Doubles Hand Signals

Discussion in 'Adult League & Tournament Talk' started by Sherlock, May 20, 2010.

  1. Sherlock

    Sherlock Rookie

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    I am wondering what people on these boards use for hand signals. I am generally quite passive and let my partner decide what hand signals to use, and because of that I've used almost every possible combination there is.
     
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  2. spot

    spot Hall of Fame

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    Keep it simple. Open means "Im going no matter what".
     
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  3. AR15

    AR15 Professional

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    Open or closed.
     
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  4. Sherlock

    Sherlock Rookie

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    Of course the standard signals are open, closed, or one finger (an appropriate one). To clarify I'm asking which signal you like to associate with which motion.
     
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  5. SlapShot

    SlapShot Hall of Fame

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    Closed - staying (place the serve where you want to)
    Open - poaching (serve up the middle if at all possible)
    Finger - faking (serve where you want to, works best if you go out wide)

    My usual dubs partner and I don't call poaches, rather the net man signals serve location (closed for up the middle, single finger for out wide). Just knowing the location allows us to be more aggressive at the net.
     
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  6. JRstriker12

    JRstriker12 Hall of Fame

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    Open or closed.

    I prefer to talk though. Sometimes I get so wrapped in concentrating on my serve that I forget to look for the signal.
     
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  7. LuckyR

    LuckyR Legend

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    Since you don't play with the same partner all of the time, you are going to have to compromise with the partner of the day regardless of what you want or don't want to use. Just keep doing what you are doing.
     
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  8. 86golf

    86golf Semi-Pro

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    If we use signals, there are always two. Serve location with finger and poach (open hand) or no poach (fist).

    The server makes the calls with yep, yep. or no, yep, yep


    Recently I played with a guy that called poaches with the fist, saying that an open hand was the signal for stop. I was confused all day.
     
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  9. Ripper014

    Ripper014 Hall of Fame

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    I used to use open, closed, 1 finger or 2 fingers... and a signal for service location. As long as I signal whether I go or not my partner didn't need to know if I was going to incorporate a fake as well.
     
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  10. OrangePower

    OrangePower Hall of Fame

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    I've used all the signals mentioned in this thread at one time or another, but for the last couple of seasons have stuck with just stay (fist) / poach (open hand).

    Signaling a fake did not add much value, at least for me - as the server, I was not doing anything different to what I would do for stay, so why bother.

    Signaling serve location has maybe a small benefit but not enough to warrant the additional complexity and possible confusion. As the server, I already have a pretty good idea of where I want to serve based on stay / poach, and so should my net player.

    On a poach, I will serve down the T maybe 70% of the time, and hard to the body maybe 20%. The net player would play them both the same way anyway, so no real need to communicate it. And maybe 10% on a poach I will serve wide, but I go for a little extra on my serve on these occasions.

    Keeping it simple helps when you play with multiple partners.
     
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  11. dcgator

    dcgator New User

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    Just started using hand signals with my doublespartner a few matches ago. It took some getting used to and our results have plundered. I don't want to blame the hand signals as I like the communication and knowledge of where the serve is going to go; but for whatever benefits it has brought to the table we no longer play as loose and I find out anticipation has not been as good.

    Its almost like because we know where the serve is going to go (most of the time) there is very little inventiveness in how we play. We seem surprised by shots and styles of play that we weren't before we incorporated the hand signals.


    Does this make the least bit of sense to anyone? :oops:
     
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  12. Sherlock

    Sherlock Rookie

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    This is all fine. I know the pros and cons of hand signals. I pretty much just wanted to confirm what I was thinking to myself. That a fist for stay and open hand for poach is the most common pair of signals.
     
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  13. JT_2eighty

    JT_2eighty Hall of Fame

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    Yea, my partner and I use fist for poach. We originally called it "fist of fury", so that just makes sense to me.
     
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  14. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    I think those signals are more intuitive. Open palm is the international signal for "Stop." A fist is powerful -- that's a poach.

    Since no one else does it that way, I've had to adapt. Now I just remember that an open hand is an appeal directly to God to help me on this poach.

    Oh, and I don't like signaling serve location, as server or net player. Few servers at my level have that kind of pinpoint control over where their serve goes. If I signal poach, hit a serve that will make life easy for me, 'kay?

    I also dislike when my partner insists that I not signal for second serve (either because I will always stay or because the signal applies for first and second0. Why give the opponent a free pass on a second serve? Also, I feel like if I started to poach but the first serve was out, the receiver may have noticed my poach and will be ready for it on second serve. I'd like the option to change the call.
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2010
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  15. Geezer Guy

    Geezer Guy Hall of Fame

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    Fist (no fingers) = I'm holding my position on both serves.
    1 finger = I'm poaching on your first serve (only).
    2 fingers = I'm poaching on your second serve (only).
    3 fingers = I'm poaching on both your first and second serve (my favorite).

    With this, the netman is free to fake as much as he likes. The netman, even if holding, is free to take anything he thinks he can get to. The other thing I like is that these signals work just as well in both the regular or Ausie formations, and continue to work even if the netman lines up in different formations on different serves. It doesn't work as well for the I formation, and when doing that the netman will just point which way he's going.
     
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  16. Geezer Guy

    Geezer Guy Hall of Fame

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    I hear that. I can usually put the ball more or less where I want it, as long as I'm not "calling my shot" ahead of time. When my partner tells me to serve to a certain location, there's no telling where the ball will go.
     
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  17. Larrysümmers

    Larrysümmers Hall of Fame

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    when do you start to go on a poach and how far do you go?
     
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  18. hfmf

    hfmf New User

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    In high school my doubles partner and I would yell out a meal.

    If it started with a meat or protein, we were going.
    If it started with the side dish, we were staying.

    You'd think you'd figure this out, BUT if we thought the other doubles team was catching on, we would say "TO GO" at the end, and it meant the opposite.

    For example, before serving, the net person would say "chicken cordon bleu with asparagus and rice." And that meant GO.

    Eventually our coach told us it was distracting and getting everyone hungry listening to our menus day after day.

    I would stick with
    Open - going agressive, but not crossing
    Closed - staying
    Scissor fingers - Agressive cross, cover my line.
     
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  19. Steady Eddy

    Steady Eddy Hall of Fame

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    Maybe use hand signals to get an edge on a tie-breaker, but all match long! Sounds like it would slow it down too much and there's already too many slow players.
     
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  20. Turbo

    Turbo New User

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    haha that's pretty good - and maybe incentive for team dinners?
     
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  21. hfmf

    hfmf New User

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    No way, jose. Good doubles is about communication. I coach girls tennis and if I don't see my doubles players get together and talk AT LEAST once a game, I make them run laps. You need to talk about what you're doing and planning. Doubles isn't just two singles players, it's about acting like a single organism that moves and poaches with one mind.
     
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  22. JW10S

    JW10S Hall of Fame

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    I remember playing a tournament where our opponents seemed to have an uncanny ability to know when we were or were not going to poach. Nearly everytime we signaled for a poach the other team went down the line and when we signaled to stay they went crosscourt. After losing the 1st set we finally noticed that a certain spectator was changing ends of the court everytime we did. We realized he was stealing our hand signals and relaying them to the other team. So we changed our signals--instead of an open or closed hand we flipped our racquets, scratched our heads, tugged on our shirt sleeves, whatever, anything that seemed innocuous. We did this everytime we played after that--it was fun thinking up new signals. In the match mentioned above, where the guy was stealing our signals, the first new signal was made by my partner while I was serving--he put his hand behind his back his back and flipped the bird. The guy didn't know whether we had a poach on or not but he knew we were on to him. We ended up winning in 3 sets.
     
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  23. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Personally, I try to just play the point as though I had no partner if I have signaled poach. I have to get that crosscourt ball some kind of way.

    So I try to stay on my toes and I just judge everything based on the strength and location of the serve and the returner. I try not to be moving when they are hitting, though.

    I haven't been able to figure out any sort of formula. If I try to go when the returner looks down, I will sometimes overrun the poach.
     
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  24. 813wilson

    813wilson Rookie

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    I play with two regular partners, one when I'm doubles in league play and another playing w/ a regular group - all are 4.5s.

    League, because he is extremely quick, we use: Open - go, Closed - stay and one more. We will mix in I formation. I'm right handed. So if we are in I formation and I'm strattling the center line or really close to it, w/my left hand behind my back, I show my pinky finger down if I am going to my left and show my index finger down if I'm going to my right. This works for duece and ad service because I am only showing hte direction I am headed.

    In my regular group, my partner has some booming ground strokes but quickness is not his strength. So, we do two things. I use the same open/closed hand signals and we poach when receiving serve. So, if he is receiving I'll hold one finger down or two - meaning I'll poach off of his ground stroke after the return or potential next ground stroke.

    Obviously, all of this requires good communication - knowing your partner is comfortable w/differnent looks and positions.

    Finally, all of the tactics vary depending on the strengths/weaknesses of the opponents you are playing.
     
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  25. Perry the Platypus

    Perry the Platypus Rookie

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    We will signal serve placement - poaching is usually a given based on where the serve will be going. Pinky or index figure for wide serves. Middle finger for a jam (kinda appropriate, no?).
     
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  26. spot

    spot Hall of Fame

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    I'm not going to ever signal for where I want my partner to serve- he is the one who has to execute it and I know my serving pattern is far different than what many others would go with on their own. If I signal that I am going and they serve out wide then they will quickly learn why that doesn't work.
     
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  27. Perry the Platypus

    Perry the Platypus Rookie

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    We look it akin to a catcher calling pitches. The pitcher (or server) can always shake off the call.
     
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  28. vandre

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    sorry, dude, but mine are classified!:twisted:
     
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  29. SlapShot

    SlapShot Hall of Fame

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    Agreed.

    Maybe 30% of the time, it doesn't matter, but if you're facing a guy who has a tendency, I want to know where that ball is going with some certainty.

    The other option is to talk between points, and ask them where they want to serve. We do that on more critical points.
     
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  30. Sherlock

    Sherlock Rookie

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    Last week I played doubles with a guy who actually "shook off" my hand signals. That was the first time I've ever had anyone do that. It was a little surprising at first, but I actually liked it. It meant he had a certain type of play in mind and wanted me to play along with his plan.

    Over the weekend I played with a guy who never signaled a poach, only stays and fakes (despite telling me he had a signal for a poach) in 3 matches. That's fine, but I felt like shaking off a few of his signals myself :) First time I played doubles with the guy though so I'm not going to say too much. Next time we play a tournament I'll probably ask him to throw in at least a few poaches.
     
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