Originally Posted by Cindysphinx
Tell your guys that there is never any excuse to miss a service return off of the opposing female. Similarly, they should never DF to her.
I think the biggest adjustment for guys who don't play much mixed is that you cannot stand there just waiting for your partner to set you up at net. Not gonna happen. You have to be active and a men*ace (how come this board considers "men*ace" to be an obscenity) up there. No matter how weak the female's serve seems to be, your guy should be faking and poaching and being as unpredictable as possible.
This. For advice to the guys.
On the non-skill side, I'd advise: don't be jerk, show up on time, with a fresh can of balls (if you're not in a league that provides them), compliment your female partner when it's warranted...and even when not, say something encouraging like "good thought" or "you'll get it next time." I hate being the liability or mere window-dressing but it doesn't have to be a totally miserable experience for either partner. I am always worried that I've let my male-partner down. I will play better if you say/express positive things.
Guess many of those things apply to any form of doubles but I find it even more important in mixed.
Originally Posted by travlerajm
As someone who enjoys making life difficult for gals trying to hit returns past me, I'll let you in on a little secret: Guys like me like take away the easy shot and give you the hard shots. Your advice to crowd the service line was the right advice - if she doesn't do that she has no prayer to get it past me. But if she crowds the line, she has options.
To get it past me, she doesn't have to hit it super hard, but it has to be accurate.
Option 1. If you're going to get it past me cross-court, it's got to be a really sharp angle cross court (one that lands in the doubles alley inside the service line). ...
Option 2. Keep me honest. You've got to make me think about staying. Use the down the line alley at least once per game against an active netman. ...
Option 3. Keep me honest with the lob. Active poachers like to cheat close to the net if you let us. Lob once a game to keep me honest. Even you miss your lob target and get it pounded, it will make me think about it and reduce my range a little. Don't be afraid to try it again.
Bingo. Like Cindy's friend, I'm a bit of old-school grip-wise (not even sure exactly what I use
) but these are three of my main tenants in doubles (mixed or ladies!). I've worked really hard to develop that short-angle, heavy cc shot. In fact, it is my fav and I love it in doubles because I have the extra 4' of the alley to work with.
And she's gotta go DTL every so often. In fact, I often try it on the very first point of the match just to show that I can and will attempt it regardless of the serve's location or end result. Took awhile to find the BH up the alley from a serve up the T (on the deuce side) but it's been a god-send as I've moved up.
As for the lob attempt, try to put it where the opponents might have some confusion on who's gonna take it. Not quite as effective placement in mixed since the guy usually does, but the 'mine/yours' debate is often enough to get you back in the point.