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deluxe
09-01-2006, 05:40 AM
In "The Art of Doubles", Pat Blaskower gives as one of the fundamental rules that you shouldn't hit behind yourself on the poach. ie if you're the server's partner and the receiver hits a crosscourt shot which you poach, then your volley should not be back towards the receiver's side.

I've been following this advice for a while, and would volley down towards the feet of the receiver's partner, but sometimes I'd be stretching for the poach and not get quite enough power and placement on it and the receiver's partner would be able to volley or half volley into the space behind me. I'm talking about balls that are not driven really really hard, but are say 6-12 inches above the net and you're getting really close to the net and hitting down on them.

After watching one of the Bryan brother's doubles from Wimbledon, I was seeing quite a lot of hitting behind themselves on that poach, but on a very sharp angle behind themselves for a clean winner.

Is this "don't hit behind yourself" rule only for deep volleys? What are the disadvantages of going for the sharp angle behind yourself?

Nuke
09-01-2006, 05:46 AM
Well, obviously, if the receiver can get to your shot, you've left your side of the court wide open. Not all of us are as good as the Bryan brothers.

MordredSJT
09-01-2006, 05:50 AM
I have a similar rule with an exception that I use for myself and that I teach. Never hit behind yourself unless you are sure you can hit a winner. Now, hitting a short angled volley for a winner behind you while you are poaching isn't that easy. Unless you are a very good vollier and you have a nice setup I would avoid this particular shot.

If you go behind yourself and your opponents get to the shot...best case scenario they just get it over the net behind you and your partner who should be covering behind you gets to the next ball. Of course, if your partner is late covering or not quite the speedy type they can just drop it short for an easy winner...or if you leave it sitting up high they can always just nail you with the ball or put it away.

deluxe
09-01-2006, 05:57 AM
Well, obviously, if the receiver can get to your shot, you've left your side of the court wide open. Not all of us are as good as the Bryan brothers.

True. It just seemed like it was the shot they almost always played on poaches of the return of serve where the ball hadn't been driven really hard.

LuckyR
09-01-2006, 09:38 PM
Well the problem you describe isn't with Pat's advice on hitting behind yourself, rather that you are not placing the ball where she says to place it. Namely, into the hole or into the netman's alley (not at the netman's feet).

Burt Turkoglu
09-02-2006, 09:18 PM
If I'm at net with my partner serving to the deuce court, and my partner tells me he is going for a serve up the T, I will get as close as I can to the net near the net strap and just block the return behind me. It's a very easy shot from close. Just angle the racket face. In that situation, the receivers momentum is headed toward his partners side and neither player should have a play on the ball. If you absolutely flub it, your partner should be moving over behind you to cover the down the line.

xtremerunnerars
09-02-2006, 10:58 PM
Stupid question, but do you guys mean reaching around your back or something to hit the ball? I can't really tell from this discussion.


I've always wanted to try that, though i've never been in the situation.

ucd_ace
09-03-2006, 03:03 AM
When I poach to my backhand side, I go for a short angle winner behind me. When it's to my forehand side, ideally, I hit the ball so it bounces right behind the net man and into the open court. If that's not there, I play the shot to the netman's feet. You or your doubles partner should be able to pick up their reply pretty easily in most cases if they're able to get the ball back.

deluxe
09-04-2006, 02:36 AM
Stupid question, but do you guys mean reaching around your back or something to hit the ball? I can't really tell from this discussion.

Its the term used in the book. When you're poaching in doubles, your momentum is towards the center of the court. "Hitting behind yourself" is hitting the ball from that center volley position back towards the side of the court you've just come from. This is considered incorrect because if the returner can get to your ball, there is a big space to hit into down the line.

deluxe
09-04-2006, 02:36 AM
I'll post some video of the Bryan Brothers match later to show what I mean.

Thud and blunder
09-04-2006, 06:42 AM
I'll post some video of the Bryan Brothers match later to show what I mean.

I think Blaskower's advice is pretty good, but it's like all tennis rules, not cast in stone. It's like 'don't approach crosscourt'.

If you have an easy poach, you can put it just about anywhere, 'rules' aren't that important. But if the ball is more marginal (or you don't have Bryanesque volleys) I think the 'don't hit behind you' advice is generally pretty sound.