Doubles tactics for dummies!...

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by Ross K, Jul 13, 2010.

  1. deluxe

    deluxe Semi-Pro

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  2. deluxe

    deluxe Semi-Pro

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    There were two body serves that were hit down the line for winners. For each of the two points I have the frame at which the ball is struck and the frame where the ball is flying past the net man. This shows how close a driven DTL ball can be to a top ATP doubles player and still get past him.

    1st DTL Winner:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    2nd DTL Winner:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Now go back to the 11 out wide serves and see for yourself just how much of the tramlines the net man is covering on those wide serves. I'd say approximately none.
     
  3. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    I would answer it this way:

    If your partner hits a weak, short shot into the alley, that might be a very good time to make sure you have the line "covered." By that I mean you are blocking that DTL shot a bit more carefully so that you cannot be beaten and you are mentally ready. If someone sends me a short ball into my alley when I am at baseline, I will see that as a good time to go up the line because the net player has less time to react.

    In contrast, if your partner sends a great stroke deep and opponent will likely struggle, then you can pay less attention to cutting off the DTL shot. If the opponent tries to change direction on that ball, she might miss, for one thing. And because it is deep, you will have more time to react and can get over and cover the DTL to avoid the winner. It is this situation -- deep player has hit a great deep shot -- where a lot of people hug the alley when they shouldn't.

    And of course if someone shows you they own that shot, you have to respect it and adjust accordingly.

    If the opponent does burn you DTL, just make a mental note. Keep track of how many they make compared to how many they miss plus the ones you handle with your volley. They don't get a success rate of 50% very often, I'll bet.
     
  4. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    I don't see how one can separate the concepts of positioning and coverage as neatly as some here are doing. If I position myself on the center line, I do not have the alley covered. Your position influences or even dictates what your coverage will be.

    I mean, isn't the "position" the place where a player does her splitstep in anticipation of the next ball, whereas what she can "cover" is, well, what she can reach from that position with her footwork, reach, reactions, and footspeed?

    A stronger player will cover more court from a particular position than a weaker one, of course. But I don't see how one can divorce once concept from the other.
     
  5. esgee48

    esgee48 Hall of Fame

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    Positioning should vary over the course of the match. You may not cover the DTL at the beginning, but you will if they consistently start to hit winners. If they don't you tolerate their winners because they hit more UE's.

    For CindySphinx:

    Google Images has pics of random number error generators.
     
  6. deluxe

    deluxe Semi-Pro

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    "position" is an objective concept that we can all see and agree on. That's why 5623 doesn't want to talk about position. There's no question where the top doubles players position themselves on a wide serve. The only way for 5623 to maintain his claim was to say that even though the pros "position" themselves a large distance from the tramline, they still have it "covered". 5623 seems to think that Lisa Raymond has the whole of the tramlines covered from here:

    [​IMG]
     
  7. naylor

    naylor Semi-Pro

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    I'd go along with that. I get annoyed when my partner camps by the trams when I'm serving, and stays there, because it means I have to cover pretty much the whole court and play it like a singles point, so I have to serve down the T to reduce the return angles, and still S&V because that way at least it's both up at the net (rather than 1 up watching from the sidelines, 1 back playing singles but 1v2).

    But I get extremely annoyed when my partner camps by the trams when I'm serving but his first move is a dash towards the middle regardless of where I place my serve, to "surprise" the opponents with a kamikaze intercept. If I go wide, he opens the trams for the opponent; or he comes so far across that he tries to volley a CC return that's mine to take and stuffs it (or doesn't quite get there but gets in my way); or is simply not ready to play a proper volley on a mediocre return back to the middle of his service box, because he's still moving, so he stuffs that too.

    When I play with someone like that, I always go for wide serves - if he opens the trams and gets passed, his fault; if he comes too far across but doesn't get the ball, I'll be slamming my volley back the way it came so he'll risk getting killed by "friendly fire".
     
  8. jpr

    jpr New User

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    great thread

    there used to be a site called Operation Doubles that did a good job describing the angles.

    the premise is to find the gap. when my team is hitting, we're either exposing the gap or setting up the point. EG if opponents are 1 up, 1 back then the gap is diagonal between them. if both up, the gap is often down the middle. if both back, the gap is the center baseline mark.

    as i work the point, i will hits shots to: 1) set up my partner, 2) force the opponent to hit up on the ball, and 3) expose the gap.

    when on defense, my job is to protect the gap. the percentages say that a net player should close the middle thus leaving his/her alley exposed. the angles prove it works in the majority of situations expect when the ball is wide.

    i wont bait my opponent to go DTL however my partner and I agree that we'll tolerate 3 of 5 DTL winners by the opponent. Often the actual percentage of winners is much lower, even at 4.5.

    if we're playing an exceptional case, we adjust. Combine this with consistent serving and consistent pressure applied by the net person, and the opponents return % usually drops.

    Occasionally this doesnt work as well as planned, but works perfectly 9 of out 10.

    Most people on this thread are saying the same thing. Cover the middle is higher priority than the alley.
     
  9. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    Talk all you want about your ideas on position, but I ask you not to put your words in my mouth. I'm more than willing to discuss position and think it is quite critical in this game. I also understand the difference between coverage and position, which you "seem" to think is the same.

    I would like to remind you that the initial statement was to cover the line, made by another poster who knew the importance of this and I agreed with their excellent tip. You were the one who made the ridiculous statement not to cover the lines. If you don't have the lines covered adequately, you will get hurt there. IF YOU DO have them covered well enough, you will minimize the damage they can do there to the extent of your skills.
    I never tell my partner to position here or there, but will ask that he cover his line better if he gets burned there too often.


    Lisa may feel she has that line covered due to previous tendencies, serve quality or just decided to take a chance based on score. There are so many factors to consider. Some show the I formation on serve, as this hides the coverage, but to you and Cindy, that position would seem to indicate where they cover.
    I do think her position is poor to cover an out wide serve on that excellent returner and think it would not go well to do it too often on him unless her server is having an awesome day.
    Many players will show softer coverage on the outside as bait and attempt to cover if the bait is taken. If they get hurt dtl, they will make adjustments and position to cover better.
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2010
  10. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    Excellent, you describe good coverage and don't even have to mention Position.
     
  11. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    OK. Tell us the difference between coverage and position, if you don't mind. I gave my definition above, and deluxe gave his definition.

    I do not believe the initial statement "cover the line" in this thread was dealing with coverage as you seem to define it. I think the statement referred to positioning, and I will tell you why.

    As I said, I think "covering" means what you can reach from whatever position you take. Well, when we play doubles, none of us intentionally fails to cover a particular shot if we believe it will land in, right? If we can reach it, we will play the ball. When your typical league player says she will "cover the line", she means she is going to take a position that allows her to cover the DTL shot and cut it off. She is talking primarily about positioning (and anticipation).

    That is why some of us reacted badly to the advice. Of course you cover the line. And the middle. And the lob. And the drop shot. What you don't do is position to cover the line (unless you have a very good reason). That results in no poaching, alley camping and forcing your poor partner to change his play to compensate for your poor positioning (and resulting inability to cover the middle, pressure the returner or poach). Just as Naylor describes.


    This is obvious.

    If you position or anticipate too much toward the middle, an alert returner will go down your alley. I would say few players make this error repeatedly in a match.

    Far more common in my experience is the player who positions and anticipates too much toward the alley. They don't reach any balls and they don't cover anything. They are not getting burned down the line; they are getting burned up the middle. The difference is that they don't have any idea that they are failing to cover the middle. The dead giveaway is how they lament how they can never seem to get into a point. 'Cause they are devoted to "covering their alley."

    Well, yeah. If my partner is getting burned by lobs, I would ask her to cover the lobs (actually, I would say, "Boy, we're getting lobbed, so let's be ready to hit overheads!"). I would not ask her to move back from the net (positioning), although I would hope she is bright enough to understand that her coverage is related to her positioning and she would take it upon herself to move back.


    Lisa, like other good top pros, understands that she has more to gain by positioning to cover the middle. If the returner threads the needle DTL, Lisa will not reach that ball. She seems to be OK with taking that risk, and I agree with what she is doing.
     
  12. deluxe

    deluxe Semi-Pro

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    My claim has been consistent. There is some margin that you shouldn't cover because your opponent won't be able to hit it consistently. It varies from opponent to opponent and from shot to shot. You've said that you shouldn't leave any margin of the line uncovered, which is the opposite of high percentage tennis, opposite to the advice given by Louis Cayer and is clearly the opposite of what the top players in the world actually do.

    For example, you said "There is no reason to leave any court uncovered in dubs with proper shift and stagger", "Not leaving anything uncovered and don't see why you would."

    Amazing.

    Lisa is in the *same* position for that out wide serve that Bob Byran is in, Mike Bryan is in, Nestor is in, Zimonjic is in, Paes is in and Moodie is in. *Every* time on non-planned poaches.

    You say her position is poor! You say it would not go too well if she did it on every wide serve, yet that's what she does!

    You say she must "feel" that she's "covering" a forehand drive down the line that would go past her 11 foot away. Yet in the two DTL winners in your video, the net player can't cover a drive that is 4-5 foot away from them.

    It beggars belief.

    I give up, you win. Raymond, Nestor, Zimonjic, Paes, Moodie, Bob & Mike, Louis Cayer - they're all wrong. Raymond's positioning is poor (as are the rest of those guys), but she probably does have that DTL covered - if Paes hit his FH DTL in my screenshot, Raymond would probably rise up like a salmon and volley that drive that's 11 foot away from her for a winner.
     
  13. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    Looked up Louis Cayers work and every ref I found on the server's partner discussed taking a position that covered the dtl and to adjust if you were beaten there too often.

    Played a match against the #1 team in our league today that was sporting one of the best doubles teams around at #1 position (former college players). Playing in that one spot, we had all played college ball, but the other 3 had played college tennis (me football, lol). I was also the oldest on the court as well. A big part of our winning today (6-2, 6-2) was that we never got passed dtl, not once, BUT we both had several winning poaches each. They did try me dtl 2-3 times and gave up when I handled them well. They tried to be more aggressive with their position at net and paid dearly with each of us hitting successful shots dtl.
    Our control of net coverage was the key in the strong win against this undefeated duo (this season).
    I would concede that maybe we could have positioned more aggressively since we did not give up one single dtl pass during the 2 quick sets.
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2010
  14. deluxe

    deluxe Semi-Pro

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    The phrase there though is "too often". As I understand it you're saying you shouldn't ever be beaten down the line in the sense of not being able to reach the down the line shot. Whereas I've been saying "If your opponent can beat you down the line (in the sense of hitting a shot in the court that you can't physically reach) 1 time out of 10 then that's not 'too often' - you don't have to cover 1 in 10 shots - you're not too far from the tramlines if you're being beaten once in 10 times." We could argue what 'too often' is, but my argument has been only that there is some margin.

    That's all I've been claiming. My argument is that being passed down line 0% of the time is too low a number. If your opponents stop trying to pass you down the line, I'd say you're not doing your job as the net man. You should be making the returner think about whether or not he will have to hit it down the line.

    I would expect it to be an extremely rare top level doubles match where Nestor or Zimonjic or the Bryans come off the court having not been passed down the line. If they did, I'd expect their partner to have words with them afterwards.
     
  15. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    Yes, "too often" is an aspect of the term in discussion, " coverage". That is why he says it. Louis may in trying to describe the coverage to, say to leave part of the dtl open, but he clearly accounts for having dtl coverage and to make adjustments if you are getting beat there too often, just like we are saying. He would not make your blanket statement that, "dtl coverage is bad advise". sorry

    And mainly what I would say is that needing to get beat dtl several times to prove you were aggressive enough is nuts. Just cause a player is able to make the coverage in a match surely does not mean his position is poor.
    The rate in which Lisa Raymond gets beat dtl does make me wonder if her position is poor, but maybe that is where she has to position being short and heavy?
    I didn't get broken once in the match yesterday, and give most of that credit to my partner. He never even drew a dtl shot on return, but he still made several very key poaches. I like the way he funneled balls back crosscourt where he had strong help, then picked off select balls when I was able to do some good with the serve. 9 out of 10 times when my serve is broken, it is due to over aggressive net partners, trying to force themselves into the point to early.
    Probably the biggest difference in our view on this, is that most often I end up paired with a good, but less accomplished partner (not the case yesterday at all). In this situation my biggest concern is that he draws too much fire. The opponents should feel they have to go deep to deep, but you are in trouble if they feel they can take aggressive shots deep to short cause the weaker player has positioned to take more of the middle from the stronger player at the expense of leaving part of his court open. If you feel you are needing more middle help from your net man, you are probably the weaker player or at the very least, weaker than you opponents. In that case, yes, the net man needs to position to help you all he can, cause holding serve for the weaker player will be the toughest aspect of the match.
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2010
  16. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    Has anyone mentioned the tip of the net man staying focused on playing shots that he can keep in front of him?

    Often I see net players trying to chase balls that get behind them down the middle. Yes, you may get these balls, but it should be a much better look for the server behind you. He should be able to hit a better shot and join you at net with you in good position for a good wall axiom. When you chase back down the middle, coverage is hurt and the usual weak shot by the chasing net man leads to an easy put away.
    On the dtl side it is a dif story, as you don't have help there, so do what you have to do to get something on that side.
     
  17. deluxe

    deluxe Semi-Pro

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    If Louis said "leave part of the dtl open", that would be the opposite of your claim and exactly my claim.

    "dtl coverage is bad advise" is nothing like anything I've said.
    I did say "cover your line" is bad advice, and by "line" I mean the outside tramline. As I explained before:
    You've claimed the opposite, that you shouldn't leave *any* margin. That there is no need to. That you can't understand why anyone would:

    -----

    If your opponents don't try and hit down the line (and your opponents by your own admission, stopped hitting down the line), that is proof that you are in not taking up a sufficiently aggressive position (as you conceded in #114, "I would concede that maybe we could have positioned more aggressively since we did not give up one single dtl pass during the 2 quick sets.").

    The point is not to prove you are aggressive, the point is to put pressure on the returner. If the opposition aren't having to consider whether to hit down the line or not, you're not putting pressure on them.

    Lisa Raymond's position is not poor. Lisa's position is good. It's the same position all the other top players were taking up on that wide serve. If she gets passed down the line, she'll take up exactly the same position on the next point. She will know in advance that Paes hits 23.8% of his returns DTL on wides serves om grass and that he will win 32.3%. She will know that if she moves an extra 6 inches closer to the tramlines (and remember, she's already standing 10 foot from the tramline on that wide serve), he'll hit 18.7% and win 21.2%, which she might do if it seems Paes is having a really good day. She's playing percentage tennis. Although I made the percentages up, she will know the real percentages for her top level opponents.

    I can't believe you really believe that Lisa Raymond, one of the top doubles players ever, 9 times grand slam winner playing against ATP guys and amazonian WTA pros, who is 5ft5, 36 years old and perhaps carrying quite a few extra pounds, positions herself poorly in doubles.
     
  18. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    I guess you forget that dtl stands for down the line?

    I'm not a fan of how often Lisa gets passed or her position, but she seems to be making the most of her skillset. Her level of success is determined by a host of factors I won't get into.

    If you think you can position yourself to not cover 3-4 inches of line, while having great coverage from there on in, then Great that should work fine for you! To me, that is a beggar's belief, and a good excuse to offer when getting smoked dtl.
    I'm just pretty sure coverage does not work like that and that if LC says something along those lines in his book, he was trying to get across a general concept.
    Everything I've found he says on it accounts for dtl coverage; which was the original assertion.
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2010
  19. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    I can't get past this statement of 5263's:

    Players hit winners in doubles. This is true from the top pros all the way down to people who just learned to play last week.

    If players are hitting winners -- balls the opponents could not touch -- doesn't that disprove the idea that it is possible to cover the entire court with proper shift and stagger?

    Boy, I've taken clinics from a lot of different pros over the years, and not one has taught that it is possible to cover the entire court no matter what you do or how you position. Even the best players in the world can't do it. And when winners go by them untouched, they say, "Nice shot."
     
  20. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    Of course it does not disprove it. Players can hit winners right at other players. Winners are hit when players lean the wrong way. Does not mean coverage is bad or given up. Some shots are just too good, but doesn't mean I was not covering that area best I could. The list goes on and on of how winners are hit into coverage.

    Shift and stagger covers the dtl and still has overlap in the middle for all but the crazy good/lucky shots.

    And coverage does not mean you can get every possible shot to the edges of your coverage.
    When you return serve, don't you try to cover the entire service box? I do except in extreme circumstances where the server proves I have to make some hard choices due to his abilities-- but I start and normally cover the entire range. Same with court coverage, I intend to get them all and do get most. Great shots can win points at anytime on anyone, but I make sure that it takes great shots to win points.
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2010
  21. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Sorry, I just don't see what you're saying at all.

    You say I try to cover the entire service box when opponent serves. Of course.

    But I still get aced by a good server, right?

    Which means that I didn't have a part of the service box covered.

    Which means it is flat-out impossible to cover all of the service box all the time.

    Which is why the very best player who ever walked the planet (Federer) still gets aced. 'Cause it is not possible to cover the entire service box.
     
  22. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    If that is how you see it??
    your comment accounts for nothing but getting it or not getting it. Common sense tells us there is much more to the story.

    What if an easy lob serve was hit to any spot in the box; could you get it?
    If you can, there was some coverage right? So it comes down to how thin or strong your coverage is, not about leaving coverage bare.

    It's the reasonable person theory.
    We cover the reasonable shots. When Fed gets aced (pretty rare even with Arod) the serve is above and beyond reasonable. Are you trying to suggest that Fed had decided not to cover the spot where those aces hit and that a 80 mph serve would have still aced him there or do you think he intends to cover everything, but only the best serves can get thru at times?
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2010
  23. athiker

    athiker Hall of Fame

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    This is a good point. Sometimes in doubles I get in the habit of volleying short to opponent's feet but this is a good reminder of the value of a deep ball. Just like in singles, deep balls limit options for opponents and give time to you. So a good doubles tip I think is when you are the back player and attempting to approach, its still important to make that first volley deep (unless of course you are playing a drop shot to force the back player in and make him hit up).

    There is an archive of that excellent website here: http://web.archive.org/web/20071023034536/www.operationdoubles.com/od-tennis_content.htm


    This is a good tip. Sometimes I get over anxious at the net and feel I need to jump at the first ball I can get a racquet on. Just blocking a ball back weakly to the other side does our team no favors however. I try to remind myself of this especially on the high backhand side (hard for me to generate much pace up there) or really any ball I'm basically lunging for that is headed my teammate's way. I like to think I've improved in this area of late. It of course helps one's patience to have a teammate with reliable groundstrokes backing you up. :)
     
  24. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    We're talking about competitive tennis here, right?

    So our opponents are not going to hit "reasonable" balls to us. They are going to hit the best ball they can, right? So why would anyone premise their doubles advice on what players can reach when their opponents hit balls at a "reasonable" pace?

    If you have a couple of pros hitting to each other as hard as they can in competitive doubles, trying their best to hit winners and force errors, it is 100% impossible to cover every shot they might hit at any given time, even with perfect positioning.

    When Federer gets aced, it is because he could not cover that particular serve. There could be lots of reasons for this. The fact remains that he could not cover it, which shows it is impossible for anyone to cover 100% of the service box or 100% of the court in doubles.
     
  25. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    I know you are just trying to pull my chain, as even as only 3.5 ladies doubles player you must understand coverage better than this. Even deluxe's source, Louis Cayer says you must account for your dtl coverage.
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2010
  26. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    I just don't understand why anyone who actually teaches tennis would claim that it is possible for 100% court coverage, in singles or doubles. Heck, in my doubles clinics the pro spends a fair amount of time explaining to students why they should take this or that position -- guarding against the most likely or most high-percentage or easiest shot -- in recognition that it isn't possible to reach every conceivable shot an opponent can make.

    But like you say, I'm only a 3.5 ladies doubles player, so I have to be wrong . . . .
     
  27. deluxe

    deluxe Semi-Pro

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    DTL - "Down the line" is a direction. You have no misunderstanding of what I wrote about how much margin you can cover, so why are you trying to obfuscate things?
     
  28. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Yeah, I'm spending a lot of time trying to learn to get those approach volleys (and any volley I can't hit down on or angle off) nice and deep.

    In addition to the advantages you mentioned, getting the volley nice and deep stops the opponent in her tracks if she had any ideas about getting to net. Better yet is a volley that is so deep and has so much weight that the opponent must back up to play it. It requires some awesome footwork to hit a good passing shot off of such a ball.

    Now if I could only do it . . . .
     
  29. deluxe

    deluxe Semi-Pro

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    She stands in the same position all the other top doubles players stood. See the pictures. Do you have statistics for how often she gets passed down the line?

    Is it possible that the Bryans, Nestor, Zimonjic, Moodie and Raymond are in the correct position, even though they get passed down the line occasionally? It takes considerable arrogance to say that all the top doubles players have their positioning wrong because they get passed down the line occasionally, but you have your positioning right because you never get passed down the line.
     
  30. deluxe

    deluxe Semi-Pro

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    You know exactly what I've been saying:

    For some reason you want want to drag this out interminably. In spite of your argument having descended into claiming that the top doubles players in the world position themselves poorly. In spite of having already conceded that the fact that you weren't passed down the line in one of your matches shows that you weren't positioned aggressively enough. In spite of the simple logic of high percentage tennis being that there are some shots that are so low percentage for your opponent to hit, that it's better to cover more of the shots that he can hit consistently.
     
  31. deluxe

    deluxe Semi-Pro

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    Here is 2m47s of video from Louis Cayer where he says he tells his 3.5 players to stand in the same position Lisa Raymond does, sorry about the crap quality:

    Louis Cayer: Server's Partner Positioning

    "It's true for 3.5, it's true for the pros" he says.
     
  32. bhupaes

    bhupaes Professional

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    The serve is a great example. Coverage clearly is not just the area you can reach with your racquet from where you are standing... you are going to shift or lean or lunge one way or another based on your observation of the server's motion. Against some servers with nasty slices, I find myself returning from way outside the alley after having taken a position two feet inside the alley. The intention is to cover the whole area to the best of one's ability. If a serve goes by at 120 MPH, I might miss it even if it is an area I can reach easily from my initial position - it doesn't mean I didn't try to cover that area.
     
  33. deluxe

    deluxe Semi-Pro

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    Of course, no one ever claimed coverage is just the area you can reach with your racquet. Of course you will shift based on anticipation.

    OK, but do you move in or take a more aggressive position when he hits a second serve? You opponent has exactly the same range of shots available to him on the second serve as on the first serve.
     
  34. bhupaes

    bhupaes Professional

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    Of course - but that doesn't change the argument, does it? I still have the area covered as best as I can, but I am expecting a serve with more kick and less speed, so it doesn't make sense to stand as far back as for a first serve. If the rascal throws in a first serve - which I look for in his motion, from past experience! - I will adjust as best as I can.
     
  35. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    ^When that serve blows by you untouched, you surely *tried* to cover it. But you failed, right? You failed to cover it. You did not cover it. That area went uncovered. It was not possible for you to cover it, or you would have.

    So can we at least agree that it is not possible to cover the entire service box and it is not possible to cover the entire doubles court?

    Once we get to this (rather obvious) understanding, then we have to make decisions about what we will leave uncovered and what we will defend more vigorously (with our positioning and anticipation). If I am reading Deluxe correctly, he thinks it is a good plan to leave the most low-percentage shots uncovered, and I agree.
     
  36. deluxe

    deluxe Semi-Pro

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    The point is, people stand in a different position to return second serves than they stand to return first serves. Certainly professionals do. Why is this? I say it is because that 120mph slice serve out wide is low enough percentage that although your opponent might hit it on a first serve, most of the time he's not going to risk hitting it on a second serve because the odds have changed because it's a second serve.

    Going for a 120mph ace out wide on a second serve is not high percentage tennis. Most people will change their position when receiving a second serve to *not* cover a 120mph wide serve, but to have better cover for the kicker to the backhand that's not so close to the line. Maybe you give yourself a better chance to run round it and hit a forehand, maybe you give yourself a better chance to step in and take it on the rise on your backhand.

    If your opponent hits that 120mph wide serve on his 2nd serve and hits an ace, you say "too good". If you're not playing Pete Sampras or Karlovic, its unlikely they're going to win the majority of points on their 2nd serve hitting that shot.
     
  37. deluxe

    deluxe Semi-Pro

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    Correct.
    ####
     
  38. Fedace

    Fedace Banned

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    Hit some dipping crosscourt passing shots with nadal like topspin crosscourt.
     
  39. bhupaes

    bhupaes Professional

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    I have the area covered, but I have left myself vulnerable to some very risky shots by my opponent, talking specifically about the second serve. I never made a decision to leave any spot uncovered, for the simple reason the second serve can land anywhere in the box and have any kind of spin. In that sense, I disagree with your assertion that a decision was made to leave some area uncovered.
     
  40. bhupaes

    bhupaes Professional

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    True. In this sense, everyone is right. But I also feel that we are using the term "coverage" in slightly different ways... of course, we need to give priority to the most probable shot. But there is a difference between that and leaving some area totally uncovered, is there not?
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2010
  41. deluxe

    deluxe Semi-Pro

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    I think you're down to semantics. I say "uncovered". You say "vulnerable to". Fundamentally if Federer stays in the middle of the possible range of Karlovic serves, he's not going to be able to reach balls that hit the T or that hit the sideline. Is that "vulnerable to" or is that uncovered. I don't see how you could say it is wrong for me to say "uncovered" if he can't physically reach the ball. Just like Lisa Raymond wouldn't physically be able to reach a well hit down the line forehand off the wide serve in the screenshot I posted.
     
  42. deluxe

    deluxe Semi-Pro

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    I think it's clear from the dozen or so screenshots I posted that at least on a serve out wide, the top doubles players in the world leave a substantial part of the tramlines uncovered when they are playing as server's partner.
     
  43. bhupaes

    bhupaes Professional

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    But to be fair, yes, I do agree that some things just cannot be covered. If I get a short ball way to the right of my deuce court, and I run to put it away (talking singles here), I am leaving my ad side uncovered... my only hope is to get a winner. Again, as I pointed out earlier, I think what we are talking about is a matter of degree, and there is no major disagreement.
     
  44. bhupaes

    bhupaes Professional

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    Well, maybe. All I know is that at my level of doubles, there are enough random hitters that I try to cover the DTL - I have to. There is no comparison to pro levels - I will leave that analysis to the double experts here.
     
  45. deluxe

    deluxe Semi-Pro

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    It determines the question of where you should stand as the net man. If you have to cover all down the line shots, even if your opponent could only hit them 1 time in 100, you'll have to stand closer to the tramlines than if you leave those 1 in 100 shots uncovered. If you cover those 1 in 100 shots dtl, you'll be able to make fewer interceptions cross court.
     
  46. bhupaes

    bhupaes Professional

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    Missed this one...

    What I am saying is that one should position oneself so that one covers the whole area "to the best of one's abilities", taking into account the probabilities of the various different shots the opponent is likely to hit (okay, I have half a second to calculate all that :) ). Thus all reasonable shots should have a finite probabilty of coverage. Yes, I think we are down to semantics... Lisa Raymond will get to a DTL that is not well hit, right? She should have at least that much covered.
     
  47. bhupaes

    bhupaes Professional

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    I will grant you this, deluxe - I will let the 1 in 100 shot go! But I don't want to stand so far in that a lazy slice gets past me... I don't know if I am making myself clear.
     
  48. deluxe

    deluxe Semi-Pro

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    Then the question becomes what you think "reasonable shots" are. Personally, I position myself in doubles so that shots my opponents can get in 1 time in 10 have a zero probability of coverage. I think I've demonstrated that the pros are doing a similar thing (at least on wide serves), and I think its obvious that it's the correct thing to do with regards to high percentage tennis: How likely are your opponents to beat you playing shots they can get in 10% of the time?


    Sure, but it's not the mis-hits she's positioning herself to cover. She's positioning herself to cover well hit forehand drives from ATP professionals. If Paes hits a 100mph FH drive down the tramlines, she's nowhere near it. Paes can't hit that shot very often off a Moodie wide serve.

    Yes, if Paes feeds her a gentle ball, 20mph dtl at head height, she can probably walk over and put it away. That's hardly the point though.
     
  49. deluxe

    deluxe Semi-Pro

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    That's clear enough. All I'm claiming is that there is *some* margin you should cover with zero probability (on well hit shots). It varies from opponent to opponent and it varies from shot to shot.

    The argument here has been whether you should have *any* margin. 5263 said there is no reason not to leave those 1 in 100 shots uncovered.

    The principle is fundamental to good positioning in doubles. If you don't understand it, then you too will feel pleased with yourself after a match where your opponents didn't try to pass you down the line. If you don't understand it, you'll be confused by the classic "booby traps" you see set in top level doubles all the time.
     
  50. deluxe

    deluxe Semi-Pro

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    Also, if you don't understand it, you might end up making embarrassing claims like that the top doubles players in the world have poor positioning.
     

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