If Your Doubles Partner Could Talk . . .

Discussion in 'Adult League & Tournament Talk' started by Cindysphinx, Aug 30, 2011.

  1. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    I was talking to a doubles partner today, and the subject turned to lessons and her last match. I asked what she was going to work on in her next lesson. To my surprise, she said her serve. She said it a weakness, that she DFs too much, that she wants to learn a kicker.

    I managed to keep my opinion to myself. But my opinion, if expressed, would be: "What? Are you kidding me? You're gonna work on your serve? You have a great serve. It ain't gettin' any better. Where you need some work -- the thing that costs us a bucket full of points when we play -- are those volleys. If you can't volley, we can't control the net. And if one partner can't volley a lick, the other can't take the net because the ball will always go to the bad volleyer when both players are up."

    Then I thought: Well, what about me? What would my doubles partners say is the shot of mine that is the biggest liability? Am I working hard on that shot, and if not, why not?

    It's a tough question, actually. I mean, I think my volleys are good for my level. Then again, I am not finishing all that many points at net, now am I? I think I will suck it up and spend some serious time this fall taking my volleys up a notch, especially hitting better poaches.

    So what about you? What shot would your doubles partner tell you to work on? Serve, return, FH, BH, volleys, overheads, transitions, lobs, drop shots, something else?
     
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  2. MrCLEAN

    MrCLEAN Rookie

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    Not a shot per se, but poaching, being more active at the net.
     
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  3. Rui

    Rui Rookie

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    Ah yes.

    My serves and my returns. It's always more difficult to hold my serve than my partner's. And my returns, backhand especially.
     
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  4. Maui19

    Maui19 Hall of Fame

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    Me too! I am like a statue at the net in doubles. In singles, there is almost nothing I can't reach at the net--I have huge coverage. I can't figure it out. It costs us a bunch of easy points.
     
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  5. Iron57

    Iron57 New User

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    Definitely return of serve. Way too many donated points trying to arm it away from the net player.
     
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  6. cll30

    cll30 Rookie

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    footwork on all my shots
     
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  7. Fuji

    Fuji Legend

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    My serving, for sure. I'm a pretty good server for my level, but it's the one shot that can really derail and ruin our game. I've been broken in mixed more times then I'd like to count. More or less just my 2nd serve, as I can serve bombs with a solid percentage with my first. (Around 60-65 percent), but if my first serve starts to go off base, then the 2nd is really reliable.

    I'm pretty sure my partner would say that, and my lack of emotion LOL! I'm pretty heartless when I play tennis. I don't really get fired up for anything. I honestly try, but I'm so focused I seem disinterested in my own game when I'm playing. If I double fault or miss easy put aways, it doesn't bother me, but it really annoys my partner!

    -Fuji
     
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  8. Caesar

    Caesar Banned

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    My forehand. It's a mess at the moment, very inaccurate on anything except crushing short balls. Has been that way for going on a couple of weeks and it's driving me nuts... just not getting the timing and weight transfer happening like it should be.

    On an ongoing basis, probably the footwork coming off my serve is the biggest thing. I serve well so I'm not used to dealing with quality returns, and it means I'm extremely lazy with my recovery. If you can get something semi-flat and relatively deep back at me, you'll quite often catch me flatfooted.

    I lose a lot of points due to UEs on good returns of serve, and it's inevitably the reason I get broken. Big problem and it needs fixing.
     
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  9. Limibeans

    Limibeans Rookie

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    Quite easily, my volleying. That would improve my doubles game to be on par with my NTRP. I have terrible "touch" and only play dropshots/dropvolleys by accident when I catch too much string.

    My serve return is bad too, but im only "forced" or "habited" (not a word) to use a slice return on occasion. My volleying is singles type volleying in that i dont really hit extreme angles, or play high bouncers like in doubles.

    Part of that would by my overheads too, I guess. Whenever I hit an overhead or volley, its usually deep to a corner, not 2 ft. from the net in either side, or straight down and over the fence which would be a "good" volley in doubles. Of course, I could slam it at (at the body as they call it, lol) people but im talking about playing good shots, which isnt necessarily the "easy" one.
     
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  10. jswinf

    jswinf Professional

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    Overheads, and reducing stupid misses--"unforced errors" is too nice a term.
     
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  11. OrangePower

    OrangePower Hall of Fame

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    Ditto this one.

    Are you per chance primarily a singles player? I am, and it seems to be a common affliction amongst us 'singles' guys.
     
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  12. Taxvictim

    Taxvictim Semi-Pro

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    "Stop volleying right back to the person that hit it to you."
     
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  13. Coach Carter

    Coach Carter Rookie

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    I think if it was a shot, then a partner would say work on my backhand (and I have been). That being said, over 90% of the time I am by far the strongest player on the court (that sounds terrible, sorry). I think where my biggest mistakes come in are being too nice...not being aggressive with shots to put balls away at the first opportunity. This obviously can lead to tougher matches, etc.
     
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  14. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    But if you're not poaching, *why* aren't you poaching?

    I was thinking about this the other day. My regular partner (different lady from the one in the OP) and I won easily. I didn't poach unless there was an easy floater mid-point. I didn't have a single poach off of the service return.

    Oh, sure. I could say my partner's serve is too weak for poaching. But is it really? I decided to test that theory. After the match, we continued playing with our opponents. I started signaling, and most of the time my signal was to go.

    I made every single poach. For a winner.

    So what the bleep is my problem? How come I won't poach during the match? I'm not a singles player, so what's going on?
     
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  15. MrCLEAN

    MrCLEAN Rookie

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    This...
    I play 99% singles, but when I do play doubles, I have that singles player mentality of covering the line. That, and the fact that as a returner in doubles, I'm ALWAYS looking to go up the line behind a net player that has left too soon, makes me want to stay home and camp on the line. Sure I could give up a few DTL return winners if I poached more, but I'd probably more than make up for it w/ the shots I'd pick off for probable winners by poaching. That, and I need partners that serve better :mad:.

    Cliffs:I play doubles like a singles player.
     
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2011
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  16. larry10s

    larry10s Hall of Fame

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    maybe when it wasnt "match time" you didnt care if you got passed or botched the poach
    just sayin
     
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  17. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    ^Yeah, there's something to this.

    My partner is amazing and supportive and all of that.

    Still, I think I subconsciously know that she won't be happy if I get passed DTL.

    And if truth be told . . . I get annoyed if my partner gets passed DTL *if* it wasn't for a good reason. If she is up there zigging and zagging and trying to make something happened, fine. She can get passed and that is OK.

    A lot of people get passed, however, because they are flat-footed or out to lunch. They don't move with the ball. When those partners get passed -- Doh!

    I guess if I already feel like I'm not poaching enough (and therefore not doing enough up there), then it would be a felony to get passed while not doing enough up there. Which makes me poach even less.
     
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  18. larry10s

    larry10s Hall of Fame

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    being active up there requires a certain mentality
    you have to look at the big picture
    how many points did you poach and win the point
    how many shots did your movement cause a forced error
    how much did you get passed
    the totals should be in your favor if you are doing things right


    some might say
    if you dont get passed sometimes when you poach you are not poaching enough

    just sayin
     
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  19. larry10s

    larry10s Hall of Fame

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    to answer your thread
    i think my partners want me to drin=ve my backhand return more
    rather than chip as i like to
    ( for me the chip is pow to the serve and vollier coming in and its good to come in behind if the server stays back
    they think chipping all the tilme is too predictable
     
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  20. jswinf

    jswinf Professional

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    I think you've highlighted some relevant human nature here.

    I feel like if a net player never gets passed down the line, they're playing too close to it, and that a superbly-struck down-the-line service return should almost always be a winner (lucky it's so hard to hit,) BUT--if I serve and watch a return go by my partner down "his" line a nasty little voice in my head often sneers 'smooth move there, ace, how am I supposed to cover that for you?' Thankfully, not out loud.

    I was going to say this was my instinctive reaction if I'd hit a good serve, but thinking about it, this shameful thought will also occur if I'd just hit a 'blah' serve.

    This doesn't bother me when I'm playing net, though, I guess I figure my partner can just get over it...:confused:
     
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  21. escii_35

    escii_35 Rookie

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    My partner would say.

    Wow, "you have a lousy first step and glacial reactions times at the net."

    "Why do you think I play singles and mxd. If my lanky 6'2"+ in shoes is standing at the net with your cute 5'4" self, who are they going to hit it at?"

    The nice thing about mxd is no one will think less of you for standing back while your female pard is serving to a 4.5 guy.
     
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  22. Caesar

    Caesar Banned

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    That's not a good move, IMO. It just takes her easy serve and makes his return 100 times easier because you're not a poaching threat at the net. He's got all the court room in the world to set up his shot.

    I have never really understood why people stand back if their partner is a weak server. I suppose it's ostensibly so they can relieve the pressure of the subsequent groundstroke rally on their partner. But then, if the serve doesn't put the receiver under pressure they're not going to have any trouble hitting it back crosscourt to your partner anyway - so you still don't end up getting involved.

    If anything you have more opportunities to get involved in and dominate the point from up at the net.

    I suppose by being back you're protecting against the lob. But that's a pretty low percentage play anyway.
     
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  23. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Well, there are situations -- rare ones, granted -- where it makes sense to be at the baseline when your partner is serving.

    I had a partner who had a middling serve. The returns were too hot for me to handle. Not a problem, though. I can always stay at net and try to get the next ball, right?

    Nope. My partner was struggling to sustain any kind of authoritative rally. Every now and then a ball would stray to the net person, who won points by pounding the ball at me. In addition, a lot of the opponents' shots were going much higher than I could possibly reach. My choices were to play deeper in the court (say, service line) or move to the baseline.

    I moved back. I wasn't doing anyone any good up there if I couldn't reach a ball. By playing two back, at least we had a wall and could advance together.

    Yes, they might steer it to my partner anyway at the baseline, but if I am at baseline then I have time to contest the volleys and overheads and the opponents no longer have that easy diagonal poach alley available to them.
     
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  24. escii_35

    escii_35 Rookie

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    I'm a singles player with a bad first step/reaction time. I have gone to playoffs twice and sectionals once in mxd and won -every- match. (10-6 league, 4-0 in post season.) Why do I win? I play mine and my partners strengths.

    For me, standing at the net taking a 4.5 laser is a fail strat.

    After lessons and many years of mens night dubs I finally realized it's not that I can't execute a volley it's because my reactions are so darned slow I'm never in position. If the USTA goes to a split rank policy I may try competitive mens dubs again but for now I stick with singles and mxd.

    Women are cuter and they bring cookies.
     
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  25. Caesar

    Caesar Banned

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    I guess that's the main thing. My response presupposed that despite a weak serve, my partner is nonetheless capable of keeping the ball in a crosscourt rally and away from their net player.

    If they can't do that then you're right, being further back probably makes more sense. Although in that situation it sounds like you're probably on a hiding to nothing anyway.
     
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  26. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    My partner would say "I sense that you have a low opinion of me" and he/she would be right.
     
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  27. MNPlayer

    MNPlayer Semi-Pro

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    If you don't get passed once or twice DTL (or your opponents don't try for it at least), you probably aren't poaching enough. I've heard this wise dictum more than once from teaching pros and try to keep it in mind during matches. You've gotta make your opponents afraid of the poach. They'll miss way more returns just thinking about it.
     
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  28. kylebarendrick

    kylebarendrick Professional

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    Until my opponent successfully passes me down the line 3 or 4 times, I pretty much ignore it as a possibility and focus my attention on the center (shrinking the court). Once they prove they can consistently make the DTL shot I will adjust.
     
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