Originally Posted by Cindysphinx
I played doubles today. I personally got off to something of a slow start -- wasn't doing much damage on the return, my returns were somewhat cautious, and I missed more than I wanted. Still, my partner and I were winning.
Imagine my surprise when my opponents suddenly lined up in I formation to serve to me in the first set. Not Australian, an actual I formation. So I had one lady with a very weak serve at the baseline, and her partner crouched down low at the net straddling the center line. I'm receiving in the ad court.
Now, I've read about the I formation in "Art of Doubles," so my brain started firing to remember what it had said. Oh, yeah. Take a step back so you can process which way the net player is going. Consider blasting your return right up the middle, which is the one place you know neither of them will be.
The net player made a signal, which her partner acknowledged. First serve was up the middle, but out. Second serve was in the middle of the box and slow. As it bounced, I saw the net player move over to the traditional net position in front of me. I also saw the server running toward me. I lobbed the net player and wandered into the net myself, while the server tried to apply the brakes and run down the lob. Point for us.
After that, they did not line up I formation for the remainder of the match.
That got me to wondering. Is the I formation of any use at all in league doubles? I never see it in mixed or ladies 3.5/4.0. What did these ladies do wrong that caused it to be so ineffective?
This is how I line up when I used the formation... and yes it does work well but you need to deliver a serve that is more effective than a puff ball in the middle of the service box. Also a lob deep into the back of the court over the on rushing server is effective in any formation.
If you are watching the opponents rather than the ball, they are already benefitting from the formation. The idea is to hit a forceful serve into the opponents backhand in the ad court, and playing aussie takes away the crosscourt return. Obviously if you can hit a deep lob off the serve it is not going to be very effective. But what is if you can lob deep...?