Mixed Doubles: What to do when your female partner is slow?

Discussion in 'Adult League & Tournament Talk' started by JackB1, Jun 22, 2010.

  1. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    I am playing some mixed doubles and have gotten stuck with slow footed female partners for 3 weeks in a row. How can I compensate for what inevitably happens.....the opposing male realizes my female is slow and starts baseline rallies with her and moves her back and forth or just hits a winner out wide, while my partner lumbers in vain to reach it.

    I don't know how to counter this strategy. I tried having her move up when possible and I stay back, but she's not comfortable at the net and often gets stuck in "no man's land". I try poaching, but the opposition will catch on and start sending winners past me down the line. The only thing that seems to work a little is for us to play 2-back and I tell her to cheat out wide and I try and cover more of the court for her.
     
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  2. michael_1265

    michael_1265 Professional

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    In my experience with mixed, having a slow partner who can't play net is the kiss of death. You can't poach when your opponent is not fast enough to cross. Successful teams I have seen with a slow-footed females have always put her at the net and let the man handle the rest. I call this the "L" offense because the woman stakes out a service box and the man covers the L-shaped area that remains.
     
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  3. Ripper014

    Ripper014 Hall of Fame

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    Service box...? You mean the alley right? And even then... you will need to cover any lobs. Mixed is an odd animal... the only time it would be interesting is if the female partner is the substantially higher rated player, which would make the team more balanced.

    ie. 4.0 woman with a 3.0 man to form a 7.0 team.
     
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  4. vandre

    vandre Hall of Fame

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    has anyone figured out to dropshot her or do you cover those? if you did, you'd both be on her side of the court, leaving half of the court open and it may take her a while to get there if your opponent hit the ball wide to the other corner.

    just curious, have any of the female opponents picked up on this?

    btw, this is the first time i've heard of someone being "too slow for doubles".

    sorry, brain not working. no answer yet. maybe after some brainfood. maybe chinese food will help!
     
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  5. bodieq

    bodieq Rookie

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    ...that's your problem, right there. Mixed doubles is a lose-lose situation.

    9.0 and 10.0 mixed is not quite as bad, but anything less is...forget it.
     
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  6. polski

    polski Semi-Pro

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    Buy her a jump rope at the end of the season. Let her know about the best pro in your area to work on volleys. Get her into a gym with a personal trainer.

    If she can't do that stuff, she can't win at mixed doubles (7.0 or higher). If winning is your thing, find a new partner/team.
     
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  7. JRstriker12

    JRstriker12 Hall of Fame

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    Is there anything your partner does well? Does she have a killer lob? Can she target the female opponent at net?

    Try to find her strenghts and maximize them.

    But, sometimes there just isn't much you can do if the other team is just better than your team, unless you are just heads-and-shoulders better than the other guy across the net. Picking on the weaker partner is the name of the game in mixed dubs. If your team has the weakest link on the court (slow, only wants to play baseline but doesn't have big weapon), then you might just have to accept that you don't have a winning combination for most matches.
     
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  8. ace18

    ace18 Rookie

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    Mixed is tough. I'm playing mixed at a pretty high level, the women on my team are all solid, but they are older and slower then most of our competition. My experience, if your opponents female is better then yours, you are in trouble, even if you can smoke the other guy. If your partner is slow and weaker I really don't know what you can do, they will hit every ball they can at her. I try to keep my partner at the net and I tend to stay back so I'm ready to chase lobs. There is only so much court you can cover to be effective. Since I'm struggling with exactly what you mention, I'm gonna keep reading feedback.
     
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  9. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Hey, it's not just mixed. Having a slow-as-cold-molasses partner is hard at any level. Geez, I remember one ladies social match in which I had a slow partner. Opponent had a wicked short slice.

    They ate us alive. No matter what I did, I couldn't reach that slice sliding away from me at net. And my partner -- being unwilling to S&v -- could not ever reach those balls. The only thing that helped was playing Australian, so the slicer had to change direction and so started to miss a bit.

    Anyway . . .

    In mixed, having a slow partner is tough for the guy. I would consider lining up Australian (make sure slow partner starts near center hash and serves up the middle) to see if the guy starts to miss a bit or hits more conservatively.

    Since we play indoors and slow players can wind up wrapped in the side curtain if they can't move up to a short angle, one thing you can do is have her serve from close to her alley. Then she has less distance to cover to get a racket on angled balls.

    Also, tell her not to rally with the guy but throw up a moonball over the opposing woman, especially in the deuce court. Again, it gives him something new to deal with and you can sometimes strike gold if the opposing guy doesn't have a good running BH.
     
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  10. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    Thanks for the replies and it's what I was afraid of....I'm screwed :) A slow footed female partner that can't play up at the net is a lose-lose proposition. She HAS to learn how to volley at the net, because she's not going to gain footspeed overnight. For now our only hope is to play 2 back and hope the other side doesn't drop shot her too often.
     
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  11. Old school Paul

    Old school Paul New User

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    My strategy is just the opposite. My partner is average speed but caanot volley very well. she has average groundstrokes and we keep her back most of the time. I move up and back depending on the situation and I am always looking for a ball to cut off. We play 8.0 level and she is an average 3.5, I am a 4.5. For the most part she is usually the weakest player on the court as we play mostly two 4.0's and our strategy has worked by keeping her in her comfort zone.
     
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  12. tennis tom

    tennis tom Hall of Fame

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    Position her on the service line (if you can pick her up) in the center of her half of the court. That way she doesn't have to move more than a couple of steps in any direction and fills up her half of the court. You can run around and take anything she can't reach from her little circle. This worked for Nadal when he won his recent doubles title with his nobody doubles partner buddy.
     
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  13. Jennifer

    Jennifer New User

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    I'm a slow player with a just okay net game. My partner encourages me to play at the net to help me improve with the experience at the position.

    When I play back, we decided that he would cut off some of the balls directed at me when he's at the net to throw off the other side. It's a good strategy to balance out my slow feet and keep our oponenets from taking advantage.
     
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  14. Figjam

    Figjam Banned

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    get her off the court....
    what i mean is once play has started, tell her to just move into the alley and stay there, and just hold her racket out incase the ball comes near.
     
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  15. goober

    goober Legend

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    Pretty much what I do. She stays back and I move up and back depending on the situation. As long as she has decent groundstrokes it can work out ok. I run into this situation a lot in social or pickup doubles.
     
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  16. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    Keeping my partner back was killing us. The opposing diagnol player would hit groundstrokes to her left and right untill she couldn't reach one. She has decent groundstrokes, but is very slow moving side to side.
     
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  17. goober

    goober Legend

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    If she was getting pulled off wide off the court I would move to the middle of the court. Tell her to throw in some lobs or deep moonballs so she can have time to recover. If I am at the net I would cut off everything that goes over the middle and force them to go up the line or hit a very sharp angle shot. If I am back, I would camp near the middle and just cover anything that I can get to.

    Really there is not much you can do if she can't volley and she can't move. There is no magic strategy that will make you start winning points when you have such a weak link. All you can do is cover as much as you can.
     
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  18. vandre

    vandre Hall of Fame

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    hi jack,

    i just got back from lunch and i came up with a solution for you: fire your partner and play austrailian doubles!

    sorry. you ask me for a solution and i offer you a lame joke. maybe all you can do is try to put the ball away. high risk, high reward. that's all i got. sorry.
     
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  19. spot

    spot Hall of Fame

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    You need to poach to keep her out of baseline rallies with the opposing guy. Don't hit the guy shots that he can attack your partner with. When she is serving- go australian so it takes away the oppents angle and crosscourt return.
     
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  20. escii_35

    escii_35 Rookie

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    Lots of Great Tips Here:

    At the lower level "L formation" comes in handy. Aka 50/50 at the net 70/30 on the baseline Dem grannys can volley but lateral motion can be really bad. If your current partner has no net game and can't move find another partner.

    Jumping up one level I have to choose my pard's very carefully. My partners must not be afraid to take big cuts at the ball. I'll forgive a bad day with a lot of errors but I need that -threat- of a big put away. A person with good hands who gets a lot of balls back will not work.

    Another good point: "keeping her in her comfort zone" If her BH volley is money yet the FH volley stinks figure out ways put her in winning positions.

    Unorthodox strategies work much better in mxd then regular: At sectional 8.0's we played classic dubs vs a 4.5/3.5 combo. After losing the first set I told my partner to take all the weight off of her shots and 3.0 rally/lob that 5 foot nothing female to death. "He is going to get some smashes but that's fine stay focused." I had to duck and cover a few times but we won. 2-6 6-4 10-6
     
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  21. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    I tried that, but they were good at recognizing my poach and passing me down the lines.
     
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  22. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    There is one more thing you can try.

    When I was a 3.0, I played 7.0 with a 4.0 guy, who moved up to 4.5 that season. He was really good.

    Now, I'm not slow, per se. I just kind of sucked, which is a different sort of problem. In particular, I couldn't return a guy's hard groundstrokes at all. I could, however, scurry to the net and volley some.

    My partner dealt with this by playing from no-man's land. He lined up there, which allowed him to intercept balls not as volleys but as groundstrokes. He played most of the court from there. It means you have to have an awesome half volley if they try to lay one at your feet, but he was able to handle it and we won. Meanwhile, I would scurry to the net at the first opportunity and I would throw up Survival Lobs until he could rescue me.

    I have used this same tactic in 6.5 combo, when I was the stronger player. I would line up in no-man's land, shading toward the T -- openly daring the opponents to thread the needle and get it to my partner standing way over in the corner. This was always good for a few games as they hit the ball wide trying to hit the sliver of court on which she stood.

    You might give it a try. If nothing else, your opponents will have to deal with something they haven't seen before.
     
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  23. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    Interesting idea Cindy, but I'm not sure how it would help. My biggest issue is that my partner must play back since she is weak at the net. If I play "halfway" in "nomans land", how will that help? Will I be able to reach more cross court balls at her that way?
     
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  24. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    In short, yes. That's the idea.

    The problem with two back at the baseline is that it is difficult for you to intercept a ball headed toward your partner. It seems a bit rude to chuck them in the shoulder and shout "Mine" to play a ball headed toward them. If you are in front already, it feels less rude so you are more likely to do it. After all, when two people are at net, it is a common convention that the one closer to net takes whatever they can reach, right?

    So why not just stay at the net? Because if you leave early enough to poach a sharply angled ball, you leave your alley open too soon. In contrast, from no-man's land your alley will look a bit less open -- especially since your opponents will be more interested in trying to squeeze the ball over to your partner.

    Is it a guarantee? No. Is it better than just getting the living tar kicked out of you? Yes.
     
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  25. floydcouncil

    floydcouncil Semi-Pro

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    Learn to lose with a smile...........

    I played a mixed match the other morning at what I thought was "high level". My partner dbl. faulted at least 2 pts. per game. She couldn't volley, return nor serve well. I held all my service games, she got broken every time. There's nothing I could have done.

    I never lost my cool, complimented her on nice shots (rare occasions) and kept her spirits up during the match. We lost in straights.
     
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  26. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Well . . . allow me to tell you what we 3.5 women are sometimes saying about our 3.5 male partners.

    Are you ready? Here it is:

    "Good lord. He didn't do *anything* at net."

    A lot of 3.5 guys prefer singles. As a result, their skill at net is not good and lags behind their serve and FH. They miss volleys -- especially BH volleys -- they should put away. They position poorly. They alley camp. In short, they do little to help their female partner hold, and then they complain that their female partner can't hold.

    You signed up for mixed, after all. You should know going in that your female partner (at 3.5, anyway) is not going to serve rockets and you will probably (but not always) have superior footspeed. You have to accept some responsibility for whether she holds, because if she can't ever hold you probably will lose.

    I can play a reasonable game of doubles. What I cannot do in mixed is play Canadian. A little help, OK boys?
     
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  27. slewisoh

    slewisoh Semi-Pro

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    Does she seriously lumber? What a fabulously descriptive word...hope no one ever utters it about me.

    The last thing most women want to do is get into a cross court ground stroke war with a male opponent. Whereas we are just trying to get the ball back, his testosterone is surging as he hits forehand after forehand at you.

    YIKES! Shudder...

    If you haven't suggested it already, ask your partner to work on her lob. When a guy is blasting returns it's really easy to block the ball neatly over the net player. If she returns cross court, her next shot darn well better be a lob over the net player.

    I think Cindy's suggestion of having her serve from out near the alley is good, as it gets her in a better position to respond. But even then, she doesn't have step 2 of an evil plan to rule the mixed doubles court. She's going to hang back while you scurry (sorry, men don't scurry) I mean dash about trying to make brilliant plays.

    Hope this isn't a long term commitment, as I smell frustration brewing.
     
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  28. Xisbum

    Xisbum Semi-Pro

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    Wanna hear what we 3.5 (well, a mislabeled 4.0 in my case) say about our 3.5 women partners? Do you really?

    I thought so. ;-)
     
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  29. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    OK, I'll give it a shot. Thanks!
     
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  30. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    You're a better man than me :)
     
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  31. TenS_Ace

    TenS_Ace Rookie

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    Mixed Doubles: What to do when your female partner is slow?
    Not much unless she is really really HOT!:twisted:
     
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  32. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    I think I've heard a thousand times what mixed doubles dudes say about their 3.5 female partners: Slow, lumbering, can't serve, old, can't hold.

    Got anything new? :)
     
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  33. gopokes

    gopokes Rookie

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    Try the "I" formation where you start out in a more centralized position...maybe you'll get a few more looks that way, especially against the male returner...

    Beyond that, be courteous and feign hope at all times - I'm serious! People get their feelings hurt so easily, you have to really try to come off as graciously as possible. And folks talk - my wife rides to her weekly doubles match with 4 other ladies, and those gals all have a story about some dude that they'd never play with again...
    Good luck, and it's only tennis after all - easy for me to say though...
     
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  34. Xisbum

    Xisbum Semi-Pro

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    Sure, but my mama didn't raise any fools. :shock:

    Actually, in mixed I try to find a way to maximize a partner's strengths while minimizing her weaknesses - and communicate that to her in the most diplomatic manner possible. Once played with a lady in Memphis who had a killer forehand and a backhand from He!!. She had a mental block against this one team in particular, big (6-6) guy, wife like a backboard. So I convinced my partner to play Australian when serving to the guy. Took the lady out of the picture, and since he played ad court, my partner could serve from the center, take two steps and crack his return with her dy-no-mite forehand. Once we went to the change, they never beat us. Before we went to the change, we never beat them.

    All it took was one game to show her the wisdom of this small move, so we started using it against other teams. Won a couple of tournaments, including a club championship, because she didn't have to hit as many backhands.
     
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  35. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    Is "Australian" where the server moves to the other side after they serve and the partner poaches to cut off the crosscourt shot?
     
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  36. Xisbum

    Xisbum Semi-Pro

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    What I call Australian has the net person on the same side of the center service line as the server, which automatically takes away the returner's crosscourt option - or at least makes it a more risky shot for the returner. The server is very close to the center line and can theoretically get to the open court quickly to cover what should be a more awkward shot for the returner, especially if the serve goes to the backhand side. The net person has to also cover any lobs hit over his/her head, which I could do back then because I was much younger and faster. Better looking, too, I was told. :)
     
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  37. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    Do you do this from both ad and deuce sides?
     
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  38. Ripper014

    Ripper014 Hall of Fame

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    It is what it is...


    The final answer is that if your partner is that much weaker than everyone else on the court there is nothing that can be done.
     
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  39. Racer41c

    Racer41c Semi-Pro

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    One of the groups I play with includes a bunch of older guys. They are all good players but dont cover much court. So I wind up doing what escii says, playing an L shaped court.

    But in your case, what you need to do is identify what her strength is and position her for those shots. If she's a good volleyer, have her lob and come to the net to get her in position. If she's has decent ground strokes, have her hit at the net-woman. If the ball comes back short, you'll need to cover that.

    In general, I find that I have to sacrafice a part of the court so that I can cover 25% more than normal.
     
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  40. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    You can. Beyond that, you have to consider all of the variables.

    For instance, if your partner has a weak BH volley at net, you wouldn't want to put that volley in the middle.

    If your baseline partner has a good FH, it is nice to have a match-up where she is hitting her FH DTL to opponent's BH.

    In my case, I use Australian to stop returners who have grooved their crosscourt returns and are killing me when I serve. Usually, this will be in the deuce court. So I have my partners line up Aussie in the deuce court, even though that puts their BH volley in the middle. My partner usually does just fine because the returner is too confused or terrified to try to hit at the net player.
     
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  41. Xisbum

    Xisbum Semi-Pro

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    Agree with Cindy above - you can do it from both sides, but in the case I mentioned, we did it to basically take the wife out of the play as much as possible, because she was much steadier than her husband and my partner. We played 2 on 1 with the guy as much as we could, and most of the time he couldn't stay with us because he couldn't get to my partner's backhand.
     
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