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Cindysphinx 12-15-2012 10:04 AM

"Got It!" Confusion
 
I'm playing with a new partner, and we are are doing practices to improve our partnership. An issue keeps coming up, so maybe you guys can advise.

The background is that we both come to net a lot, and we are effective up there. Naturally, this causes our opponents to lob. They also tend to drive balls up the middle.

The good news is that middle balls do not go unplayed, and we are getting better with our overheads.

The bad news is that we are having problems with both of us trying to play the same ball.

An example: She is ad, I am deuce. Opponents lob her. She will say "Got it." I look over and see she is in trouble (falling backward, etc.). If I do nothing (play as though she will make the shot), it sometimes bounces unplayed behind her. If I shadow her by going close enough to make the shot if she does not, I am out of position and in her way. But if I say "Got it!" and call her off of it, well . . . that's not going to be easy for me either.

Another example: Ball comes up the middle while we are both around the service line or I am slightly in front. We both say "Got it!" at the same time. Because I said "Got it!", I am unwilling to yank my racket down. Huge racket clash, loss of point.

Another example: Ball goes over my head and I start lining up a challenging overhead. She says "Got it!" I say, "No, I've got it!" and then I botch the shot. Or I make the shot but she is out of position because she was preparing to run down the ball.

I'm very unsure about how we can avoid all the Keystone Cops stuff. I think we agree that we want to take lobs out of the air and avoid bouncing/running them down. I think we both understand who covers middle and who covers alley (although this can get a bit ragged in the middle of a long point).

It just seems that trying to have good communication habits and calling balls isn't preventing confusion.

LeeD 12-15-2012 10:08 AM

Person in front takes the ball if it's unclear.
You have to trust your partner not to throw up a sitter on difficult shots, or you'll both be standing together.

dcdoorknob 12-15-2012 10:26 AM

Sounds like most of the confusion could be solved by both of you:

1) only saying "got it" when you really have it, and you are in better position to play the ball than your partner could or would be.

and 2) believing your partner when they say "got it," not telling them "no you don't, I do!" mid-point, and not taking yourself out of position for the next ball just to possibly cover in case they don't actually "got it" when they said they did.

2 would likely follow pretty easily if 1 can be achieved first. Of course 1 is easier said than done in the middle of a point, but still from your description it honestly doesn't sound like either of you do that very well and to me that sounds like the root of the problem.

I'd also add that, in the case of an overhead, the person who could have the overhead should make the call, either "got it" or the opposite. I don't think the partner who would have to cross behind should be making a call at all, but rather reacting to whatever the partner says, either trusting that they "got it" when they say they do, or going to get it as soon as they indicate that they don't.

Maui19 12-15-2012 01:44 PM

I don't see any problem with shadowing your partner when they are trying to play a tough overhead. Personally I find it easy to stay close enough to reach it if they miss, but far away enough not to be in their way. I also don't have trouble getting back into position.

The racquet clash, while not ideal, is better than neither taking the ball. Those balls are always a challenge because the ball is on you so quickly. Generally, I play that the cross court player takes it, but YMMV.

Cindysphinx 12-15-2012 01:58 PM

I think we are going to have to decide that silence on an overhead means "It is going over my head and I've got it."

This might also help with the dreaded late "Got it" call where the lobbed player sets up to play the ball and then abandons ship much too late with a belated "YOU!"

tennis tom 12-15-2012 02:01 PM

To make a long story short, get a new partner...this pairing has no future...your partner is delusional about her abilities,...if she's older then five, there's little hope she will be able to change her character this late in life...dump her.

beernutz 12-15-2012 02:32 PM

I like the tennisoxygen approach that if the ball goes over a player's head, no matter if they are at the net or not, it is that player's responsibility to determine who plays the ball. That player should either immediately call 'mine' or 'yours' to make their decision on which player plays the ball known to the other player. If that player calls 'yours' then that player should immediately switch to cover the other side of the court.

Dave M 12-15-2012 03:17 PM

Also try using a different phrase to "got it" it can be too ambiguous (sp?) it could be "(I) got it" or "got it?".
I was always told that the person comming forward should take the ball if there is a choice rather than the one scrambling to retreat, that would also play out the same if one of you can get to it in time to move forward as you play the lob, as opposed to the one being lobbed hitting an overhead that is actually behind them resulting in a poor shot.

directionals 12-15-2012 03:34 PM

IMO, one shouldnt ask questions while the ball is in play. Asking questions just confuses the hell of people. One time I was lining up for an overhead and my new partner said "Got it?". I wasn't sure if she was making a statement or asking a question. I obviously had the shot. Wih that small hesitation, I let the ball bounce. I ended up turning around to catch the ball.

Do other people ask questions during a point? Just curious.

OrangePower 12-15-2012 06:41 PM

I think there are in fact very very few occasions where anyone should be calling "got it".

Ball coming down the middle when two players are at net: Really no time to call for it in this situation. Player in front and/or with better angle always goes for it. This is a matter of feel not communication.

Lobs: Player being lobbed should either go for it (and keep quiet), or else call for help ("help" or "yours").

"Got it" makes sense in rare situations where for example both are back and opponent hits a drop volley short in the middle of the court. First player to react will call for it.

Cindysphinx 12-15-2012 07:51 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by OrangePower (Post 7065214)
I think there are in fact very very few occasions where anyone should be calling "got it".

Ball coming down the middle when two players are at net: Really no time to call for it in this situation. Player in front and/or with better angle always goes for it. This is a matter of feel not communication.

Lobs: Player being lobbed should either go for it (and keep quiet), or else call for help ("help" or "yours").

"Got it" makes sense in rare situations where for example both are back and opponent hits a drop volley short in the middle of the court. First player to react will call for it.

Hmmm. I kind of thought that calling "Mine" or suchlike was good practice. It tells the partner that you are large and in charge and are going to hit a confident shot (remember, I'm not supposed to be looking at you). If I hear "Mine," then I know we have resolved the issue of who will play the ball and I can focus on other matters.

Also, the pro we use is a fan of calling "Mine" even if there's not much question that you are going to poach. The reason is psychological. He says you volley more confidently and aggressively when you have "claimed" the ball. I think there may be something to this. Still, I am way more likely to say "Switch" or "you" than "mine."

tennis tom 12-15-2012 09:22 PM

Your coach is from the noisey school, he must of picked that up when he played Davis Cup. I prefer the quiet school of tennis, it's one of the few activities on the planet that is still "relatively" quiet. Making a lot of sounds on a tennis court can be disturbing to neighboring courts and angers the gods. What happened to the coach you had awhile back with the cute foreign accent? If your coaches knew how to teach you wouldn't be always coach shopping.

Players cover their own lobs, no need to do the Chinese fire drill. If they lob over your head, move back a step--if they lob successfully over your head again, just say "Nice shot" and move back another step. Your opponents are gauging their lobs by where you are standing--eventually their lobs will fly long--it's easier to run forward then back.

If your "new" partner is too old and slow to cover her own lobs, she's gonna' be too slow to do the "switch" thing successfully to cover the open court, especially against decent opponents who can aim the ball.

All things being equal, the player who hit the first volley hits the next, because they can, and are in rhythm with the ball.

In my experience when partners rackets clash, good things usually happen, a testament to teamwork--your team's results may vary. I only say "YOURS" as an after thought on the court to emphasize to my (temp) partner that lacking court sense and attention, they xcrewed up.

sureshs 12-16-2012 09:50 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Cindysphinx (Post 7065268)
Hmmm. I kind of thought that calling "Mine" or suchlike was good practice. It tells the partner that you are large and in charge and are going to hit a confident shot (remember, I'm not supposed to be looking at you). If I hear "Mine," then I know we have resolved the issue of who will play the ball and I can focus on other matters.

Don't know about the large part.

But the story doesn't end with "mine." You need to switch if necessary. If the lob is behind you and your partner is going to get it, you need to switch to the other court.

luvn10is 12-16-2012 12:15 PM

I played with someone exactly like this yesterday. We're both hyperactive net players and once the other team saw they couldn't hang with our volleys, they backed up to the baseline and started lobbing like crazy.

It used to be that if I didn't get beat outright by the lob, I'd leave the court so mad and frustrated it may as well have been a loss. But one day a coach was watching and when I came off the court he told me what I should've done. I hooked up with him shortly after and he taught me some tools to use against lobsters like hitting sharp angles, drop volleys, short dribblers; shots that are hard to lob. He drilled in my head that if I hit anything beyond the service line to someone waiting at the baseline I should prepare for a hot shot to the gut but I should position myself get the lob.

He also taught me a handy formation that I used yesterday because I refused to do one up/one back like my partner suggested. Coach calls it the hot/cold seat. The person who volleys the ball (hot seat) keeps moving forward with each volley, attacking, while their partner (cold seat) holds position no more than a step or two inside the service line.

The cold seat is a guard position. It's hard to lob over that person and it puts them in position to catch a ball lobbed over the hot seat player, usually high enough to pop a volley. You can also hit effective first volleys from the position so if the opponents switch it up and start hitting to the cold seat, the roles immediately reverse. That person then hits the first volley and moves forward to attack a second. The former hot seat player drifts back and positions themselves inside the service line.

In most cases there's no discussion over who gets the lob. Usually when two people are at the net, they are side by side. Ball goes up and the person under the ball feels pressure to get it because they're closer to it than their partner. But with hot/cold, the hot seat player knows their partner is behind them specifically to cover so they're more likely to give it to them.

But some people are just stuck on stupid. If you find she still won't let you take the ball, it might be that she's just too aggressive and greedy for your styles to ever mesh.

Maui19 12-16-2012 12:51 PM

The hot seat/cold seat concept is how I was taught to play the two-up position (although we didn't use the cool terminology :-) ). The cold seat person is responsible for all lobs to his/her side, plus lobs that land within 6' of the baseline on the hot seat side. There really doesn't need to be a lot of verbal communication because everyone knows who is supposed to get what balls. And it forces your opponents to hit really good lobs if they want to stay in the point.

leroy_sunset 12-16-2012 01:09 PM

Seems easy to me.

1. If the ball is traditionally "yours" (forehand/backhand on the ad side, forehand on the deuce side) and you call "mine" then your partner should let you have it. Period.

2. If your partner calls "mine" on an overhead, it's theirs. Don't run back to ensure coverage, because you're going to lose on the next shot due to being out of position. Period.

Keep practicing and trust your partner. Eventually you'll get used to who is most comfortable with what shot. Then the "mine" and "yours" will be more consistent. Personally, I say "yours" a lot more than "mine." But if the ball could be played by either of us, I feel that someone should always say something.

Also, you mentioned it as an example, but you say "she's ad, I'm deuce." Ad player takes most of the overheads. Ad player takes most of the middle balls. So who is "taking" balls they shouldn't be taking?

tennis tom 12-16-2012 01:52 PM

Cindy, you should print this thread out and have coffee with your new partner and discuss. If she won't go for that, like I said earlier, your partnership doesn't have much of a future.

luvn10is 12-16-2012 02:59 PM

Yeah, Maui. When I play with people who do it, I find it easier to attack volleys because I don't have to worry about the lob. If they get it over us, it's just a good shot. :)

Cindysphinx 12-16-2012 04:14 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by leroy_sunset (Post 7066254)
Seems easy to me.

1. If the ball is traditionally "yours" (forehand/backhand on the ad side, forehand on the deuce side) and you call "mine" then your partner should let you have it. Period.

2. If your partner calls "mine" on an overhead, it's theirs. Don't run back to ensure coverage, because you're going to lose on the next shot due to being out of position. Period.

Keep practicing and trust your partner. Eventually you'll get used to who is most comfortable with what shot. Then the "mine" and "yours" will be more consistent. Personally, I say "yours" a lot more than "mine." But if the ball could be played by either of us, I feel that someone should always say something.

Also, you mentioned it as an example, but you say "she's ad, I'm deuce." Ad player takes most of the overheads. Ad player takes most of the middle balls. So who is "taking" balls they shouldn't be taking?

It sounds like you play "Forehand takes the middle." Nope, not me. Crosscourt takes the middle, except that the player in front always has priority on a ball she wants. Players are expected to poach/volley with their BHs, and there is no excuse for a 4.0 doubles specialist who has to lay off of a poachable ball just because it is a BH volley.

Funny thing. I played with a different lady today, one I had never partnered with before. No communication problems. If she couldn't get a lob, she immediately called a switch. I crossed behind her and took them out of the air. I don't think a single lob went unplayed.

Thinking back on the other partner, I think the issue is a lack of trust. If a lob goes up to you and you say "Mine!" and then the ball bounces behind you for a winner, that is unacceptable. It means you badly misjudged the ball. It makes it hard for me to trust your judgment the next time.

waves2ya 12-16-2012 04:28 PM

Will Hamilton's Fuzzy Yellow Balls site is hosting a seminar series with Bryan Bros (if you haven't gotten all the emails...!) that featured 4 free videos over past 10 days (don't think they are up any longer)...

But the Bros. advocate that a main 'partnership' tenant is to agree which player will take all lobs (back up, come in) and which player will get out of way, and the swarm net for put away...

The vid's had really good tips - that being one of them.


They've extended enrollment; you can prolly check out vid's at:

www bryanbrosplaybook dot com


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