Net play in 4.0 doubles help or hindrance?

Discussion in 'Adult League & Tournament Talk' started by Lawn Tennis, Dec 21, 2011.

  1. Lawn Tennis

    Lawn Tennis Semi-Pro

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    lol well-stated. Sometimes I get in this mood from the baseline where everything I hit is effortless yet the shots remain consistently just over the net with mild to moderate spin. In singles, when I play like this, a great 4.0 serve 'n volleyer gets passed all day. In doubles, it frustrates the heck out of net players but more than half the time the partner picks it up but with a weak reply.
     
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  2. spaceman_spiff

    spaceman_spiff Professional

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    Again, I think you all are completely overlooking some important factors. You attribute missed volleys to being bad at net, but you ignore the circumstances.

    For example, you talk about how 4.0 players can't handle low, hard groundstokes that come flying in right at them. Well guess what, the Bryan brothers are pretty good at net, but even they struggle to hit volleys when their opponents have time to set up and really whack the ball right at them.

    So the question is, why do your opponents have time to set up and whack the ball however they like? Is it because your serves are not as strong or well placed as they should be? Is it because your returns, groundstrokes, or approach shots are not as strong or well placed as they should be? Is it because you are hitting to your opponents' strengths rather than picking on their weaknesses?

    I guarantee you that, if you improve your serve (especially the placement), you and your partner will hit a lot more winners from the net. And, if you improve your return and groundstrokes/approach shots, you and your partner will hit a lot more winners from the net. Without any improvement at all in your net game, you will see an increase in volleys and overheads for winners.
     
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2011
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  3. tennis tom

    tennis tom Hall of Fame

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    Yup, the SERVE and the RETURN OF SERVE are the two most important shots in tennis. If you don't have competent technique in those two areas you won't have much success going to the net. You may as well stay back at the baseline in the retreat guerrilla warfare mode.
     
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  4. storypeddler

    storypeddler Semi-Pro

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    I guess this is just the point where we have to agree to disagree---to some extent at least. I'm not saying you shouldn't seek to control the net and dominate the match from there. If that plays to your strengths, then by all means do that. I am simply pointing out that there are other styles of play that work equally well for those players who have those as strengths. Yes, it is easier to put a point away when a ball is hit at you at the net. It is also easier for you to be lobbed over when you are at the net and a skilled, effective lobber can play havoc with your game if he forces you to spend all match running up and back and up and back and up and back... No, that won;t work at the pro level where players can hit powerful overheads from the baseline, but for the vast majority of recreational players, even good ones, it is possible to exploit the mindset of taking the net at all costs. I come to net, too, when I can. I try to work my way to the net and hope to get a sitter I can end the point with. But I also win a lot of points ny taking advantage of net-rushers who can't handle repeated deep lobs or well-placed passing shots. All I am saying---and have been saying---is thst there is no one-size-fits-all style of tennis for all players. A smart player plays to his strengths, tries to make his opponent play to his weaknesses, and constantly looks to improve any areas of his game that are less developed. Would you have advised Pete Sampras to work a lot on adding dinks and drop shots to his game or focus most of his efforts into his serve which was his most lethal weapon? Tennis skills may be hard to perfect; tennis strategy doesn't have to be. Play to your strengths. Take your opponents away from their strengths. Never be afraid to change a strategy that isn't working. Be innovative. Don't accept conventional wisdom just because it is conventional wisdom. And never quit. Sometimes you end up getting lucky.:)
     
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  5. spaceman_spiff

    spaceman_spiff Professional

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    I never said you should try to take the net at all costs. What I was saying is that many people are ineffective at net not because they are bad volleyers but because their other shots are lacking. So, instead of actively avoiding the net, they should work on the shots that are lacking (most likely serves and returns, but possibly groundstrokes and approaches). If they improve those, they will find it easier when they do go to the net.

    So basically, we're saying the same thing: work on your weaknesses and strategies.
     
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  6. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

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    Let's take up a collection to buy an ENTER key for this poster. :twisted:
     
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  7. jgrushing

    jgrushing Rookie

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    Just came upon this thread and wanted to weigh in. In my experience, even at the 4.0 level, the team that controls the net wins the vast majority of the matches. That's certainly true in my 4.0 USTA league.

    I am a 51 year old 4.0 player who's played tennis since I was 12. In doubles, I serve and volley exclusively on both serves. I almost can't remember the last serve I didn't follow to the net. When receiving, I am always looking to get to the net with my partner.

    I don't have a big serve any more but can direct it pretty well. Net play in doubles is a method of stealing time from your oponent, gaining advantageous court positioning and limiting your oponents options. Give me a partner who comes in any time against players who want to stay back. More often than not, it will be a short match.
     
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  8. josofo

    josofo Semi-Pro

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    the worst formation is 1 up and 1 back because on the other team the guy at the net has a rather easy diagonal volley to hit.


    a lot of 4.0 aren't great net players but some are pretty good its range. whats key here is if you and your partner are on the same page. if your opponents r hitting average volleys and dumping a decent amount in the net as well. then hell ya stay back. also a lot of guys now have decent volleys but if you lob them they have no confidence in their overhead.


    but anyway the big key in 4.0 doubles is getting your serves and returns in.
     
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  9. blip

    blip Rookie

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    I agree with all of the others that say, do what it takes to win. Many times the best way to do this is aggressive net play with 2 up. We have beaten some teams playing split but this was only because they beat us up there. It is much harder beating them with passers, lobs and bombs from the baseline.
     
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  10. spot

    spot Hall of Fame

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    Take this for what its worth- but on our team that plays around 4.0 (in ALTA the levels work differently) NO ONE wants to play with the guys who just sit back and try to win it from the baseline. They all want partners who are active at the net and who will put the ball away when given the opportunity.

    Personally I do prefer to put baseliners together and netplayers together where other captains like to have 1 good net guy and 1 good baseliner. I do think that you can win with groundstrokes but sure doesn't seem to be the way that most matches are won.
     
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  11. spot

    spot Hall of Fame

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    I'll also say that I am shocked that so many women's teams think that constantly going 2 up is the way to win. So few women have good overheads where they can take a couple steps back and still attack a ball so it just seems to be playing into the opponents hands to rush the net like that. BUt then again for many 4.0 women I know they were so traumatized by the lobbing at 3.0 and 3.5 that they don't want to be that kind of player so they don't utilize the lob as often as they should.
     
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  12. Hitman99

    Hitman99 Rookie

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    Two points: at the 4.0 level, the players who are on the cusp of moving up to 4.5 invariably have stronger service and net games, fewer unforced errors. The players who are on the lower end of the ratings scale have weaker service and net games, make more unforced errors. Good net play is about setting up the point with a forcing approach shot, gaining favorable position, putting away the return with a volley or overhead. On average, with teams closely matched in ability, the team that first gains net position will win the majority of points.

    "Two up" is not necessarily a dominant net position. Ideally, both partners should gain position at the service line, and only approach closer to the net on a high, weak shot. When one partner closes the net, the other should stay at the service line to cover lobs. This strategy is the subject of many advanced doubles drills. Many 3.5 and 4.0 players camp out too close to the net, and are then vulnerable to lobs. When I practice with my USTA partner, I always do volley drills from the service line, not from a few feet from the net. It's actually easier to keep a volleyed return deep from a mid-court position than from closer to the net. The mark of a good net player is someone who is steady as a rock from mid-court, but agile and aggressive enough to close on short, weak shots, and put them away for winners.

    I agree with Cindy's points about women's doubles. When I watch women's 4.0 level matches, the pattern of play is much different than men's 4.0 level matches. Womens' serves are not as powerful, so good service returns are more effective. Womens' overheads are not as powerful, so they can't punish lob returns for winners. Both of these factors tend to shape the play, discourage a serve/volley playing pattern. In some ways, I think women are better volleyers, as they tend to hit more angled volleys for winners, where men will try to blast their volleys.

    Just my opinion, FWIW.
     
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2012
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  13. storypeddler

    storypeddler Semi-Pro

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    Please send all cash, checks, and money orders to me via PayPal. I need more tennis stuff. :razz:
     
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  14. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    +1.

    4.0 doubles players detest playing with a partner who cannot play the net well.

    Geez, I see it again and again. A woman is 3.5. Because a lot of other 3.5s do not take the net against her, she figures her own net game is OK. She never learns to volley, she never learns to transition, she never learns an offensive lob.

    Then she gets bumped to 4.0. Now her opponents take the net, and many have 4.0-level overheads and volleys when they get there. She gets pinned in the back corner when serving and receiving, desperately trying to scoop up sliced approach shots and volleys. This goes on for two sets until we lose.

    It is straight up impossible to win 4.0 doubles with a partner like this.

    If you're at 3.5, work on learning the shots needed to get to net. You're gonna need them.
     
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