Targeting the net player on a return of serve

Discussion in 'Adult League & Tournament Talk' started by time_fly, Mar 23, 2014.

  1. kevrol

    kevrol Rookie

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    While I never try to hit someone with the ball it happens from time to time. Just like it happens that I get hit from time to time. I do find it hilarious that people get so upset about being hit. IT'S A TENNIS BALL!!! As long as it doesn't hit you in the head/face/eye it's not going to do any damage.
     
    #51
  2. MisterP

    MisterP Semi-Pro

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    I hit an overhead and accidentally blasted this guy right in the middle of his chest. It was totally unintentional, but the guy was in his 60s and I was really worried that I might have killed him. He hit the ground and moaned for a few seconds. Then he got up and left. I haven't seen him around the courts since.

    There is definitely psychological damage, if not physical, done to a lot of people who get hit in rec tennis. Whether it's warranted or not.
     
    #52
  3. tennis_ocd

    tennis_ocd Hall of Fame

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    The serving team is now running down a deep lob. The server should never get away with a deep groundie, on the run, with return team both at net. Short lob and you have an OH. Best he can do is hit a neutralizing lob. Goes without saying he can't follow his serve in if his partner isn't going to cover any type of lob.

    (Keep in mind we were discussing what to do with a weak serve with a good volleyer on top of the net.)
     
    #53
  4. TennisCJC

    TennisCJC Legend

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    I don't see may cases of pros playing 2 back while serving. That is extremely rare on ATP and almost as rare on WTA. I have seen it a very few times in WTA doubles and I cannot recall see it in ATP doubles.

    But, if your partner's serve is getting you killed at net, I don't see anything wrong with playing 2 back while serving. It is obviously better than picking tennis balls out of your chest.
     
    #54
  5. eelhc

    eelhc Hall of Fame

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    WTA are professionals too ::)

    I tell my doubles teams that the person who has the best chance of holding should serve first at the beginning of each set/tiebreak. This is not always the strongest server if their partner is not good at the net.
     
    #55
  6. Fintft

    Fintft Hall of Fame

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    I don't intentionally target the net player, but since I'm seeing the court with the "shoulder", he is in my peripherial vision and hence probably the best target lol

    Last season I gave a guy at the net a black eye, from 6 feet behind my baseline, so....
     
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  7. IA-SteveB

    IA-SteveB Professional

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    There is a guy in our rec league that hits hard and will almost always launch it at the net guy. I don't mind it because I know to expect it. It is funny because he is the guy who will start making unforced errors and as a result he starts hitting harder and making even more. I never intentionally hit anyone, mainly because I can't but I admittedly will try against this dude. Haha. He is a no apologies and I "you got in the way of my ball" kind of guy, which is fine.
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2014
    #57
  8. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    If the net player is active, poaching a lot, you need to preplan a DTL shot once in a while, BEFORE the serve motion starts.
     
    #58
  9. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

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    If the net player is a lower level and can't defend themselves well, I will not go at them. If we are playing on even terms, I'll sometimes go at them.
    In mixed, the women are usually at a lower level. I play with a couple of women who are better than me, so there's no problem wherever I hit the ball.
     
    #59
  10. cknobman

    cknobman Legend

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    A over and over and over again until the opposing net player eventually loses his cool.

    If he says anything to you just reply "Blame your partner, not me".

    EDIT: I would never do this in mixed against a female at the net.
     
    #60
  11. Fintft

    Fintft Hall of Fame

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    I'm with you 100% and I also feel like strangling my partner when he sends weak serves or loopy returns inviting the opposing team to use me as target practice at the net lol
     
    #61
  12. chatt_town

    chatt_town Hall of Fame

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    You have any video of this?<chatt grabs popcorn>


    Yea, I've had that happen before...lol some times I'll on a serve hit a frying pan serve straight in the air and let them<net man> see how it feels to have to play an overhead for a return.lol
     
    #62
  13. Mr.Lob

    Mr.Lob Hall of Fame

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    Well, I'm sure muscle strength would have to be part of the equation. Women have the torque, but men the horsepower.
     
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  14. Steady Eddy

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    I was thinking about this. You know how in other "team" sports they use stats to track individual performance, (so guys don't truly get that interested in performing for the team). Well, I believe that some guys are so used to that, that they just assume that in doubles they are responsible only for "their" side.

    So poop in a serve and let your partner get drilled, "Hey, I get credit for getting my serve in, and it was my partner who failed to defend "his" side!"

    When your partner poaches, don't cover the empty side cause why should you leave your post? Just give him a dumb look when the ball comes over to the uninhabited side. That's his fault.

    This list could go on forever, but that's enough. Doubles isn't complicated for someone who is really willing to be part of a team. But some guys are willing to lose if they can find a way to blame it on their partner.
     
    #64
  15. winstonlim8

    winstonlim8 Semi-Pro

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    Thanks for this. Silly me. I never thought of doing this. Next time I partner one of these guys, I shall certainly try these brilliant suggestions instead of simply praying not to get drilled or worrying about whether the idiots are going to cover the empty court behind me when I poach.

    Playing doubles sounds like it's going to be a lot more fun and a lot less stressful from now on!
     
    #65
  16. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    It's a TENNIS ball!
    Unless it hit's you in the eyeball, it's a TENNIS ball!!!
     
    #66
  17. kevrol

    kevrol Rookie

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    Completely agree.
     
    #67
  18. eelhc

    eelhc Hall of Fame

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    +1... wonder how some of these folks would manage in baseball or ice hockey.
     
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  19. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Baseball was tough. I pitched LittleLeague, for 3 practices..:)
    First fastball than came back up the box, caught me in the sternum, my glove just missing it, but it was a glancing blow because I was turned past center.
    Wow :shock: it could have hurt.
     
    #69
  20. TimothyO

    TimothyO Hall of Fame

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    I can't believe it. I have LeeD beat in a sports injury story. :)

    Lost some front (adult) teeth in a night game when I took a baseball to the mouth. Lost the pop up in the lights and missed the catch.

    I was strangely calm during the whole ordeal, even during the bloody ambulance ride to the hospital (it's pretty hard to stop the bleeding from horrific mouth wounds, especially with the tech of the time). But I started getting concerned when my mom arrived at the ER, took one look at me, and started freaking out! Later, when out and about with my older sister, she would yell a people for staring at me as it took a few months to heal (it was the 70s, people did stuff like that back then).
     
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  21. TimothyO

    TimothyO Hall of Fame

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    I took a tennis ball to the throat once...it was a decent shot but not a monster line drive. It really hurt but I could see it doing serious damage if it had been harder. It took several days to fully heal and I had difficulty swallowing.

    And a friend at our club had the bone in her finger literally pulverized into many tiny little fragments when an over-eager male drilled her at net. The ball slammed into her racquet hand so the bone was crushed between the ball and handle. It required serious reconstructive surgery as the bone had to be effectively replaced. She can play again but it was very serious.

    If a tennis ball can crush a finger bone like that just imagine what it can do to a nose, teeth, throat, etc. Water is soft too, unless you slam into it 50 mph.
     
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  22. TennisCJC

    TennisCJC Legend

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    yes, ears, eyes, nose, throat, fingers, kidney area of the back, and private parts can all hurt and serious injury is possible. I took a volley directly on the tip of my non playing hand 3rd finger next to pinkie. It hit right on the tip and drove the finger down into the hand. It turn blue and yellow and swelled up to about twice its normal size. It has been a month and it still is sore if I try to bend the top joint.

    I also took a crazy forehand in the eye once and got a nice shiner out of that one. We will killing this BIG GUY in doubles. And my little partner throws in a short 2nd serve. The big guy just wails on it and hit me in the eye. If I could have ducked it would have gone through the back fence in the air. I don't think the moron was even going at me, instead he was frustrated and just trying to hit it as hard as he could.
     
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  23. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    You can get into a pillow fight and get a length of cotton stuck in your eye.
    You can play air hockey and dislocate your elbow, falling down and hitting your head, to die.
    You can lay down in a meadow to enjoy the sky, and a piece of a meteor hit you upside your head.
    You can be typing on your computer right now, and suffer a heart attack.
     
    #73
  24. TimothyO

    TimothyO Hall of Fame

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    False equivalency is the sign of a weak argument.

    By your logic playing Russian Roulette isn't dangerous because you might get hurt in a pillow fight. That's idiotic.

    The issue at hand is the probability and costs of causing serious injury by deliberately hitting a tennis ball at someone at close range relative to any potential benefit:

    - potential cost: the target suffers a serious injury such as a crushed windpipe, bruised kidney, loss of an eye, broken finger, broken nose, tooth loss, etc.

    - potential benefit: you win a point in rec tennis game.

    IMO, only an a** h*** would consider that worthwhile, but I guess we were raised differently. ;)
     
    #74
  25. LuckyR

    LuckyR Legend

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    This endlessly discussed issue is essentially a tempest in a teapot. Namely as described by the OP, ie a USTA match, theoretically the players are reasonably evenly matched. Well, as it usually happens a 3.0 serve doesn't gives a 3.0 returner a ball they can tee off on without a chance of hitting it long or in the net. Same for a 4.0 serve to a 4.0 returner and 5.0 serve to a 5.0 returner etc.

    Even the lamest tennis player can avoid being struck with a groundstroke. Doesn't mean they can get their racquet on the ball for a winner, or a decent shot, or even on the ball at all. But anyone can dodge a groundstroke that is going to sail long and a return with enough pace on it to have even the lowest possible chance of striking an opposing player will have a decent (perhaps much more than decent) chance of flying long or hitting the net.
     
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  26. Steady Eddy

    Steady Eddy Hall of Fame

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    If you don't want to get hurt, just don't take any chances. When the opponent is going to smash it from close range, I just turn my back.
     
    #76
  27. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

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    Tell that to Jeff Simpson, who almost died as I was in the stands at the Xerox tournament in Washington D.C. (I guess the arena was actually in Maryland). He was hit in the throat, went down and swallowed his tongue.
    I wouldn't call an ATP pro a lame tennis player.
     
    #77
  28. eelhc

    eelhc Hall of Fame

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    No one is forcing anyone to stand close to the net. If you are afraid of getting hurt just play back. But don't stand at the net and poach while demanding not to be hit at because it cause serious injury. I was raised not to take cheap, unfair advantage of others.
     
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  29. asimple

    asimple Semi-Pro

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    No way, this is ********
     
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  30. TimothyO

    TimothyO Hall of Fame

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    There's a difference between hitting an opponent by accident and deliberately trying to hit him (read the subject line).

    Tennis carries inherent risks. My sister took a frame to the face in doubles and had her nose broken. It was an accident and very different from her partner deliberately whacking her in the face with her frame. If you can't distinguish the difference then you have no business playing sports. It's also like taking a cleat to the ankle while playing football by accident vs on purpose (happened to me) and having someone deliberately spike you in, say, baseball.

    I agree that doing things like coming to net behind a weak approach shot is more risky and doing so means the net player assumes more responsibility for risky behavior. I've beaned people doing that but I didn't try to drill them on purpose. They moved into my shot and once they make their choice I can't be expected to avoid them.

    Other sports have rules to protect vulnerable players. in football you can't hit a kickoff reciever who called for a fair catch. you can't nail a kicker mid-kick. You can't nail a defenseless receiver. There's no rule about smashing a 50mph FH into a net players face because it would be too hard to discern intent and most people wouldn't expect a rational person to do that in rec play.

    but maybe you're not rational and clearly believe smashing a 50mph FH into a person's face on purpose to gain one point in rec tennis is a good idea. Sounds sociopathic to me.
     
    #80
  31. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    To me, the netperson is FAIR GAME if he's moving around, poaching, and cutting off returns going for winners.
    The netperson should be left alone if he/she is staying put, not poaching, and not threatening the reciever at the baseline.
     
    #81
  32. TimothyO

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    I'll have her personal medical records mailed to you so you can personally verify it. Just post your contact info here. Include street address, phone number, real name, etc. That sounds truly reasonable, right?
     
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  33. TimothyO

    TimothyO Hall of Fame

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    By that do you mean if he gets hit, so be it? I'd agree with that. Especially if he or his partner is coughing up floaters.

    But if you mean you're going head hunting and trying to smash his face with 50mph FH* in order to score a point in a rec game, then I'd have to conclude you have a really messed up value system. If you're willng to blind a guy in one eye for a rec game point what the hell else are you wiling to do in more serious matters? What would you willing to do to a helpless female or child? Would you steal a person's cash or gear if you could get away with it? That might sound harsh but the only reason you can get away with deliberately injuring an opponent in a rec match is because the rules allow it. If you lack a moral compass to restrain yourself in that situation I shudder to think what you might do when similarly unconstrained in other situations.
     
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  34. asimple

    asimple Semi-Pro

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    If this was true you could just point me to the medical journal.

    I have unfortunately hit my finger with a hammer quite a few times as well as jamming my finger into a door. This happened to my 8 year old daughter about 6 months ago. Amazingly her finger was not completely crushed. Of course this admittedly did not have the same force as a 3.5 forehand.

    I have also taken shots directly in the balls from the overhead of a 5.0 player and lucky for me it didn't have the same force because although I couldn't get up for 15 minutes and sore for a day I was perfectly fine. I guess my balls are stronger than the bones of this lady's finger.
     
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  35. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Geesh, you gots a lot of hate to let loose.
    OK, net player is moving around, poaching for winners, trying to take as many balls as humanly possible, you OWE it to him to go DTL, or smarter, the alley side of his body (bigger target), and if it hit's him while he's jumping around and trying to distract you, so be it.
    He's asking for it. Give him what he deserves. You cannot control a return of serve anyways, to the point of actually "hurting" him. But, you HAVE to keep him honest, otherwise he's poaching on every return.
    I'd feel bad if I hit him in the eye, but I certainly won't avoid hitting hard low shots to the alley side of his body.
     
    #85
  36. tennis_ocd

    tennis_ocd Hall of Fame

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    I agree... kinda my rule of thumb. First poach and netperson is fairgame. Gets a little more complicated when the netplayer sits and I come to believe the server can overpower me on an extended cross court rally.... but then I'm not getting sitters.
     
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  37. blakesq

    blakesq Professional

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    Timothyo, thanks for not letting LeedD slide on that! Even though LeeD only said its ok to hit at the net person, we all know that means basically sneaking up on the guy and swinging a claw hammer into his eye socket! Unless you are always aiming away from the net guy, you are basically jamming a claw hammer into the players eyeball.


     
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  38. dcdoorknob

    dcdoorknob Hall of Fame

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    I was playing a league match last night, doubles, down 4-5 in the set with the opponents trying to serve it out. Server double faults to my partner, then misses his first serve to me. I guess he decided to for sure not double again, because he bailed out of his regular 2nd service motion and just basically tapped it with no pace to my backhand, first time he's done that all match.

    Opponent net man hasn't been all that active poaching (it's 3.5 doubles, very limited poaching is the norm). He's standing there a step or 2 inside the singles sideline, a few steps behind the net. As I'm moving up close to the service line to return the weak sitter, I decide my best option is to just drill a flat backhand at the netman. I'd rather end the point right away as this is likely the weakest shot I'll see, and it's hard to hit a clean winner crosscourt with the server at the baseline covering that half of the court. Also, not aiming close to any lines lessens the risk that I'll miss. Due to the nature of the serve, I feel there is a high % chance that I can put enough on it that the net man won't be able to get it back.

    So I hit the return at the net man. Net man doesn't get a racquet on it, opting instead to just take a step out of the way. He turns around and yells at his partner for the scared 2nd serve.

    I feel like it was a sound, reasonable decision to hit at the net man. It was an important point and I felt that shot was one that gave us the best chance of winning that point. The chance for actual injury was minimal imo, though not exactly 0 (it never is if you are playing tennis at all though). For whatever it's worth, we did break that game but lost the set in a tiebreak. :cry:
     
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  39. eelhc

    eelhc Hall of Fame

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    I guess hard body serves are out too then...

    The net player is deliberately trying to gain an offensive advantage by standing near the net. Why is this OK then? Why is it not OK to try to win a point by hitting a ball back that's hard to handle?

    And even if I was not trying to target the net player... There's no guarantee that an errant shot up the middle won't go right at them. Am I suppose to take pace off all my shots until I get good enough so that there's no possibility of injury?

    For casual play I do take pace off my shots and do not hit at the net person... They're always surprised when my game "changes" for USTA matches though...
     
    #89
  40. eelhc

    eelhc Hall of Fame

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    All the debate aside... How often does someone get seriously injured when hit by a Tennis ball? Much more likely to have ankle, knee, groin, wrist, elbow, shoulder issues. In fact... I'm more afraid I might get hit by an errant golf ball than a tennis ball drilled at me.

    Again... why is it not acceptable to just stand back if you're afraid of getting hurt?
     
    #90
  41. LuckyR

    LuckyR Legend

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    Essentially, your having to reach way back for such an obviously outlier example to "prove" your point shows how statistically ridiculous the OP's assertion is/was, as stated.
     
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  42. dcdoorknob

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    Yeah, to me it's a bit analogous to commercial airline safety. Yes, there are plane crashes, and they are awful and usually covered extensively in the news when they happen. But, statisticlaly speaking, flying by commercial airline is one of the safest ways to travel.

    Likewise, people have on occation been injured seriously by being hit by a tennis ball, but that doesn't mean that it's actually anything more than an exceedingly rare occurance, statistically speaking.
     
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  43. schmke

    schmke Professional

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    Played a friendly but competitive match last night with friends. I'm playing ad court and their first service game first point to me, I get a good look at a forehand on a first serve and pull it down the line with a good bit of pace. It happens to be at the net man and he misses the volley.

    I only take one or two more shots down the line the rest of the match, but afterwards, he says he was worried about it all match and it was a great strategy to drill one at him to start as it put the thought in his mind and had him second guessing what to do.

    Was I aiming at him and trying to hit him? No. But like others have said, if the net man is going to be there and want to knock off volleys for winners, you have to keep him honest and not let him get so comfortable that he can squeeze or poach to his hearts content.
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2014
    #93
  44. PMChambers

    PMChambers Professional

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    If you can't volley, what the hell are you doing at net? Stay back there's no rule stating the servers partner must play the net. Personally, I love the opposition to go at me, especially my head, it's a free point. The net in doubles is pure offense, it's where you want to take the ball, being hit at should be your preference.
     
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  45. tennis_ocd

    tennis_ocd Hall of Fame

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    It is! Puts even more pressure on the server. Most net players recognize this and want the challenge. Occasionally you get the prima donna that only wants balls he can volley and things have potential to get heated.
     
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  46. Bud

    Bud Bionic Poster

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    If it's a competitive match (USTA or club), A

    If it's a fun/social match, B or most likely C

    Hitting a dipping CC or DTL shot by the net player is not targeting them.
     
    #96
  47. Richie Rich

    Richie Rich Legend

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    +1. i can't count the number of times i've been drilled/narrowly missed while at the net during 5.0 league matches. part of the game. hit a few people myself. but i do draw the line at hitting at women. wouldn't do that unless they were a real b i t.....
     
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  48. RogueFLIP

    RogueFLIP Semi-Pro

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    To the people afraid of getting hit by a tennis ball, maybe you should try desensitizing yourself by getting shot by a paintball marker a few times.

    One clinic I attended, the instructors shot everyone a la firing squad at 10, 20, 30 yards so we would learn the feeling and realize it wasn't anything to squeal about.

    Field limits are about 200 mph with paintballs.

    You won't be complaining about a random rare tennis ball hit at 100mph or less.


    I'm of the mindset that my opponents (man/woman/child) don't dictate where I hit my shot.

    I don't hit with fear. I got too many other things to worry about.
     
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  49. Gemini

    Gemini Hall of Fame

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    I'm confused as to how people saying that "yes...you can be hurt by a tennis ball" has turned into "people being afraid of a tennis". A tennis ball can hurt you under the right circumstances..plain and simple. I'm not afraid of being struck by a tennis ball hit by my opponent but I would expect that he or she is not head-hunting me either. I never hit directly at my opponent at the net.
     
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  50. PMChambers

    PMChambers Professional

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    That's not good, nearly all offensive volleys should be played at the net player or behind them. Volley up to the baseline, volley down to the net player.

    Rarely drive down the line, it's better to drive at the net player. The down the line shot is generally the hardest shot to hit and the volleyer should be watching for it. A slower and heavier spun ball at the net player is safer than down the line, the down the line shot is for reducing net player poaching or when you have no other options such as breaking serve.

    Never hit on an opponent's head as he will volley a winner or get out the way and the ball will go long.

    On a really short ball a push at the net player is better than an offensive shot around the player, if you can't get top spin on the shot.

    If the net player started moving backwards away from the net, always hit it to them and close on the net. Preferably hit with medium pace heavy topspin, you can't hit a ball going backwards especially one dipping. This is the same for anyone standing on or near the service line. They are the weakest link and therefore should be hit too.

    Hitting the ground shot at or near the net player takes, your partner at net out of the game and therefore a poor choice, the aim of doubles it to get your net player into the game to finish the point. Net is king in doubles even on slow surfaces.

    If the net player can't volley they should be at the baseline, if you're at net your signigalling their intentions to be offensive and aggressive and therefore a target if needed. If you don't want to be hit, you turn your back and run off court ASAP, if you face the opposition you're still playing.
     

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