View Full Version : Playing net in doubles

03-07-2004, 12:33 AM
Last night we had a league match. My partner and I won the first set 6-1, and lost the next two, 3-6, 6-0. What happened ? They got smart. They kept the ball away from me at net. But we really lost because my partner stopped talking to me, we fell apart as a team. She blamed me for her missed shots because I 'jump around at the net and distract her. I missed my fair share too, but she didn't shake my hand after the match and didn't talk to me at the table afterwards (she did still drive me home at least). The opponent's were crafty and I give them a lot of credit for their win.

But, about net play - how much should the net person 'jump around' How much can the back player be expected to take ?

I don't stand there, that's for sure. If I see a their net person might take a ball, I scurry back. I'll try for every ball that isn't sharply angled or too high. If I can't get to it, I duck under the net. I try to open the net for my partner, and close it for the opponent.

When I'm back this isn't an issue, because I know I can't sustain these stupid endless cross court rallys and I come in quickly, so I really don't know how it is for her.

We also play together on the club team, so finding a solution is kind of important. I'd really like to know, before she and I discuss it, what others think the role of the net player is.

03-07-2004, 01:36 AM
If what you mean by "jumping around" is moving with the direction of the ball during a cross court rally when both server and receiver stay back, then you should ALWAYS be moving (if not "jumping").

If sounds like your partner, aside from being a nasty piece of work, prefers to rally from the baseline. As Vic Braden says, "If your partner won't come to the net, then it's time to find a new partner." Additionally, a partner who refuses to shake your hand is not much of a partner, and even less of a person. Dump her.

03-07-2004, 02:23 AM
I'm with Phil. As a net person, you should disrupt your opponents by positioning yourself to poach on everything, especially any ball that strays near the middle of the court during a rally. Just remind your partner that doubles is won at the net and both of you should be up there for most of the match. And if your partner is still stubborn, find someone else.

03-07-2004, 04:37 AM
Dumping her isn't a an option. I 'm a sub on the league team, so maybe I won't get asked again (she's a regular), but for the club team we're both members and it's up to the captain. In principal we play together well because she is really steady from the baseline and I'm good a net.

But I've only been playing doubles since August, so I'm not very sure about the shoulds and shouldn'ts. I just know what feels right to me. We have to discuss this, probably tomorrow, so I'm trying to get a more objective view.

She will appologise, I'm sure. She's a bit neurotic, but not a monster. I'm a sore spot for her just now (she's also my trainings partner) because she's not as much better than I as she used to be.

Bungalo Bill
03-07-2004, 05:35 PM
If your movement is too much and neither one of you are clear on your positions and limitiations during a doubles play then, yes, you will disrupt your partners game. You need to make sure your moving intelligently and not moving like a mexican jumping bean. Otherwise, your partner will have to figure out two things what to do with the ball, and how she is going to protect the opening you create.

When I say the following I am saying this as if the returner or opponent hit a good shot crosscourt. In other words, it isnt a sitting duck nor a ball that should be obviously yours.

My partner and I employ a thing called the wall axiom, it says that my partner is free to move around as much as he wants right up until he hits that wall. The wall is between us. Obviously, if we call a poach then that is a different story. But lets say no poach is called and the ball is hit decently, if my partner starts to move as if to cut it off, I know he is only going to go so far before he breaks off as it goes out of his reach. THIS IS MY BALL. No matter what he does, I can not make an excuse that he distracted me. If he crosses that line, he better know he can nail it. Otherwise, we will scramble for positioning and can lose the point. If that is the case, he will take the blame and we both move on. We will also square up on our calls and what we are doing out there. Since we call plays and we know our turf, we rarely run into this problem.

Mr. Wilson
03-07-2004, 06:56 PM
Imagine a pylon in the centre of the square bounded by the baseline, service line and singles sideline. If the crosscourt shot lands inside the pylon (towards the centre of the court) it is your ball. If it lands outside (towards the sideline) it is your partner's ball. This is an easy way of checking, although it is my belief that the net person should go netpost to netpost to disrupt the returner. If your partner is stuck at the baseline, you may have to join her. You'll probably lose, but not by as much as you would one-up, one-back. :roll:

03-07-2004, 09:09 PM
You ALWAYS have options. I still suggest dumping her-she doesn't know how to play doubles, and she won't even shake your hand. That's one strike too many against her. Dump her and find a more competent-and friendlier-doubles partner.

03-08-2004, 04:55 AM
The tennis Gods move in mysterious ways... Yesterday my partner met one of our opponents coincidentally and when they talked about the match the opponent said something about how well we played the first set and how effective I was at net. So my partner said the problem isn't my jumping around, but that I duck under the level of the net and she's afraid to swing through in case the ball goes low and hits me, and we agreed that I would try to run back to the post when I realise I won't get the ball. Faces saved, compromise reached, I hope that I can retrian my instincts.

Phil, sure there are always options, but there are also always consequences and repercussions. I can quit the team and try to join another, or I can play the prima donna and say I won't play with Ms V anymore, but neither option is going to do me any good, in fact both would probably earn me a bad reputation I don't play well enough to afford.

03-09-2004, 04:58 PM
Phil, sure there are always options, but there are also always consequences and repercussions. I can quit the team and try to join another, or I can play the prima donna and say I won't play with Ms V anymore, but neither option is going to do me any good, in fact both would probably earn me a bad reputation I don't play well enough to afford.

Well, I supoose it's just me, but I won't play with an a-hole again, not under any circumstances. There are too many other good partners, and tennis games out there to have to settle. The "consequences and repercussions" of refusing to play with an a-hole are very small compared to pride and dignity. If the consequences and repercussions were death or dismemberment or unemployment, sure, I'd "play the game", like any reasonable person, but this is only tennis. But, again, that's just me, not compromising my standards. Life is too short to have to deal with a-holes, if you don't have to, IMHO.

03-09-2004, 11:24 PM
Cypo, if your partner are afraid to hit you while you are at the net, just tell her to lob and you'll stay on that side (ready to move back for possible overhead or counter-lob) and she'll have to complete the switch. It was just miscommunication or lack of in that match, and any team sport is susceptible to that. You have to fight and resolve the problem within the team before you're ready to fight the other teams.

03-09-2004, 11:44 PM
Hey Phil, you mean don't fear the reaper cussions ?

You are right Plawan, we definitely need to practice more together, especially because 1) I don't have much experience and 2) there are few women who play net aggressively around here so my partner isn't used to it.