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cak 05-20-2010 04:44 PM

Switching in doubles
 
If your partner is going for a ball that is going over your head on your side of the court in doubles, do you automatically switch sides? Or do you only switch when they yell switch?

All the folks at my club take lessons from the same pro, and we were all taught the same doubles positioning strategies, so we know where our partner is supposed to be. However I was playing with a lady at another club and she never switches when the ball goes over her head, and she stands very close to the net, so anything that goes up goes over her head. I'm thinking she learned something entirely different.

Cindysphinx 05-20-2010 04:59 PM

I was taught that the player over whose head the ball is going should make an immediate decision on whether they are or are not going to play that lob. If so, they say "Mine." If not, they say "Switch" or some such.

Since none of us are perfect (and because we often play with others who don't do things this way), the deep person can make the call and yell "Switch."

I doubt that anyone taught your friend that when a lob goes over her head she should do nothing and stand there in her partner's way. :) I partner with someone who does this, however. Her problem is her overall court awareness. So she won't recognize that if the ball is directly behind her, that means her partner is directly behind her. If her partner tells her to switch, she won't do it unless the command is given quickly and will claim that there was no time to switch.

:sigh:

all3ofus 05-20-2010 07:06 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by cak (Post 4671978)
If your partner is going for a ball that is going over your head on your side of the court in doubles, do you automatically switch sides? Or do you only switch when they yell switch?

All the folks at my club take lessons from the same pro, and we were all taught the same doubles positioning strategies, so we know where our partner is supposed to be. However I was playing with a lady at another club and she never switches when the ball goes over her head, and she stands very close to the net, so anything that goes up goes over her head. I'm thinking she learned something entirely different.

It all depends.. If you both play up, then someone has to get it. But if she always plays at the net and you play back then maybe you should have a discussion with her. Communication never hurts in doubles..

Off The Wall 05-20-2010 07:42 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Cindysphinx (Post 4671995)
I was taught that the player over whose head the ball is going should make an immediate decision on whether they are or are not going to play that lob. If so, they say "Mine." If not, they say "Switch" or some such.

That's a lot of pressure on the lobbee. The net person should assume an overhead. The partner should assume no overhead. As the two move into position, it should become evident what to do. If the net person can get into position to hit an overhead, great. If not, she will abort and switch. Then the partner will return the lob.

Cindysphinx 05-20-2010 07:49 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Off The Wall (Post 4672313)
That's a lot of pressure on the lobbee. The net person should assume an overhead. The partner should assume no overhead. As the two move into position, it should become evident what to do. If the net person can get into position to hit an overhead, great. If not, she will abort and switch. Then the partner will return the lob.

I don't think that works very well.

If a lob goes up and my partner is going to play it, I will immediately move to the service line. Then if the smash comes back, we have two people at net. Perfect.

If I have to hang around in a position that would allow me to retrieve the lob should my partner abort on her smash (basically backing her up), I will not be at the other service line. Instead, we will be in a ragged I formation, and half the court is open.

When we practice this, we focus on training the lobbee to make the call, 'cause that lob is her ball because it is going over her head. If the lobbee remains silent, the deep person should take this silence to mean the lobbee is going to hit a smash, so the deep person goes to the service line (if the lobbee wants help, she had better ask for it). If the mute lobbee does not play the smash, the ball will fall unplayed behind the lobbee and the pro will scold the lobbee.

Also, no lobs are supposed to bounce. If the lobbee says to switch in a timely fashion, the deep player -- who was on her way to the net -- is supposed to cross and take the lob out of the air as an approach volley.

Yeah, it's difficult and demanding, but you can kill people by playing this way.

Off The Wall 05-20-2010 08:20 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Cindysphinx (Post 4672331)
I don't think that works very well.

If a lob goes up and my partner is going to play it, I will immediately move to the service line. Then if the smash comes back, we have two people at net. Perfect.

If I have to hang around in a position that would allow me to retrieve the lob should my partner abort on her smash (basically backing her up), I will not be at the other service line. Instead, we will be in a ragged I formation, and half the court is open.

When we practice this, we focus on training the lobbee to make the call, 'cause that lob is her ball because it is going over her head. If the lobbee remains silent, the deep person should take this silence to mean the lobbee is going to hit a smash, so the deep person goes to the service line (if the lobbee wants help, she had better ask for it). If the mute lobbee does not play the smash, the ball will fall unplayed behind the lobbee and the pro will scold the lobbee.

Also, no lobs are supposed to bounce. If the lobbee says to switch in a timely fashion, the deep player -- who was on her way to the net -- is supposed to cross and take the lob out of the air as an approach volley.

Yeah, it's difficult and demanding, but you can kill people by playing this way.

My scenario involves lobs over a net team, meaning a lob that must be bounced.

I don't like the lobbee calling it. Often they don't know that can't hit an effective overhead until the last second. (They were premature.) The partner has a better angle of observation.

So, here's how it works. The lobbee starts to back up to hit an overhead. (This usually happens on the service line or closer. After the service line, you need a pretty decent overhead.) At about the service line the lobbee will know whether to overhead or not. The partner is shadowing (along side) the lobbee, waiting for the decision. If it's an overhead, the partner turns and goes to volley position. If a bounce condition, the lobbee switches and the partner makes the return.

Usually, if a team can lob over the head of another team so that they can't overhead it, that team will take up position at the net. An approach volley shouldn't be effective.

Steady Eddy 05-20-2010 10:36 PM

When your partner crosses over to your side, leaving one side of the court double-teamed, and the other side completely open, I think it's a no-brainer that you need to get over to the open side. Somebody who thinks, "But that's my partner's side, I shouldn't have to cover it, it's my partner's responsibility.", isn't much of a team player. It moderately annoys me when partners say "switch" because they think I'm such a noob that I'd just stand there and leave half the court open. Anyone above 2.5 shouldn't need to be told to "switch". It's just common sense, you cover where you're needed, don't be obsessed with "my side/your side" thinking. You're supposed to be a team.

Cindysphinx 05-21-2010 05:22 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Steady Eddy (Post 4672666)
When your partner crosses over to your side, leaving one side of the court double-teamed, and the other side completely open, I think it's a no-brainer that you need to get over to the open side. Somebody who thinks, "But that's my partner's side, I shouldn't have to cover it, it's my partner's responsibility.", isn't much of a team player. It moderately annoys me when partners say "switch" because they think I'm such a noob that I'd just stand there and leave half the court open. Anyone above 2.5 shouldn't need to be told to "switch". It's just common sense, you cover where you're needed, don't be obsessed with "my side/your side" thinking. You're supposed to be a team.

"Switch" = "I'm not going to be able to play this ball, so you'll have to get it." It does not mean "Please don't be a noob and leave half the court open."

It is very annoying to me when partners do not say switch (or something) for lobs. It means I must read their minds, their body language, everything. Why can't they just say what they're going to do?

spot 05-21-2010 05:45 AM

Quote:

Also, no lobs are supposed to bounce. If the lobbee says to switch in a timely fashion, the deep player -- who was on her way to the net -- is supposed to cross and take the lob out of the air as an approach volley.
Wow- you guys take far more balls out of the air that anyteam I have ever seen. Seriously- you will volley a ball out of the air that lands halfway between the service line and the baseline? You will volley a ball that lands within a foot of the baseline? That seems like a crazy strategy to me. If you can hit an overhead off of that ball then I get it, volleying that seems like a poor choice.

HitItHarder 05-21-2010 05:56 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Cindysphinx (Post 4672331)
Also, no lobs are supposed to bounce. If the lobbee says to switch in a timely fashion, the deep player -- who was on her way to the net -- is supposed to cross and take the lob out of the air as an approach volley.

Yeah, it's difficult and demanding, but you can kill people by playing this way.

If the lob is hit with no real extreme topspin and is high enough that the bounce will bring the ball back to up to approximate level of my serve toss, I always let it bounce if it is at the baseline.

Because I hit the lob return like I hit my flat serve. Only I don't have to worry about getting it in the service box. I hit 10 winners for every UE. However, taking the ball out of the air for this type of return results in a lot more UEs from me. And honestly part of the problem may be that I detest having to lob back a lob, so typically my return of a lob is at least hit to be a forcing shot, if not an outright offensive shot.

So -- do I need to practice taking these baseline lobs out of the air? The reason I ask is that most lobs this high allow the opponents to reset court positioning anyway. So my taking the lob out of the air really isn't reducing the opponents time to get in position or react. I guess I am trying to understand the risk/benefit balance of doing this on lobs to the baseline.

Cindysphinx 05-21-2010 09:28 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by spot (Post 4673223)
Wow- you guys take far more balls out of the air that anyteam I have ever seen. Seriously- you will volley a ball out of the air that lands halfway between the service line and the baseline? You will volley a ball that lands within a foot of the baseline? That seems like a crazy strategy to me. If you can hit an overhead off of that ball then I get it, volleying that seems like a poor choice.

Say I S&V. I split step when opponent is hitting. They choose to lob my partner.

I should cross and take that ball out of the air as a high approach volley. I should play it deep and keep moving to net. If I bounce that ball, I will be in a world of hurt, as I will have a more difficult time moving forward.

If it is an awesome lob (lots of topspin, directed toward the alley), it may be "too good" whether I bounce it or not.

This is the way teams who beat me handle lobs. It definitely has its merits, provided you can put that approach volley deep.

tennis tom 05-21-2010 11:27 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by cak (Post 4671978)

... I was playing with a lady at another club and she never switches when the ball goes over her head, and she stands very close to the net, so anything that goes up goes over her head...


Someone should stick a mirror under her nostrils to check if she's still alive.

spot 05-21-2010 03:30 PM

Cindy- I guess to me volleying from no-man's land is just about the worst shot in all of tennis. I don't see any way at all to be aggressive with that. If I am that deep I think its far better to hit a swinging shot whether it be a overhead or groundstroke.

Puredrivetennis 05-21-2010 03:43 PM

when switching, its typically decided from the baseline or further back player, typically whoevers serving/recieving.. he/she should read the situation and gauge whether or not the ball can be taken offensively and move accordingly. this person should also dictate the actions of their partner with a command (switch, stay, take, my ball, et cetera).

slewisoh 05-21-2010 09:44 PM

A lot of women I know who play mixed doubles tend to play very tight to the net. Perhaps because I'm anticipating they probably won't get back for an overhead, I can often cross behind and play an aggressive volley from just behind the service line. It's especially effective when I'm crossing over to the deuce side and can take a forehand up the line to my opponent's backhand. If done at the right time and executed properly, it robs the other team of time - lots of ifs in there...Some players are very rhythmic and any unanticipated change in pace can often throw them off.

I don't tend to take it in the air on the ad side, mostly because I can't figure out a good place to attack, and because I have a harder time getting back into position at the service line. Up the line often results in an equally aggressive forehand volley from my opponent. In this situation I will usually go for a deep lob up the middle of the court so they at least have to make a decision about how to play the ball and so I have time to get back into position.

Cindysphinx 05-22-2010 05:27 AM

^Agreed. Say you serve to the deuce court and are coming in. They lob your partner. Player who strikes the lob stays back at the baseline (very common scenario at 3.5/4.0).

If I can catch up with that ball, I can hit a crosscourt volley into the huge gap between the deep player and net player. Deep player can try to run this down, but she will be hitting a running BH against two players at net.

As slewisoh says, the approach volley can also be taken up the line -- hard to do on the BH side but easy to do on the FH side.

When our pro first started teaching us to do this, we looked at him like he had two heads. It seemed impossible. Now I find it easier than bouncing the ball, getting into position and hitting a drive. Especially if the deep opponent followed the lob to net.

Steady Eddy 05-22-2010 11:45 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Cindysphinx (Post 4673162)
"Switch" = "I'm not going to be able to play this ball, so you'll have to get it." It does not mean "Please don't be a noob and leave half the court open."

It is very annoying to me when partners do not say switch (or something) for lobs. It means I must read their minds, their body language, everything. Why can't they just say what they're going to do?

Your situation has the lobbee saying "switch" to their partner. I'm thinking of when the partner has crossed for the lob, (so I'm already moving to the other side), and I hear "switch". I think, "Can't you see I'm already headed there?" I'm sure they've been scarred by partners who just stand there and think, "We lost 'cause you became a ball-hog and got on my side of the court. After-all, they scored on "your side"."

stapletonj 05-23-2010 05:16 AM

When I was young, I learned the retreat, jump, scissor kick and smash the overhead away technique from some guy (Harold Soloman?) in a tan Jantzen tennis outfit.

Of course, then I was 6'6", 195 lbs, and could play 6 hours straight in July. sunscreen? sunglasses? Hats? Those were for sissys........

Why pick it out of the air rather than allow a bounce? only two real reasons. First, you will be hitting your overhead from a deeper position if you "bounce it". This is usually giving up an advantage especially the more topspin or "horizontally" the lob is hit. Second, bouncing it actually allows the opponent(s) an extra second or two to get ready to retrieve the overhead.

Why allow it to bounce? If it is a high lob, the opponents are going to have time to get in posiiton anyway, the extra 1 or 2 seconds prolly will make little or no difference. gravity has an accelleration of 32 feet per second per second. If the opponent has hit the ball 100 feet in the air, that ball is going to be dropping A LOT faster than your service toss, making it exponentially harder to time your overhead swing. A bounced ball is going to be dropping towards you A LOT more slowly and like a service toss, thereby making it MUCH easier to get your swing timing in place and able to concentrate on placement.

20 years later? My advice, If you are inside the service line, OK, take it out of the air, especially if it is not a high outdoor lob. Any thing deeper than that (unless it is a real honest topspin lob that is going to be a flat winner if you bounce it), let it bounce. CAVEAT - extra footwork is required, you have to run deeper back than you think you need to, but the good news is that then you step FORWARD into the bounced ball and can REALLY cream it with a high degree of probability you are going to hit a good forcing shot.

If you opponents can take the net in that period of time and volley away your best overhead for a winner, well, you say good shot and move on. If they can do that time and time again, they might just be better players and you need ot lob back.

tennytive 05-23-2010 05:50 AM

At times on second serves I hit an offensive lob over the net man's head. He's standing too close, and there's no way he or his partner can take it out of the air. His partner has to run across the whole baseline and hit a lob himself 9 times out of 10.

And to answer the OP it should be automatic to switch in this scenario. When I'm the net player, and the lob is over my head, my usual practice is to slide over to the open side and stay at about the service line until my partner hits the ball. From there we decide to advance, retreat, etc. but at least we have both sides of the court covered.

A lob hit down the middle would be another story… that would be a better case for calling out switch or stay.


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