Playing 2-Back Doubles

Discussion in 'Adult League & Tournament Talk' started by jaybear1909, Jun 16, 2012.

  1. jaybear1909

    jaybear1909 Rookie

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    I'm on a mixed team and was placed with a new partner today. She informed me that she never plays net unless she's forced to, and that she's very uncomfortable up there. I accepted this because I knew how good she was from the baseline. We hung tight in the first set, and actually had a pretty decent lead. But our opponents started to play a different strategy. Any medium paced ball they'd redirect to my opponent and it would become a baseline brawl, just without me in the equation. I'd find myself inching my way to net and finally trying to cut one off. I had probably a 50/50 success rate. It was very odd for me.

    How would you approach this? I'm so used to my partner playing net and my opponents being forced to hit cross court back to me. I felt very helpless today.

    We lost 5-7 1-6.
     
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  2. IA-SteveB

    IA-SteveB Professional

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    I drew a partner today that was the same way. I tried staying back but they still pounded it to my partner. I was constantly thinking "should I or shouldn't I" regarding playing the net when he should have been. It threw me off a bit, but I adjusted.
     
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  3. InspectorRacquet

    InspectorRacquet Semi-Pro

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    Try and have her stand up at the net anyway. The opposing team will make errors because of the possibility that she might hit a volley. If you have her cover the alley, the ball will just be directed to you to take control at the baseline.

    This doesn't necessarily work if the opponents figure out that she is uncomfortable/can't volley at the net, but just the fact that she's taking up prime real estate makes it a tough situation for the opposing team to make sure they don't hit to her.

    The only problem is that doubles is won at the net, not the baseline. The only other way I can see out of this equation if she refuses to be at the net is for you to be at the net and poach, while she switches on the baseline. After sitting in the rally for a few strokes, you can just poach and have her switch on the baseline at a moment's notice.
     
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  4. tennisjon

    tennisjon Semi-Pro

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    I wouldn't mind this set up if she can hold her own at the baseline. If the other team is at the baseline, ask her to throw up loopy ball down the middle and then you sneak into net. Have her keep hitting either down the middle or to the weaker player. Otherwise, if all are people are at the baseline, there won't be too many opportunities for you to do anything.
     
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  5. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Why don't you guys just plan a preplanned POACH!
     
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  6. tennis tom

    tennis tom Hall of Fame

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    Dump her, this formation has no future.
     
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  7. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Why obsess so much on HER positioning, if she can return the shot without feeding their netperson?
    YOU should make it happen. YOU should get to net while they are pattycaking, then POACH to change the court dynamics.
     
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  8. Loose Cannon

    Loose Cannon Rookie

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    What he said^^^


    depending on the level.........


    I have never seen this work vs a good true dubs team.......its just asking too much to consistently hit winners and passing shots all match long......good dubs players WILL cut those shots off
     
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  9. escii_35

    escii_35 Rookie

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    Yep,

    I stink bad at the net and in mixed I tell my partner, "If you are passive at the net we will lose." If I draw the female on the other team into a chumpy rally one of two things will happen, the opposing male will get frustrated and take too much court or you will get something juicy. If you miss I don't care just fricken go for it.

    My nightmare partner is a female with good hands but can't put the ball away.

    You don't need to play textbook doubles to win at 7 and 8 mxd.
     
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  10. jk175d

    jk175d Semi-Pro

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    +1

    take charge at the net
     
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  11. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    OP, I too have partnered with a woman (singles specialist) who is terrified to be at net (this is ladies doubles, not mixed, of course).

    I have to agree with you that this presents real challenges to someone who is used to playing with actual doubles players.

    This lady doesn't start any point at the net. She is fully behind the baseline when I am serving or returning. Indeed, I am often returning closer to the net than she is standing.

    I'm sorry, but this really throws me off. I have all these alarm bells clanging in my head: "WARNING: You must be playing singles because there is no one else on the court because your partner is actually behind you while you are returning!"

    The really difficult thing, though, is getting to net.

    Say I hit my return and follow it to net. If I hit a poor return, they will send the ball to my feet, of course. No big surprise. If I hit an awesome return, however, the opponents have a Get Out Of Jail Free card. They can just push the ball over to my partner at baseline, using a shot they would never be able to hit if there were a net player standing there.

    So. All I can say is you cannot force someone to do something they do not feel they can do. If your partner really will not tolerate the net, all you can do is charge the net opportunistically when your opponents are in grave difficulty. I can assure you that is very difficult to do well for two sets.
     
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  12. jc4.0

    jc4.0 Professional

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    You were in a difficult situation for sure. I'm better from the baseline, but in doubles you have to be more versatile, not be afraid to move into the net (and in fact should be looking for opportunities to move forward).

    simply put - to play effective doubles, you have to be willing to move forward and put the ball away at net. so partnering with this person in future, discuss this type of strategy (in what situations would he/she feel okay moving forward?), and if your partner can't volley at all, find another doubles partner because you can't often win by only playing two-back. Even in singles, you gotta have a net game.
     
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  13. Nostradamus

    Nostradamus G.O.A.T.

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    It works well when receiving serve but it doesn't work when serving.
     
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  14. Steady Eddy

    Steady Eddy Hall of Fame

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    Yeah. I recall from a 1920's book that the top teams in those days stayed back returning serve. But the serving team would immediately take the net. I figure if this was good enough for championship tennis then, it's good enough for weekend players now.

    What doesn't seem to work is playing up with a serving partner who stays back. Eventually, your partner will hit a loose shot that makes you target practice. Of course if you poach, this partner will wonder why you got on "their side".
     
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  15. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Did you all see the ladies doubles final at the FO?

    Man, that was some interesting doubles. The ladies started in conventional formations, and from that point on, it was a mad scramble. It looked so incredibly random! Long points, players running all over the place, incredible shot-making.

    In contrast, the men's final (the little bit I saw, anyway), had shorter points and more S&V.

    The women were much more fun to watch.

    Back on topic . . . There's hardly a match that goes by when I don't wind up playing at least part of it two-back. It's a decent adjustment when either of us is having trouble returning, we aren't hitting our overheads left, we are losing 4-at-net exchanges, we are facing big hitters, or . . . we are just losing. It's a pretty low-risk change-up.
     
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  16. dcdoorknob

    dcdoorknob Hall of Fame

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    I actually agree with this too. If my partner wants to start the point from the back when I'm returning, well ok, I can deal with that fine. I still hope that they at least look for an opportunity to move forward sometime in the point, because I will be.

    But it really seems like it gets SO MUCH harder to hold serve when my partner won't start the point at the net. It's the quickest way to completely negate any serve advantage I might have, as all they have to do is patty cake it back deep to my partner and the point is completely neutralized. If it's not a service winner, the serving advantage just vanishes completely in one shot. I haven't figured out how to do anything about it either. Serve and cross to volley, having my partner switch back behind me to where I just served from? I haven't tried that but it seems like it would be a trainwreck. Blech.
     
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  17. Nostradamus

    Nostradamus G.O.A.T.

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    if you do two back when you are serving, it is like giving your opponents a short ball and saying, "here, why don't you come in on us and attack us"
     
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  18. jaybear1909

    jaybear1909 Rookie

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    I did notice we broke more often than we held. They broke me 3 times in a row I believe. Unless I came up with a great serve and forced them to return back to me, points were hard to end. If it was a second serve the ball was ALWAYS chipped to my partner. They'd bring her in to about the service line, and hit a lob to put her back. She can rally but has no put away. The woman opponent wasn't as hard to poach on, but her shots were all low slices. I got a read on the guy's shots eventually, but they were hard with spin so I couldn't always hit an offensive volley. Oh well, I'm back with my old partner now, who loves the net. :)
     
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  19. chatt_town

    chatt_town Hall of Fame

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    well...I've been in this position before and "if" she has to be back...I ask that she drill balls down the middle of the court especially when the guy is serving(assuming he's right handed and she's on the deuce side of the court returning) so I can have a stab at his backhand return. If she gets into too many rallies that are landing in the alley....I can't help her. I hate one up and one back and 2 back is out of the question for me. :) Another strategy is when the guy is serving if she can lob deep over the girl's head I come over and pick off the man's return with his backhand. We have broken a many of men's serves doing this. It's a lot safer when the man is serving as you most of the time don't have to worry about a woman crashing down over heads although I've seen some that can crack them as good as men...so you have to know who you are playing. :)


     
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  20. user92626

    user92626 Legend

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    What LeeD said.

    In addition, you need to broaden your own skills and stop depending on your partner, requiring her to position at such and such.

    I hate partners who direct me or they can't play. It's so weird and never works. Players position where they feel they're most optimal. They don't get better by suddenly taking a new position. And if you have to have a certain way or you can't play at all, you're worse than your partner who can play with more flexibility.

    With that said I think recreational levels are so low and erratic that nothing is reliable or obeys any rules anyway!!!! I specialize at the baseline and hone my groundstrokes to the point that I'm not worried about any netman. If I do my FH from deep inside no man's land to a netman, I seem to have a much higher percent of winning. :)

    Formations and rules are usually useless at these levels. It's all about one or two things that you do exceptionally well.
     
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