Well, the losing continues. Lost another match last night. And I am starting to see a pattern. Successful 4.0 female players seem to have something in common: They will come into net a lot, and they can volley -- sometimes with good technique, sometimes with poor technique but fast hands. What is lacking in my and my partner's play and the reason we lose to teams like this, I think, boils down to one main thing: Lack of a passing shot. The formula is becoming quite predictable. Someone serves, someone returns. The serve is usually not strong enough to force an outright error, and the return is usually good enough to avoid a poach. One deep player comes to net quickly, usually the returner. Which isolates the opposing deep player in the corner. And that is where the rubber meets the road. If the deep player lacks a good, consistent passing shot, hitting the ball any old place will lose the point most of the time. The passing shot *must* reach the net players lower than the height of the net. It is not possible to generate enough pace to beat these volleyers with pace. In fact, they will volley better the harder the incoming ball. The only thing that will get them to miss, stay back, or pop it up is the threat of a ball that is dipping so much that they must bounce it or close very fast. I am starting to think that my main priority if I want to start winning these matches is to learn to hit any ball from anywhere with enough topspin so that it bounces short of the service line. Pace is not important. Direction isn't all that important -- down the middle works nicely. Threading the needle down the alley or other fancy stuff is too low percentage, particularly against teams that position well -- as most do at this level. And um. I have to start playing with partners who can do this also and agree with this philosophy. Better still would be if they are willing to come to net now and then also!