Moved my feet - sue me!

Discussion in 'Adult League & Tournament Talk' started by jc4.0, May 23, 2010.

  1. jc4.0

    jc4.0 Professional

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    I have been frustrated lately, as I've been trying hard to keep my feet CONSTANTLY moving, during the whole match (as my coach insists). But many of the players I play with don't do that - they are kind of flat-footed unless they're actually making a play on the ball. More than once I've heard the comment "oh, you were moving so I thought you were going to hit it, and I backed off." Well, duh! I'm always moving, always READY to hit the ball, or get into a better court position, I'm not doing a "swing and miss" in these cases. Shouldn't my partner just focus on making his best shot, even if I move toward the ball? My intention is to hit every reasonable ball, or get myself ready to hit the next one.
     
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  2. ProgressoR

    ProgressoR Hall of Fame

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    movin toward the ball can put partner off a bit especially if he is also moving towards the ball. If it is very clear it is for him to hit, i wouldnt move towards the ball, but get ready to move according to how and where he hits the ball. IF i am lining up to hit and i catch my partner, from the corner of my eye, close and looking ready to move to the ball, or even to hit it, it can be offputting.....i guess.
     
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  3. jc4.0

    jc4.0 Professional

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    I understand, if I actually started to hit the ball, and then backed off. I'm simply talking about moving my feet, in order to properly track the ball and stay in good court position, relative to the ball movement.
     
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  4. ProgressoR

    ProgressoR Hall of Fame

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    then maybe just informing your partner of this habit should be enough, tell him if he is lining up to hit, just to ignore any of your movement because you will not suddenly rush him and take the shot away from him.
    Generally its a good thing to have constant movement, keeping sharp, its a good habit, so I wouldnt give it up just for the above.
     
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  5. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    I don't have a problem if my partner moves her feet.

    What can be challenging is when she makes a slight move as though to play the ball (say, poach) and then changes her mind. In those situations, I would really love her to say "You" when she changes her mind. That little bit of extra time for me to make the adjustment can mean the difference between my playing a good shot or getting to the ball late.

    I thank my partners who say "You" when they let any ball go by that they could have (and probably should have!) taken.
     
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  6. jswinf

    jswinf Professional

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    I'm having trouble thinking of situations where, if it's obvious you partner will be playing the ball, that moving toward the ball is consistent with good court position. Of course, if it's not clear who can or should reach it, or if your partner is dogging it, that's a fish of another color.
     
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  7. jc4.0

    jc4.0 Professional

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    I get you, and this is a good point. What I'm saying is, no matter who hits the ball, I'm going to split-step and move in the direction that looks most promising in order for me to hit the ball, or to have the most efficient court coverage. I'm looking to get myself in line with the ball and its most probable trajectory, whether that means moving up, back left or right. I hope my partner is doing the same thing, but am sometimes disappointed.
     
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  8. tennis tom

    tennis tom Hall of Fame

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    Think Singles Play Doubles

    As far as feet moving all the time, you should be set (split-step) just before your opponent strikes the ball so you can pounce in the direction of the ball. Lately, I've been thinking in terms of "soft-feet". This would be the corollary to "soft-hands". If you keep your muscles tensed all the time, I feel it takes longer to react. Tennis is a game of instantaneous reactions. That Tracey Austin dance drives me nuts. I played against a guy who did this yesterday--it's best left to the ladies.

    The balls in question would be the ones down the center, where each player has a play on the ball. Each player should do their darndest to return the shot. In good doubles with the balls flying at 100 mph there isn't going to be time to verbally communicate, this is all about instinct and reactions.

    I've found most of the time in these situations, two heads may be better than one. Rackets collide and the spin on the ball is so weird that the opposition can't return it.

    You should not stop trying to hit the ball because your partner has made a move towards the ball, moved a shoulder, or feinted at it. THINK SINGLES, PLAY DOUBLES. You can't teach this stuff, the instincts come from hours and years of playing.

    I hate it when my "partner" lays off a ball and becomes an observer because I made a move towards the ball. Then they say, "I thought you were going to take it". A good player should be moving with the ball.

    On an over-head, I will quietly back-up my partner in case they have mis-judged it and whiff it, and I want them to do the same for me. I try to move quietly behind them not to spook them or make them feel crowded on their back-swing.

    This is court sense and takes a lot of playing to develop, hopefully.
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2010
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  9. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    You know, when I first started playing doubles, I used to try to be active at net. This meant I would sometimes decide I could pick off a ball, only to change my mind and bail out. I would tell my partners, "Hey, just know I might go for a ball and then not hit it; don't let it rattle ya, 'kay?" Which left my partners behind me trying to deal with balls where I moved toward the ball and then yanked my racket back.

    I don't do that anymore, for several reasons. First, my first instinct that a ball is poachable is often a good one, so just go with it. Second, I had a mixed partner tell me he never bails on a poach -- he just keeps going and it usually works out fine. Third, my pro was all over my case about it, with his thinking being that you should "claim" ownership of these balls by saying "Mine!", such that you'll never bail out and fake out your own partner.

    These days, I don't back up my partners. If a lob goes over their head and they are backing up and pointing at it, I am going to assume they will hit that ball, so I am going to the service line next to them. If they want help, they need to ask for it, quickly. And if they whiff, we will lose the point and they will look bad. Better for me to go to the service line and watch our opponents, ready to play the ball if it comes back.
     
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  10. spaceman_spiff

    spaceman_spiff Hall of Fame

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    I think your partner is way too sensitive when it comes to losing focus on the ball. There are plenty of examples of shots where one person has every reason to back off. The main ones are

    1. A return/ground stroke looks poachable but then dips down low. If the ball is dipping low and has you at a stretch, your options are extremely limited. But, such a shot could be easy to reach for your partner, who might be in a position to hit a really good shot. The low, stretching volley just isn't a good decision there; your partner has the better shot.

    2. One up and one back, your opponent hits an angled short ball. The net man might have anticipated the drop shot and made a move, as should the back man. But, if the pace is too great, the back man has a better shot. In this case, the net man should leave it. (If it's a really soft drop shot, the net man should take it and the back man should switch behind.)

    3. Both partners at net, and a deep lob is hit. Both players might start after it, but the one with the better angle at it should take it. The other player should back off and cover the other side of the court.

    The point is, if any sort of movement at all puts off your partner, he/she isn't really a good doubles player, because there are plenty of situations where someone could make a move and then realize he/she does not have the better shot.
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2010
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  11. jc4.0

    jc4.0 Professional

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    I try not to get mad when I run into the fence to hit a shot, make it, and then look over and my partner hasn't budged - she is standing there watching me, NOT MOVING to cover the middle, while our opponents whip a shot into the 3/4 open court she has left unattended. This is the kind of scenario I want to eliminate - I want to keep my feet moving, stay on the balls of my feet, always ready to MOVE into a better position to hit the ball. If you stop and stand there, flat-footed, you're going to have no play on a lot of balls... singles or doubles.
     
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