Is This How Higher-Level Folks Play The Net?

Discussion in 'Adult League & Tournament Talk' started by Cindysphinx, Oct 11, 2012.

  1. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Let's leave it a this.... some players hit DTL with success, while other's don't.
    Now SUCCESS is subject to interpretation, isn't it?
     
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  2. Mike Y

    Mike Y Rookie

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    Of course, when the net person is cheating too much, you go down the line, and it doesn't have to be a perfect shot. And you have to go down the line or at the net person once in awhile to keep them honest, especially if they are aggressively poaching. But against good volleyers, going down the line or at the net person on a return is a losing proposition. When I am at the net, I want the return to go at me, I can almost always get it back, putting the opponents on the defensive. Against good volleyers, even if I hit it my hardest, they will get it back and burn you, it is not a smart long-term strategy. That's a lower-percentage play then hitting the ball at the server approaching the net or at the baseline.
     
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  3. NTRPolice

    NTRPolice Semi-Pro

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    No, I think its easier to poach at 8.0 than 6.0. I think you misunderstand.

    At 8.0 the serves are coming faster and are much higher quality. This makes returning the ball much harder. The returners are also hitting faster, but, it would be very rare to find someone that hits so hard to beat you with pace alone and who doesnt makes too many errors when trying.

    At 8.0 you can use a lot of the returns pace to help generate your winners. A ball rocketed into your body (off a poach) can basically be "blocked" back into the open court for a winner or at the feet of the opposing net player.

    At 6.0, the server is lucky to to be serving anywhere in the box, let alone a solid 60-70 mph to the backhand. The returner is also less likely to try to hit a winner off the serve and is more likely to push it DTL for a winner (if they see you move too soon) or will pop the ball up (high enough where you cant reach it) both of which make poaching hard.

    There are a lot of contributing factors here.

    Even something like mobility can have an effect. If I take off "early" in 8.0 chances are my partner can cover some of the DTL shots. In 6.0, there is no way.

    I dont see many players lobbing returns in 8.0 either, where that happens in 6.0 way more often. I think it pays off more in 6.0 to "stand your ground" whereas you're rewarded more often in 8.0 for your efforts.
     
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  4. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    MikeY, you Do know you covered both ends of the argument with your last post, don't you? NEITHER arguement is favored, because they are both applicable in different situation that normally occur in doubles.;
    And to me, a net much closer is easy to hit over, while a 3' lower net another 7' away might be harder, especially if my balls goes up a little, now going wide.
     
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  5. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    I respect and understand your thinking, but I disagree.

    I have played from 2.5 ladies up to 8.0 mixed. My experience has been that the fact that all shots are moving slower and have less action on them at the lower levels gives you all sorts of opportunities to poach/be aggressive at net.

    Also consider that the penalty for a crappy poach at the lower levels is minimal. If I don't get any weight on my poach and it is a sitter, a 3.0/3.5 player will not make me pay for that. At 8.0, they will punish the sitter.

    Further, keep in mind that few low level players are moving to net, whereas many 8.0 players S&V etc. At 6.0 mixed, I can take off on a poach. If they lob me, so what? My partner is at the baseline, ready to run down the non-topspin lob.
     
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  6. Mike Y

    Mike Y Rookie

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    LeeD, it sounded like you were advocating going DTL as a primary strategy. I am saying that going DTL should be done as a surprise and as an exception, it shouldn't be the norm. You will get beat by people with good volleys if you do that, no matter how good your serve return is.

    However, on a slight tangent, the serve return lob, especially over the net person to the server's backhand, is criminally underused, especially to a serve and volleyer, even at the higher levels. It is not an easy shot against a good serve, but if you can do it, it will put you in immediate control of the point with two at the net while the other team is scrambling. It is very effective for me in the ad court against a left-handed server.
     
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  7. floridatennisdude

    floridatennisdude Hall of Fame

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    There are more holes in this theory than even in LeeD's.

    Pace, spin, foot speed, and strategy all increase dramatically in an 8.0 mixed match vs a 6.0 one. Nothing is easier at 8.0 than 6.0, unless we are talking about bizzarro world where ratings decrease as skill levels increase.
     
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  8. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    I recommend an average of ONE out of 4 returns DTL. So if the netperson stays home always, all returns CC.
    If netperson always cheats to the middle, 2 out of 4 returns go CC, the other two DTL.
    I never ever recommended going DTL over CC the majority of time. I DID say going DTL is an easy shot, certainly as easy as CC past a net poacher.
    As for holes, I think someone who says nothing at all, then comes in with potshots is full of holes.
     
    #58
  9. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    I think what NTRP is saying is that the smokin' serves at 8.0 cause more pop-ups/floaters/wounded ducks. I disagree, as I said.

    The serves are better at the higher levels, true. But the returns are also better.

    It would be interesting to see stats on how many missed returns there are at various genders and levels. My guess would be that the fewest missed returns are at -- you guessed it -- 4.0 ladies. That is because the groundstroke technique outstrips the serves. This is also true at 3.5 ladies, but the 3.5 ladies will make more UEs.

    I do not recall my partner missing any returns in the ad court last night. There might have been one or two, but no more than that. I, sadly, missed too many returns, at the worst times, against immobile net players.

    I am deeply ashamed.
     
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  10. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Agree here. Women generally return better than men, and also have better groundies compared to their serves than me.
    Nothing like playing one hit 4.0 doubles with 4 guys who hit BIG serves, and none able to return any of them.
     
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  11. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Yeah right 4.0 guys have such serves
     
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  12. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    I can named two 3.5 guys with serves well over 130, easy Div1 speed, but one was a shortstop in college (and AA ball) while the other a pitcher (no semi pro experience).
    One of the 3.5 dentists on our courts can serve easy into the 125 range with top/slice spin, about 25 mph faster than my fastest. He's 6'3" tall and works out to stay trim and fit. And he's 27.
    There's a tall black guy, a 4.0 who plays for SanPablo, that's been hitting the wall at the RoseGarden recently. Maybe 6'5", has good form, can pound it pretty fast, but he doesn't play with any of us.
    Balanced by, GaryLee. This 5'4" Asian, one of the Baja fishing boat disaster survivors, a lefty who used to go 4 rounds in AsianNationals, serves about 50 mph, low and skidded so the second bounce is inside NML.
    Old lawyer fart, another short guy, top/slice serves maybe 65 mph, plays 4.5 for BerkeleyTennisClub, great placement and movement in his slowball.
     
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  13. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Suresh, something for you to think about....
    Notice all you doubters are saying my serve suck?
    Notice also, once in a while, some poster here wants to meet up and see how my serves go?
    Notice I always give my phone number and always try to meet up with them?
    I hit 100 mph flat first serves, I know that. I'm not avoiding anyone.
    Now YOU hit a few flat serves out wide, right at the service line/sideline intersect, and tell me how high it bounced on the backfencing.
    I'll bet you won't, and are scared to try. You saw my first one in hit the camera on a 3' tripod.
     
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  14. dcdoorknob

    dcdoorknob Hall of Fame

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    Yet another entertaining episode of "LeeD says weird things that no one agrees with and people react." :D
     
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  15. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    And you're afraid also? Another doubting Thomas who's afraid to prove he's correct?
    Why don't YOU hit some serves out wide, right near the service line/sideline intercect, and tell us where the second bounce hit on the backwall?
    I'll bet you won't either!
    My vid was posted in April, just after the rainiest March on record, so no prior tennis practice. Balls were Dunlop's, court temp around 62, sea level.
    Alex, my partner, is 6'1" tall and maybe 180lbs., plays 4.0 in some league around here, and said my serves were the fastest he's faced in a year.
    Notice I CAUGHT one of his serves one handed, fully reaching out.
     
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  16. floridatennisdude

    floridatennisdude Hall of Fame

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    It's so comical. I hardly read threads anymore unless I see he is the last poster. It's undoubtedly defending a cockamamie scheme of one sort or another.

    And don't offer me to meet up Lee. I've got plenty of crazy in my life right now. But I do enjoy how you describe your crew.
     
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  17. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    ANOTHER doubting Thomas?
    Why don't YOU hit some serves out wide, and then come back and tell us how high the second bounce hit on the backwall, or sidefence?
    I'll bet you won't.
    But if you do, I'll apologize to you for doubting you.
     
    #67
  18. floridatennisdude

    floridatennisdude Hall of Fame

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    I don't doubt your serve claim. Nothing unrealistic about a 62 y/o vet hitting 100 on a gun as a sliding 3.5.

    You describe a serve similar to my own. Mine will hit the fence about 3-5 feet above the ground, down the T. I assume its traveling in the 95-105 range. I lost a little pop from shoulder surgery 3 years ago (labrum/cuff). However, I usually hold serve against even skilled opponents.

    As for out wide...who knows. I play on some courts that are 5 in a row (no fence) and others with angled fences. I play mostly singles, but a little doubles too. Different angles and targets all the time so it's tough to gauge.

    I just get a kick out if your tales from the 60s and 70s. Little relevance, but lots of comical analogies for folks that play in this millennium. I tried putting you on my ignore list at one point, but I'd still see your posts when people quote you. So I figure ill just enjoy the tales.
     
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  19. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Good you still have your shoulders and arm. My wheels are coming off fast.
    I haven't hit a serve that bounced 5' high since GoldenGatePark, 1978. That was one of the reasons some NorCal A players asked me to serve to them, after hitting some groundies first. A bit of a bore.... Back then, courts 1 thru 4 had a back railing, instead of a backfence. Grandstands 12 rows were located above the railing. After watching from the grandstands for over 25 A/Open matches, I noted only GilHoward was able to first flat serve bouce over that rail. LowellBarnhardt, who won the '77 Gateway fast serve, could also, but only on some selected top/slice serves.
    Some old fart, BillFine, one of the doubles crew playing with ArtLarsen, said my serve was middling. We agreed to play on court one. Court one is sorts unofficially reserved for the A/Open men only. Bill cajoled the court marshall to give us that court. GregShepard and LarryStefanki had the court at 1, and watched from the stands.
    I hit at least 5 first serves that bounced over that railing, using Bill's new WilsonChamp balls. I never would use that ball, as it flies like playing at 6,000 feet.
    After our match, Larry and Greg warmed up and played a set and a half. Some of Larry's serve hit the railing, but none cleared the railing.
    Larry is 6' tall or so. Greg 6'1". I"m 5'11".
     
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  20. NTRPolice

    NTRPolice Semi-Pro

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    That is one aspect of what im trying to say, yes.

    But, also, what works in 6.0 does not work in 8.0. In 8.0, you're forced to put out quality returns, of better serves, with people who have better movement and better tactics.

    For example:

    Serve in 6.0 goes 60 mph with no spin. The returner pops that ball up avoiding the "poacher". The server comes in and tries to hit an overhead but misses.

    Returner wins the point in 6.0 and poaching there was impossible unless you're Michael Jordan. That would obviously (hopefully) not happen in 8.0.


    Serve in 8.0 comes over 85 mph down the T with no spin, or 70 mph with spin, to the backhand. The returner cannot realistically lob in most cases or else it will be put away. In a spit second, they must make the decision to return x-court or DTL. They see the net player dart towards the center and they have two choices...

    -Beat the poacher with pace and just kill it as hard as they can x-court.
    -Turn that ball DTL at the last second.

    Remember, this is coming off a ball that's going 85 mph down the T or 70 mph with spin to the backhand.

    Any ball that isnt perfectly returned x-court will be poached and probably put away. Perfect meaning hard and low, or hard and well wide at any height. There is also the DTL line shot, but that has to be struck well to be a winner and not run down by the server or wide/long/net.



    Maybe I shouldnt say "easier" at 8.0 than in 6.0. I would say that there are more opportunities at easier putaways in 8.0 than in 6.0 since there is a lot more pressure on the returner to make a well struck return.

    For example: I can get away with slicing backhand returns in 6.0 most of the time. I dont get to be lazy like that in 8.0 at all. For better or for worse, I have to hit a quality topspin backhand return.
     
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  21. Timbo's hopeless slice

    Timbo's hopeless slice Hall of Fame

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    LOL! I slice BH returns in open dubs all the time!

    Perhaps the serves are of a slightly higher calibre...
     
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  22. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Timbo beat me to it.
    I've seen 7.0 doubles with sliced returns. Not every shot, but enough to see it works if kept low and angled, sliced hard with heavy backspin. Even at that level, a heavy backspinning low ball barely over the net is no sitter for a netplayer who has to lunge to reach it.
     
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  23. Timbo's hopeless slice

    Timbo's hopeless slice Hall of Fame

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    ye, trying to drive it down at their feet, exactly
     
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  24. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Can't imagine anything but a strong grip slice to knock down serves bouncing over my head.
    Now way this 63 year old can topspin a ball that is oval, hissing loudly, and kicking 6" to a foot over my head.
     
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  25. gmatheis

    gmatheis Hall of Fame

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    3.5's serving over 130 ??? most of the pros don't serve that fast.
     
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  26. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Did I say average speed? Or did I just mean their absolute fastest serves.
    Since a 5'7" Chang was timed at 125 at the French, I'd think these 6'3" 210lbs brothers, one who made AA ball, the other a pitcher in college, could easily beat MichaelChang's fastest serves.
    Remember, a hadn't touched a racket in 6 years JohnLucus, his first month restarting tennis, served 135, and he's a skinny 6'3'er.
    THINK, before saying anything stupid.
     
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  27. IA-SteveB

    IA-SteveB Professional

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    A good majority of 3.5 - 4.0 players on TW serve well over 130. Ask around. :twisted:
     
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  28. NTRPolice

    NTRPolice Semi-Pro

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    But you arnt going to be able to hit any winners like that and im sure you'd stop doing it if the opposing net player starts poaching it constantly. A lot of points in doubles are won or lost on the return. You cant afford to just generically slice the ball back deep in center court like you can in singles.

    That ball is also going to have to be perfectly aimed, and kept very low. If its not both of those, its almost for sure a loss of point against an active net player.

    Some peoples slice returns are that good, most are not, especially not for doubles.

    A good slice return is better than a bad topspin one sure, but you definitely dont want to only slice returns (especially if they're bad) because you give up too many opportunities to end the point in doubles. There is a reason why pros who may slice returns in singles dont do it in doubles.
     
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  29. Timbo's hopeless slice

    Timbo's hopeless slice Hall of Fame

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    no offence, but I doubt you are qualified to comment on my slice returns from the ad court off shoulder high kickers at 100mph plus..

    I actually DO want to do that most of the time because I can control the shot to exactly where I want it.

    If I am facing a 4.0 level serve (I wish!), I will probably just tee off on it with a TS shot, probably a FH as I will be able to go around it.

    To the OP, I suspect your partners are more wary of the DTL passing shot as higher level players are able to make that decision later and thus feed off over ambitious poachers, although standing that far back and not moving at all sounds a bit strange I must say!
     
    #79
  30. tennis tom

    tennis tom Hall of Fame

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    Just so we have a "benchmark" for what real tennis looks like, here's Sam Groth, s/v'ing. Been watching him play at the Challenger in NorCal this week--he's quite a lad:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bVlTc1vYsjQ
     
    #80
  31. spot

    spot Hall of Fame

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    NTRPolice: the 3.0 who is once again fantasizing about what it is like to play a higher level and is talking authoritatively about it. I don't think that he has even played an actual 8.0 match yet but that doesn't stop him from saying how much easier it is to poach at 8.0.

    I'll just say that many people find it easier to poach while playing with a partner far better than you are. The skill is being able to still poach while your partner is significantly weaker than you are.
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2012
    #81
  32. Mongolmike

    Mongolmike Professional

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    Isn't this how some of the more active posters say their own game is similiar to? Except better?

    Boy, he really attacks the toss, and in slo-mo I was amazed how quickly he gets to the attack zone. I've never seen him play, so I looked him up... 200 something ranked, and 25 yr old Aussie...
     
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  33. tennis tom

    tennis tom Hall of Fame

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    Yes, that's true. In a regularly played rec match, the organizer assigns the "fast" guy to be my partner because I have a bum leg and can't move like Usain Bolt anymore, standing in my "little circle". I've never told the organizer, who I want or DON'T want to partner with. I just take it as it comes and grin and bear it.

    This guy plays like it's singles. He jumps in front of me taking shots I could easily angle off for winners--that he misses all the time. I could yell "yours" but I'm not a "yours'er". I figure my partner's should know how to play the game or figure it out--since they're SO intellIgent! I am amused by his running around like a squirrel on the road trying to grab the nut and not get run over. The good thing is I don't get partnered with him that much since half the time he is INJURED by running around so much pulling muscles or running into fences.

    To your point, I have a good serve and pretty accurate. This aforementioned partner stations himself tight to the net, a racket's distance from it like he was told in some junior college P.E. class, by a basketball coach teaching tennis classes on the side. He knocks down the shanked or weak returns off my serve like he was playing whack-a-mole. BUT, if he doesn't end the point he's racing back to get the lob over his head and running into the fence cracking his ribs.

    The Aussie lad Sam Groth in the vid playing at Tiburon, is 6'4" and listed at 210 but I don't believe it. He is huge, with a lot of paint exposed when he wears a tank-top in practice. He looks more like 275 solid muscle. He's the next gen Roscoe Tanner. He's a hoot to watch, got good hands, and knows how to volley. He got a bit perturbed at himself and hit a ball into the mountain behind the club--it disappeared like a John Daly drive from the tee. He's partnering in the dubs with Prakash Armitraj, who I assume is related to Vijay.

    One thing I don't know is why he stands so far back of the baseline receiving for doubles. I think he should be receiving on the service line--maybe he missed that day of tennis class by Ol' Harry-- perhaps the surf was up on the Gold Coast.
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2012
    #83
  34. FloridaAG

    FloridaAG Professional

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    Back to the original question (I am a male not female player) but I woudl guess it varies and that this is not the norm and it is also not uncommon. I think you will both find players that are static and net and players that move and poach a lot at every level
     
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  35. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    A few times a year, I get to play doubles with current and past Div1 singles guys up at the RoseGarden. Happens they have 2hbh backhands, so don't slice their serve returns.
    However, me lefty on duece court, my slice returns CC work out just fine. Keep it low and short, heavy aggressive fast swing. If netperson tends to inch towards center, I go high DTL, over their backhand. This shot is preplanned, based on the netperson's previous point movement. I already know 95% of the time, the incoming serve is a top/slice to my backhand side. When the 5% happens, I'd already decided where to hit the ball.
    Slice returns works just fine. Keep it under a foot above the tape, away from the center strap, keep it short, just beyond the service line, and the CC alley IS the preferred target, if possible.
    Stand in against the head high bounce, don't ever lean back or flinch.
     
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  36. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Seriously. I really disagree, strongly.

    First, let's remember that the goal of returning in doubles is not to hit screaming "winners."

    In addition to my own experience playing 8.0 mixed (sometimes with a 4.5 guy), I watched some 8.0 mixed at sectionals last year. There were a lot of sliced returns, and I promise you that these were not routinely poached. Indeed, I found myself envying the slice return of my 4.5 male partner because he was able to stand in close and deflect the pace, putting the ball at the server's feet or even slice lobbing it over the female partner's head.

    The slice return is very common in 4.0 ladies, much more common than I would have guessed. The way it is done is the receiver stands very close to the service line. She can take away the time the server's partner has for the poach, she can keep the ball low and diagonal, and she can challenge the server to hit a low approach if the server is coming in or challenge the server to move forward if she had planned to stay back.

    Yes, it is true that the lower level players often have bad, floaty slices from deep in the court. For years, I feasted on these balls, primarily because the returner was so deep when she made contact. Once I faced ladies who stood in close, I did find it harder to poach.

    Still, I think there is a lot of benefit of *trying* to poach, even if I don't get there. Just the movement is valuable.

    This is a 6.0 mixed idea, not an 8.0 mixed idea.

    If you are an athletic, young guy playing 6.0 mixed, you may have gotten the idea that the return is the opportunity to end the point. People are hitting high soft cheese to you, and perhaps you have the technique to punish this stuff.

    As you move up, you will find that the return is the time to set up the point for a put-away by you or your partner later in the point. It becomes important to be aware of your zones (Zone 3 being baseline and Zone 1 being in an offensive position at net). When you are returning, you are likely Zone 3 or maybe closer to Zone 2. If you go for winners in 8.0 mixed in that Zone 3 or 2 position, you will make too many return errors.
     
    #86
  37. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    In support of CindyS, who obviously knows a thing or two about tennis.....
    You always take the slice return of serve farther inside your court than you would an intended topspin return. Why, you ask? Because you can! A slice return is just like a volley, quick and often very accurate with little prep. It's often ineffective if you return serve from behind the baseline, in doubles.
    Most serves at higher levels tend to bounce up really high, chin to over my head (I'm 5'11" short). The slice chops the ball downwards from the contact point, so by the time it clears the net, it's lower than the poacher's sweetspot. A low volley (around bellybutton to top of thighs) off a hard backspinning ball is not an easy volley for anyone of any level.
    With the exact same slice prep, you can wait a touch longer, then guide the return DTL, when the netperson is inching over to the middle. This, for me lefty, means a high backhand volley/overhead off a hard slicing ball. Try it, the timing is not easy.
     
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  38. OrangePower

    OrangePower Hall of Fame

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    And then as you move up even more, you will again find that the return is an opportunity to win the point.

    At higher levels, the server holds the large majority of the time. This means:
    - Not getting a winner or at the least a very forcing shot on the return means you will lose the point.
    - Returners can afford to be more aggressive, knowing holding own serve is very likely.
    - It is much better to have this sequence happen on return points:

    lose, lose, lose, lose, lose, lose, lose, lose, win, win, lose, win, lose, win, lose, lose, lose, lose [4/18]

    than this sequence:

    lose, win, lose, win, lose, win, lose, win, lose, win, lose, win, lose, win, lose, win, lose, lose [8/18]

    High-risk high-reward is a good strategy for returning at higher levels.
     
    #88
  39. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Maybe keeping score is a good guideline to follow.
     
    #89
  40. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    When I watch men's professional doubles, they do not seem to be going for winners. The evidence of this is that most returns are high-percentage (crosscourt).

    As you say, they seem to attack the return, but that is not because they are hoping the serving team will not touch it (winner). They need to return aggressively to neutralize the server's advantage and avoid the poach.

    I guess I am saying that hitting a strong return is not the same as going for a winner off the return.
     
    #90
  41. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    I find myself in the strange, and uncomfortable position of siding with CindyS again.
    Pros hit topspin off both sides easily, and their topspin return is not their winner ball, but a return that stays away from the netperson, and hit at THEIR level, which might seem fast to us.
    Say a second serve spinning in at 90 mph. The forehand return comes back around 75, fast to us, but their WINNER ATTEMPT forehand might go 95. 75 is safe and controllable for them.
    They, after all, are pros.
    On a similar vein, at my bad 4.0 level in doubles, I find I can often rise well into 4.5 or 5.0 by hitting out, hard with control, topspin returns, rather than slicing a safe, reliable sharp angle CC low return. Hitting out promotes all the good body lanquage you need to play well, while a safe low return only reinforces the notion that safe is the play, good enough not to lose, but not good enough to WIN. :shock::shock::)
     
    #91
  42. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Heh, heh. It feels a little weird for me too. :)
     
    #92
  43. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Sorry. I usually like to chide people, disagree, and generally be ornery.
    But, when you're right, you're right. No argument there.
     
    #93
  44. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    LeeD,

    Will you marry me?
     
    #94
  45. SuzukiSS

    SuzukiSS New User

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    The Art Of Doubles

    Yes Cindy, this is exactly how I have observed 4.5 and advanced 4.0 ladies doubles being played at the higher levels. What you described is exactly the way I have taught ladies to play for the last 12 years. The strength in ladies doubles has to be the return and 1st volley! What you are describing your partners performing is called a pinch (which is positioning according to the placement of the serve). At the high levels of ladies 4.0 and above if you "poach" and don't hit a winner you will lose the point around 75% of the time which makes poaching a low percentage play. I have coached ladies doubles for the last 20 years and this is the huge difference between mens and women's tennis. This is exactly what is described in the best book ever written for women's recreational tennis "The Art of Doubles".
     
    #95
  46. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    CindyS, if you go back like 4 or 6 years, when I first came on, I made the same proposal to you.
    I'm ugly, old, hurt, and POOR.....:)
     
    #96
  47. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Hmmm. Interesting.

    Yesterday, we (four 4.0s and a 3.5) did a clinic focused on poaching. We have all had this private clinic for years, so we are decent volleyers for our level and have good instruction.

    The clinic didn't work well.

    First, everybody hit the ball so dang hard that it was difficult for anyone to poach anything. The pro would feed the ball to the deuce court player as though a serve. She would hit it crosscourt every time, and the opposing net player was supposed to poach. The idea was to get used to making that poach move, hitting the ball in the correct direction and continuing her cross. Her partner was supposed to cross behind her if she made contact, of course.

    It was a hot mess. The deuce returner was smoking the ball crosscourt, so the net player mostly kind of stood there. Or lunged for the ball and missed it, winding up in the way of her partner. Or dumped it into the net. Or hit something pitiful and weak. Then one lady had to leave early so the pro arranged the drill so that the poacher was poaching off of one of his feeds. Then we all poached much better.

    So as you say maybe there is just too much heat on the groundstrokes to poach as much as I would like? Then again, when I watch pro ladies doubles, there is a lot of poaching and movement going on, so perhaps this is a reasonable goal for us?

    We're going to keep working on it. The pro is going to dial it back because we are basically in poaching kindergarten and need to learn the fundamentals. The focus is going to be on being active in the service box 100% of the time. All this flat-footed net play has just got to stop.
     
    #97
  48. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Since most good females hit the ball thru the air faster than most guys of the same level, it's really hard to poach against those groundies. When you first make a few, they hit right AT you, making you eat quite a few tennis balls. Currently we play with a former NorCal#1 in A womens, she can't run at all, and nobody can poach when she lines up her groundies, either side. Her groundies are every bit equal to any of the 4.5's who drop in for doubles. That's 4.5 guys. She's an old lady, maybe 55.
    I think we all have adjust our play according to whats on the court and what we can do. The concept of poaching on most every ball is valid only if the ballspeed is something you can handle with your volleys, your movement get's you into position, and your partner has hit a strong, deep forcing shot.
    In the pros, there are doubles specialists, who volley really well, and there are singles specialists, who avoid doubles like the plague. Some play both, of course, but not all want to stand in and volley their peer's groundstrokes.
     
    #98
  49. SuzukiSS

    SuzukiSS New User

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    The Art Of Doubles

    Cindy, I totally agree with your coach from 3.5 - 2.5 ladies doubles. I really encourage you to check out Louis Cayer on YouTube doubles poaching. This guy is dead on his poaching drills! Pardon if I didn't spell the name correctly. One of my assistants trained with Cayer and has played with Wozniacki and Azarenka.
     
    #99
  50. SuzukiSS

    SuzukiSS New User

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    Check out Doubles Tennis Tactics Part 1 by Cayer on YT. He calls it poaching but notice how even at pro mens doubles they split step in a position to best intercept the return not run wildly across the court as many club pros teach. In women's doubles the split by the servers partner is performed much farther away from the net to counter the lob especially at the league level. Also check out the Bryan Brothers videos where the coach emphasizes that great volleyers can volley from behind the service line! Vic Braden says you should always practice from realistic positions but I am amazed at how many league players warm up volleys close to the net????
     

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