Doubles: what side for stronger player?

Discussion in 'Adult League & Tournament Talk' started by Tayytennis, Sep 12, 2013.

  1. Tayytennis

    Tayytennis New User

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    What side (usually) does the better doubles player go on?
     
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  2. AtomicForehand

    AtomicForehand Hall of Fame

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    I recommend the ad side. The stronger player can either close out the games or stave off break points.
     
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  3. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Either.
    Depends what's the strength and preferences of the weaker player, and his tendencies. Always try to maximise the weaker players game.
    Is strong more consistent, or is strong hitting harder, or both?
    Duece guy creates the break points.
    Ad guy makes the point, or breaks it.
     
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  4. spot

    spot Hall of Fame

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    Whichever side the team returns better on.
     
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  5. tennis tom

    tennis tom Hall of Fame

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    The above...
     
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  6. coyote

    coyote Rookie

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    This is my thought. All things being equal, the stronger player should be on the ad side but I am certainly not dogmatic about it.
     
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  7. lobman

    lobman Rookie

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    Don't lose sight of the confidence factor. I play with a doubles partner who is a stronger player than me but simply is more comfortable/confident playing the deuce side.
     
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  8. rdis10093

    rdis10093 Hall of Fame

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    ad side that way you can always get back to deuce
     
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  9. LuckyR

    LuckyR Legend

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    Agree. If he is better at the net, play him ad, if he is better from the baseline play him deuce.
     
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  10. goran_ace

    goran_ace Hall of Fame

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    Had a discussion with someone I played mixed with about this. I don't like continually having to come up with a tough return to save game point after game point. This doesn't put a lot of pressure on the server because he serves to the weaker player under more neutral score situations, and when facing the stronger returner they have the score advantage.

    I'd prefer to return from the deuce side to give us more opportunities to go up in the game and create break point chances. This means the server is serving to the weaker returner under pressure and is likely to hit safer serves. I feel this puts my partner in a better position to have a more successful return game.
     
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  11. chatt_town

    chatt_town Hall of Fame

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    I think that's the logical answer in most cases but it can be a little tricky and I think should vary from team to team...Here is why. Many don't know this but the deuce court returns more balls over the course of a match for one.

    Another thing is this. I remember I played my first 4.5 doubles tourney with a guy once. I was rated 3.5 but had just within the last 6 months learn how to come over my backhand(1hander). Well it was going to be hell returning backhands from the deuce side but I'd return them better from the ad side. He understood and let me play the ad side. We won the tourney. The key to the whole situation I knew on break points to be more aggressive when were up in the game and I knew how to get the ball back in play when were down. He was clearly the better player of both of us at the time. The current guy I play with now thinks he's the stronger of the two of us and I don't have a problem with that. I play the deuce side but I've found that I've controlled a lot of matches from the deuce side. Doesn't matter how many times they ace him or get the point if I'm cleaning up on the deuce side which is the case most of the time.

    We have won like 26 or 28 matches that we have played together. We got drilled by some guys at Piedmont park and that day I don't think it would've mattered who was on which side. They hammered us. We lost another in a 10 point breaker. So I think you have to find the common ground with different partners.

    My wife plays the ad side much of the time when we are playing together but I'd do more damage from the ad side with my forehand, but she returns better from the backhand with high kick serves(2hands). So it's what you are willing to live with and without. :)


     
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  12. chatt_town

    chatt_town Hall of Fame

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    I couldn't agree more with this. You'd be surprise how many people don't think that deep though.



     
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  13. keithfival

    keithfival Professional

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    I vote the weaker partner should play the side they feel better on.

    There is also something to be said for always being up in games (stronger player on deuce side) instead of always playing catch up. I think it has a cumulative effect.

    I used to play 8.0 mixed with a 3.5 woman. She preferred ad so that's how we always played. The only match we ever lost was to a college guy and highly ranked junior high school girl who sandbagged as 4.0s. Converting break points never seemed to be an issue. I think what someone said above is true that a big server may actually play it safe serving to the weaker player on a big point. In fact, I remember double faulting (probably my only one in the match) at 8-7 in a deciding breaker serving to a woman who had barely put a return in play the whole match! I thought, I'll just play it safe and hit a big kick 2nd serve instead of a first serve. Hit the first one long and the second one short!
     
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  14. anubis

    anubis Hall of Fame

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    Every time that I've been the stronger of the two players, I feel like we had a better chance of winning when I played the Deuce side. A good doubles team can effectively avoid my partner at the net with good angles and lobs, which puts most of the pressure on the person defending the baseline. This person has to do a lot of running, especially if the other team has effective lobs to both sides.

    So the person on the Deuce side has to be able to keep up long rallies from anywhere on the court. I've played entire sets where the opposing doubles team avoided my net teammate the entire time.

    It doesn't make sense to me, therefore, to put the strongest person at the net. He or she is likely to not even play much if he/she is to be avoided by defensive lobs and extreme angles. Furthermore, I don't want to put the weaker of the two players on the baseline if he/she is going to be responsible for keeping the ball in play on almost all rallies.
     
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  15. OrangePower

    OrangePower Hall of Fame

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    This. Many players have a preference for returning on a particular side. Often it is because they struggle with a specific return, e.g. inside out BH on T serve from deuce court, or high wide BH on kick serve from ad court.

    The stronger player presumably has more well rounded returns overall and can adapt to return from his/her less favorite side better than the weaker player can.
     
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  16. Kasmatsu

    Kasmatsu New User

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    If one player is a lefty, there are more strategic options to consider.
     
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  17. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    I'll chime in with the female perspective for ladies doubles, which is different from men's doubles in one very important respect.

    Ladies doubles up to 4.0 has more lobbing. At the lower levels, the lobbing happens because that is all that some players can do. At 4.0, however, players lob strategically and very well.

    In contrast, the serves are rarely a weapon. I am seeing some very good serving at 4.0, but this is the exception. As a result, most 4.0 returners can handle the serves just fine so you don't have to worry that the weaker player will struggle with the serve.

    The general rule, then, is put the stronger overhead in the middle.

    The player with the weak overhead simply cannot play ad court. You will spend the whole match with the deuce player trying to hit BH overhead smashes, or the weak ad player botching the overhead.

    I have only one partner with whom we play "weak overhead on ad court". The matches we lose are to lobbers, and we have worked hard on finishing overheads with placement since we don't have any power.

    Still, we have to play it that way because her FH crosscourt simply isn't good enough for her to avoid the FH poach if she is returning on the deuce side.
     
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  18. StringingIrvine

    StringingIrvine Semi-Pro

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    More agressive player should be on ad side. The consistant player should be on duece side. I also find it a lot easier to poach on my forehand side.

    I've always played ad side as I want the deciding points on my racket. I would not want to stress the weaker player.

    For the sake of discussion when we say stronger player what do we mean? Are we talking about a team of a 3.0 and 4.0? Or two 4.0's. Can the players keep the ball in play or are we talking about 3.0 unforced error-palooza?
     
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  19. floridatennisdude

    floridatennisdude Hall of Fame

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    When I am the stronger player, I like to be on my stronger side which is the duece court. I will have more confidence that I can continue to set my partner up for breaks.

    When I am the weaker player, I defer to my partner's preference. Obviously, I have more success when playing with partners that prefer ad side.
     
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  20. dizzlmcwizzl

    dizzlmcwizzl Hall of Fame

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    Me personally, I do not care where I play. My return has about the same effectiveness from either side so I always defer to my partner's preference no matter who is "stronger'.

    In general, I want to have the better returner on the ad side as that is where the most important points are played.

    While I understand the notion that if a server is serving to a player at ad out, they may serve up weaker serves and this would help a weaker returner. However, pressure is cumulative and over the course of a match knowing that even when you have the advantage in a game that you have to go for a bigger serve creates opportunity.

    I have seen a lot of double faults I thought were the result o the server feeling like they had to serve aggressively to a good returner on the deuce side.
     
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  21. travlerajm

    travlerajm Hall of Fame

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    Rule-of-thumb # 1: In situations where both players are at net, the stronger net player MUST player further from the net (to channel more balls to the stronger player).

    Rule-of-thumb # 2: As a consequence of #1, the stronger (net) player should generally play on the side that gives him/her an easier overhead in the middle - i.e., righthanded stronger player should play ad.

    Rule-of-thumb #2 may not hold if there is a strong advantage to returning in one configuration or the other. But consider that HALF of all the points take place in the return game, so you would expect a decent percentage of them to end up with both of you at net.

    Personally, I play a lot of mixed 8.0 as a strong 4.5, in which case I have to play the ad side to have best chance of winning, because I need to take all overheads on both sides of the court. I also play the ad side on all points on my service games for the same reason (Aussie on all deuce points on my serve).

    Of course, it doesn't hurt that my 2hb is my stronger return side, so ad makes sense on the return. And I prefer playing with partners with half-decent forehand returns and half-decent reflexes at net.
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2013
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  22. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Can I be your partner?
     
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  23. chatt_town

    chatt_town Hall of Fame

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    Cindy,

    That is a very very good valid point. I know in mixed when we see other women playing the ad side. We lob teams to death on the ad side of the court(assuming the man is right handed). The wife hits a pretty nasty overhead.lol We developed it after realizing what we do to other teams who's woman is on the ad side.lol


     
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  24. LuckyR

    LuckyR Legend

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    Good post.

    I agree with #1, though I usually put it as the weaker net player needs to play closer to the net (than standard second volley position). This is more important than having the better player play farther from the net (than standard second volley position). Of course, at strong 4.5 level two things are different (from my play at 4.0-4.5 doubles), one is that your opponents are going to be less influenced by the positioning we are discussing and secondly the "weaker" player is likely not all that weak and can handle themselves OK at second volley position.

    As to #2, although there are lob queens who lob frequently and well, they are in the significant minority and and the ability to hit overheads off of offensive lobs well is not the source of many total points in a match. In addition, in my experience the better volleyer is often NOT the better overhead hitter.

    As to a strong 4.5 playing doubles with a 3.5, that must be a sight to see...
     
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  25. v-verb

    v-verb Hall of Fame

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    exactly this
     
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  26. beernutz

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    No offense to anyone else who posted but thanks travelerajm and goran_ace for your suggestions. I've read about this issue quite a bit and your perspectives on it are thought-provoking.
     
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