Help with doubles strategy!

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by Tennissiz, Jun 3, 2006.

  1. Tennissiz

    Tennissiz New User

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    What should you do when your opponent is hitting great shots low over the net and penetrating through our net person with pace?

    This was happening even when we were hitting good deep serves, effective deep approaches, and low reaction volleys at her body. Basically, she was very good at moving forward with her momentum and using a short compact swing to hit a flat drive and closing into the net.

    When we tried to take off the pace to give her less to hit, she closed and put away the angle.

    When we tried to lob over her head, she was able to place her overheads for winners.

    When we tried to stay both back on the baseline, she hit short angles for winners.

    Two solutions which were effective against her were:
    1. Dial up the pace to challenge her timing
    2. Hit sharp crosscourt angle to challenge her lateral mobility.

    Any other suggestions?
     
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  2. HyperHorse

    HyperHorse Banned

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    is she short/tall?
    attack her partner...
    if u have to hit to her, hit the ball as hard as u can with heavy topspin.
    how old are u anyway?
     
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  3. papa

    papa Hall of Fame

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    Well, your on the one hand complaining about the angles "they" hit and then say one of the solutions was to give "them" sharp crosscourt angles. If you keep the ball down the middle or into the body, "they" wouldn't be able to hit these angle shots very easily. If you give someone a sharp angled shot be prepared to get one back because its the best shot they have, especially if you retreat back into a "normal" position.
     
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  4. dmastous

    dmastous Professional

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    It's kind of difficult to give advice here because you aren't being more specific. Is she slamming returns back that you can't handle, or are you talking more about after the serve/return sequence?
    If she's just playing at a level you can't handle, you'll just have to play keep away and make her partner play, unless he's better. If he's better than she is, then one of your teams is in the wrong league ;)
    If you are talking about returns or if she is at the baseline and blasting winners you can try poaching. Poaching is not only done off the return of serve, it can be done anytime, even when both teams are at the net. It can also cause your own team to get out of position so you have to be able to anticipate and cover the open spaces.
     
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  5. FiveO

    FiveO Hall of Fame

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    You're articulation of the problem reads like you play at a higher than average level. From your description the opponent sounds solid. It's possible that the opponent is a level or two higher. You didn't mention her partner being markedly weaker so as to make her the easy out for your answers. Unfortunately, if the opponent and/or tandem are a level or two higher their execution could simply be better and if that is the case it will be difficult to change the outcome. OTOH this one woman wrecking crew is causing you and your partner doubts. In dubs, when in doubt:

    1) play the middle (serves, volleys, etc.) Serving the middle will free up your partner to more easily react/poach.

    1a) Along those lines are you and your partner being active enough at net? Poaching, feinting etc. may be enough to effect the opponent who may have their targets dialed in.

    1b) Playing the middle also gives you the lower net to keep the ball down, limits the opponent's angles, possibly creates coverage confusion for the opponents, etc.

    2) keep your shots down, the closer to the opponent's shoetops the better, in order to get a reply UP that you can end the point with. Use topspin, chips, take pace off, etc. to ellicit higher replies that you can better angle and/or bang away.

    3) if feasible bias your play toward the weaker player, funnel more of the shots on which you and your partner have choice toward the weaker side, lobs, sitters, etc.

    5
     
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  6. Bungalo Bill

    Bungalo Bill G.O.A.T.

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    Pray she won't get killed? Just a wild guess...:confused:

    Well you have to make the volley if she is hitting too you and you want to stay at net. Or your need to change formations if she is ripping the net person. No matter what ball you recieve at net - you have to make the volley. It is like the football "unwritten" rule, if you can touch the ball you can catch the ball - so make the catch.

    Well from what it sounds like she is just a darn good player. It also sounds like your serves were not that good. They didn't challenge her so they either lacked pace or placement for her to have a hard time with it.

    If she can nail the overhead, don't give her that shot. That just works against eveyrthing you will try to do. YOu will have a better chance beating with the lower ball.

    Providing you can serve well, I would have mixed up formations, take note of your weaknesses and found a way to practice those weaknesses so thast doesn't happen again.
     
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  7. BeachTennis

    BeachTennis Semi-Pro

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    Can't win them all

    Go out and hit some new shots and have some fun !

    lob

    attack


    poach


    stay back


    serve and volley

    mix it up and hit to your targets and see what happens

    remember 1,000,000 people play and 500,000 don't get to win!
     
    #7
  8. Tennissiz

    Tennissiz New User

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    We are currently the #1 doubles team in the 40's & over. The opponent I described is currently the #2 doubles team in the 40's & over. Her partner wasn't able to make this practice match so the 4th player was her husband (a Nationals Champion in his age category) and he was defintely the strongest player on the court.


    Our opponent was effective from the transition area by aiming flat hard shots at our net player. Our "A game" is lots of poaching and aggressive play at the net but this basically took that away. She would close the net after hitting her shots and be in good position to hit the angle winner. We felt like we were always on the defensive (and we normally like to dictate play and take the net).


    Oddly enough, our teams have never played each other in a tournament but I think this will likely happen next week. So, I am hoping I can find help on coming up with an effective game plan.


    Normally, we do play lots of shots down the middle to set each other up for the poach. We were keeping the shots down but she was not giving us any pop-ups. We were hoping her "luck" would run out and she wouldn't be able to consistently hit these laser missiles several inches over the net but to quote her husband, "she seems capable of hitting these shots she shouldn't be able to hit."

    *** Are there certain shots that are more difficult for someone with a compact backswing and moves through the ball? ***
    (ie. would higher shots with topspin kick or low slice be better?)


    We are good volleyers and we normally have the ability to play defense with our reaction volleys and even eventually win the point from being on the defensive in a net shoot-out. However, we just could not seem to get ourselves to split step and react to these shots.

    *** Are there specific things we should try to adjust in our technique to be more successful volleying these hard flat shots? ***


    We did try changing our formation to both back but I'm not sure we were very effective since we don't practice this.

    *** Any advice on what we should attempt to do in playing the both back formation? ***
    (ie. shot selection and placement so we can move forward and attack)


    I agree our serves were not as effective as they should have been... they were generally deep with medium pace but lacked spin or placement to keep her from dictating play. We also tried the I-formation but it seemed to throw off my partner more than anything else.

    *** Any advice on what to do when serves are not setting up the play? ***


    Because she was always closing and moving forward, we thought we should try the lob but she was able to anticipate well enough to hit well placed overheads. She was less mobile laterally and we did have more success with the topspin crosscourt angles but as someone mentioned this opens up the court.

    *** Any advice on general tactics to use when a team is being aggressive at the net? ***


    In summary, we have this week to practice how to serve better and lob better and volley better but I am hoping all you great tennis minds out there can help us be more effective in how to play a team that attacks with low flat hard hit shots. Oh yeah, her doubles partner is exactly the same but also has a great drop volley!

    THANKS SO MUCH for taking the time to respond with all the great feedback already!
     
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  9. dmastous

    dmastous Professional

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    This was very helpfull. I showed it my cat and she went out and chased my string for awhile.;)
     
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  10. slewisoh

    slewisoh Semi-Pro

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    It kind of sounds like you are the #2 team...;)

    If an opponent is returning really well (hitting through net player or net player making lots of errors), I like to play two back. You have to serve closer to the tee to take away angled returns. Some returners see two back and then attempt to hit short returns - many errors if this is not a return they are used to hitting. Or even if they do chip a shot over, it's an easy ball to move in on together. You're just trying to elicit a different response.

    Others have mentioned making good use of the middle to take away angles.

    However, the middle is probably NOT the best place to be sending your lobs, as the ad court player should be able to do damage from there with their overheads. The only place I cannot be offensive with a lob is when it is hit to my backhand. I try to place the lob over the left shoulder of the ad court player. They are probably not going to hurt you with that shot and you may be able to pull them out of position.

    Some folks are just really good shoestring volleyers - they get anything you send at them low. I'm not suggesting you try to hurt your opponent, but you can try to hit a higher volley at them. If I'm facing a volleyer who keeps getting everything low back, I will aim for the sternum or bicep. Just a small change to get them out of their comfort zone.
     
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  11. dmastous

    dmastous Professional

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    I'm not sure if hitting up is the best advice. Even if they are fantastic shoestring volleyers there is no way they can hit an offensive volley from their toetops. They can only hit up and hitting up gives you an opportunity to hit down on it. However they can hit down from their shoulder level and that makes hitting there more dangerous.
     
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  12. slewisoh

    slewisoh Semi-Pro

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    I'm not suggesting hitting up - more like hitting through them as opposed to at their feet. No really polite way to say that...

    There is a club in my area that works diligently on on defending the so-called finishing volley to the shoestrings. The damn ball comes back in awkward ways so that you don't get the 2nd opportunity to put it away - it's more than likely gone over your head.

    We found that once we adjusted the height of our volleys, we had more success.
     
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  13. dmastous

    dmastous Professional

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    We used to play laser tag during doubles. We kept track of the number times we hit each other. It is an effective play, especially as you described it, hitting to a spot where you can't get a racquet cleanly on the ball such as the right hip, waist or shoulder of a right hander.
    The last time I played doubles I tagged a guy in the nuts on a poaching volley. It was accidental, but we got a good laugh at it, and it kept him out of commision for a few points too. ;)
     
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  14. Tennissiz

    Tennissiz New User

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    Great advice!


    Thanks for those suggestions! We will definitely try experimenting this week.
     
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  15. Tennissiz

    Tennissiz New User

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    Any other suggestions?

    Hey, Dmastous! I edited my second post to try and give you more specifics... I would love to hear what you think! :)
     
    #15
  16. dmastous

    dmastous Professional

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    It sounds like you've covered most of your options, but I'll throw some comments your way. I'm sure you know much of this, but maybe something will stick and help you. Or maybe you will be reminded of something you've stopped doing.
    To me the split step is most essential in approaching the first volley after the serve or after an approach. After that you are playing more reaction volleys and there is rarely time for a split step. You've said you are good volleyers, and so I'm sure you know you should have the racquet out front and ready to move in any direction during the entire point. There isn't much to volleying that can help you more than that.
    It sounds like you've already tried most of the strategies that you can try. I can only suggest a couple strategies that you may have tried, but didn't mention. First, try to emphasize diagonal play and going for lots of wide angles. You said you tried angles on returns, but I mean volley angles as well. Second, you said you lobbed her, but try to direct your lobs over their backhand side as much as possible.
    Work on the quick volley drills, emphasising keeping the volleys low over the net and punishing anything popped up, even scoring some tags but not too painfull. Make your partner pay for popping up a volley. Play some half court tennis. This is where you will use the whole service area. Lots of people warm up this way, but you would be working on hitting half-volleys and angle volleys and net movement.
    Work on movement together. Diagonal movement during the point. Diagonally up to the net and sidelines, and diagonally back towards the service 'T'. Work on covering your partner. When they are pulled wide, you glide to cover the center, and when you are pulled wide your partner covers the center.
    As for the serve, it's just not as important to go for winners while serving as it is in singles. Try to keep a high first serve percentage, and minimise what they can do with the return. Let your partner know where you will serve so they can cover the percentage return. I'm not much a fan of the 'I' formation. I think good poaching is just as effective. Try not to be predictable with poaches. I feel a service game is won, not as much by the server, but by the pressure put on the returner by the net player.
    Like I said much of this is repeating what a coach has probably already told you a hundred times. But I can't offer much more than that.
     
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  17. Tennissiz

    Tennissiz New User

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    Thanks Dmastous!

    :D I have only just started working on doubles strategy since forming our partnership last fall so IT"S ALL GOOD!

    I just did a search and found a great link:

    In doubles, How to volley fast balls hit directly at you?
    http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=30693

    Once again, thank-you!
     
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  18. Bungalo Bill

    Bungalo Bill G.O.A.T.

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  19. slewisoh

    slewisoh Semi-Pro

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    If these two are really aggressive at the net then you really will have to work on your lob game this week.

    There hasn't been any mention of your return game...I'm sure if they are aggressive net players they hit a return and then come to net. I would work very hard this week on hitting lob returns over the net player. If you can hit a few early in the match it will affect the server's ability to come in right away, or may force the poacher back.

    Also, try some high, loopy cross court returns. It's a ball that a lot of s&v players are not used to seeing. Or if they stay back at the baseline, it should pin them there and at least make for a more difficult shot.

    Regarding double back - you are employing it primarily to remove yourselves as targets. It's very difficult for the net players to hit an angled winner off a hard hit drive up the middle. Many will try though and there will probably be a good number of errors. From your perspective you need to be able to hit several controlled drives through the middle. You can then pull out a nice lob against them and retake the net (if the lob wasn't an outright winner). Remember to go for the left shoulder of the ad player.
     
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  20. LuckyR

    LuckyR Legend

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    Since you are the #1 doubles team in the nation at the 40's and over, first of all congratulations, you certainly have a lot more experience than I do! One thing to consider since you mention you are new to doubles strategy is the I formation. Since the player you mention likes to rush the net, my guess is that she positions herself at or within the baseline. This makes her vulnerable to the I, since the tactic to foil it is to take a few steps back and wait for the netman to commit before hitting your return. If she continues to play close, have the netman poach to her crosscourt return side most of the time as it seems she has grooved that return pretty well and put those shots into her partner's body or into the alley.
     
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  21. papa

    papa Hall of Fame

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    With all due respect, I find the "I" formation can be more confusing than helpfull. Just seems to me to be difficult to re-focus as you pop-up along with not giving away any telltale hints at which direction you plan to go. Also if you commit a fraction of a second too early, your goose is cooked.

    Although it takes awhile, I know I can guess with pretty good accuracy which way the net guy is going - not always right of course but better than 50/50.

    Anyway, showing several looks generally works including occasionally keeping two back on the receiving team. Keep changing the look and you'll certainly keep them on their toes.
     
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  22. Tennissiz

    Tennissiz New User

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    :eek: Just to clarify that I am from Canada and we are currently #1 in the province... haven't quite got to nationals yet but yes we would like to work towards being #1 nationally too... just give us a few more seasons!;)
     
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  23. LuckyR

    LuckyR Legend

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    Well with all due respect, sure, anything can be confusing to someone who doesn't do it frequently or well. However, the Pros use the I with frequency so there is in fact something to be gained by it's use. I am certainly no Pro, but Tennissiz is #1 in her state (province) so is moderately close to that level. You don't mention the technique behind your "guessing" but I suppose that if you are uncomfortable with it's use, your competition is probably marginally competent to perform it correctly, thereby resulting in your slaying those guys. I don't think that is Tennissiz's competion's level of excellence.
     
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  24. papa

    papa Hall of Fame

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    Well, even if you are using that formation, you certainly would not use it on every point as you know. Yes, the pros do use it frequently and with quite a bit of success but they bring a great deal of talent to the table - perhaps the poster does have that ability, I don't know. All I'm saying is that the "I" formation can be confusing and yes, I have used it enough to realize its potential and disadvantages - at least for me.

    As far as "guessing" which way they will go when your playing against the "I" there are several things that I look for and I'm quite sure I'm not alone. Believe it or not, players (both players) have strange little habbits which can be picked up. For instance, I played against a team that (in a standard doubles formation) the server indicated his verbal acceptance one way when his partner was going to poach and another when he was staying home.

    Net players (in the "I") will often check out the direction they plan to go with a quick glance to that side or a little longer look at the other net man. Often, without even realizing it, players position their feet differently or make a small check to make sure the push-off foot is planted well depending on which way they plan to go. Although the same grip is normally used on both sides at net some players do in fact change a spec and that can be picked up.

    There are lots of little things to watch for and if you can't pick them up, ask your partner to check also - sometimes your net man might see something you don't and a simple sign can prehaps help.

    Look, I'm not against anything like different formations but some, like the "I" come with a price - thats all I'm saying. If you can make it work for your team, great. However, some teams really make a mess out of it and it costs them far more than they can expect to gain.
     
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  25. LuckyR

    LuckyR Legend

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    You are absolutely right that relatively complicated things like alternate formations need to be honed and not just used on an ad hoc basis. BTW since the I is basically just a called poach, do you have the same cautionary attitude about called poaches?
     
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  26. volleyman

    volleyman Semi-Pro

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    Back to the original post:

    The most important shots in any point are the server and return - at least in my opinion.

    If she was eating up your serves, and it sounds as if she was, you need to work on varying your spin, speed and placement. You need to mix it up, like an aging baseball pitcher, and try to break her rhythm and concentration by keeping her guessing. If her lateral mobility is suspect, throwing in some wide serves could work wonders.

    You also might try varying your formation, but not by playing I or Australian if you haven't practiced them. Just vary whether you play one up or two back. By presenting a changing target, you get her, hopefully, thinking more about what you're doing and concentrating less on crunching the return. By staying away from the unpracticed I and Australian formations, you don't have to leave your comfort zone.

    Finally, it sounds like when you play her, she won't be playing with her husband. This means you can try attacking the partner and see if they're weaker.
     
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  27. Kaptain Karl

    Kaptain Karl Hall Of Fame

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    Tennissiz - I only just found this thread. I hope you two are having fun working on different tactics.

    FiveO's, BB's and dmastous' tips are good ones. I agree with papa (and others) about not being as enamoured with the I Formation as we see so frequently on the Pros.

    Here are my suggestions:
    1 - Use more spin serves. Mix up the bounces they are seeing for their Returns. Kick, Top, Slice ... but vary the power on even these choices. Power Kick ... Normal Slice ... Normal Top ... Heavy Slice (You get the idea.).

    If you *already were* doing this ... try the opposite. Hit more Flat and stay with the Hard spin serves.

    2 - While serving up the T is still the preferred dubs target, sometimes our opponents' Returns can become "grooved" on these. Rather than serving Wide -- which opens us more Return angles, "pins" your Net Player, etc. -- try serving more frequently with Jam Serves. Make the Returner "get out of her own way" before she tries to hit the wicked return.

    3 - Mix up your Serving Formations -- but use Australian, not "I". The Aussie Formation compels the Returner to try and return up the line, over the higher part of the net. (But mix up your patterns even when Serving.)

    4 - I assume you are already doing this, but "just in case" ... be sure you two are communicating about what the Net Player's poaching plans are. The following is lifted from this Dubs Signals thread.

    I teach my HS Boys to use the same signals I've used since my own HS partner and I played. One signal communicates it all:

    The THUMB is the Poach / No Poach indicator:
    Tumb OUT = Poach
    In = No Poach
    Waggle = Fake.

    The FINGERS are the location indicator:
    Fist = Jam
    First (or First and Second together: some people seem to be less able to manipulate one finger) = Up the T
    Fingers all open = Wide.

    Blaskower recommends TWO different hand signals: One for Poaching, the second for Location and Spin. (I don't really care which spin my partner uses, though.)

    P.S.
    1 - Each year of HS practices I have to remind the Boys to have the Net Player signal with his hand at his butt; not up on his back. (Too many player bend so far forward, the Receivers partner can steal the signal if the Net Player is signaling with his hand above his waist.
    2 - The Server can say "No" if he doesn't like the signal. If the Net Player hasn't come up with a "Yes" signal after three tries, just (Quickly!) go back and confer with the Server. I agree with Blaskower. (Assuming equal abilities) the Net Player is the Captain for that game. He's in the dominating position, he should call the Pitches he wants.


    Please update us on your next match with this team. I know I'm curious to see how it goes....

    - KK
     
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  28. papa

    papa Hall of Fame

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    No, I don't but others do.
     
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  29. LuckyR

    LuckyR Legend

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    Interesting...
     
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  30. Tennissiz

    Tennissiz New User

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    TT Rocks!

    :cool:
    Well, here's an update... so far we have played a league match and 2 other practice matches since the original post.

    The calibre of our opponents were solid and included: a teaching pro, a multiple time Nationals doubles champion, and two players who just came back from competing at the ITF Senior Worlds in Durbin, South Africa.

    We were able to play our game and dominate at the net. However, I would say our opponents played more "classic" doubles with emphasis on placement, spin and control rather than flat hard drives right at the net player. At no time did we encounter that uneasy feeling of "what do we do now?" (ie. we could attack and defend comfortably as a team)

    In retrospect, I think that the essence of the problem in the original match I described was this: we didn't have a way to set up the point for each other.

    So, I appreciate ALL the ideas that members of this board have posted and we will definitely have FUN trying all the varying formations, serves, returns, and shot selections that were suggested. I already know that having these tips to focus on will give us the confidence boost to get out there and "JUST DO IT!".
    :mrgreen:
     
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  31. papa

    papa Hall of Fame

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    If you play the "modified" "I", where instead of bending/crouching, the net player simply moves toward the alley a couple of feet and back a little but remains basically upright, some of the confusion/re-focus isn't quite as bad. However, it does defeat/lessen the purpose of the formation. I have seen this formation used quite effectively, especially when agility starts to enter into the equation.

    Incidently, signals (there are many versions, KK illustrated one) are not used by everyone - some prefer a more spontaneous system where they "go" when they feel they have the edge. Of course, ball/returner placement becomes a key here. Regardless of whether signals are used, the net man should be a big factor and go after a high percentage of returns - like maybe 25 - 35%.

    I also don't see the "I" as a poach although you would hope, obviously, that you can intercept the return of service. I think it primarily takes the returner out of thinking a crosscourt return of service is safe.
     
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  32. Kaptain Karl

    Kaptain Karl Hall Of Fame

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    Hey! Who 'you callin' OLD??? (Okay. I do admit that's a major reason I will avoid the "I". But if we've tried everything else without success ... "Gimme the 'I'!!!")

    Quite right. I'd say Signals are *less common* at the tourneys I've played in the last four years. In that Signals Thread I linked, there were some really creative methods of signaling. (I doubt I'd remember the systems some teams use...!)

    [Some buddies of mine in the late '70s - early '80s had the funniest "distractor" signal I'd ever seen. The Server would flash a series of one, two, three or four fingers off his racket grip ... making everyone believe they were using baseball's method of having some "Indicator" in the series which revealed the actual signal. (You know, the signal AFTER the Two is the real signal ... but they'd flash two-to-four more signals afterward.) Then the Net Man would flash a series of signals back.... Opponents and spectators were racking their brains trying to break the code. One day in a practice match I casually commented on the code-breakers' efforts and said, "Wouldn't it be funny if your 'signal' was really how you were holding your non-racket hand while signaling?" They both burst out laughing in such a way, it was obvious I had cracked the code(!). Their real signals were where they were holding the racket with their Off Hand. (This is the first time I've revealed their secret. It's been over 20 years -- and they don't play together anymore. They live 1,500 miles apart. [size=-2]I'm sure it's okay by now ... really.[/size])

    True again. In fact, Blaskower, in her very good book sees Signaling as somewhat of a crutch ... and confining. (Reasonable minds can differ.)

    In that thread I linked to ^^^ (Or one of the Dubs threads.) I explained my preference FOR signaling.

    Amen!!!

    I like this emphasis. 25-35% is a good aggressive amount.

    - KK
     
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  33. Tennissiz

    Tennissiz New User

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    Thanks, KK, for sharing your secret handshake!
    I am just wondering if you could further describe the "No Poach" indicator with the thumb in. Do you mean it is tucked in under the fingers (resembling a fist)? If so, does this create possible confusion with the "Jam serve" indicator?
     
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  34. Kaptain Karl

    Kaptain Karl Hall Of Fame

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    Hmm. This hasn't ever been asked of me....

    Okay, Jam is a fist. Jam/Poach is a fist with the thumb stuck out like a hitch hiker's. Jam/Fake is the same, but the thumb is waving EITHER up and down (along the same axis as the forearm) OR back and forth (across that same axis). Jam/Stay is a fist with the thumb either wrapped over the fingertips of the fist ... OR ... "Ishan Ryu" style (If you're a karate-ka.) against the first finger of the balled fist.

    Wide is an open hand (fingers either splayed or closed, like in a salute; doesn't matter). Wide/Poach is with the thumb out. Wide/Fake the "out" thumb is waggling as in the Jam, above. Wide/Stay, the thumb is EITHER tucked over toward the base of the Little Finger ... OR ... closed against the First Digit (just like a salute). But the Wide signal still keeps the fingers "out flat" while the thumb is signaling whatever poach notice the Net Player likes.

    Was that better?

    - KK
     
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  35. Tennissiz

    Tennissiz New User

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    That's a great explanation. I was visualizing the signals given consecutively one after the other so that you would have a total of four signals for the 1st and 2nd serves. I was worried that this might cause confusion for the server.
     
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  36. LuckyR

    LuckyR Legend

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    I completely agree about prefering spontaneous poaches, although it can let a lazy netman not poach enough. But I play with various partners so I have to go with the flow, personally.

    True the I is not a true "poach", but it is a called shift, whether or not the ball goes that way or not is a seperate issue. Of course on a typical called poach, the players shift regardless of where the return goes also.
     
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  37. dmastous

    dmastous Professional

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    My indicators are much simpler.
    Closed fist = no poach either serve
    1 index finger = poach only on the first serve
    2 (index and middle) fingers = poach only on the second serve
    open hand = poach on both serves.

    I've never seen a reason to indicate a fake. If I say I'm not poaching I feel that's enough. But it's probably a good idea to warn the partner.
    Having said all that, it's been a long time since I've played a competative match.
    At this time I'm only playing the occasional social doubles. So no signals. Just targets of opportunity.
     
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  38. Kaptain Karl

    Kaptain Karl Hall Of Fame

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    Good ones. I have been plagued with a series of partners who -- if left to their own devices on serve -- would serve Wide 85% of the time. (I'm "old school" on this. I still say serving wide handcuffs the Netman too much. Ron Waite (sp?) -- for one -- disagrees with me. "Okay.") Hence, my signals give the Netman more "say".

    Snort!!! I like that!

    - KK
     
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  39. dmastous

    dmastous Professional

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    It should be assumed that if net player intends to poach, that the server should not serve wide. I'm in your camp on that issue 100%.
    You should watch that, you might hit someone. ;)
     
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  40. papa

    papa Hall of Fame

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    Want to have some fun playing against team that signals - and I think as KK does that its about a 50-50 thing these days.

    Assuming your the net guy receiving team, just prior to the serve but after signals have been acknowledged, turn and say something to your partner, the server in a voice that can be heard (at least by the netman), something like "its on", "watch the alley", "switch" (kinda my favorite), "watch the line" and so forth. Of course your partner has to know that these mean nothing and your going to carry on as usual. If the serving team is rather new to signals or not quite sure of things, it really throws them off. Of course there are times when you really do want to convey certain things so make sure, as a team, you know the difference.

    You can also change positions a little after the signal is acknowledged and this throws off some teams. Just make sure you do these things "after" the signal is acknowledged by the server and don't make a big deal of it.

    Its not too dissimilar to little chats after a point (keep them short) when you huddle and say (so it can't be heard) basically "how you doing" or "get this one back and I'll put in a good word with the girlfriend/wife", "nice day but it might snow tomorrow" etc something light and brief - you know just a little stall. Amazing at how some teams just don't know how to handle these little stall sessions which they conclude "must" be tactical in nature. A little like the double signal stuff KK was talking about - some of it is "usefull" while some is just plain drible. Give a few positive shakes of the head also.

    Amazing that long after the match is over, you'll have players say something like "what did you guys see during that such and such game - were we giving away signals", "what did you guys pick up", ? Of course you have to play the poker hand here and just side step the question.
     
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  41. LuckyR

    LuckyR Legend

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    Yet another reason I prefer spontaneous poaches.
     
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  42. Tennissiz

    Tennissiz New User

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    :p
    So, as I expected, we met the #2 seeds in the finals. We had a very definite game plan incorporating a lot of the advice on this thread.

    We changed up the pace with some hard shots hit right at the net person mixed in with lob returns and drop shot returns so we effectively neutralized the net person and the server couldn't groove on the first volley.

    We were able to consistently get into position to control the net, and once at the net, we seemed to have the opportunity to finish the point easily on high volleys.

    We were able to get a lot of return errors with lots of movement from the net player looking to cut off the easy crosscourt. High first serve percentages were key as we were broken several times on the service games that didn't happen.

    So my final post-game analysis:
    1. Get the first serve in with good placement.
    2. Server's partner helps out as much as possible with poaches.
    3. Be patient to set up the point so both partners can be at the net.
    4. Look for opportunities to close the net and finish the point.
    5. Be effective with variety on the returns of serve.

    We pretty much dictated play so we did not have to resort to other formations than playing both at the net. But thank-you to everyone who contributed their ideas!
     
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  43. Kaptain Karl

    Kaptain Karl Hall Of Fame

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    You left out a "detail" in your report. Did you win?

    - KK
     
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  44. Tennissiz

    Tennissiz New User

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    Yup! Final score: 6-2, 6-3. Oh yeah, one service game went to four deuces because the ad court player was loving her crosscourt return. So we switched to the Australian formation and she dumped the DTL return into the bottom of the net and I thought "Thanks KK!".
     
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  45. dmastous

    dmastous Professional

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    How about having a couple meaning less hand signals after the signal is acknowleged. If you say things like "switch" or "it's on" you may let your opponents know you really don't have a line on their signals.
    Congrats to Tennissiz! :-D
     
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  46. Kaptain Karl

    Kaptain Karl Hall Of Fame

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    On behalf of ALL the folks who gave good tips ... "You're welcome."

    Wa-hoo! Congratulations.

    (papa & dmastous seems like some sneaky opponents, with their fake signals and distractors.) I believe Dubs is even more psychological than Singles. This is part of the evidence.

    - KK
     
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  47. BigbangerNYC

    BigbangerNYC Rookie

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    I have read all advice here regarding your problems, and the one that is most sound is from FIVE-0. One thing I would like to ask is how much spin do you put in your serve? If you put some or lots of sidespin on the serve, I highly doubt your opponents can rip returns low and with lots of pace (as you have mentioned) as frequent as he/she would like to. Assuming you have spin in your serve and still have the problem, then you and your partner need to learn how to catch low and fast volley, especially catching low and fast approach shots for the server. Most people are not efficient at low-and-heavy-ball volleys b/c their volley strokes aren't to firm and compact (like a short punch) but either too swingy or wristy.
     
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  48. ZPTennis

    ZPTennis Semi-Pro

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    When she was coming into net did you try the lob then or after she was at net? Lobbing a person whos moving into the net can be a good tactic since it is almost always a more difficult overhead because they have to change their direction from moving forward to backward instantly.
     
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