Hitting at the net guy? What is ok to do?

Discussion in 'Adult League & Tournament Talk' started by rk_sports, Apr 21, 2010.

  1. rk_sports

    rk_sports Hall of Fame

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    okay.. when I play recreational matches, I never try to go at the net player.. even if there is a chance of finishing the point
    Now, what is 'okay' to do in a league match situation?
     
  2. kylebarendrick

    kylebarendrick Professional

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    To me, any shot from the baseline is fair game. If the net player can't handle a return of serve then they should move back. I have no problem volleying in the direction of the net player if that is my best shot. I do try to avoid hitting overheads in their direction and cracking big forehands at someone from close range is generally not too cool.
     
  3. struggle

    struggle Hall of Fame

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    not sure.

    my partner and i about got into a fight (seemed like anyhow, drama...)
    last night when he crushed a service return at the net man. he fell/dove to the ground and didn't get hit, but got upset about it, threw his racket into the net, etc...

    i felt that on a service return, no big deal, he had time to dodge it. told my partner "great shot" and went about our business.

    while AT the net, i'm ok with anything but aiming at the head/upper torso.
    and am OK with it vice versa, coming at me. "good shot" i usually say.

    all depends, sometime you try to avoid hitting someone, the ball seems to come back over the net when it was an easy putaway. at the same time, you gotta judge the opponent and play accordingly.

    if they want to serve up lollipops, they should either not sweat getting hit on occasion or just turn their back.

    .02
     
  4. Mick

    Mick Legend

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    it's ok for you do to it and it's ok for the other team do it to your team too.
     
  5. Taxvictim

    Taxvictim Semi-Pro

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    In a competitive match, it's okay to do it. I play 3.5, and have never heard someone complain about a shot at the net person. Try not to hit them in the face. If you do hit their body, you should apologize and say you were aiming at their feet or something. But even in a recreational match, I would not hesitate to hit directly at the net person if I thought that was the best shot.

    For women, the etiquette might be different.

    Our group of married couples plays "polite" mixed doubles, where the men don't hit their best shots at the lower ranked women. In that setting, firing a winner at the wife on the other team would not be cool.
     
  6. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    It's OK, but I never do it, for several reasons.

    I'm trying to win a point here. The best way to do that at my level is hit a good crosscourt return, follow it in, and then put away the ball. Taking a chance on changing direction and going over the high part of the net only to have the net player reflex a winner is low-percentage for me.

    If I think the net player is weak at net, what I want is for her to cower at the net with one foot in the doubles alley, leaving her partner to cover the whole court with a giant alley in between them for us to volley winners. So I do not want to pound the ball at the net player and encourage her to play two back. The baseline is probably where she is most comfortable.

    That said, if her partner comes to net, I will go at the weaker of the two. As for overheads . . . I do my best not to hurt anyone and I never have. No promises, however. My aim isn't *that* good.
     
  7. OrangePower

    OrangePower Hall of Fame

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    In USTA or other competitive matches, it is ok to do.

    In social matches, it depends.

    If you're playing with others of a similar level, it's ok.

    If you are playing against a weaker opponent, don't do it.

    As to whether it's actually a good play or not, it depends on the level and so on. Cindy's example is a good one.
     
  8. BillH

    BillH Rookie

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    When I'm at the net, I volley or hit down at the net man's legs or feet. When I'm at the baseline, I will occasionally go for the net man but try to keep the shot low. From midcourt I don't hit hard groundies or overheads at the net man - there's other ways to win a point and its really not worth someone getting hurt.
     
  9. tennis tom

    tennis tom Hall of Fame

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    There's no rule against it as far as I know. A lot of variables strategicaly and socially whether you want to do it or not. It's only a fuzzy little ball.
     
  10. gameboy

    gameboy Hall of Fame

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    If I get a weak serve or a short ball, I like to hit it hard to the netman's right shoulder (if he is right handed). That is a pretty tough shot to handle.

    If I do it right, even if the ball is going to go a little deep, the netman will touch it and I will win majority of those points.

    I don't do that against the ladies, but almost any guy is a fair game. Usually, if they are not strong at the net, they start moving back.
     
  11. RyanRF

    RyanRF Semi-Pro

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    If I'm winding-up to rip it and the net guy is standing there at the ready, I'll send it right at em with no regrets.

    However, if you wind-up and the net guy turns his back, hitting the ball at him is unnecessary and poor sportsmanship i.m.o.

    Oh, and I'll never smash it right at a lady.
     
  12. mutantducky

    mutantducky Semi-Pro

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    I've lost point against good women players because I haven't been aggressive enough. Some are awesome volleyers and they love the hard shots. And they won't hesitate to smash you to win the point. Anything beyond the service box line is ok in my book. You see it all the time though. I was watching a 4.5 doubles men match and a guy hits a great shot that is returned, his partner has an easy smash but two guys at the net so he takes a lot of pace off the ball. They lose the point. doh! If I'm going to win or yeah something social then maybe I won't go for it. But flat out if you aren't willing to go for the kill then you will just be stuck at the 3.0-3.5 levels. Use common sense of course but sometimes just about instinct and go for it. The best doubles teams at the 4.5 and 5.0 levels I see don't play meek at all and they try to crush their opponents. If someone has a weak second serve at any level then yeah smash it right back at the net person. force them to go back to the baseline. Don't complain if you get hit at the net by a VOLLEY or an approach shot either. You want to avoid hitting the people but sometimes it can't be avoided and it can be the right shot. go at their body on a volley return or an approach shot I'm going to try to pass them or crack it at them. I'm saying this at a higher level than most but even at the 3.0-4.0 level if someone hits you or doesn't play all nice like you do, don't get in a huff about it because it is part of the game. or else stay off the court and have some ice tea:mrgreen:
     
  13. Smurf

    Smurf New User

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    In competition its ok to do it, if the net person cant get their hands up in time its their own fault. Do you have to apologize? No not really its not your fault they cant volley.
     
  14. dizzlmcwizzl

    dizzlmcwizzl Hall of Fame

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    In a league match (as long as you are not sandbagging) ... everyone knows what they are in for. Take the smart shot everytime ... if sometimes that means drilling the net guy because he cannot get out of his own way ... then so be it.

    But never drill the net guy out of anger ... even if he is hooking you on the lines.
     
  15. Ripper014

    Ripper014 Hall of Fame

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    Reminds me of a tournament I played in my younger years... we were playing a team in the finals that were known for calling (cough cough) tight lines. After losing the first set in a tiebreaker full of questionable calls... I stepped in and took the next return of serve and rifled it at the net man, causing him to dive to the ground. My return was in for the point... and I got a look from both him and his partner... I just looked at my racket and straightened my strings. I got accused of attempting to hit him... I responded by saying I was going down the line.

    But like you said if you want to serve lollipops... and you give me the incentive, I may just step up and start taking target practice. I have only felt compelled to do it on one other occasion, against the same team. This time they did move their net man to the baseline... and we won handily.

    There are no rules saying that you have to stand at the net... so if you are concerned about being hit by the ball, play at the baseline.
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2010
  16. Chris Rizutto

    Chris Rizutto Banned

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    Go for the pass or the occasional topspin shot at their feet to see how good their hands are.

    Your pass doesn't have to be hit hard just accurate.
     
  17. kelawai

    kelawai Rookie

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    I played mixed dubs. Did not finish the point, my partner get mad and tell me to hit like a man. She don't mind to get hit by the net and tell me to go for it.

    If the net person is weak, don't stay at the net.
     
  18. Enlightened Coelacanth

    Enlightened Coelacanth Rookie

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    Do you go at a net man to hit him, or finish the point efficiently?
    If the net man is a good volleyer, moves well and cuts off lots of shots, then hitting at him is a very good technique to make him stay put and stop intercepting shots.

    But if he does none of these things, why not just hit around the man? And assuming the net man is good at his job he will also be good at dealing with balls hit right at him.
     
  19. tennis tom

    tennis tom Hall of Fame

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    That would be taking all the fun out of tennis.
     
  20. athiker

    athiker Hall of Fame

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    Of course you test the net guy. In any match you are looking for weaknesses. Some guys really crowd the net, showing a lot of confidence. If they have confidence in their quick reflexes why shouldn't I? If they aren't confident they need to back off to give themselves more time. So for regular groundstrokes I think its fine...ideally you want it dipping with topspin as it clears the net anyway to make it harder to volley.

    Now on an overhead I target the feet but if they are too close they should have their racquet up protecting their face or bailing backwards...I'm no a pro after all...I can't be certain where my shot will go even if I'm not aiming for them! Overheads are notoriously tricky for 3.5's anyway as evidenced by the number that go in the net or fly long. On volleys I also target the feet.

    Re: ROS, they know their partner...if he's serving up lollipops they should be giving some room for a good ROS. I know I back up a few steps for my partner's 2nd serve to give me more time. Depending on my partner and his 2nd serve ability it might be several steps or only 1 or 2.
     
  21. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

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    Don't do anything that could seriously hurt someone. Don't hit anyone with overheads off sitter lobs. Don't crush shots at weak players that would be helpless against them - this would mean that they aren't at your level of play.
    The only time I got mad about this in doubles (other than guys trying to hit my wife with overheads in mixed) was playing a couple of the top juniors in Texas and they were just hitting the ball as hard as they could at me on the serve return (my partner's serve was pretty weak). It wasn't that they were hitting hard at me that got me upset, but after a while, they were just trying to outdo each other hitting the ball as hard as they could at me and weren't even worried about hitting the ball in the court. You should at least have a chance of winning the point if it doesn't hit the opponent's body.
     
  22. USERNAME

    USERNAME Professional

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    If the person is a weak net player and has a hard time blocking shots (or gets skittish) I will drill them all day long in a league or tourny match. Only time I dont do this is when its a woman, cant peg a girl for some reason even open caliber girls...
     
  23. Ken Honecker

    Ken Honecker Rookie

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    When I'm returning serve or hitting from the base line I'll hit through the net man if I feel he isn't up to my stuff and I'll flat out tell you I'd laugh my butt off if he dropped to the ground to avoid it rather than taking a swipe at it. When I'm up I try to hit where he isn't and would never consider blasting an overhead at him from 6 feet away.
     
  24. Tennisman912

    Tennisman912 Semi-Pro

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    In a competitive match, anything is fair game as far as I am concerned. Your first job is to defend yourself and if you can’t do that, you have no business at the net. You are crazy not to test the net man once in a while. If I came across a player who had a poor volley, you can bet I would hit at them a lot more. But I would not aim at the head/upper torso. When I go at someone, it is 99% of the time at waist height toward the dominant arm hip or in the feet area (usually a high volley put-away). The last 5 people I have hit have been in the foot/ankle area.

    I also wouldn’t hit someone who turned there back but would certainly hit it near them for the easy point, depending on where they were in the court. Obviously, if I had plenty of open court I would hit it there. But I have seen a few who pretend to turn their back to get you to hit it easy and then reengage. If they do that, then they are asking for trouble. And then they would be the same one who complains when you belt them (big surprise I know). You also see sometimes some hit a sitter to the opponents and then run to the net to get you to miss. They also get whatever happens to them.

    If your opponents give a sitter of any kind, whether it be a floating ball or a short sitter or an overhead, if they have time to retreat or “disengage” and don’t, they are also fair game. On a short ball/overhead, I will rarely turn or retreat (unless I have a lot of time) conceding the point because I have good hands. But make no mistake, that is my choice and I have to live with the consequences of “staying in the point.” Even then, I am rarely hit (maybe 1 or twice in the last few months).

    Some of this is level dependent as I would take it easier on someone less able to defend themselves or at a lower level, unless they tried to get you to hit it at them, as some try to show they can hang. I am sure many know what I mean here.

    Hitting it at someone can backfire as when filling in for groups I regularly have players trying to hit it really hard at me, like they expect me to miss. Out of 10 tries, they probably hit 5-7 long, mishit 1 or two trying to kill it and give me a few easy block putaways for every one they may win. They obviously don’t pay much attention to their risk/reward ratios on these shots.

    In tbuggle’s example, if someone stands at the net and can’t defend themselves and then gets mad if someone hits it at them, I would probably have a good laugh, telling them if they can’t stand the heat, stay at the baseline or play lower level tennis. Or stand outside the court lines so you don’t have to worry about it. Laughing will probably drive them crazy and then the inevitable collapse would occur. Because on a serve return, you are fair game always if you crowd the net or are anywhere on the court as far as I am concerned. Of course, I have never had someone actually complain about that before either. Of course this is a competitive match and not social tennis.

    Good tennis

    TM
     
  25. frekcles

    frekcles Semi-Pro

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    Never played league matches only recreational matches. However among our group even a social/recreational match can turn into a competitive one.

    Usually I wait until someone goes after me aggressively. Then I know that it's not so social anymore and that anything goes. But when it's mixed then I "try" to pass any female player at the net. I said try not actually do it. At least I try to lessen the blow.
     
  26. Casey10s

    Casey10s Rookie

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    As for hitting at the net man, he is fair game.

    The only 2 things I won't do is to go for the head and hit a short overhead hard to the net person. This will lead to trouble.

    I play with mostly 4.5's plus a few 4.0's and 5.0's. Going at a person at this level doesn't work a lot because most of these guys are good volleyers and will handle this shot at them by mostly putting it away. Everyone is aware that short sitting balls will probably have the opponent going at the net person as long as the two rules above are followed. I have rarely seen anyone get mad if a ball is rifled at their knees or below. This is assumed as good tennis to win points.

    Most times if the person at the nest gets handcuffed badly the other side will apologize and the net person usually responds that they hit the right shot. The only time I see the net person gets mad is if his partner keeps hitting balls so that the opponents are going for the net person.
     
  27. chatt_town

    chatt_town Hall of Fame

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    Generally I play by different rules depending on the circumstance. Let me explain. My first notion is to hit everything cross court and come in and volley the ball away or at the net person's feet no matter who it is. I had this one guy at a state level match of mixed come out the gate hitting balls at my head for no other reason to play this intimidation game. Now I have to tell you the woman I was playing with had been playing tennis less than 4 months. She didn't even know it was legal to play Australian. That's how new she was. She was shaking in her boots after the first 3 points. He never hit at her he hit at me when she clearly couldn't hit more than 1 ball across the net. So I waited until his woman served and hit him in the chest with a forehand and then in the shoulder with a backhand(backhand is no joke). So then he wanted to play this game of hitting everything cross court, but I wasn't having it. I lit his @$$ up like a Christmas tree and we actually won the match. I hit his @$$ with overheads when he was running out of the court and not once apoligized. I feel like once you open that can of worms you get what you get. His teammates didn't like it either but I just told them to go to hell as no one was concerned when he rifled three straight balls at my head. My aim is terrible so I hit all and I mean all overheads through the middle of the court and try to bounce them out of the court. I do tell the other team though that's where they are all going so they can clear the hell out because they are coming if you put it in the air. :) I guess I'm trying to say it's never that serious to me until you make it that serious. I don't even play some of my own teammates because they just assume put your eye out on a short serve. It's just excersise to me until you make it something else. That guy looked like Puncherelle or whatever his name was on Chips. The only other time I go at the net person is when they run australian on me. I'm going right at the net person because 95 percent of them think you won't come at them. You have to volley "away" about 5 before I stop coming at you. I'm not going to stop hitting my shot just because you are standing there. :)
     
  28. chatt_town

    chatt_town Hall of Fame

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    I remember "1" time cracking a woman in the throat with a whistling backhand because she kept asking for it. I've never again hit at anyone on purpose just because of that unless they start some ****...if you start some you better be ready for it to come back twice as bad. I can hit it off both wings with some serious gas if it's sitting up like a duck. :) Man, I still wince when I think of cracking that woman in the throat. I felt bad afterwards but she was litterally asking for it. I was in no man's land when I rolled through it and she knows me and knew it was coming. It was not a pretty sight.
     
  29. SoBad

    SoBad Legend

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    Who cares really, doubles isn't real tennis people, grow up. Anyway, this is not a tennis issue, it's a personal issue. You want to hurt someone, here's your chance - hit him. Otherwise, don't hit him. What's the real dilemma here?
     
  30. rk_sports

    rk_sports Hall of Fame

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    Haha!! doubles isn't real tennis ha? ;)

    Didn't want SoBad's borderline philosophical post as a conclusion to this tricky subject :)


    I've lost points not going at the net person many times.. now this is fine in recreational play .. absolutely no intention to harm the person.. but when results have some meaning .. say in leagues.. was wondering how people think and the results are varied as expected..

    overheads.. big no
    groundies from back.. ok
    net to feet.. ok
    net to body... no
    if oppenents start it.. ok :)
     
  31. beernutz

    beernutz Hall of Fame

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    EVERY time someone quotes SoBad I remember why he is firmly implanted in my Ignore List, so thanks for that.
     
  32. EKnee08

    EKnee08 Professional

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    Agreed-when you have several choices on where to hit a winner that are equal percentages, aiming for the opposition at point blank range is the shot you should not hit, although some players do it for the intimidation factor. I recall a famous video of Lendl going after Mac while at the net. That is not cool.

    However, if you have the open court on an overhead or volley and the opposing player moves into that position while you are focused on hitting your shot, that is not your problem...

    In addition, aiming at the net man's feet is considered a good play in dobs but certainly not their head.
     
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2010
  33. LuckyR

    LuckyR Legend

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    I never aim at people. That doesn't mean I have never hit a person, I have hit plenty when I aim on their side of the court, but I never intend to hit them.
     
  34. EKnee08

    EKnee08 Professional

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    Last night was playing in a social doubles league. My game was off and was making many more unforced errors than normal. I was serving to the deuce side to a returner who was hitting some deep returns to the alley. One or two which I perceived as going long was hit perfectly at the baseline. Also, I had served and volleyed on the deuce side and had missed one or two easy first volleys angled cross court which should have been easy putaways. Without thinking, I got another high deep return towards the alley, which was to my backhand side ( a lefty). I came in towards the net and hit a high backhand volley down the line to what I perceived was an opening. The net man who has great reflexes moved or was standing in the spot where I aimed. I did not consciously go after him and luckily he positioned his racquet to protect his body ( backhand volley). I had not even looked to see where the net man was. I just knew based on my game being off which was my easiest shot to execute (not taking into account the net man).

    I felt bad after i hit the shot but no harm no foul and it kept the net man honest since he likes to poach and the returner honest from hitting all his returns to that one spot.
     
  35. Doubletime

    Doubletime New User

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    If you are close to the net, always try to volley it right at the net player's feet. I must hit two or three volleys a match right through the other guys legs. If you aren't as close to the net, say at the service line, the lowest you can go is waist high, which isn't going to challenge them, so try to stretch them out or go for the chest.

    League play: Always okay to do this. Even if you hit the opposing player lightly it's not a big deal.

    Team practice, not a big deal to hit at players feet. It's good practice.

    For social, friendly, casual matches, probably not necessary.
     
  36. CrispyFritters

    CrispyFritters Rookie

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    It's ok to hit at the net guy. Just make sure you aren't doing it maliciously and that it actually is your best chance of winning the point. Someone once told me..."If you can't take the heat, get out of the box"
     
  37. slick

    slick Rookie

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    If you are playing other men and someone cries about being hit just tell him to grow a pair. It's a lightweight fuzzy little ball. Anyone who has every been hit with hockey pucks or lacrosse balls laughs at the prospect of being hit with a tennis ball.

    Chicks are another story. Got to read the situation. Some are OK with it while others aren't. ******* off women can have ramifications.
     
  38. Ripper014

    Ripper014 Hall of Fame

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    This is actually a tactic of mine... in competitive play I always make the partner pay for his mistake.

    But I agree... at 4.5 and up unless you peg the net in the right shoulder/right hip of a right-handed player (opposite for a lefty), the net man will make a good return, usually an offensive one. There is nothing wrong with going at the net man as long as it is in a competitive match.
     
  39. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    If you have crummy aim, does that change things?

    Several of you have said you go "at the right hip" of the net player. I cannot mince the onion that finely. My ability to aim is not so refined that I can aim at anyone's hip. The best I can do is hitting "away" from someone or "to" someone, although I have some control of "up" and "down."

    So if you are at the lower levels (say, a 3.5 guy) and have more power than control, is it OK to blast your FH at close range at a net player?

    Me, I tend not to go at the net player with groundies because my aim is so poor. I do better with volleys, and I can keep these below the waist so I frequently go right at the net person.
     
  40. JavierLW

    JavierLW Hall of Fame

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    Let's say you dont care about safety, or you're actually not playing with a bunch of flinchers who complain when the ball comes near them.

    Unless you know the person is really bad at volleying, it's probably stupid to go right at them if you cant aim anyway. (at least not as something you do regularly)

    Some tennis racquets are amazing these days, all they have to do is get lucky and get some strings on the ball and you will lose the point.

    And if you CAN aim, about the best place you can probably go (besides not at them at all), is at their shoes. Even if it comes back from there you will get a good second chance.
     
  41. gameboy

    gameboy Hall of Fame

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    My experience is different. I aim at the net guy all the time in 3.5 matches. I do it early and often, especially if the service is weak. I try to aim for the right shoulder, but more importantly I hit it hard as I can.

    If the net guy is good, it will come back. If not, it is an easy point and I will do it again.

    I have not heard any complaints as most get at least their frames to touch the ball or they duck away.
     
  42. Ripper014

    Ripper014 Hall of Fame

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    I have several friends that play at a 3.5 level of tennis and we have a regular tennis night playing doubles. I tell them all the time it is more dangerous to play with them than 4.5's and up. When my partner gives them a sitter I get out of the way... the reason... because I know they are going to hit it as hard as they can... can they guarantee where it is going Noooooooooooooooooooo... When I am playing with better players I stay in the firefight... partly because the sitter is not as weak... and partly because I know the other player can hit where he is aiming and I can read off of that.
     
  43. Blade0324

    Blade0324 Hall of Fame

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    I hit at the net person pretty regularly in dubs. Off a sitter or weak serve the net man has a bullseye on their chest. If I play someone in singles that comes to net a lot I don't go for passes but hit right at them. About a week ago in a tourney match I had a guy that came to net most every point. I hit him 5 times in and was very close about 5 more in just the first set. He went and complained to tourney officials that I was being malicioius but they told him they could do nothing. Needless to say he came in less than half as often in the second and I won that easily. I say hitting the net person is fair game and they make a good backstop.
     
  44. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Why the shoulder? Sounds like an eye injury will happen sooner or later . . . .
     
  45. TK6

    TK6 New User

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    What a bunch of softies on this forum...

    In competitive play - anything goes; hit the net person if you think that is the best way to get points. This is competition - if you don't like it, stay back, run out of the court when sitter goes up, or don't enter competitive play. If you think that hitting to the open court is the best way to win points, great - do that. And this rule universally applies whether it's mixed doubles or not.

    Now, in recreational play (i.e. friendlies), then it's up to you (duh). I usually dial back (in general) a notch or two depending on the opponent (again, their skill level matters here, not whether it's a guy or girl - in fact some girls are better at net than some guys...).

    Personally, I don't aim for the person per say - I will hit straight down the line early and again once in a while to keep the net person from poaching, and I will hit my sitter overheads usually in the middle of the court - if you happen to stand there, yes, you will get hurt.
     
  46. gameboy

    gameboy Hall of Fame

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    The right shoulder on the right handed player is a good target because it takes longer for a person to open up to the forehand side than reaching across with a backhand. Opening up to a forehand volley requires more of your back muscles while reaching across for backhand requires more of your chest muscles. There are more fast twitch muscles in the chest (which is why your forehand is stronger than your backhand) so the reaction to that side is quicker.

    If you are worried about an eye injury, you should wear an eye protection.
     
  47. Ripper014

    Ripper014 Hall of Fame

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    Take your tennis racket and pretend to try and defend a shot hit to your right shoulder or hip. The hip is easier... the right shoulder is almost impossible unless you can get out of the way of the ball, which you cannot do in a quick exchange.
     
  48. OrangePower

    OrangePower Hall of Fame

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    If I am the net person in this situation, I have no problem with you blasting returns at my right shoulder... but I'd question your motivation. Assuming you actually are putting decent pace on the ball, and that you are attacking the serve (and therefore standing at or inside the baseline), a shot that's coming hard at shoulder height is probably going out. Unless you have Nadal-like topspin on your service returns.

    So I would happily take all those free points. While smirking inside at your misguided attempts to intimidate me.
     
  49. gameboy

    gameboy Hall of Fame

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    But that's the thing, you will be surprised to see how often people touch that ball. It is hard to overcome instinct when you don't have a lot of time to think.
     
  50. cll30

    cll30 Rookie

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    If someone hits me, I just say "good shot."
     

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