Discussion in 'Adult League & Tournament Talk' started by dpfrazier, Feb 2, 2008.
When playing doubles, do you prefer to have your forehand on the outside, or in the middle?
I like it up the middle because most of my shots will be returned that way. But if needed I can shoot for an angle, although it is a harder shot. But my insideout forehand is pretty good and can sometimes create something if not a winner.
My crosscourt is less effective for me. Need to work on that.
I am a lefty, and my doubles partner is a righty. We both prefer our forehands in the middle because it our level (3.5/4.0) the higher percentage shot is up the middle over the lower part of the net, and our forehand volleys are stronger than our backhand volleys. The higher percentage shot for our opponets is also up the middle too, so the majority of the shots played by either team will be up the middle. The lower percentage shot is up the alleys, which is the higher part of the net. In addition, in our case, the approaching player will typically take the forehand shot down the middle because they are typically in a more aggressive position, unless of course the net player has a better put away shot, allowing them to be in a more aggressive position. Much of this depends on how close the ball is to the net player.
For me, it doesn't matter. I mean, I prefer ad court, but that's because I am still unsteady with my crosscourt FH. I am happier to hit inside-out FH. I also do better yanking my BH crosscourt rather than hitting the BH inside out on the deuce ourt.
On volleys, I think I prefer my BH volley for higher balls and FH volley for lower balls.
Wait. What was the question?
Agreed. Don't forget about attacking the lob with forehands (and normal overheads) down the middle vs. defending with backhand overheads all day.
I play with my forehand in the middle but not because of percentages. I feel a "low percentage" shot is only low because people do not practice it. If you practice a low percentage shot enough and gain confidence then it becomes a high percentage shot. So my backahnd crosscourt return is much stronger than my inside out backhand return and I hit up the line all the time. Sometimes for winners but most of the time it suprises people and the winner is on the next shot.
Any way you look at it, down the middle of the court is the highest percentage shot, and down the alleys is the lowest percentage shot. We always try to give our opponents the harder shots to hit, and if they show proficiency in hitting the harder shots, then you need to adjust accordingly. If you find that your opponent is consistently burning you down the alley and it's not just a freak occurrence, then player on the same side of the court as the alley shot making player is responsible for covering the alley.
I've played with a number of lefties so this is a typical discussion, but we seem to always land on forehands down the middle. It can make the return of serve a little more difficult sometimes, but the benefits of having forehands in the middle while pushing the net always seemed to outweigh any alternative. Giving up the outside has never been much of an issue - even if someone can go that way as you can usually cover that easier than the middle.
Frankly, the only way I would ever change this format would be if the deuce-side player was clearly the better player. In that case, I would want the clearly better player to play the ad-side. Reason being, the ad-side player will typically have more pressure type points (ad in, ad out situations) than the deuce-side player.
You just have to know your partner, know how they play, so that if there's a ball coming down the middle to your forehands you know who's going to take it so there's no racquet to racquet or racquet to partner collisions
That's why the approaching player will typically take the shot, unless the net player has a clear put-away shot.
Personally I play better from the ad court because I will get more forehand returns, however where I should play, has to do with what is best for the team. If my partner has an even worse time with inside out backhand returns (a difficult shot) than I should play from the deuce court.
I play with a lefty in league and tournament play (4.5, 50's). I play the deuce side because of personality rather than because of stroke production. I am steadier and set up my partner who is the finisher. Because we win the deuce side points more often, it puts additional pressure on our opponents and let's my partner wail on the ad points.
Being a lefty, I prefer the ad court, but am not picky.
I'm a lefty too, and prefer the ad court in men's doubles. My inside-out backhand return is easier for me than a crosscourt. And since there's usually a righty at the net on the other side, it's usually harder for him to cut off any down-the-middle returns on the ad side compared to the deuce side.
On the other hand, I like to play deuce court in mixed. Allows for easier poaching, and better coverage of lobs over my partner.
I'm a righty 3.5, but I prefer to place the Deuce court because my forehand is my better shot. From that side, it's usually harder to pick on my backhand and most the balls seem to come cross court to my forehand. I can also dip the ball cross-sourt or go down the line. IT's hard for me to go down the line on the ad court side without running around my backhand.
Lefty here as well but I usually leave the side selection to my righty partners who always seem to have a preference. My comfort level is on the ad side, a cross court FH is more natural for me than an inside out, I have a slice BH that fades to the right, and my BH volleys are better. So I guess I do have a preference.
I noticed that the only 5.0+ that have replied to the poll prefer their forehands on the outside. I was curious if this might have to do with the difficult serves that people have at the higher levels or if it was something else. Any 5.0+ who answered that way care to weigh in?
I prefer my forehand outside. Generally, that's because
1. My crosscourt forehand return is better than my inside-out forehand return.
2. My inside-out backhand return is about the same as my crosscourt backhand return.
I am a former 5.0+ returning to the game after many years off, as a 4.5.
I am right handed with a one handed backhand, and I much prefer the ad side of the court in doubles (forehand in the middle). My inside out forehand and crosscourt backhand returns are much stronger than my crosscourt forehand/inside out backhand.
The biggest difference is that my western grip forehand has real trouble with serves that are out wide. If the ball was easily within reach I would probably feel just as comfortable on the Deuce side.
Interesting that you both reference return of serves in choosing a side though. Would you agree that whatever side you choose has more to do with return of serve than anything else at that level? Just curious and I'm sure there is no absolute answer here, but the serves tend to be so much stronger when you get to the 5.0+ level.
From the 4.5's and 5.0's I know, most(probably 70%ish) prefer the ad side. At that level, the servers are usually good enough to hit consistently to your backhand, and the inside out backhand off a tough serve if one of the most difficult shots to hit. Also, playing to your opponents backhand in singles is a huge part of the game, so the inside out forehand and cross court backhand are pretty grooved. When I play doubles, I will usually hit 75% of the serves on the deuce side to their backhand and only go out wide if I think I can get an ace or just keep them honest.
The vast majority of groundstrokes I will hit during a match will be service returns.
I played a 5.0 tourney a couple of months ago, and in the semi final match we lost, I hit 2 forehands the entire match. I only hit one groundstroke the entire match that wasn't a service return, a forehand off of the server's first volley.
I don't necessarily like or prefer my forehand on the outside in the deuce court but I love hitting an inside-out backhand because it's a lot more consistent for me. My forehand is my more aggressive and powerful shot but I tend to make more errors off that side too.
Most guys I play will almost always hit their serve up the middle (to my backhand) and it's usually easier for me to hit a good return at their feet to try and set up a nice forehand afterwards or an easy volley put away for my partner.
I just like to hit an inside-out backhand and it's my most consistent return. And, at 5.0 most people will serve up the middle to my backhand so it's a perfect situation. Sounds kinda funny but if a serve is hit right at me I will move to my right to hit a backhand instead of to my left to hit a forehand. I'd rather get the ball in play (and hopefully at their feet) to hit another shot that I can get more pace on.
Thanks for the insights, that makes sense. It is true that the number of actual ground strokes hit in most doubles matches seems to go down as the level goes up - although it is probably replaced with a lot more volleys, mid-volleys, and overheads.
The amount of groundstrokes varies depending on the players, their styles, their serves, etc. I'm primarily a singles players that has transitioned into a doubles player (as I'm sure most people are) . The point being is that I'm not going to hit a return and follow it into the net so I'm going to try and get my return in play and at the servers feet. If he gets the volley in play then I can power a groundstroke (hopefully).
At the higher levels people are better at returning and volleying so you tend to hit more groundstrokes (at least I do) because people will get returns in and the server will normally put the first volley in play. But you are right that there are more volleys, mid-volleys, and overheads simply because the 5.0 guys are better at keeping the ball in play.
At 4.0/4.5 it seems like you can go several service games without even hitting a first volley. If you get a decent first serve in at 4.0/4.5 a lot of times it doesn't come back. At 5.0 it almost always comes back.
Hope that makes sense.
Couch is spot on. I think there's a dearth of groundstrokes in doubles at the 4.5/lower 5.0 level, with more groundstrokes at both the lower levels and higher levels.
The same is kind of true for singles as well, the rallys tend to be the shortest among 4.0-4.5 level players.
Hmmm I was about to agree with you until you brought singles into this. I can understand singles having a ton of groundstrokes, but the net play gets SO agressive as the athletic ability / skill goes up that I don't see that many long ground-stroke rallies in doubles. (referring to men's doubles specifically). I watched the 5.0 state finals last year and there were long points around the net with some lobs thrown in, but base line rallies really didn't occur at all.
Maybe I misunderstood you.
I'm a 4.0 and I prefer my forehand in the middle. It's because I like my backhand better and I prefer it to be on the outside.
I'm a lefty, and I normally partner righties.
Because of the fact that angles are so important in doubles, we normally put the forehands to the outside.
I don't think we are talking about baseline "rallies". There are very few baseline rallies at 5.0. Most people at 5.0 will serve and volley on first and second serves. I was mainly talking about groundstrokes from the return of serve perspective. Again, most guys aren't going to serve and stay back at 5.0. At least not the guys I'm used to playing or seeing and our team has been to the Southern Sectionals the last two out of three years.
That was pretty much my point. Other than return of serve in doubles (even at 4.0) there aren't a whole lot of groundstrokes being hit.
Okay, I think we're on the same page.
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