuth the stronger player serving unless he has a huge serve.

Practiseing together with your partner and planning to play a certain way together will help more than deviceing a tactic that is unlikely to work anyway.

Obviously when you can play on the weaker player.

However in doubles often its best to steer clear of net players try not to lift the ball and allow over team to become on the offence and try to get into the net often yourselves when on the attack.

Supernatural_Serve
09-01-2006, 11:38 AM
The fact that you want to break the weaker players serve is interesting, afterall the better of the 2 will be the net player and as a good player i would expect he steps across cutting off your shots you may well find the easier game to break is wiuth the stronger player serving unless he has a huge serve.I know this may break with the canons of doubles tennis lore, but what I have found when a weaker or weak serve is serving, my return is a major weapon. Next to my serve, its my best shot.

So, when I face a weak server it is not uncommon for me to take their weak serves early on the rise anywhere from just behind the service line to the middle of the back court area. I attack their weak serve relentlessly. I offer very little backhand exposure, I move forward around any ball, and unload with huge forehands.

I am trying to do several things:

1.) Drill the net man with a very aggressive return from very close range, its almost a "net point" given where I return from, and my continued forward movement into net position. The tennis physicist Howard Brody makes it patently clear that stealing that much time from even a good net player places that net player at a very large disadvantage. His only choice, back off the net which exposes angles, his feet, and takes him out of threatening poaching position on returns.

So, high percentage, quick ending points emerge, and sometimes they get lucky to block one back but they have little control for they have little time to do much but get their racquet on the ball. They also tend to hit balls or be hit by balls that might go out. At that distance, the average human is a giant target not easily missed, especially given my movement forward (not side to side like a groundstroke) and a weak serve.

2.) I want that weak server to deal with the psychological impact of his weak first or second serve getting his net man drilled and the frustration that emerges from a good net player or good player having to deal with a doubles match with a weak server. I've seen it. I've been there. I understand what happens when this scenario unfolds.

3.) What I really want is that better net man to back off the net and give me even more options to take advantage of the weak serve. So, I am effectively trying to eliminate him as a variable in the game and put me and my partner against the weak server as much as possible.

If he backs off, I can aggressively return down the middle without fear of a poach or a threatening poach and my partner and I can pinch the middle in net position. I can also return sharp angles pulling the weak server way out of position and then my partner or I can hit to the middle of the court, deep.

Again, the good net player is not a variable.

4.) Force the weak server to go for too much. After a point or two of these kinds of situations, the weak server double faults or is forced to go for more on his first serve, and misses. Thank you, I wonder what I'm going to do with that very weak 2nd serve: wide? with a ton of spin or slice?, down the middle?, drill the net man?, put a ton of top spin on a return right at the net man's feet?. Lots of possibilities.

I basically want to threaten the opposition with all its physical, and psychological impacts. And, it usually works (although less so, at 4.5). The 4.5 weak or weaker server isn't that weak, and the 4.5 good net man tends to have more balls and maneuverability and mobility, so he's not entirely removed from the game.

And the basic principle is to make the good net man, a non factor by capitalizing on my return as a weapon.


Its devestating at 3.5. It works well at 4.0. It has mixed results at 4.5

kevhen
09-01-2006, 11:47 AM
I agree that this works well against 3.5s, often against 4.0s if the 4.0 is a weak server, and won't work as well against 4.5s as they serve better, volley better and can handle pace and won't give up the net at any cost.

I occasionally will attack the netman too (usually with my 2h topspin backhand) if the server doesn't have much on his serve but has great groundstrokes and decent volley that I don't want to get into a lengthy battle with. I will go at the net man and intimidate and see if he will back off the net some and/or force the server to go for more than normal and maybe help us with some doublefaults later in the match.

Last match I did this in, a 4.0 tournament, we won 6-4, 6-0. I missed a few returns going big but it still paid off in the long run. I rarely attacked the netman in the second set once he backed off the net some and I even apologized after the match for my first set bully tactics but he was fine with that and enjoyed the challenge. We were down 3-0 in the first set when I became more aggressive and went after the weaker player.

Supernatural_Serve
09-01-2006, 12:03 PM
As for hitting down the center to a team both-back, I agree that is effective, and I recommend it in lessons on that. For the reason you state and others. I don't know why, but players fear both going for shot.
But so what if they do? Rackets sometimes clash but seldom does that affect the shot. And it dosn't hurt the rackets. Nonethless, you can get many teams to let the ball pass like a con artist between them. I think that says the players would RATHER have their partner hit the ball. Not a real positive attitude. I regard letting the ball pass between you as a mortal sin in both-back play. I say, when in doubt, swing. You win more than a point when your center shot goes for a winner because they didn't hit it -- there's a psychological dividend.
There's no good reason for it, but people tend to "hesitate" for lack of a better word and that leads to defensive versus offensive shots or the ever common "I thought you had it"

This is actually something I discuss with any partner before the match. "WE NEVER LET A BALL DOWN THE MIDDLE WITHOUT GOING FOR IT AT THE NET AT THE BASELINE, IT DOESN'T MATTER, GO FOR IT, MAKE AN AGGRESSIVE MISTAKE".

Sometimes, I am willing to compromise and go along with "the forehand takes the ball" but I still go after them anyway.


As for returning serve right at the server's partner in the I-Formation, I can see where that might often work well. But if the server's partner really can't handle that shot, he probably shouldn't be playing the I-Formation. He should be moving forward at the sound of the serve and then break one way or the other as the receiver's forward swing starts.
To get low, they either spread their feet a mile apart and squat or get down on one knee. Your muscles have no leverage then. It takes a huge effort and too much time to get moving. It's best to position farther back to give the serve more clearance, bend over at waist, and BLEND the other two methods. By that I mean, spread your feet farther apart, but don't go so far as to do the side-splits out there. Flex the knees, but not so much that your bottom drops below your knees. Then you can MOVE much better in reaction to the service return.

Returning serve right at an I-Formation player who does squat so low it takes a crane to get him moving will be very effective. You are probably having such good success with that by taking advantage of opponents who can't move quickly enough to even get out of their own way for a shot hit right at them. Either that or their poaching move is poor -- too soon and too far to handle a shot hit to where they originally positioned.

That said, I must confess that I sometimes do that myself. And I HATE it when the service return goes right back to where I was and I can't reach it.

Kathy K
www.operationdoubles.comIt seems like the better I formation players, stand with one foot forward and one back, not that wide squat and not too low. People get too low and of course their first movement is wrong. They move upwards as in standing up and not left/right/forward while remaing low emerging from their low stance. Anyone who has been a sprinter or football player knows the cardinal sin of exploding from a low stance is to move upward first.

And once they are committed to moving, they can't deal with a ball hit right where they were crouching.

LuckyR
09-01-2006, 08:27 PM
I know this may break with the canons of doubles tennis lore, but what I have found when a weaker or weak serve is serving, my return is a major weapon. Next to my serve, its my best shot.

So, when I face a weak server it is not uncommon for me to take their weak serves early on the rise anywhere from just behind the service line to the middle of the back court area. I attack their weak serve relentlessly. I offer very little backhand exposure, I move forward around any ball, and unload with huge forehands.

I am trying to do several things:

1.) Drill the net man with a very aggressive return from very close range, its almost a "net point" given where I return from, and my continued forward movement into net position. The tennis physicist Howard Brody makes it patently clear that stealing that much time from even a good net player places that net player at a very large disadvantage. His only choice, back off the net which exposes angles, his feet, and takes him out of threatening poaching position on returns.

So, high percentage, quick ending points emerge, and sometimes they get lucky to block one back but they have little control for they have little time to do much but get their racquet on the ball. They also tend to hit balls or be hit by balls that might go out. At that distance, the average human is a giant target not easily missed, especially given my movement forward (not side to side like a groundstroke) and a weak serve.

2.) I want that weak server to deal with the psychological impact of his weak first or second serve getting his net man drilled and the frustration that emerges from a good net player or good player having to deal with a doubles match with a weak server. I've seen it. I've been there. I understand what happens when this scenario unfolds.

3.) What I really want is that better net man to back off the net and give me even more options to take advantage of the weak serve. So, I am effectively trying to eliminate him as a variable in the game and put me and my partner against the weak server as much as possible.

If he backs off, I can aggressively return down the middle without fear of a poach or a threatening poach and my partner and I can pinch the middle in net position. I can also return sharp angles pulling the weak server way out of position and then my partner or I can hit to the middle of the court, deep.

Again, the good net player is not a variable.

4.) Force the weak server to go for too much. After a point or two of these kinds of situations, the weak server double faults or is forced to go for more on his first serve, and misses. Thank you, I wonder what I'm going to do with that very weak 2nd serve: wide? with a ton of spin or slice?, down the middle?, drill the net man?, put a ton of top spin on a return right at the net man's feet?. Lots of possibilities.

I basically want to threaten the opposition with all its physical, and psychological impacts. And, it usually works (although less so, at 4.5). The 4.5 weak or weaker server isn't that weak, and the 4.5 good net man tends to have more balls and maneuverability and mobility, so he's not entirely removed from the game.

And the basic principle is to make the good net man, a non factor by capitalizing on my return as a weapon.


Its devestating at 3.5. It works well at 4.0. It has mixed results at 4.5


As read your post I found myself disagreeing with it... until I read your last sentance. OK I can buy that. As you implied but did not mention, the "strong" netman should play closer to the net, not farther (unless he retreats to the baseline which would be very reasonable BTW), since you are clearly not lobbing the guy, rather going for winners off of the "weak" serve. With the netman closer to the net all he needs to do is see if your smashing return is going to sail out (which a lot do, in my experience) and if it isn't, all he has to do is barely touch the return and it will drop in as it is unlikely to hit into the net, mis5hits may fall in for outright winners and weak shots become weird angles.

Supernatural_Serve
09-02-2006, 05:34 AM
As read your post I found myself disagreeing with it... until I read your last sentance. OK I can buy that. As you implied but did not mention, the "strong" netman should play closer to the net, not farther (unless he retreats to the baseline which would be very reasonable BTW), since you are clearly not lobbing the guy, rather going for winners off of the "weak" serve. With the netman closer to the net all he needs to do is see if your smashing return is going to sail out (which a lot do, in my experience) and if it isn't, all he has to do is barely touch the return and it will drop in as it is unlikely to hit into the net, mis5hits may fall in for outright winners and weak shots become weird angles.In my experience, that's not their instinct. Guys who hug the net, hug the net period, regardless. Its kind of their thing. Its rare for a guy facing a very heavy return from close range to play closer. They also get easily passed (steal time principle at work) and create holes behind them if they don't retreat quickly should I return cross court.

I rarely use blocking lobs over the net man unless the server is a very good server and closes the net very well (difficult to control my returns and difficult to get one at his advancing feet). If it happens, its usually a 4.5 player, never a 3.5 player, and they are forcing me to block lob returns over the net man's outside shoulder.

LuckyR
09-04-2006, 09:59 AM
In my experience, that's not their instinct. Guys who hug the net, hug the net period, regardless. Its kind of their thing. Its rare for a guy facing a very heavy return from close range to play closer. They also get easily passed (steal time principle at work) and create holes behind them if they don't retreat quickly should I return cross court.

I rarely use blocking lobs over the net man unless the server is a very good server and closes the net very well (difficult to control my returns and difficult to get one at his advancing feet). If it happens, its usually a 4.5 player, never a 3.5 player, and they are forcing me to block lob returns over the net man's outside shoulder.


You are right, the natural inclination is to back off the net, an error as both of us pointed out.

brucie
09-04-2006, 01:36 PM
I know this may break with the canons of doubles tennis lore, but what I have found when a weaker or weak serve is serving, my return is a major weapon. Next to my serve, its my best shot.

So, when I face a weak server it is not uncommon for me to take their weak serves early on the rise anywhere from just behind the service line to the middle of the back court area. I attack their weak serve relentlessly. I offer very little backhand exposure, I move forward around any ball, and unload with huge forehands.


Excellent post...

I only felt need to quote this however just to add the fact that.. I will stand on court against the biggest servers just to take the ball as early as possible to pressure the server.
It also cuts angles so you have to hit less and return less, which is only a positive!

The psychological aspects add here.

As do being an active net player. I try to step across on most balls which i can read... no mater how far away... I will go... The key thing in doubles is to pressurise errors. and or hit winners

Rickson
09-14-2006, 08:01 PM
lol, Rickson, you crack me up. Now you can read minds.
A poacher is someone who moves for the ball. Well if a guy moves before I strike the ball, he's still a poacher in my book so I lob him. I lob the anticipator if that's a better term, jeez.