Approaching With Your Partner In Doubles
Another question came up in my doubles drill class yesterday.
We had four students and a pro, doing a drill. Two students on either side of the net, everyone at the baseline. Pro fed a short ball (no man's land) to one student. She was supposed to treat it as an approach shot and then play out the point.
I was pretty confused about what I was supposed to be doing when my partner was hitting that ball. Was I supposed to basically just stay with her so we were both at the same distance from the net (leaving me in no-man's land should she stop before reaching the service line)? Was I supposed to just scurry on up to first volley position (a step or two back from the middle of the service box)? Was I supposed to go only as far as the service line?
The other thing I was unsure about was what I was supposed to do when I was hitting the short ball fed to me. I think I'm supposed to come in behind my shot, shading in that direction, my distance from the net depending on how good my shot is. My instinct was to say "Approach!" as I was getting ready to hit and then, you know, approach in the hope that my partner will come with me. Is this a bad idea because it clues the opponent that I'm coming to net?
Also, if I am playing doubles and my partner gets a short ball, should I say "approach," indicating to her that she should hit an approach and come in? Or is that her decision? I tend to say "Approach" when I plan to come in behind an approach shot, but my partners tend not to move forward with me. Which makes me think I'm doing the whole thing wrong.
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-- Master Moonballer