"Do You Want Me To Poach?"

Discussion in 'Adult League & Tournament Talk' started by Cindysphinx, Mar 29, 2013.

  1. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    On occasion, I have had conferences with partners that go like this:

    Cindy: "I'm going to hit a serve to the T and follow it to net."

    Partner: "Do you want me to poach?"

    Typically, I will reply saying yes, by all means, of course, take any ball you want, go for it, if you can reach it take it.

    In the back of my mind, though, I am not at all sure I understand the question. I mean, isn't the net player always supposed to be looking to poach? Do they think they shouldn't poach if I said I was coming to net?

    Why are they asking me that question, and what is the best reply? When most people S&V, are they annoyed if their partner poaches?
     
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  2. Nostradamus

    Nostradamus G.O.A.T.

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    In men's tennis at least, we almost never get this question. if you have a very capable serve and volleyer and you are winning 90 % of the points on your serve, you are happy with that.
    Occasionally we have a stone hand partner that misses 50 % of his volleys, then I would rather that they just stay put and handle balls that come their way
     
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  3. spot

    spot Hall of Fame

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    My girlfriend and I got a bit crossed up about this the other day.

    For me poaching is something that net players should always be looking to do. To jump in when the opportunity arises. Sometimes even just selling out to go.

    For her poaching meant more signaled poaches where both players know before the serve whether the net player is going to go or not.

    I think the only way to reply is to say that you are an opportunistic poacher but if they woudl like to do hand signals that you would be up for it.
     
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  4. J_R_B

    J_R_B Hall of Fame

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    Was she asking for a called poach (as opposed to just looking for a floater to poach)?
     
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  5. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Well, I'm not sure, which is why I raise the question.

    I usually don't like to do "planned" poaches. By that I mean where you have a conference between first and second and decide on which serve the net player will go.

    The reason is that planned poaches take too darn much time. I also think it is easy for one of us to get confused and forget what we planned.

    Better, I think, is a signaled poach. It is faster, and there is minimal delay between the signal and the serve so no one forgets what was decided. Also, it tends to screw up the opponents more if they know we are signaling.

    If she asked, "Do you want me to poach?" and I said "Yes," what would she think that meant?
     
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  6. SwankPeRFection

    SwankPeRFection Hall of Fame

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    If the server is coming to net after the serve, there's no poaching. Poaching is going after a cross court return strongly way out of your hitting zone (i.e. your own service box you stand in at the net). You don't normally poach when your partner is looking to serve and volley, unless the ball comes back within your easy reach (which technically doesn't count as a poach) and you know you have a good put-away (i.e. if the returner hits it at you). If you poach and don't win the point, now you have two players at net and the opponents can lob easily as your partner/serve is still trying to approach. It's a stupid move to poach when the server is approaching.
     
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  7. OrangePower

    OrangePower Hall of Fame

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    I don't think there is a difference between a signaled poach and a poach planned via conference. Just a matter of communication preference.

    If a partner asked me "Do you want me to poach?" I would take that to mean a planned poach, where he/she is going to cross all the way.

    I personally don't like to S&V on a planned poach. I am not quick enough to cover DTL if the returner happens to catch my partner moving early and goes DTL.

    I do S&V most of the time if my partner is staying home.

    Of course opportunistic poaches are always encouraged.
     
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  8. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    I almost always S&V on a planned poach. I need to cover that DTL. If I stay back, I might not make the distance, so I try to come in on the diagonal.

    I figure all this extra movement is a little more confusing.

    Swank, you may be onto something. There does to be a difference in opinion on what the net player should be doing if the server is coming to net.
     
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  9. OrangePower

    OrangePower Hall of Fame

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    I find it easier to cover the DTL on a planned poach from the baseline - the extra second or two it takes the ball to get there gives me the extra time to cover the distance. I also feel this allows me to protect better against a lob. But if you can cover things better while coming in on a diagonal, then that's a good play. You'll see the pros sometimes doing that, but they are just a tad more agile than I am.
     
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  10. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Just a wild guess, but I suspect your serve is just a tad faster than mine, so the ball is on you faster. :)
     
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  11. SwankPeRFection

    SwankPeRFection Hall of Fame

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    The other thing is, if you're coming to net after a serve to S&V, you come in on your own side to volley the cross-court return back to you. You don't S&V on the diagonal because if you do, I'll return deep DTL and you will not get to it. Or, if I'm feeling lucky, I'll hit hard down the middle of the service box on my side and that will either be a missed ball by your partner as they move to poach and then try and dart back to get a reflex volley or you will run into the return on your diagonal S&V and most likely spray the ball out depending on if what handed you are and if you were serving from deuce or add. Either way, that hard return down the service box in front of me will land at your feet and be pretty hard for you to dig up unless we've played a few points like this and you've developed a feel for it (i.e. you're setting me up to hit this return thinking I'll win the point again)... but it's always low percentage to set up points unless you're playing well that day and nothing is going wrong.
     
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  12. LuckyR

    LuckyR Legend

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    As you know, intimate understanding of classic doubles strategy is relatively uncommon, especially considering how many players play doubles the majority of the time.
     
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  13. TennisDawg

    TennisDawg Semi-Pro

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    Good post! Partner at net should look for easy putaways and of course cover the DTL and short lobs. Many serve/volleyers get thrown off when the partner at the net goes after a wide return, especially if they completely miss the the return or change their mind. The serve/volley many times muffs the volley because for a split second they think their partner is going after the return. Also, the server and the net person may end up on one side of the court, leaving the other side wide open. The answer should be "only go after easy putaway volleys, I'll cover the wide balls"
     
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  14. Overdrive

    Overdrive Legend

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    Sigh, there's alot of people who can't play tennis..


    [​IMG]
     
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  15. blakesq

    blakesq Professional

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    I think she is asking you if she should poach irrespective of where the return goes. In other words a "called poach" as others have suggested. If you know she is going to poach, then you need to be heading towards the empty court as you are running to net.

    The best reply is to make sure you and your partner are on the same page. Clear up whether she is asking about a "called poach" or simply a poach if the opportunity arises due to a poorly hit return. Knowing which will help you know where to approach the net and what to expect.


     
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  16. polytheist

    polytheist Rookie

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    Best answer is, if she can get to it, it's hers. Net man should not be yielding to the serve and volleyer. Course if you bone the backhand volley, your partner ends up saying it was her ball due to it being her forehand.
     
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  17. polytheist

    polytheist Rookie

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    (being the ad side net man)
     
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  18. PushyPushster

    PushyPushster Rookie

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    If I tell my partner I'm going to poach, it means a sprint to the other side of the court. Since I tend to leave early - like buy a bus ticket early - said partner will probably need to cover the gigantic open space the return man will be aiming at.
     
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  19. NTexas

    NTexas New User

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    Exactly, its kind of a all or nothing play most of the time. not my favorite approach but if you see something go for it.
     
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  20. jswinf

    jswinf Professional

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    I guess I'm not sure if there's an "official" definition, but the way I think of a poach is when the net man takes off before the returner hits the ball and moves crosscourt to intercept the anticipated cross-court return. If the net player sees a floater or a short ball and goes and gets it, I don't think of that as a poach. Maybe I'd call it a "see the ball, get the ball" if I had to call it anything. Anybody with me on this, or am I delusional?

    So I'm not sure what Cindy's parther meant.
     
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  21. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    I thought there were only two types of poaches:

    1. Opportunistic poach. See ball, get ball. Keep crossing if your poach takes you across the center line. If you change your mind and realize you cannot make the distance, you shout "You!" and go back to your side.

    2. Planned/signaled poach. If you signal go, you must cover the crosscourt. Period. No bailing out is allowed. You can call for help on a lob you really, really cannot reach, but that's it. Leave as early as you need to to reach that crosscourt ball.

    I had a conversation with a different lady a few weeks ago. She believed that on a signaled or planned poach to "go," the poacher could bail out if the ball was too far away.

    : face palm :

    So yeah, people have different ideas about this stuff.
     
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  22. dlam

    dlam Rookie

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    #22
  23. tennis_ocd

    tennis_ocd Hall of Fame

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    That's my take. Always important for server to be aware of #2 but if S&Ving, it becomes even more so.

    #1 is always on but if S&V the net person has to be more selective -- only going for weak returns that are reachable. S&Ver must immediately go behind the moving net poach; no time to react the the "YOU!" call.
     
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  24. stapletonj

    stapletonj Semi-Pro

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    learn klingon
    use different phrases to explain what you want.
    (If you say "eat the returner's heart" every time, they will catch on)
     
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  25. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

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    I'm not a good poacher so if my partner is a good serve and volleyer, I'll pretty much stay in place. However, if he's having trouble holding serve it is worth it for me to poach. I may not win a high percentage of points I poach on, but putting doubt in the returners' minds and making them change up their returning pattern can get them to make a lot more errors on the serve return.
     
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