Opinions?

Discussion in 'Adult League & Tournament Talk' started by Spokewench, Jun 15, 2010.

  1. Spokewench

    Spokewench Semi-Pro

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    So, I've started doing drills with a new group and new pro. I'm not too sure about them; but I wanted to get your opinions about this

    Last night, we were in a drill, playing out a point just like a doubles point would be played out. I was up closer to the net and my partner was behind me. She was in ad court, I was in deuce. I was engaged in the point volleying and she was slowly moving up. A ball came in between us and I called mine and took the shot with my backhand. (My backhand is probably better than my forehand volley) Anyway, I have been trained that "You never let a ball go in between you and get missed, this is a cardinal sin; and also that when I am engaged and in front I'm going for the volleys hard." Well, as I called mine and then was hitting the volley, my partner comes running in uncontrolled and smacks the back of my racquet with hers as she is trying to take the volley too. (She is behind me)

    A little background, this pro never tells anyone to talk to the other so consequently, these players never talk to each other which is hard for me.

    So, then the pro chastises me because I should have let my partner take the ball because it was her forehand. My opinion is it was my ball because I was engaged in the point and in front of her on the court; I also communicated that I was taking the volley before I struck.

    Of course, we went onto the other side of the court for the next two points and not two points later, we had a ball right in the middle of us again. This time, we were almost parallel on the court and I my partner took this volley with her backhand and nothing was said to her in this instance.

    So, I was a little miffed about this. What is up with this?

    I already know that some of the things I have been taught be a very good pro are not being taught by this new pro. So, what are the opinions?

    Who should take the shot in the first circumstance?

    spoke
     
  2. Darkhors

    Darkhors Rookie

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    I agree with you here. You were in front, engaged in the rally and obviously it wasn't a stretch for you to take the shot. You are also correct that when in doubt take the shot down the middle because you risk both of you not hitting it. If anything, the pro should have made a point that it was a good thing (albeit that she hit your racket) that both of you went for it rather than nobody. If we're playing a doubles game and someone splits the team down the middle (and they're the champs) they immediate lose their spot and go to the other side as challengers. That in itself makes you talk more to your partner.

    It's almost impossible to win in doubles if you're not communicating with your partner. Not only that, but it could lead to some serious injuries if neither of you know what's about to happen.

    Keep playing the way you are and keep talking to your partners. Maybe you'll start to rub off on them and this situation will fix itself :)

    Happy hitting.

    DH
     
  3. ProgressoR

    ProgressoR Hall of Fame

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    i rarely play doubles and would definitely have done what you did, if the partner had a problem with it i expect them to inform me. I would also have inspected my racket for scratches.

    Seriously if you call and execute the shot, and your partner still comes forward, plays the stroke and hits your racket, then her reaction time is poor, and would thus probably have missed the shot had she played it.
     
  4. spot

    spot Hall of Fame

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    Whoever can get to the ball first- you can't just let it go past and hope that she takes it.
     
  5. Gemini

    Gemini Hall of Fame

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    I agree that if you were closer (had a better play on) to the ball even though it was your backhand it was your ball. If my partner is confident is his or her backhand volley, then I'm more than happy to let them have the shot all day long.
     
  6. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    I wish I could partner with you! :)

    Seriously, it was your ball. That said, if I were the deep player I might have smacked your racket also. It depends on when you said "Mine." Once I'm going for a shot, I won't pull back on it if I hear a late call of "Mine." If I do, my partner might also pull back. Or maybe the issue was the ball was a DTL shot rather than a crosscourt so maybe the deep player figured she should have the middle?

    I'm not saying you were late necessarily, but if these folks are normally Silent Susans on the court then your "Mine" might not have been processed, especially if they have been taught that FH takes the middle or it was a DTL ball.

    Finally . . . I can't stand it when pros teach poor doubles strategy. FH takes the middle is one I have heard in clinics. Another is Poacher Can Poach Behind Herself. Another is Deep Player Calls Switches. Once you are playing clinic with people who have been trained up this way, it is very hard to convince anyone of the reasons otherwise.
     
  7. larry10s

    larry10s Hall of Fame

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    i have not read what anyone else said:oops:
    im taught that was your ball no question about it . you were engaged in the point you were closer to the net . its your all the way.
    now ilol see what the others said
     
  8. TenS_Ace

    TenS_Ace Rookie

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    Even in these types of drills, I'll tell whomever I'm partnered with, I'll take anything down the middle and see what the answer is. That way both of us are clear about that evil shot down the middle:)
     
  9. larry10s

    larry10s Hall of Fame

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    another point to consider
    the crosscourt ball is the resposibility of the cross court player
    you on the deuce side the ball is cross court (even if thru the middle ) from the opposite deuce side . your partner (the ad player) is mainly responsible fot the down the line shot
     
  10. Jracer77

    Jracer77 Rookie

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    That's just so wrong. You're just begging for a clash of bodies or racquets. When someone yells "mine" it's their ball to take whether it's actually the right play or not. You can discuss that with them after the point has ended. I wonder how you'd like it if some 200 lb guy crashed into you after you made a late "mine" call that he chose to ignore. Not very much I suspect.
     
  11. West Coast Ace

    West Coast Ace G.O.A.T.

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    You were right. Pro doesn't sound real swift. I hope you're not paying too much for his 'expert' advice.
     
  12. The Ripper

    The Ripper Semi-Pro

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    Just saw a Tennis Channel show with the Brian brothers - upshot was if you called it, it's yours. If there's no time to call, both players go for the ball. Better to both be there than try to guess who will hit when there is no call.
     
  13. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    I guess it depends on what a "late" call is. Believe me, some folks are very late with their calls.

    And if you call mine and I have time to wave you off and take the ball myself, I will. That happens a lot at 3.5 ladies where some players think lobs over me should be bounced and will call them even though I am preparing to hit an overhead.
     
  14. Jracer77

    Jracer77 Rookie

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    Lobs are a little different in that alot of times you'll say "I've got it" when you think a lob is going over your partners head. You're really just telling them you'll get it on the bounce. If they happen to be able to take it in the air it's really no problem. You won't be in their immediate space plus you also have time to scoot back to your side when you see that they can reach it.
     
  15. Ripper014

    Ripper014 Hall of Fame

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    Tennis is a simple game made difficult by people.

    I agree that balls that are missed up the middle are a cardinal sin. My standard practice about covering shots is easy... whoever is closest to the net has priority, but this does not mean that being the person behind you do not cover and are ready to play the shot.
     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2010
  16. Off The Wall

    Off The Wall Semi-Pro

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    Cool.

    Anyone else have any doubles gems they've heard?
     
  17. rh310

    rh310 Professional

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    Finding a pro whose teaching is as consistent as his strokes is almost impossible. I've only known one, out of maybe a dozen that I've worked with.
     
  18. Spokewench

    Spokewench Semi-Pro

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    Well, I'm glad I was not totally off base! I will take this pro's advice on doubles with a grain a salt which is what I was inclined to do in the first place! But, I did take a private from him today and was suitably impressed. We did not talk singles strategy yet, but he was looking at my shots and he gave me some good advice regarding that; so I will have to be judicious about how much I believe in with this guy, but I think he can be helpful in some ways.
     
  19. cellofaan

    cellofaan Semi-Pro

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    When a lob is played, the netplayer has the best judgement on if he/she can smash it or not, and should either take the overhead or tell the partner to get it. At least that's how I've been taught.
    If the person on the baseline runs to get the lob, but the netplayer hits the overhead, the partner on the baseline is out of position for a next ball as both partners are more or less behind each other, and one side of the court will be open.
     
  20. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Exactly right, IMHO. This is how the pros do it. I saw the Bryan Brothers at Indian Wells, and when a lob went over Bob's head, he yelled "Mike!" What didn't happen was Mike deciding whether Bob could or could not hit the smash and running behind him.
     
  21. tennis tom

    tennis tom Hall of Fame

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    The way doubles is taught by the majority of "pros" today is a NIGHTMARE! The proof of it is watch how THEY play doubles. They don't walk up to the net, slap the tape with their racket, and stand there, playing bop the gopher. They are on or near the SERVICE line when they are not serving or receiving serve.

    Unless your doubles partner is Rafael Nadal, one up/one back, has NO chance against a decent doubles team that moves up and back together minimizing the angles they provide to their opponents. With your partner next to you, or near enough to be in your peripheral vision, you will have court sense telling you whose ball it is. When your parter is returning serve, you should be looking back to see how well (or poorly) their return is, then you can move up closer to the net or back depending on the strength or weakness of their return.

    God only knows why "pros' teach one up/one back. It's the cause of most of the arguments in club level doubles between partners. The "pros" probably had to regurgetate it at some USPTA certification test so they could get their insurance so when a student steps on a ball and tries to sue them they don't have to leave the country and teach tennis at a Club Med. But alas, the die is cast and they never have to think again about what they "teach" their unwitting newbee students during their fast paced, sweaty, clinics. Ask for your money back!

    Watch how your pro plays or watch doubles on TV and with very few exceptions real doubles players divide the court in half longitudenaly and NOT laterally. Simply put, one player chooses the deuce court and one chooses the ad court and makes it their own--what could be simpler? You are responsible for all the lobs and drop shots on your half and the same for your partner on their side. You hover around the service line and your opponents can't drop shot you and can't lob you. If they do just say "nice shot", because it would have to be, to beat you from there.

    Some other good reasons to not play tight to the net, is your eyes have more time to react to execute a better volley, stroking it rather than wildly slapping at it. As we age, our vision and reflexes usually slow down making it even more useful to move a bit further back then hovering over the net. Hitting an over-head is easier if you can move forward rather than back-pedalling. If you are tight to the net hitting an overhead, most often you will mis-hit it straight up rather than being able to hit down on it and put it away. It's much easier footwork and faster to move forward than backwards.
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2010
  22. Jracer77

    Jracer77 Rookie

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    I'm talking about when it's going to be close whether they can reach it or not. The net player does not have any better idea than his partner. The second part of your comment is a joke. If you can't recognize what's happening and get back to your own side then you're either a beginner or extremely slow.
     
  23. Jracer77

    Jracer77 Rookie

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    I never said the partner should decide for him. The first player to recognize what should happen will make the first call, Sometimes it's the net guy and sometimes it's his partner. Stop trying to have set in stone rules for everything. It helps to be flexible because every situation is a little different.
     
  24. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    I don't know about "set in stone" rules, but there are conventions of proper and ideal doubles play. Opinions can and will differ, but I do think what I'm describing works best at the higher levels.

    Like, say a lob is going over my partner's head. If she doesn't call for help and looks like she's setting up for an easy smash, I'll go to the service line. If she looks off balance, I will fade back to where she is but stay on my side. In this way, I will be ready should the opponent reflex her smash back.

    If I fade back and attempt to cover for my partner in case she bails out of hitting the smash, I will in fact be out of position should the ball be reflexed over to my side.

    The reason this matters to me is that I have partners who do try to cover for me or call a switch when I am planning to smash, and yes, they do get caught out of position or get in my way. So it's not a hypothetical problem.
     
  25. Jracer77

    Jracer77 Rookie

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    Then they are not good players who can adapt. The experienced player will already be on his way back to his own side before you even make contact on the overhead. I mean it's only 3 or 4 steps usually. How hard is that? Experienced players recognize and react quickly to situations such as that.
     
  26. cellofaan

    cellofaan Semi-Pro

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    Now then, if it's so close that the netplayer is not sure immediately of being able to hit a decent smash, I see only one option (assuming the partner is playing from the baseline):

    The partner is on the baseline, and should be able to get the lob and hit a decent shot to neutralize the rally, while the netplayer is unsure, so he calls it to his partner.
    If it's a very good deep lob the partner might not make it, but then the netplayer wouldn't have had a chance either as it is a good lob.

    About the second part.
    If the netplayer hits a smash, the partner should generally advance to the net.

    If the partner first starts to run to the other side of the court, then sees the netplayer hitting the smash (he wouldn't know it any sooner, since it is so close, right?), he then has to cross the court diagonally to get to his position at the net.
    Advancing to the net over a shorter distance (straight forward instead of diagonally) from the moment the netplayer calls the smash will be much faster and easier.
    Also, knowing you need to retrieve the lob tends to make it a lot easier to hit a good shot than having to wait for netplayer to either hit or miss it.


    So to sum it up, I think the netplayer should take all balls that are his anyway, and all balls he is sure of hitting.
    If he is unsure about a lob and knows his partner is in a better position to get it (baseline), he should always call the shot to his partner (and depending on where the lob is hit, they should switch sides).
    I also think lobs are always to be called by the netplayer, to avoid situations like cindy described.
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2010
  27. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    See, this is where I disagree with you.

    Say my net player partner is fading back for a smash. Say she is halfway between service line and baseline.

    For me to be any use at all should she decide *not* to hit the smash, I cannot be next to her (same distance from the net). I have to have a head start to run that ball down, so I will need a deeper position if I am to cover for her and retrieve that ball.

    So now we have my net player partner in no man's land and me deeper than no man's land, covering for her in case she doesn't smash. My partner decides to hit the smash. Look how deep in the court and out of position I am!

    So my point is there is no reason to have bad positioning like that -- where the smasher's partner must scramble back into position -- when you can avoid the problem altogether by having the net player make a prompt decision on whether she will or will not need help.

    That's how it was explained to me for many, many weeks in the heat of last summer when we ran these How To Cover A Lob drills.
     
  28. slice bh compliment

    slice bh compliment G.O.A.T.

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    Most pros teach strokes well. Some pros know dubs, others do not. But I've never heard of a pro not emphasizing the importance of communication, especially on a ball coming near the middle.

    If nothing else, this thread underscores that the player closer to the ball and the net saying one simple syllable (me, mine, you, yours) as soon as possible is the best policy.

    Our college coach had us do a dubs drill in which we called each and every ball. It seems superfluous and even tedious at first, but it really heightened awareness of the ball and of a player's role (offensively and defensively).

    I'm talking about doubles, but I feel like I'm also talking about the US soccer team's defense right about now.
     
  29. Off The Wall

    Off The Wall Semi-Pro

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    In your example, if the netperson has drifted back into no-man's land, threatening an overhead, it doesn't matter if she decides to overhead it or not, it's hers to return. That's because, the way you decribe it, it was a defensive lob. Her partner can stay on her own side.

    I think the issue in question is an offensive lob. A lob where the netperson thinks she has a play, but her partner is not sure. I've seen many partners set up for a leaping overhead only to be wrong and abort. Her partner needs to cover for her in that situation.
     

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