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chatt_town 02-04-2013 07:47 AM

Doubles positioning before the point starts
 
I need some help here from some doubles specialist. I was having a conversation with my wife on the way home about how she is standing at the net when I'm returning. She stands with her feet and body and in general facing the server(person that can't hurt her at that point). I personally always stand facing the net person on the other side in case I need to have a reflex volley. I feel like it is is much easier to volley a ball facing the person than basically reaching to the side or behind me trying to volley. What do you all think its the correct way or do you even have a preference? I also like to do this when I'm returning. Again, she is basically facing the net person even though the serve is coming from an angle. It seems to me it would effect your foot work. The guy kept acing her wide and up the T at will on the deuce side. there were some times she didn't even get to swing at the ball. My thing is simply if you aren't stepping into the court and on your toes as the ball is tossed you won't get to bounce as you made need to. So how do you all handle court positioning before the point starts in doubles? I'm going to do a little research but I want to know how you all handle it. I could be wrong but I seem to get back a lot more reflex volleys that I don't think I'd get a raquet on if I was facing the server.

burosky 02-04-2013 08:07 AM

As with anything in tennis it all depends. I would venture to guess most people would be facing the opposing net player as you do. However, from personal experience, I sometimes ask my female partner to position herself closer to the net (normal volley position) when I'm confident that I can return the serve crosscourt. This usually happens when our female opponent is serving or when our male opponent doesn't have a serve I cannot control. Doing this places my female partner in an offensive position right from the get go which typically will force our opponent to hit it back to me. If I can hit an effective return it usually results in a quick point for us. At the very least, it lessens the chances of my female partner becoming a target after I hit my return.

In general, when my opponent has an effective serve, the normal position would be for my partner to be near the T and facing the opposing net player. If I'm having trouble returning serve I would even ask my partner to go on the baseline with me to avoid getting nailed and to increase our chances of defending after I hit my return.

chatt_town 02-04-2013 08:13 AM

Yep..I totally agree with this. Thanks for the response.

Quote:

Originally Posted by burosky (Post 7190585)
As with anything in tennis it all depends. I would venture to guess most people would be facing the opposing net player as you do. However, from personal experience, I sometimes ask my female partner to position herself closer to the net (normal volley position) when I'm confident that I can return the serve crosscourt. This usually happens when our female opponent is serving or when our male opponent doesn't have a serve I cannot control. Doing this places my female partner in an offensive position right from the get go which typically will force our opponent to hit it back to me. If I can hit an effective return it usually results in a quick point for us. At the very least, it lessens the chances of my female partner becoming a target after I hit my return.

In general, when my opponent has an effective serve, the normal position would be for my partner to be near the T and facing the opposing net player. If I'm having trouble returning serve I would even ask my partner to go on the baseline with me to avoid getting nailed and to increase our chances of defending after I hit my return.


blakesq 02-04-2013 08:15 AM

when my partner is receiving, I stand about a 1 foot behind my service line, facing the service line of my partner, that way I call the serves in or out. Once my partner returns the serve, I turn to generally face the opposing net man, and wait to see if my partner hits to the net guy, or cross-court. If my partner hits cross-court, then I scoot up to about the middle of the service box, facing the server. If my partner hits to the net guy, I am in a better position to handle a ball from the net guy by standing a little behind the service line.

SweetH2O 02-04-2013 10:23 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by blakesq (Post 7190604)
when my partner is receiving, I stand about a 1 foot behind my service line, facing the service line of my partner, that way I call the serves in or out. Once my partner returns the serve, I turn to generally face the opposing net man, and wait to see if my partner hits to the net guy, or cross-court. If my partner hits cross-court, then I scoot up to about the middle of the service box, facing the server. If my partner hits to the net guy, I am in a better position to handle a ball from the net guy by standing a little behind the service line.

This about sums up what I do. As the net player on the receiving team, it doesn't matter where I am facing as the opponent is serving. By the time I might hit the ball, I've shuffled to a different position a few times, based on where the serve went and where my partner's return went.

When receiving serve, I'm facing the server. It allows quicker movement to the outside before an angled serve gets out of reach.

beernutz 02-04-2013 10:48 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by blakesq (Post 7190604)
when my partner is receiving, I stand about a 1 foot behind my service line, facing the service line of my partner, that way I call the serves in or out. Once my partner returns the serve, I turn to generally face the opposing net man, and wait to see if my partner hits to the net guy, or cross-court. If my partner hits cross-court, then I scoot up to about the middle of the service box, facing the server. If my partner hits to the net guy, I am in a better position to handle a ball from the net guy by standing a little behind the service line.

Me too on this. I may make an exception if my partner hits a cross-court lob return in that I won't come in and take a position in the service box to be ready to volley but will instead move out a bit wider and attempt to guard against a return lob over my head. I may even move back to the baseline if the return is really weak. However, if my partner hits a decent groundstroke cross-court return then I do as you do (and hope he comes in behind his shot as well).

Nellie 02-04-2013 11:12 AM

I don't call the serve for my partner (unless asked) and I focus on my partner's position and the opposing net person. I am not trying to getting a reflex shot, as much as I want to move based on my partner's position and the opponents movement (e.g., move back if the opponent is swing for an overhead or move to cover the middle if my partner is returning a wide serve .

chatt_town 02-04-2013 01:24 PM

I pretty much agree with what everyone here just said...with exception to one thing. Nellie...if you are not receiving serve to me you should always be in a position to help call the service line. 1. You have nothing else to do. 2 the person receiving serve can't see that line as clean as you do. I'm speaking of the line going across the court. I think the returner should call the side line. A ball an inch or even two inches back is hard to see from the baseline and God forbid it's big server. For the most part though...this is pretty much the way I think it should be played. I'm trying to get her to be in the position you all described and turn where she can see the line. Once I return cross court then change your positioning and move in if the returned shot allows you to do so. The first two points of the match yesterday...both of us hit weak returns...The girl got mine at the net but didn't put it away but because wife was turned in a bad position her first reaction was to turn and run off the court whereas had she been turned to my service line it would have registered to get down and try to dig it out which she would have clearly had a put away ball as the lady didn't even kill it. The one she returned was left high...I immediately saw it...quickly backed up as far as I could get about no man's land and caught the over head at my knees and lob vollied it or whatever...and we got the point. My biggest thing is to look at it like this. If you and another person were practicing vollies you would be facing each other...so before the ball is ever serve you should be facing at a minimum toward the person that is the biggest threat to volley a ball to you. In her current stance she only has time to turn her shoulders and try to volley and is the reason she tends to run as opposed to stand ground and volley. Hopefully I can get a chance to work on it this week. I appreciate all of your responses though. It really helps to hear from other "rec" and "club" players like myself. :)


Quote:

Originally Posted by Nellie (Post 7190987)
I don't call the serve for my partner (unless asked) and I focus on my partner's position and the opposing net person. I am not trying to getting a reflex shot, as much as I want to move based on my partner's position and the opponents movement (e.g., move back if the opponent is swing for an overhead or move to cover the middle if my partner is returning a wide serve .


LeeD 02-04-2013 02:11 PM

Good doubles players turn on each ball and cover the side of the court their team hits the ball.
The person who isn't hitting the ball moves almost as much as the person hitting the ball.

Cindysphinx 02-04-2013 06:56 PM

If I understand you correctly, the question is where should your female partner in mixed stand when you are returning serve?

A: She should stand about one foot away from the T, facing opposing net player and calling the service line.

The instant your return makes it past the net player, she should sprint like her hair is on fire toward the net. Once she reaches an appropriate position (depending on what you two decide that is), she should split step. Then every time opponents are hitting after that, she should split.

I actually think it is better to sprint toward the net than start there. It is a mental thing. I have a job to do and am more awake, you know? I have to watch the line, then watch the net player, then move forward. I also like having her in the line of fire if the net person poaches. She might get a ball or two back by being in the way of the poach.

Warning: If the serve comes up the T but is still good, she should move over so as not to block your shot.

It is too easy to get flat-footed if she just parks herself at net as you are returning and throughout the point.

Cindysphinx 02-04-2013 07:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by chatt_town (Post 7190536)
The guy kept acing her wide and up the T at will on the deuce side. there were some times she didn't even get to swing at the ball. My thing is simply if you aren't stepping into the court and on your toes as the ball is tossed you won't get to bounce as you made need to. So how do you all handle court positioning before the point starts in doubles? I'm going to do a little research but I want to know how you all handle it. I could be wrong but I seem to get back a lot more reflex volleys that I don't think I'd get a raquet on if I was facing the server.

What level is this?

I guess I would say you may have to cut your wife a break. If the server is a 4.0 or 4.5 guy who can place his serve, she is going to have a very long night. There are times when the whole match goes by and I barely get a racket on the guy's serve.

All she can do is go into a deep split when the guy tosses. Then try to pick up the ball as it leaves his racket (not as it passes over the net!) and then try to block it back with zero backswing.

Trust me, this is very hard. We ladies do not often get to practice returning a guy's pace and spin, and we often do not know how to slice our returns. I have taken two private lessons that cost $$ solely to learn how to block back guy's serves. And I still don't have the hang of it.

That said, if a guy is acing her, she may need to stand one step closer to try to cut off the serve. If that doesn't work, stand yet another step closer. Sooner or later, he will body serve her. And then she will at least get a racket on the return.

chatt_town 02-05-2013 06:18 AM

Nah...I can't cut her any slack in this instance for a couple of reasons. She has won at AA-3 playing line 1 doubles. To tell you what level this is. She was playing with a lady that lost in the finals of the us open doubles. The levels go like this(for those not familiar). The lowest I think is C-9(players who basically haven't hit a ball)...all the way up to c-1. Then you have B-9....all the way to B-1...B1 being the highest in B. Then you have A9-...all the way to A-1(most of us I think fit here). Then you have AA-4 3 2 and 1(being the highest level they have) You can run into real tennis pros in any of the AA range. Others that play Alta may give you a better idea of how it is but that's my take on it. I've played and won city finals at A-1 and A-2 mixed. You basically have to be a minimum of 4.5 to play line 1. The problem with most women as is most guys is footwork. I have foot work issues as well at times. My thing is though, I'm not going to start out wrong. Anything may happen during the point and I use bad foot work, but I'm not going to start out facing the fence on the side(that's an exaggeration). The point is I will at least try to start where I can give myself a chance. If you are standing straight up and flat footed I will ace you and I have probably the worst serve in the forum man or woman.lol You need to have your knees bent and on your toes when the ball goes in the air so you can split step. I will say this...he was hitting his spots on the deuce side. The truth is He may have gotten me a couple of times if I had been on that side...but I would have gotten my raquet on many more of the returns. Don't get me wrong...we broke the guy several times. There were just periods where this would happen. It wasn't the both sets. As far as your first statement...I couldn't agree more. I'm going to copy it and paste it and send it to her...and tell her this is coming from a female. :) Just so you understand to...it wasn't an issue of whether the "female" should stand there. I think this is the way it should be handled with anyone at the net. Move your feet...not your shoulders.


Quote:

Originally Posted by Cindysphinx (Post 7192006)
What level is this?

I guess I would say you may have to cut your wife a break. If the server is a 4.0 or 4.5 guy who can place his serve, she is going to have a very long night. There are times when the whole match goes by and I barely get a racket on the guy's serve.

All she can do is go into a deep split when the guy tosses. Then try to pick up the ball as it leaves his racket (not as it passes over the net!) and then try to block it back with zero backswing.

Trust me, this is very hard. We ladies do not often get to practice returning a guy's pace and spin, and we often do not know how to slice our returns. I have taken two private lessons that cost $$ solely to learn how to block back guy's serves. And I still don't have the hang of it.

That said, if a guy is acing her, she may need to stand one step closer to try to cut off the serve. If that doesn't work, stand yet another step closer. Sooner or later, he will body serve her. And then she will at least get a racket on the return.


Cindysphinx 02-05-2013 07:18 AM

^Dude, I love ya, but ya gotta start using paragraphs!!!!!

OK, so she is a 4.5. Honestly, I know nothing of how mixed is played at that level, so I take back what I said.

spot 02-05-2013 07:30 AM

One of our mixed teams is currently first place at AA-3 and all the upper line guys played in college. I'll tell you that I simply don't think that there is anything that a girl can do against their first serves unless she played in college herself. There is just too much pace and spin- it isn't a matter of positioning. There is too big of a difference when someone faces women's serves most of the year to facing a former college guy's serves for a few weeks.

I think that women pretty much have to guess and hope they guess right. But even then there are going to be games where they don't end up touching the ball when returning and that is just part of what they have to accept playing mixed.

LuckyR 02-05-2013 09:06 AM

There are two issues addressed in the OP. One is positioning (where are you standing) and the other is where you are facing (what are you looking at).

I agree with Cindy that the position should be the best one if the netman has a play on the ball (you could cheat the other way on a 2nd serve, but I don't, personally).

The OP seems to be speaking more about where the netman should be focusing. I first concentrate on the server, since knowing where the serve is going is the first priority (way, way before worrying about the opposing netman) since I am going to change my positioning depending on where the serve is going. As the next logical extension of that, calling the service line is the next priority. After the serve has landed in the box, then and only then do I concentrate on the netman. Of course I do agree that at that point (but not before) the opposing netman is a higher priority than the server.

chatt_town 02-05-2013 12:44 PM

Okay...okay...I'll use paragraphs.lol No, what you said applies for everyone...well to me that is. At least up to where I've played. I don't see why it would be different.



Quote:

Originally Posted by Cindysphinx (Post 7192794)
^Dude, I love ya, but ya gotta start using paragraphs!!!!!

OK, so she is a 4.5. Honestly, I know nothing of how mixed is played at that level, so I take back what I said.


chatt_town 02-05-2013 12:47 PM

That may be true for AA-3 but this was a A-4 and some run of the mill guy serving but was hitting his spots at times. My main focus was though where she should be and where she should be facing when I'm returning.


Quote:

Originally Posted by spot (Post 7192829)
One of our mixed teams is currently first place at AA-3 and all the upper line guys played in college. I'll tell you that I simply don't think that there is anything that a girl can do against their first serves unless she played in college herself. There is just too much pace and spin- it isn't a matter of positioning. There is too big of a difference when someone faces women's serves most of the year to facing a former college guy's serves for a few weeks.

I think that women pretty much have to guess and hope they guess right. But even then there are going to be games where they don't end up touching the ball when returning and that is just part of what they have to accept playing mixed.


chatt_town 02-05-2013 12:55 PM

Lucky,

Do you not agree though that you can have your hips and feet turned toward the net person and still watch the server? It would seem to me that it is just two extra steps you have to take when you can already be in that position before the ball is served.

If you turned with hips and feet facing the the server, once he strikes the ball you then have to pivot both feet to the net person and as most if not all of us have footwork issues at times...doesn't it just cause an issue where it doesn't have to be? There is nothing the server can do to you at that point. Your focus it seems would be on the serviceline first and then the net person.


P.S....how did I do Cindy? :)

Quote:

Originally Posted by LuckyR (Post 7193081)
There are two issues addressed in the OP. One is positioning (where are you standing) and the other is where you are facing (what are you looking at).

I agree with Cindy that the position should be the best one if the netman has a play on the ball (you could cheat the other way on a 2nd serve, but I don't, personally).

The OP seems to be speaking more about where the netman should be focusing. I first concentrate on the server, since knowing where the serve is going is the first priority (way, way before worrying about the opposing netman) since I am going to change my positioning depending on where the serve is going. As the next logical extension of that, calling the service line is the next priority. After the serve has landed in the box, then and only then do I concentrate on the netman. Of course I do agree that at that point (but not before) the opposing netman is a higher priority than the server.


spot 02-05-2013 01:07 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by chatt_town (Post 7193755)
That may be true for AA-3 but this was a A-4 and some run of the mill guy serving but was hitting his spots at times. My main focus was though where she should be and where she should be facing when I'm returning.

Even at A4 in most matches the line 1 and 2 guys would double bagel the woman if they were to play singles. If its a lower line guy and she was getting aced wide then sure- moving up to cut off angle is probably the best bet. Though for upper line guys on a good I really don't think its going to matter and she should do what she is comfortable with. There is such a disparity in mixed between the guys and the girls. I guess I just have different expecations than you do about what the woman should be able to do when returning serve against the guy.

As far as where she should be facing it really depends on how your returns are going. If you are consistently getting picked off by the net person then she should be facing the net person or moving to 2 back. If you are hitting aggressive returns then I'd want her forward in the box and facing the server so she could be in position to attack the next ball. But for ones when you are sometimes getting picked off and sometimes not then standing in the hole and facing the net player is generally the best choice.

chatt_town 02-05-2013 01:27 PM

Nah bro...not at a-4. I haven't run across one man that would double bagel her in a singles match and that's not me taking up for her. I'm just telling you these guys are for the most part spinning serves in. Even he at times got his serve hammered by her if he missed the T or the corner. lol Once the serve comes back many of those guys would have movement issues with her. We were at line 2.

I understand what you are saying about those guys at AA and even many at A-1 and A-2. We played 3 and 4 when we won city finals at A-1 and A-2 mixed. She pretty much handled those guys serves and we broke them at will. I was the one at times having problems holding serve is why many of them even stayed in matches. Since my serve is weak I really concentrate more on my return and volley as it relates to doubles. I think we lost 4 matches in 3 years playing every week for two different seasons each year. We did drop one this year to a couple that lobbed us to death. We have to address that. We do it to everyone but never had it done to us to the extent we got it a couple of weeks ago. lol


Quote:

Originally Posted by spot (Post 7193828)
Even at A4 in most matches the line 1 and 2 guys would double bagel the woman if they were to play singles. If its a lower line guy and she was getting aced wide then sure- moving up to cut off angle is probably the best bet. Though for upper line guys on a good I really don't think its going to matter and she should do what she is comfortable with. There is such a disparity in mixed between the guys and the girls. I guess I just have different expecations than you do about what the woman should be able to do when returning serve against the guy.

As far as where she should be facing it really depends on how your returns are going. If you are consistently getting picked off by the net person then she should be facing the net person or moving to 2 back. If you are hitting aggressive returns then I'd want her forward in the box and facing the server so she could be in position to attack the next ball. But for ones when you are sometimes getting picked off and sometimes not then standing in the hole and facing the net player is generally the best choice.



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